Beliefs Clergy & Congregations Faith News Race & Ethnicity

‘Christian America’ dwindling, including white evangelicals, study shows

Window light shines on the empty pews of a church in Kansas City, Mo. Photo by Sally Morrow

(RNS) — The future of religion in America is young, non-Christian and technicolor.

Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Wednesday (Sept. 6) by the Public Religion Research Institute.

And American evangelicals — once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors —  are losing numbers and losing them quickly.

Americans are also continuing to move away from organized religion altogether, as atheists, agnostics and those who say they do not identify with any particular religion — the group known as the “nones”  — hold steady at about one-quarter (24 percent) of the population.

The study, “America’s Changing Religious Identity,” contacted 101,000 Americans in 50 states, and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 0.4 percentage points. And while the survey spotlights transformations afoot in many religious groups, it also shows a seismic shift for a long-standing American religious powerhouse: white evangelicals.

“This report provides solid evidence of a new, second wave of white Christian decline that is occurring among white evangelical Protestants just over the last decade in the U.S.,” said Robert P. Jones, PRRI’s CEO and author of “The End of White Christian America.”

“Prior to 2008, white evangelical Protestants seemed to be exempt from the waves of demographic change and disaffiliation that were eroding the membership bases of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics,” he said.

“We now see that these waves simply crested later for white evangelical Protestants.”

Among the survey’s chief findings:

  • White Christians, 81 percent of the population in 1976, now account for less than half the public — 43 percent of Americans identify as white Christians, and 30 percent as white Protestants.
  • 92 percent of Lutherans are white, more than in any other denomination.
  • White Christians are aging. About 1 in 10 white Catholics, evangelicals and mainline Protestants are under 30, compared with one-third of all Hindus and Buddhists.
  • Muslims and Mormons are the youngest faith groups in the U.S., with 42 percent of all Muslims under 3o, and nearly a quarter of all Mormons.

Daniel Cox, PRRI’s director of research, said senior citizens generally have cohorts who look a lot like them — “nominally white Protestant, and that has been normal throughout their lives.” But the under-30 crowd tends to rub elbows with a more diverse group — including the religiously unaffiliated and people of different races and religions.

“The young are much less likely to believe this is a ‘Christian nation’ or to give preference to Christian identity,” he said. “Young people and seniors are basically inhabiting different religious worlds.”

And while the decline of white mainline Protestants and Catholics has been documented in earlier surveys, the new PRRI survey shows a similar and relatively recent decline among evangelicals — from 23 percent to 17 percent of the public from 2006 to 2016.

Methodist Megachurch

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Sunday evening service on July 15, 2012 in Leawood, Kan. The Church of the Resurrection holds up the 3,000 people is known as the largest Methodist church in the nation. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

“There is no one explanation, but you can’t answer why without looking at the rise of Christian conservatives, ” Cox said.

Christian activism for many has come to mean conservative activism, working against gay marriage, abortion access and the legalization of marijuana — and young people may be turned off by such positions, Cox said.

“It is no longer the case among young people that being religious is necessarily a positive attribute.”

The survey also shows that religious folks are realigning, both geographically and politically:

  • The Catholic Church is headed south. A  majority of Catholics now live in the American South (29 percent) or West (25 percent). That’s a reverse from four decades ago, when 7 in 10 Catholics lived in the Northeast or the Midwest.
  • White Christians are a minority in the Democratic Party. Fewer than 1 in 3 Democrats are white Christians, down from almost half 10 years ago. And Democrats under 30 are increasingly less religious — only 14 percent identify as white Christian, while 40 percent are nones.
  • While white evangelical Protestants are losing adherents, they remain the dominant religious force among Republicans — more than one-third (35 percent) of Republicans are white evangelicals, a stable proportion for the last 10 years.

The PRRI survey is broad in scope but also reveals much about the slender slices of American religiosity:

  • The religious profile of Asian or Pacific-Islander Americans is unusual compared with other racial or ethnic groups, with roughly equal numbers spread across the Christian, non-Christian and no-religion categories.
  • Though atheists and agnostics account for about one-fourth of all the religiously unaffiliated, 16 percent of the unaffiliated identify as “a religious person.”
  • Almost half (46 percent) of LGBT Americans are religiously unaffiliated — about twice as many as the general population (24 percent).

Rabbi Denise Eger, founding rabbi of the Kol Ami synagogue in West Hollywood and an LGBT activist, said the high numbers of unaffiliated LGBT persons should surprise no one. She blames fundamentalism, especially in Christianity, Islam and, to a lesser extent, Judaism.

“The truth is that all of religion becomes tainted, even though there are many denominations that welcome them, that it becomes ‘why bother?'” she said of many LGBT people’s encounters with religion.

The study also found:

  • Mississippi is the most homogeneous state in terms of religion (60 percent are Baptist) while New York is the most religiously diverse.
  • There are now 20 states in which the religiously unaffiliated outnumber adherents of any other single religious group. Most of those states sit on or near a coast; they include Vermont (41 percent unaffiliated), Oregon (36 percent), Washington (35 percent) and Hawaii (34 percent).

The rise in the religiously unaffiliated means people must now ask old questions in new ways, said Jennifer W. Davidson, an associate professor of theology and worship at the American Baptist Seminary of the West.

“We need to begin asking people, ‘How do you make meaning in your life? What sustains you when you suffer? How do you cultivate a sense of wonder?'” she said.

“It is fully possible to answer these questions from a secular perspective, and if we asked them, we might be able to see abundantly fruitful connections among people who are religiously affiliated, religiously unaffiliated, secular, agnostic and atheist.”

 

.4

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

442 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • “We need to begin asking people, ‘How do you make meaning in your life? What sustains you when you suffer? How do you cultivate a sense of wonder?’” she said.

    What pure, unmitigated arrogance!!

  • Indeed. But it’s a familiar refrain. I lost count of how many times I’ve been asked these same questions since adopting atheist as a label. My answer boils down to something like this:

    Most of us find meaning in life whether we want to or not. We can’t help it. It’s part of our nature.

    As for suffering, most of us take refuge in relationships. We support each other because we care. That too is in our nature.

    With regard to wonder, all you really need to do is pick a night when the sky is reasonably clear and look up. Lay back and consider what you see. Use a telescope to magnify (pun intended) the effect. But even more, learn what science has to say about reality. Contrary to Keats, unweaving a rainbow doesn’t undo wonder. It sustains and increases it. At least, that’s been my experience.

    The arrogance is astounding because it seems to suggest that, without believing in god(s) we are somehow less than fully human; devoid of the same human emotions, motives, and thoughts that drive the faithful. So it’s hard to take these questions as sincere and well-meaning, particularly since they so rarely are.

  • “We need to begin asking people, ‘How do you make meaning in your life? What sustains you when you suffer? How do you cultivate a sense of wonder?’” she said.

    Why, believing in magic and invisible sky beings that care about one species of primate on one planet in some remote corner of a galaxy that can’t even be seen from 10 light years outside of itself, of course!

    Maybe, ma’am, people are starting to ask these hard questions as we figure out just how big the universe actually is, and how provincial and local our thinking has been for the duration of our history before we understood some of these things. Perhaps it’s time for some radical shifts in our thinking about reality and our place within it. Old prejudices and beliefs die hard, but change is inevitable.

  • And American evangelicals — once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors — are losing numbers and losing them quickly.

    The hypocrisy of these “Family Values Christians” was laid bare for all to see, under no uncertain terms, when they lined up behind Trump in the Republican primary instead of real Christians like Cruz, Rubio, and pretty much every other candidate. Evangelicals have been shown to be a reprehensible political movement that uses their religion more as a cudgel than as Good News, so is it any wonder they are bleeding adherents?

  • I’m sorry my questions came across as arrogant. I fully believe that they can be answered beautifully without religious belief as their reference points, just as you did in your responses above. By broadening the questions to meaning-making, connection, suffering, and wonder, my hope is to decenter religion as the dominant discourse traditionally surrounding those answers.

  • Ha! It is the lack of belief in the supernatural, which has no evidence – only faith – to support it.

  • Lots of things in science have no concrete evidence yet you believe in it. The life of Christ proves that God exist as do many other things.

  • Yes! Finally, some genuine GOOD news documenting the increasing numbers of people who are finally seeing through thousands of years of FAKE news masquerading as “good news.”

  • Atheism is the rejection of a the claim that there is a God or gods. Nothing more. Meaning in life comes from our experiences, not some man made holy book. If your life has no meaning outside of your religious believes I feel sorry for you. Because of these experiences and interactions I feel that I am more important than a leaf. However, once I am dead the only meaning left of my life is the impact I had on others. I do good for goodness sake. Not because I’m threatened by eternal torment if I don’t follow the immoral teachings of a religion.

  • Atheism is a good example of fake news. It has no proof of it being true and if it were true it would mean your life is ultimately meaningless.

  • Perhaps. But ‘ultimately’ and ‘right now’ are two different things. Right now life is very meaningful, even if it ‘ultimately’ isn’t. You don’t have choose one or the other, you get both.

  • Atheism is a knowledge claim that no gods exist. There is never any evidence put forth by any atheist that proves this claim. That means that all that the atheist can do is to tell us he prefers God not to exist. Its just a preference claim.

    Dawkins understands very well what the implications are for atheism when he writes: “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    It doesn’t matter what you do with your life because its utterly meaningless. Your feelings are irrelevant.

  • “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

  • Here is what Dawkins would say to this:
    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

  • Dawkins speaks for the atheist:
    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

  • To each his own I suppose. My life is meaningful even with the ‘ultimate’ prospect of returning to star dust. In fact, that’s the reason it is so meaningful.

  • Atheism is not a claim. Theism is the claim: that God exists. Atheism is only a lack of belief the claim is true. In my case, I lack that belief due to no evidence. Humans are social beings. There is great meaning to be had in loving, caring, learning, laughing, teaching, and raising children. Children who can then go on to experience that meaning as well. Leaves can’t really do all that, now can they.

  • Nothing in science lacks concrete evidence. Put up one example. I dare you.
    While you’re at it, post proof that Christ existed. Bible doesn’t count.

  • I have faith that you can “do science” without superstitious nonsense getting involved.

  • Everything is meaningless. In a few billion years, the sun will expand to engulf the earth, and there will be no record of life left, including everyone’s silly superstitions.

  • You’ve already posted that twice, and the third time borders on spamming.
    BTW, what’s a “knowledge claim?” And where’s your evidence that anything exists? You have no proof, just fables you like to share amongst yourselves.

  • Yes, and a book with talking snakes — that is really concerned about male foreskins…and suggests we follow a hippie-looking dude who had a rough weekend, or else his Dad will smite us…All this makes much more sense!

  • Ok. Then how has science proven that the mindless-purposeless forces of nature created the first cell? How did these mindless-purposeless forces create the first cell which is more complex than a phone or car?

  • It’s not news at all, it is a belief. Just like your fantasy that there are celestial beings with nothing better to do than watch and judge 7 billion hominids.
    That’s so absurd, I cannot fathom why people buy into that nonsense unless they are raised in it and don’t know any better.

  • What I can’t fathom is how the atheist knows there is no evidence for atheism being true and yet they still believe it.

  • Stupid stuff? Like talking snakes, dead birds on a stick curing leprosy, rib women?
    LOL…

  • And yet:

    “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”

    ― Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

  • The burden of proof is on the atheist to prove with facts that atheism is true. Without this then all the atheist is doing is making a preference claim.

  • I have a giant invisible pink elephant in my garage. You can only see him or speak to him if you have faith that he exist. False? Prove it!
    This is an absurd statement only to make the point that the person making the claim in the affirmative has the burden of proof. Not the person rejecting the claim.

  • “We need to begin asking people, ‘How do you make meaning in your life?
    What sustains you when you suffer? How do you cultivate a sense of
    wonder?’”
    Because god belief is a hoax, and religious dogma is detrimental and dangerous to mankind they can only provide the wrong answers to these questions. Only the scientific method has any chance at all to provide the correct answers to these kinds of questions.
    Interestingly enough when one does not believe in things connected to the god fallacies these “questions” become self evident without any mysteries attached to them.

  • The burden of proof isn’t on anyone. I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think it’s true or not. Let’s turn this around.
    “The burden of proof is on the Christian to proof with facts that Christianity is true.”

    You can’t do it, any more than atheists can “prove” the nonexistence of god. However, Occam’s Razor suggests the atheists are right.

    Please note, a storm that blows down all but two supports of a building so it looks like a cross is not proof. It’s merely a misinterpretation of reality.

  • Evolution explains all this stuff. Where the first spark of life came from, we still don’t know. That doesn’t mean we won’t find out, eventually.

  • Surprised to see your reaction there Jim. I would have thought that, as an atheist, you’d be asking precisely such questions of people in order to show them that your atheism gives better answers than Christianity.

    Of course, if a Christian have to tell **atheists** the best way to share their own atheism with folks, that means atheism is a pretty sick puppy no matter what!!

  • Evolution doesn’t even explain YOUR existence, nor your amazing, right-here right-now abilities.

    In fact, you can scientifically disprove Evolution’s claims of human origins just by reading this one post.

    Your eyes and brain not only have very complicated stuff in them that evolution CAN’T account for, but the amazing way they team up to enable you to instantly read posts and type an intelligent response, is totally impossible for evolution, period. No joke. Disproof done.

    Okay, you got it, just that quickly. Thank you for disproving no-good snake-oiled Evolution !!

  • I’m dreaming of a white Christian, just like the ones I used to know. Now their bald tops glisten, and no children listen as their head hairs turn to snow.

  • I left the church years ago because of hypocrisy and racism. You want to know why you’re dwindling? Look in the mirror.

  • Just because science hasn’t proven something doesn’t mean the answer is a supernatural agent. If you want to claim a supernatural agent created the universe prove the supernatural agent exists.

  • You can claim to disprove evolution all day. But disproving evolution doesn’t mean your god did it. If you want to prove your god did it, prove your god exists first.

  • Holy cow, you are not up to speed.
    Did you know pelicans navigate by seeing magnetic lines? That’s pretty complicated and amazing, yet scientists can explain it.
    When you think about it, if you ever do, every single creature on earth has evolved amazing abilities that help them survive.

    Evolution is really a simple thing to grasp, but evidently out of YOUR reach.

  • Proof isn’t necessary; most Americans will go with probability.

    In other words, all I have to do is show that the existence of God as the Intelligent Designer, is far more probable, in fact OVERWHELMINGLY far more probable, than Atheism.

    Even 40 percent of the Nones (no organized religion) say they’re open to that approach.

    So, what’cha gonna do to stop me from stealing some good atheist sheep from your pasture?

  • 1 Timothy 4:1 ESV / 151 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

    2 Thessalonians 2:1-3English Standard Version (ESV)
    The Man of Lawlessness
    2 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a] 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c]

  • Typical non-answer. You claim that evolution is false even though it is supported by vast quantities of evidence. Yet those volumes of evidence aren’t good enough for you. Then you state your position using exactly zero evidence and that is supposed to prove a point? SAD! By the way, I’d love to see the math you used for that statement of OVERWHELMING probability.

  • It’s pretty simple. Given the many, many scientifically documentable examples of extremely intelligent engineering design in the biological world (especially us humans!), there’s no need to provide math equations.

    Just provide folks with the biological examples, which is super-easy to do now, thanks to science. A plan intuitively implies a Planner, a design intuitively implies a Designer. Therefore most folks, even the Nones, will accept that Atheism can’t explain their own existence, and thus they’ll accept that there’s an Intelligent Designer out there somewhere, even alongside evolutionary theory.

    There’s a reason why Atheism remains such a dismal numerical minority in America. Even if we Christians are losing, YOU GUYS are at the bottom.

  • Good news. Less superstition is good. But I hope the old church music stays alive. Power in the Blood, When the Roll is called up Yonder, etc. as an atheist I love that stuff.

  • Exactly! That’s why religion exists…it was developed as a framework to teach children about morality and to comfort those (such as yourself) who are afraid of the dark. The so-called mindlessness and purposelessness of nature does not pose a threat to those with a more developed view of the world.

  • So to you wishful thinking on the behalf of others proves the existence of your god. As I said in my previous post, you have zero evidence. Science doesn’t explain everything, but what it does explain it does so without appeal to the supernatural. By the way, if design implies a designer, where do your designer come from? Who created that? Not to mention how do you prove it’s your god that is the designer.

  • Deut. 23:1 No man whose testicles have been crushed or whose organ has been cut off may become a member of the Assembly of God.

    Ezekiel 23:19 Yet she increased her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth when she engaged in prostitution in the land of Egypt. She lusted after their genitals – as large as those of donkeys, and their seminal emission was as strong as that of stallions.

    Ezekiel 16:17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.

    Genesis 38:9 Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his semen on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.

    Mark 14:51 A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.

    Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, “Surely a bloody husband art thou to me”.

    Leviticus 24:16 Whoever utters the name of the Lord must be put to death. The whole community must stone him, whether alien or native. If he utters the name, he must be put to death.

  • Is there a “correct” answer to “How do you make meaning in your life”? What is it and how is it a scientific answer?

  • Please read her comment below. She did not mean to come off as arrogant and agrees that one can find these answers without regard to religion.

  • “Your eyes and brain not only have very complicated stuff in them that
    evolution CAN’T account for, but the amazing way they team up to enable
    you to instantly read posts and type an intelligent response, is totally impossible for evolution, period. No joke. Disproof done.”

    Humans, including their eyes and brain, are obviously simple organisms compared to a god who must be infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful to have created the universe. An old question that people seem to spend little time contemplating is: Where did God come from? A common answer is: God is eternal, and thus has always existed. And then they quickly change the subject. All the answers I’ve heard seem to be designed to avoid any serious consideration of the question.

    You can assert that God just suddenly appeared, but there is not a single shred of evidence for that (and Bible verses are irrelevant). So, if God didn’t just suddenly appear, he must have developed by some form of evolution.

    If you are unable to believe that life on earth could have developed via evolution, how can you possibly believe that an infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful God suddenly appeared from nowhere or through a form of evolution?

  • Christian apologetics is directed at Christians to quiet their doubts because it doesn’t work with anyone else.

  • They also ask, “Why be good if there is no God?” Of course that’s a tacit admission that they need the threat of hell or the reward of heaven in order to be moral.

  • May I add that they crow about numerical superiority while at the same time claim Catholics aren’t true Christians, nor Mormons, nor any sect that supports gay rights. Evangelical math for you.

  • This is, indeed, “good news”. Thank God who, no doubt, has been fed up with all the fundamentalist crap in Christian denominations. God is Love, not FEAR.

  • I think the knee-jerk to these questions stems from the fact that often these kinds of questions are often posed insincerely, with the intent being to manipulate. For my part, I do apologize for missing your meaning.

  • Totally understandable reaction given the circumstances. And your initial reaction is really an important part of the dialogue as well. I know your response will really help me think about how best to foreground openness and humility in how I might raise these questions in other contexts, given that real and painful history of manipulation and insincerity.

    It occurs to me that it could be impossible in a dialogue for these questions to be asked initially from someone who comes from a religiously affiliated identity precisely because they remain too mired in a history of intolerance.

    Thanks for your comment here, too. I appreciate it a lot.

  • If you say “evolution can’t account for…”. you have just proven you do not understand evolution. So, nice display of your lack of knowledge.

  • Isn’t the burden of proof on the one who makes extraordinary claims about something beyond his ability to demonstrate in any concrete way? Saying your god can’t be ruled out isn’t proof. That only works for the converted who are wavering in their faith.

  • I have proof for God on multiple levels. There is no proof that atheism is true. Its a knowledge claim about reality I.e. no gods exist and yet there are no facts that support this assertion.

  • You are making the claim that ” a giant invisible pink elephant ” is in your garage. Its up to you to prove it with some facts and reasons.

  • A God that punishes evil is not a “narcissistic, vindictive god.” The problem for the atheist is that he has no grounds to say anything is evil.

  • All I’m saying is that you have no evidence that anyone outside your bubble would need in order to make a rational decision. When that evidence comes out, I’ll reconsider, unlike you, who believe against all evidence.

  • Huh?? Why wouldn’t the Bible count as evidence for Christ?

    What is the “concrete” evidence for how the universe came into being by nothing?

  • Stupid stuff like life came from non-life by the mindless-purposeless forces of nature. Stupid stuff like evolution is asserted to be true but never seen to happen.

  • Atheism is a knowledge claim that no gods exist. Its up to the atheist to present the evidence or accept that this claim is false. Which is it?

  • You and your flawed book define the grounds for everyone. That’s rather presumptuous, especially because the fruits of your special revelation don’t exist. You’re no better than the rest of us.

  • No — that is a mistaken explanation of atheism…Just because someone does not believe a claim, is not the same as knowledge that a claim is false.

    I don’t believe in Bigfoot…however, there may or may not be a Bigfoot wandering in a forest or mountain somewhere…I will not believe Bigfoot exists until I personally see the convincing evidence, e.g. at a zoo’s Bigfoot exhibition…Same with god…Show us !!

  • Circular logic is not proof something exists. Science can and will adapt it stance on issues as new information becomes available. Religion cannot adapt as their religious texts are set in stone. The church keeps trying to reinterpret those texts however, in their attempts to keep members in the fold.

  • Yes, the question often comes with the presumption that Christianity is the answer. However, in this case, the professor speaking adds:

    “It is fully possible to answer these questions from a secular perspective, and if we asked them, we might be able to see abundantly fruitful connections among people who are religiously affiliated, religiously unaffiliated, secular, agnostic and atheist.”

  • There’s not a belief in no god. Only a lack of belief in God. There’s no preference either. From my perspective, there’s NOTHING AT ALL with regard to God. I’ll just go on my merry way until evidence presents itself with regard to this thing you call God that warrants my attention.

  • You get an F for your logic, epistemology, and rationality, not that anybody expected you to understand those things.

    Again, back to the article…Good news! In my lifetime, Christianity will be a minority religion in the US — and white evangelicals well on their way into demographic dustbin…None too soon!…no pun intended

  • Atheist who do not support their atheism with facts that shows no gods exist are just showing they have a preference that no gods exist. Its no different than your preference for cake instead of ice cream.

  • Look up “special revelation” in your bible encyclopedia. You claim that your god’s supernaturally-revealed truth and his indwelling, supernatural power makes you better people than the rest of humanity. Simple observation proves there are evil christians, muslims and atheists, and good christians, muslims and atheists. If one can know people’s hearts by their fruits (Mt 7:20), xianity is undistinguished if not counterproductive.

  • I don’t have to show support for it. Atheism is only a lack of belief in God. All I need to do is say I don’t have that belief. Nothing more. And as I said, I’ll go on my merry way without a further word needed. I do have a belief that both cake and ice cream exist, so your analogy is false. I can have a preference for something only if I have a belief it exists.

  • That’s not really true. He garnered a significant amount of support from them, and certainly from their leaders. Trump couldn’t have won the nomination if he didn’t have significant support from evangelicals, even if more of them wanted Cruz (48% vs. Trump’s 34% support).

    “Donald Trump is at the head of the Republican field due, in part, to the strength of support from many self-described “born-again or evangelical” Christians in the early primary and caucus states, according to the exit polls.”
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/04/trump-has-benefited-from-evangelicals-support-but-hes-not-the-first-choice-of-the-most-committed/

  • Then you might as well argue over which flavor of ice cream is the best since you cannot bring any facts to the table that shows atheism is true. This is why atheism is bankrupt. There is no reason, no facts that would lead a critical thinker to think its true.

  • Nowhere in the NT does it assert that Christians better “people than the rest of humanity”. What it does say is that Christians are saved from the wrath of God that the rest humanity will face for their sins. That wrath will lead to damnation.

  • I don’t need to show atheism is true. I don’t need to show anything about atheism. You make the claim God exists. I say that I lack that belief. That’s all that needs to be said about atheism. Period. Now that that’s done, I can certainly talk about all of the things I do believe in. I could talk for days and days about that.

  • So does that mean this is no longer true? …

    Deuteronomy 23:1
    No man whose testicles have been crushed or whose organ has been cut off may become a member of the Assembly of God.

  • I only thing I need to show is that MY atheism is true. Are you going to argue with me that when I say that I lack a belief in God, I’m lying?

  • The Assembly of God was the pre-monarchical government. If there were still an Israelite theocracy with such a government in place, probably eunuchs would still be disqualified from voting in it.

    What this has to do with evangelical Christianity I’m sure I don’t know.

  • So you don’t get it…Evangelicals believe the Bible is the inerrant word of god…so if this nonsense from Deuteronomy 23 is in the Bible – the evangelicals treat it as the word of god.

    All the more reason that rational people should celebrate the above Article showing evangelical decline.

  • James 2:14-26 begs to differ. We could play this game forever because there are proof text for just about anything. Bye-bye.

  • Is there still a theocratic nation of Israel with a democratic government made up of all free Israelite males? Do Gentiles belong to it? If not, why are we discussing this?

  • Yes, so we should reject it…same as we reject everything else in the OT and NT…Can’t have us accept your “wrath of god” and “sins and damnation” nonsense and conveniently throw out everything else. As people are realizing — it’s all BS.

  • The fact that I have a lack of belief in God proves that MY atheism is true. In other words, it’s true that I lack a belief in God. That’s all that I need to prove. With a lot of people out there like me, that’s a lot of true atheism.

  • “Is there still a theocratic nation of Israel” — Sadly, yes is a reasonable answer.
    We are discussing this because some bible thumping posters are then forced to defend all inconvenient biblical nonsense they typically avoid.

  • That was a completely ignorant statement. Simple observation identifies evil. You don’t need a deity to recognize it.

  • Now THAT is evil. You can’t join the club because you got your balls whacked by a horse. Yep, sounds like a loving god to me.

  • Nothing in atheism would tell anyone this is evil. Atheism has no statements against evil. In fact, atheism cannot tell us what evil is.

  • If you say that I said “evolution can’t account for…,” you have just proven you do not understand the function of quotation marks. I was quoting the person I responded to: floydlee.

  • My point was you don’t need a philosophy or theology to recognise something as evil. It’s not just a religious concept.

  • So JP – you say that was for a Jew living in ancient Israel (even though Jesus says not one jot nor tittle of the law would pass away), so are you saying it was OK for a Jew living in ancient Israel? So it was a good thing then – something that you would support then, right? Or did your sky superhero make a mistake?

  • You sure do need something to tell you if something is evil or not. For the atheist there is no such thing as an objective standard to determine what evil is. Without this objective standard of morality any action can be morally justified.

  • Again, Occam’s Razor.
    Shit happens, including evolution. Calling science stupid while adhering to Stone Age beliefs…the irony is delicious.

  • So Harry Potter is real as that other book because it’s in a friggin’ book?
    You’re asking questions we can’t answer yet.
    Then again, 400 years ago, nobody knew there was a whole world of microscopic animals that weren’t discovered until Janssen invented the microscope.

    Until then, people thought divine rage the cause of disease, the god must be displeased. And some of you still do… hurr durr…

  • That’s meaningless. Osiris isn’t gonna weigh your heart with a feather, and heaven is a myth.

  • Since there is going to be a Judgement after death in which all men will be judged for their deeds they have done on earth that shows that there is meaning to life.

  • Bet you can’t list any. Just like you can’t come up with anything supported by science without evidence, or did you forget that post of yours?

  • Not too many god fossils laying about… ancient people believed in dumb stuff and left ruins and roads, so we know they were there.
    Doesn’t mean we should worship Moloch in the 21st century.

  • Since there isn’t, I don’t care. That is so egotistical and arrogant, to assume any celestial being would give a rat’s ass about monkeys scrabbling in the dirt.

    Fancy apes with cars and weapons, but our behavior isn’t any different from our close ape relatives.

    They form cliques. They show compassion and warlike fury, just like we do.
    I’m sure the weird notion of being judged after they die has never occurred to them, and shouldn’t have with us.

    I imagine ancient tribal people who claimed to talk to god were very well off by conditions of the time. No Joel Osteen, but more goats than you’ll ever own!

  • Right after you give me some facts showing you’re right. We could play this game all night but its pretty much useless. Have a nice night.

  • If they meant something, perhaps. If you don’t understand what the scripture I am using is saying, simple, ask…
    The article was making is appear as if there is something wrong, when it is God’s plan all along, and I would have told you that.

  • If good and evil are defined as arbitrary things, you need an instance who arbitrarily makes the setting.
    That results in pork meat, rabbit and other things being impure.
    In women totally wrapped in clothes, and males refusing to shake the hand of a woman.

    The nice thing is, that if you are not a Bedouin of two thousand years ago, you have the possibility to analyze that setting.
    Just the fact that you don’t identify with things that were divine law at that time shows, that the ethics o the setting are fruit of the past.

  • It helps if I believe that is perilous. I don’t happen to buy into religions, because in the history of humanity, there have been quite a few major religions that are now defunct, and yours will be no different.

  • Christianity has been thriving for 2000 years and it continues unabated worldwide. Part of the reason is that it alone is the answer to so many important questions that people have and struggle. Atheism offers no hope, no guidance for mankind on any issue of importance.

  • Yes, Yes, God’s plan all along…Genesis 38:9 …Onan’s wasted semen on the ground…displeased the Lord — so God killed him. All makes sense to me — God’s plan !!

  • Is there a “correct” answer to “How do you make meaning in your life”?

    No, there isn’t.

    Meaning of life is what each makes of it. It’s whatever you value, I guess. If you value a close personal relationship with your imaginary friend, than that can be your meaning. That doesn’t make your imaginary friend any more real, though. It certainly doesn’t mean it has meaning for anyone else.

  • Wait? Not believing in imaginary creatures makes one stupid? Not believing in ignorant Iron Age folklore and superstition makes one stupid?

    Have you thought this one through? Are you even capable?

  • Why wouldn’t the Bible count as evidence for Christ?

    Because it is hearsay, at best. It’s the propaganda of the early church to sell their fairy tale. It contains not even a shred of the least reliable evidence (eyewitness testimony). The godsels were written decades after the alleged life of Jesus by people (mostly anonymous) who never met anyone who actually met Jesus. And Paul doesn’t seem to believe Jesus was anything other than a celestial being.

    What is the “concrete” evidence for how the universe came into being by nothing?

    How is that relevant? Atheism is only a position on the existence of gods. Nothing more.

    But even so, even if we don’t know how the universe began, that doesn’t mean that your fairy tale is any more likely to be true.

    Do tell, without using the special pleading fallacy, how you thing the universe came into being?

  • What utter poppycock. Evil is what decreases the well-being of sentient beings. Nothing supernatural about it.

  • Atheism isn’t a philosophical or religious system. It’s just a position on a single proposition. You claim a god exists, I am unconvinced. That’s all atheism is. It has nothing to do with ethical systems. Various atheists approach ethics in various ways, just like various theists do. You need to drop your silly prejudices.

  • Atheism is not the claim that no god exists. You are simply wrong. Atheism is lack of belief in a god or gods. It is being unpersuaded of the claim that a god exists.

  • Disproving gods exist should take nothing more than common sense, based on the past. The world should be rid of all religion, it undermines the human race.

  • Slavery is evil. Oh wait, the Bible says it isn’t.
    Genocide is evil. Oh, darn. God commanded the Israelites to kill man, woman, child and animals of some of the current residents. Burning human beings alive is monsterously evil. But that fate awaits everyone who isn’t saved.

    Society determines what behavior is acceptable or punishable. Human society flourished for tens of thousands before the bible. Look at the apes. They have built-in societal behaviors that guide them. Same with humans.

  • Atheism is simply a lack of belief in the supernatural. It is not a belief system or set of morals. Each person decides that for themselves.

  • Great reply. They persist in thinking that atheism includes a standard belief system or that someone else must do their thinking for them.

  • What an ignorant statement! We give meaning to our own lives and not lazily rely on a book of mythology. I’m free of superstition, heaven or hell or any such nonsense. The odds of life are impossibly low and yet I was born and have lived 61 years in an awesome world.

  • That’s not the country but public school students — after a generation of liberal control of education plus the fragmentation of the family.

  • Many things are recognized as evil now that were perfectly acceptable in the pre-christian world. Nietzsche understood that, and had the integrity to repudiate ALL of the Christian legacy — which is why he was the last major atheist thinker worth his salt, even though he ended up insane because of it.

  • God can’t exist because of Eric The God-Eating Penguin. Since Eric is God-Eating by definition, he has no choice but to eat God. So, if God exists, He automatically ceases to exist as a result of being eaten. Unless you can prove that Eric doesn’t exist, God doesn’t exist. Even if you can prove that Eric doesn’t exist, that same proof will also be applicable to God. There are only two possibilities – either you can prove that Eric doesn’t exist or you can’t – in both cases it logically follows that God doesn’t exist.

    Checkmate.

  • You can pretend to give your life meaning but the reality is that if atheism is true then life is utterly meaningless. It is your superstition that it has meaning.

  • As I said, you are simply wrong. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You need to learn to listen instead of telling other people what they think. Your digging in and repeating false assertions makes you look like an ignorant fool.

  • The only way we know what happened in the ancient past is by documents written eyewitnesses or those who knew the eyewitnesses. That is why the gospels are a reliable and proven source for the life of Christ.

    Atheism is totally bankrupt. It cannot be proven with facts and it offers no guidance, no furthering of knowledge. Christianity does.

  • Good thing that it makes sense to you, as for many, many others, not all things do, but we trust Him enough to know that He is perfect and correct in what He does. What a pleasure that must be for you.

  • “I’m sure the weird notion of being judged after they die has never occurred to them, and shouldn’t have with us.”
    Oh, I think there’s good reason we came up with an after-death story. I think the idea that the world continues on without us is unimaginable to many people, the idea that there is an inherent unfairness in the world is horrifying to many people, and the idea that we are not at all important in the universe is unthinkable to many people. So they come up with stories in which we never die, those who harmed us are punished, and the creator of the universe cares about what we do with our genitals.

  • And where does the country derive its education? Public schools. That deficit is evident in the lack of understanding in STEM subjects and the over-reliance on religious mythology. Technology and communication has changed the dynamic from dogmatic influence to one of reason, discovery and curiosity. Don’t lament, Shawnie… change is a fascinating thing.

  • Actually, atheism STILL means you’re specifically claiming “there is no God.” Webster not just says “lack of belief”, but also “a strong DIS-belief” in the proposition that God exists.

    Atheists adopted all this “lack of belief” or “I am unconvinced” spin job, as a result of their extreme (in fact fatal) inability to give any rational justification for their position of “God doesn’t exist.” Doesn’t preach well, and sure doesn’t sing well.

    So ever since then, they’ve been trying to claim that “There is no God” without having to fulfill the worldwide rational responsibility of at least providing warrant for one’s own claims about reality. Hence the new shift-the-burden approach. But it’s the same old false, rationally unsupportable claim.

  • The claim “There is no God” is in fact an existential claim. No different than saying “God exists” or “The sky is blue” or “E equals MC squared.” You make the claim, you incur a rational responsibility to provide warrant for your own claim.

    The Bible doesn’t back down from this. Romans 1:20 says that you can correctly infer God’s existence (and even a couple of His attributes!) just by observing the created world around you. In other words, Rom. 1:20 says there exists evidence by which anybody can support the claim of “God exists.” (Inference is a legitimate tool to arrive at truth, by the way.) God calls for a faith response from you and I, but that don’t mean He’s scared to give evidence. He already put it on the table, so now you gotta support YOUR existential claim that God doesn’t exist.

    “I’m not convinced” may simply mean you’re not interested in evidence-based, data-driven reality. Most atheists aren’t.

  • I like the pelican thing, but please tell your readers the rest of the story.

    (1) Other birds — even robins and chickens, they say — somehow can sense or “see” magnetic fields or lines to help them navigate. (God gave it to ’em.)

    (2) Scientists do NOT yet how this all works. On the pelican gig, scientists are only able to describe two-thirds of what’s happening, and only just now. They conceded they have NOT figured out the last third of the pelican puzzle.

    (3) Obviously the scientists CANNOT explain how evolution caused the pelican’s magnetic-sensing cells and system to appear. Period. Can’t explain how it all got **coordinated** to work smoothly as a complete system, either.

  • ” scientists are only able to describe two-thirds of what’s happening, and only just now. …”

    And this statement will continue to be valid a thousand years from now. Some of the tools needed haven’t been invented yet.

  • So you believe you need God to justify morality ?
    easy question …
    IF, just IF, tomorrow , you found out 100% there was NO God, would you go out and begin killing and raping ?
    If your answer is YES, then you are a truly horrible human being …
    IF your answer is NO … Congratulations, you just PROVED that you don’t NEED a God to be moral …

  • Yet, overwhelmingly, Christians accept the validity of the scientific theory of evolution. (Not those who you choose to call Christians perhaps, but, since many of them would be ashamed to be grouped with you, I suppose that works out OK doesn’t it?)

    Do you not realise that your first sentence is all the evidence the rest of the world needs to feel confident that most Americans are either dim or poorly-educated (or both)?

  • But atheists know what pain and empathy are. Personally, I have a lot of empathy for that guy who got his testicles crushed and then got thrown out of the Assembly.

  • So you’d prefer I call myself “unconvinced of the existence of a god person” instead of an atheist? No problemo. Do you feel better now?

  • Let’s review: atheism is not a moral system. Atheists are free to devise or adopt whatever moral system seems most sensible to them. My moral system leads me to think slavery and genocide are evil, regardless of the many Bible verses that support them.

  • “And where does the country derive its education? Public schools.” The United States as a whole is preeminent in science but that is owing to our universities and institutes of higher learning, where the best and brightest of other nations are scrambling to enroll.

    “That deficit is evident in the lack of understanding in STEM subjects and the over-reliance on religious mythology.” Nonsense. Our public school students were more proficient in ALL their subjects back when they started every day with prayer. The state of education whether for better or for worse has nothing to do with “religious mythology” in any form but with liberal dumbing-down of standards and excuse-making for poor behavior and wasting time and money on nebulous non-essentials, and with parents being too busy working multiple jobs and/or chasing new partners to supervise their children’s performance and demand excellence.

    “Technology and communication has changed the dynamic from dogmatic influence to one of reason, discovery and curiosity.” ROFL! Technology and communication has mainly enabled kids to take and post selfies and communicate about trivialities with little pictures instead of words. Reason, discovery and curiosity are in shorter supply than ever — if it were otherwise, we wouldn’t have a generation of kids newly enamored of socialism because they’ve never read a book and found out how many times it’s failed already.

  • The point is if we are to disregard one goofy ancient law, we are not obligated to obey another goofy ancient law.

  • “Do you not realise that your first sentence is all the evidence the rest of the world needs to feel confident that most Americans are either dim or poorly-educated (or both)?”

    Why does the opinion of the “rest of the world” even matter to you?

    I rather wish the “rest of the world” DID confidently despise us at least enough to stop sticking their hands out to us for money, and sending us their population overflow, and crowding our own students out of our “dim” universities, and racing for jobs in our “dim” outsourced industries. But alas…

  • Most of those “goofy ancient laws” were given to Israel alone, and some were given to Gentiles as well. THAT is the point. See the Jerusalem Council for further details.

  • Atheism has no moral system. If atheism is true then any moral will due since there is no such thing as evil or good. Thus the atheist could never show by atheism that slavery or genocide is wrong and evil. It just is.

  • All these numbers are a bluff, proving nothing, sister Kimberly Winston. And since whoever’s putting them out there is bluffing, I’m calling their bluff. Right here. Right now. My heaven’s money’s on JESUS’ WEPT – all of it on the crucified, buried and resurrected Christ’s own “White Evangelical ProtesTants”. I owe them that much, see, because it was through their good works that He first saved me! So here we go:

    (1) “White Christians, 81 percent of the population in 1976, now … 43 percent … white Christians, and 30 percent … white Protestants”? “1 in 3 Democrats are white Christians … Democrats under 30 … 14 percent [of them] identify as white Christian”? In “Mississippi … 60 percent are Baptist”? Not Applicable or Relevant, categorically, all. I don’t see JESUS’ WEPT there in such instances.

    (2) “1 in 10 white … evangelicals … are under 30”? Yeah, right. Go and check out in random “10” of their churches plus “10” of their households, and you won’t find just “1 … under 30”!

    (3) “17 percent of the public” in “2016” proves “decline among [white] evangelicals”? WHAT?! 17% x 330 billion people = “decline”?! Do the math. JESUS’ WEPT still lots out there and then some!

    (4) “35 percent … of Republicans are white evangelicals”? So? And do they look worried to you about “‘Christian America’ dwindling, including white evangelicals, study shows”? Not to me either, they don’t.

  • I’m not talking about atheism – it’s not a belief system. My point is that religion is most definitely not a good standard for moral behavior. That role belongs to society and our laws.

  • The USA is currently the most powerful nation on earth. That is a temporary situation and the end of that reality needs, for the sake of humanity, to be managed with the minimum of damage to all the participants.

    If the strongest power in the world is perceived as largely populated by dim and/or poorly educated people the consequent lack of respect, IMO, increases the likelihood of conflict from which a new order may arise at a terrible cost to millions, perhaps billions, of people. Having an unpredictable, inexperienced and apparently incompetent leadership exacerbates the risk.

    People don’t refuse money from those they despise (think televangelists), you are our population overflow (we sent our criminals to Australia and our religious nutters to what is now the US – Australia worked out better in many ways) and people will always gravitate to a better lifestyle. Your top universities aren’t “dim” they rank highly (though the most recent ranking I saw put Oxford first and Cambridge second), but you under-invest in education for the majority and have a whole subclass of educational process which is risible. I’m unsure as to what you mean by outsourced industries – do you mean the jobs that your wealthy have sent abroad because they can make more profit by abandoning US labour?

  • The only way we know what happened in the ancient past is by documents written eyewitnesses or those who knew the eyewitnesses. That is why the gospels are a reliable and proven source for the life of Christ.

    The gospels don’t contain a single eyewitness account. Not one.

    They were written decades after the alleged events (no earlier than 70CE), by anonymous writers. And no manuscripts exist from before 130CE. That includes the gospels, or any manuscript referencing them. They are far more likely either a record of what early Christians believed, or propaganda for the conversion to Christianity, than accounts of reality.

    Jesus, if he ever existed as a real person, was likely just a street preacher with a small following. But he need not have existed for a cult following to form.

    Atheism is totally bankrupt.

    It’s the default position in absence of any evidence or decent arguments for the existence of gods. It is not fundamentally different from not believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

    It cannot be proven with facts and it offers no guidance, no furthering of knowledge.

    You clearly fail to understand atheism. There is nothing to prove. The burden of proof lies with those that claim there to be a phenomenon, or creature.

    It is up to the believers to prove their gods are real. Until they do (good luck), it is irrational to believe there are such creatures.

    Until such case is made, atheism is the only rational position.

    Christianity does.

    Nonsense. Christianity is nothing but superstition based on ignorant Iron Age folklore. It provides no knowledge.

  • Feel free to adopt either self-label for yourself. I’m just saying that rational, evidence-driven people would want to avoid atheism at all cost.
    Atheism = Psalm 14:1

    The documentable fact is that current biological evidence points in only ONE direction. It ain’t atheism, folks.

  • Atheists are not trying to prove god doesn’t exist , theists are trying to prove he does exist . And you been doing it for 2000 plus years . How many more years do you need, come on man , we are running out of jokes here …

  • On the other hand, the Sheep and Goats section of Matthew 25 says that people of all religions and none will be judged according to one criterion: whether they helped other people in need: the sick, hungry, naked, imprisoned,, etc. Beliefs and religious affiliation don’t count. The Bible is ambiguous: take your pick of what passages to believe.

  • “Having an unpredictable, inexperienced and apparently incompetent leadership exacerbates the risk.” Well, we learned all about that under our “community organizer” who drew one promptly ignored line in the sand after another while our borders were overrun, our enemies gained military might and billions went into the pockets of terrorists.

    We do not “under invest ” in education. We spend more on education than all of Europe combined. Our educational subclass is not the result of lack of spending (although MIS-spending is certainly part of the problem) but lack of parental support and interest within the lower classes while the liberals in control of the whole mess pretend they don’t see it.

    “you are our population overflow (we sent our criminals to Australia and our religious nutters to what is now the US” It’s one thing to send your unwanted people to one of your OWN territorial possessions — and collect taxes off them to boot. What’s going on here is quite another.

    “and people will always gravitate to a better lifestyle.” It should not be better, of course, if it all sprang from a bunch of your “religious nutters.” But good thing you had a few “religious nutters” left or you might still be trading slaves and working 5- year-olds 16 hours a day in factories and mines

    “Things have come to pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade public life.” — Lord Melbourne, in opposition to William Wilberforce’s efforts to abolish the slave trade.

  • In other words, all I have to do is show that the existence of God as the Intelligent Designer, is far more probable, in fact OVERWHELMINGLY far more probable, than Atheism.

    Go ahead and try. You can’t. You can’t show that your god is any more likely to be real than the Tooth fairy, or Santa Claus.

    Every single argument for gods rest on logical fallacies. Every. Single. One.

    There isn’t a single rational argument in support of the existence of any god. A belief in such creatures is no different, in any meaningful way, from a belief in the Easter Bunny, and therefor completely irrational.

  • In other words, your atheism is true merely because you say so.

    Just like the guy who claims that Invisible Pink Unicorns are true. He says so, and his mere saying so, constitutes rational, irrefutable proof of his claim.

    (Now you know why most folks ain’t atheists.)

  • You can always tell the percentage of raw nerve endings inflamed, by the number of swift and assertive responses that result on a given issue reported by RNS. It is almost Pavlovian.

  • Amen. The atheist has to show it is logically impossible for God to have sufficient reason to allow suffering.

  • Are you arguing that when I say that it is true that I lack a belief in God (atheism), it’s not true and that I’m lying?

  • You’ve never debated a theist before, have you? I can tell, believe me. But no matter, let’s honor your request immediately. I can demonstrate a far superior likelihood for theism using only one piece of evidence: YOU.

    I simply point to certain living cells, tissues, organs, and systems in your body that display full-blown, unmatchable, intelligent engineering design, and also chock-full of teleology (goal-directedness) right now. The Bible says out loud that God is extremely intelligent, and a planner / designer.

    Then I remind you from current evolution textbooks and PhD evolutionary biologists that there is ZERO teleology and ZERO intelligence to be found in evolutionary theory, at ANY time or regarding ANY biological object. Then I go back to the documented, purposeful, well-engineered object, and ask whether your Atheism or my Theism is the more probable cause. The End.

  • Oh yes, you are indeed lying. But not because you say you lack belief in God.

    You lie because you are aware that, just as Webster’s dictionary indicates, you are STILL offering a truth claim about reality: that there is no God.

    But you ain’t tellin’ your readers about that part, are you? The whole “lack of belief” spin job is only half the story. Your chosen conclusion, that “There is no God”, is the other half. Therefore you are guilty of lying by omission.

    Now if you actually disagree with the truth claim “There is no God”, then you need to say so and say why. But doing so will make the other atheists mad at you, for showing why they are wrong. You will no longer be an atheist at all.

  • I cannot make the claim “there is no God”. The claim I can make is that I have not been presented with evidence to cause me to have a belief in God. That makes me still an atheist. And many other atheists would agree with what I’ve just said.

  • So here’s a question to consider. If you don’t agree with the claim of “There is no God”, why not choose a more accurate adjective to show where you’re *really* at?

    Why not simply say, for example, that you’re uncertain about whether pr not God exists?

    Let both the atheists and the theists know that you’re not to be automatically lumped in with either group. Suggest that you’re not giving either group a free pass at this time, and that all sides (including yourself) gotta keep doing their homework. Fair enough?

  • I’m an agnostic atheist, which means that I lack a belief in God, but I don’t claim with 100% certainty that there is no God. Gnostic atheists would claim with 100% certainty there is no God. But that definitely still lumps me in with the atheist group. If anyone wants to know which of the two types of atheists I am, I will be happy to tell them. And I am always open to change if the evidence warrants it.

  • You’ve never debated a theist before, have you? I can tell, believe me.

    Had you taken 2 seconds to look at my comment history, you might not have made such an utterly ignorant statement. But hey, since you are a believer, you might have, anyway.

    I can demonstrate a far superior likelihood for theism using only one piece of evidence: YOU.

    Right. Good luck. But just so you know, just because your ignorant fairy tale tells you that your imaginary friend created people, doesn’t make it so.

    I simply point to certain living cells, tissues, organs, and systems in your body that display full-blown, unmatchable, intelligent engineering design, and also chock-full of teleology (goal-directedness) right now. The Bible says out loud that God is extremely intelligent, and a planner / designer.

    Do yourself a favor, do a search for terms like “teleological argument debunked”, or “argument from design debunked”. While you are at it, look up the argument from ignorance fallacy.

    There is no evidence of design in the universe. There is no evidence of “goal-directedness”, either. And just because you, or anyone for that matter, doesn’t know how something came to be, that doesn’t lend any credence to the existence of your imaginary friend. Your ignorance is no evidence for your god.

    Now, without reverting to the special pleading fallacy, please explain how your god came to be? Also please explain exactly how it created everything.

    Your bible is really nothing more than a collection of ignorant Iron Age folklore of superstitious and ignorant goat herders, who weren’t aware of basic things, such as that the earth revolves around the sun, or that it is spherical. They were clueless about where rain, thunder and lightning came from.

    Believing that the bible holds any wisdom, or knowledge, especially about the universe or its origins, is spectacularly ignorant. Believing the gods in it are actually real is no more reasonable than believing that Santa is real. It’s infantile.

    Then I remind you from current evolution textbooks and PhD evolutionary biologists that there is ZERO teleology and ZERO intelligence to be found in evolutionary theory, at ANY time or regarding ANY biological object.

    Since there is absolutely no purpose to the universe, that would make perfect sense.

    Then I go back to the documented, purposeful, well-engineered object, and ask whether your Atheism or my Theism is the more probable cause.

    Since there is no purposeful, well-engineered universe, atheism still rules.

    The End.

    If that were only true.

  • “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
    ~ Barry Goldwater, November 1994, as quoted in John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience (2006)

  • That might be a good message for our Democrats, who are currently in disarray from inability to compromise enough to broaden their appeal in time for the next election, particularly wrt abortion and immigration.

  • Not really. My core message to floydlee, and other believers, is for them to scrutinize their own arguments, preferably before they show themselves to be uninformed on comment threads like this one. In my reply I suggest some things to look for if (s)he is really interested in understanding why the arguments put forth are faulty. But I doubt (s)he is interested.

    The teleological argument, just like every other argument that is trotted out by apologists, such as the cosmological argument, moral argument, ontological argument, transcendental argument and the presuppositional argument, among others, have all been thoroughly debunked. There is a wealth of information available on these subjects, easily found by those that are interested in finding them.

    But that’s often where the problem lies. Those that argue for their god (and it is always theirs, and not any of the thousands of others) are generally not interested in finding out if what they believe makes logical sense.

  • LOL … Really … Do tell .
    The most important thing when inventing a god is to make sure it is invisible , inaudible , and imperceptible in in every way .
    Otherwise people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody , says nothing and does nothing …
    If there was a god , he would provide us with evidence and remove all doubt …

  • You know He exist just by looking at the world. You know in your conscience He exist. You have to work very hard to keep your up your denial of these facts.

  • How would you KNOW the universe is designed as we have no OTHER universes to compare it too .
    I find no “design ” in a universe that is 99.99999999999 uninhabitable .
    I find consistency caused by the laws of physics but no design …

  • we know the universe is designed by comparing it to what we know what man designs. Our solar system looks to designed as does the cell.

  • Color me confused …
    Please tell me what man designs that is 99.9999999999
    useless ….
    IF your “god” designed humans, at best I can say he is an underachiever …

  • Ok. You build a superior human being from scratch. So far science has not come even close.
    Consider the brain-The brain in its information content is comparable to about a hundred trillion bits. If written out in English, this information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world’s largest libraries.

  • Just because you don’t understand how it works , doesn’t give you the license to default to ” god did it ” .
    Maybe you are asking the wrong question .
    Instead of asking WHO , maybe you should ask …
    WHAT , what set of circumstances brought us to where we are today ?
    Maybe the answer is WHO. , but by asking WHO , you are limiting your answer to your pre chosen desire …

  • I just wanted to add that a big part of the religious exodus is due to the kind of nonsense being vomited up by “JP” below. The world is filled with real problems and we don’t have time to deal with iron age superstitions. There are no new arguments for god; they’ve given their best and their best falls short by a mile. Every word wasted on answering such ludicrous arguments is time spent away from building a meaningful, purposeful, fulfilling life.

  • Ok. If God didn’t do it then present another way that does not involve an intelligence guiding the process from the beginning. Then we can compare which one makes the best sense.

  • My posts are not always appearing for some reason.
    Give me your explanation how it happened without any reference to an intelligence (God) starting it and guiding it. Then lets compare.

  • Lawrence Krauss wrote a book that explains it all , it;s called
    ” A Universe from Nothing ” subtitled , Why there is something instead of nothing .
    ” Beware the man of only one book ” Thomas Aquinas …
    Don’t be afraid to open your mind a little, trust me , your brains won’t fall out …

  • So Shawnie, morals evolve and exist independent of religion and your fairy tale god. And it is certainly not for you to say which thinkers are “worth their salt”, when you can’t even find your way out of your whacky book of massive self-contradiction.

  • Christian god has had pretty good success at slaughtering millions, according to the Christian storybook, anyway.

  • Like he “worked on”, or rather, beat on, those capitalists in your holy kook book? Christ seems to have been a pretty vicious guy.

  • Shawnie, wow, you’re quite the addict of pick and choose. Next time you start out bashing tech, stop and correct yourself as you are using those tech and comm capabilities now, and think about all the cures to diseases that modern medical technology has brought about, plus modern transportation, agriculture, and on and on, none of which your religious hogwash can take credit for.

    And you’re one to talk about book reading. Get out and read more than your Christian one some time hey, you woman of one book!

  • JP’s posts above would be a fine example of that, Edward. Seems religious types like him get pretty hot under the collar and desperate when their delusion gets poked.

  • Sandi your god can’t even produce a book that doesn’t contradict itself and doesn’t get basic science wrong. And your god isn’t even as capable of using modern communications as our despicable unpresident Trump is. Ever seen a tweet from your god? No, didn’t think so.

    Even a woman of one book like you should know better than to post junk like you just did.

  • What book does an atheist have that has inspired billions of people for centuries?
    There is none because atheism is bankrupt.

  • Just because people are gullible enough to believe there is any value to the bible, doesn’t mean it contains any. Just because people believe it to be true, doesn’t mean it is. Millions of people were enthralled and inspired by Harry Potter. That doesn’t make him real.

    And while people may find inspiration in the bible, millions also find justification for all kinds of atrocities in it. It’s been used, and still is, to justify slavery, rape, murder, violence and discrimination, among other nastiness.

    Even so, why would you expect a book about atheism to be inspirational? How many inspirational books are there about not believing in the Easter Bunny?

    And yet, there are books by atheists, about atheism, that have helped and inspired many. Quite a few former believers have shed their delusions because they read Dawkins’ “God Delusion”, or Hitchens’ “God is not great” and other writings, for instance.

  • As classed among the delusional, I have observed that such responses are endemic on both sides of the equation.

  • Whole sections of conservative Christianity, such as large parts of Evangelicalism, more than half of Catholicism, and all of Fundamentalism are apostate. Must of their evil has tainted the faith, destroying it in many.

  • Funny how they only “evolved”in the Christian west. The rest of the world had to be told that slavery and infanticide, for example, were wrong — or at least pressured into discontinuing it.

    I’m every bit as free to evaluate and critique the premises of atheists as you are to sling insults at Christians, so deal.

  • Learn to read. Nobody is bashing tech. But it isn’t being used as thus particular blowhard claims. And there would have been no scientific revolution at all without men of faith seeking the rational laws of a rational God, as Newton put it.

    The father of the scientific method, Francis Bacon, had you guys pegged 500 years ago as precisely as if he were right here on this thread: “It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip, than in the heart of man, than by this; that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it, within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened, by the consent of others. Nay more, you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects.”

  • Wrongo again Shawnie. MANY moral systems pre-existed your whacked out book of Christian hogwash. Get out and READ them for a change and stop being el dumbo woman of one book.

  • It isn’t, and actually many of the atheist posts that you have struggled to respond to present clear thinking that obviously was beyond your ability to grasp. Read the trail again. You’ve made a complete fool of yourself.

    And, the article supports my statement. Good riddance to your religion. It’s dying a slow but accelerating death, and that is just what the data makes clear.

  • How ironic, Shawnie the woman of one (wrong) book putting down the ROTW, as the US declines thanks to ignorant folk like her.

  • Wrongie, your grumpy old party with its despicable unpresident unelect ain’t looking so well arrayed itself either right now!

  • Sure many did, but none of them are anything we would recognize as moral today. Western morals and ethics are based upon the concept of the Imago Dei — that all are of equal worth and possessed of fundamental rights simply by virtue of human birth and independent of all familial, tribal or national ties.

  • Christianity has been thriving for 2000 years and it continues unabated worldwide.

    It is only thriving in the developing world, where education is low and the population is poor. Easy pickings for religious predators, in other words. In every part of the developed world, Christianity is falling rapidly.

    Part of the reason is that it alone is the answer to so many important questions that people have and struggle.

    But it doesn’t provide any answers. None that jive with reality, anyway. All it does is keep people docile by promising an afterlife that those that peddle it never have to deliver on. It’s nothing but selling snake oil.

    Atheism offers no hope, no guidance for mankind on any issue of importance.

    You seem to have no understanding of what atheism is. It isn’t a life philosophy, or a belief. It isn’t a choice. It’s the inevitable result of a rational evaluation of religious beliefs.

    An honest and rational evaluation of god-belief can lead to only one conclusion. Atheism is the only rational outcome of such an endeavor. It requires either a lack of the ability to rational evaluate beliefs, or an unwillingness to do so, to come to a different conclusion.

    To remain religious requires one to be either stupid, or willfully ignorant.

  • To be in the A/M/E profession, you’ve got to excel in math. Otherwise they’ll end up like …

    Sorry, I didn’t catch your name?

  • Basic poker is you call someone’s bluff who does “start worrying.” Not the other way around.

    Understandably, you’re thinking of strip poker.

    I’m thinking of Jacques Ellul’s classic book, PROPAGANDA, when reading of this article. Someone’s paying big bucks to put these numbers for the likes of …

    Sorry, I didn’t catch your name either?

  • Aw do tell. How have you been “undermine(d)” by it? Assuming, of course, you’re of that global ethnicity.

  • That doesn’t sound right. I remember the line was, When the rock and roll is called up yonder, I’ll be an atheist. I hated that mocking stuff back in the day. You were pretending rather well then, though, during sing-song.

  • Sorry, I didn’t catch your name?

    I guess reading comprehension also didn’t make the top of your educational achievements.

  • Present your argument in a decent paragraph and prepare yourself for a counter-argument in an equally decent paragraph. I call your bluff.

  • You “guess”? Not “do know for certain”? Are you always this Assertively Uncertain around here for lack of …

    Sorry, what school did … Never mind. I lose, you win.

  • Again , read a book besides the one with witches and demons and talking donkeys .
    Lawrence Krauss … ” A Universe from Nothing ” , IF you are REALLY interested in learning something .
    If you don’t want to learn something new , then just keep believing that all of mankind’s problems started with a talking snake …

  • What part of “Religion News Service” don’t you get? Doesn’t the one word there kind of stick out in all its glory? Does it still need a dictionary to tell you – OMG in Jesus’ blood red letters too – what it means and will always mean so long as the English language exists?

  • Yap yap yap from you again Wrongie Shawnie. Go do your homework. Your religion claims rights to inequality for your clan members so stuff it.

  • You & I shall continue to live out a life of faith in response to the ransoming Fatherly love of God for us through the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of His own beloved Son, Christ Jesus. No matter what.

    Thanks for your words around here.

  • Your posts are exemplary, then, like when telling someone off later, and I quote, “Stuff the insults, a-hole”? JP’s fine with me. Yours too, even so.

  • At least you indirectly admitted you are wrong. Christians pay the price in hell. Hitler, from an atheists viewpoint gets off scot free.

  • Shawnie, there’s nothing wrong with the typically conservative values of hard work, personal responsibility, loyalty and family. Those are admirable qualities. Essential qualities. Progressive-minded folks aren’t immune to those attributes either. But your characterization of liberal dumbed-down standards is superficial and politically biased. Technology has always been a double-edged sword and it can promote frivolous behavior, but it can also inspire curiosity. Curiosity is essential to exploration and liberal thinking is in a unique position to embrace to new ideas.

    Where these frontiers lead is the subject of great debate, but if there’s one thing that’s clear, Bronze Age mythology is waning. This doesn’t mean society will collapse into a narcissistic pandemic of selfie worship and online commenting, it just means open-minded people are discarding myths of the past and forging ahead with a revised intellectual template independent of supernatural trappings. I find that courage particularly appealing.

  • Ironic that men of faith would lead to persons of reason. But I do like this quote:

    “I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.” — A. Einstein

  • No, I did not, and in fact I was right. Your god according to your whacked out book is not accountable for all the killing he did and is not accountable to anyone. Doh. And neither are your clan since you can just say oopsie and repent and get off scot free. So there, you dense dork.

    You’re as bad as Wrongie Shawnie and you yap even worse.

  • Actually he did, at least as your buybull says. Read your own gory book, which BTW also describes your god triplet as a mass killer over and over again. And he threatens to beat on all of us there too.

    Wrongie Shawnie, stop yap yap yapping. The topic at hand is that your religion is going down fast.

  • Wrongo again Wrongie Blowhard Shawnie.Your own bashery was there, and don’t tell me to learn how to read when you can’t even find your way out of your one book.

    The topic at hand here is that your religion is going down fast. Stop trying to change the subject and insert your agenda or I’ll pull your chain back to that. Wow you’re as slippery as your Joel Oilsheen that you LUV so much.

    You’re such a blowhard.

  • No you don’t. I called Sandi’s in response to Damien, and my own paragraphs are above. Back atcha, Hpoo puffer bluffer.

  • How do you build a “a meaningful, purposeful, fulfilling life” when according to the implications of atheism life is meaningless?

  • Actually Hitler was more of an evolutionist. He believed in a master race and wanted to destroy inferior races. Thus he created the holocaust.

  • That the religion of the young included being described with the attribute of ‘in technicolor’ underscores what appears to be an unspoken Christian divide with black and Hispanic protestants being distinct groups and their relative standing despite representing much smaller groups of the US population.

  • I’ll tell you what…for the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that a world without a god results in lives that are meaningless, purposeless, and empty. This is obviously not the case, but let’s say it was. So what? Even if this were indeed the case, it is in no way an argument for the existence of god. Nor would it be a justification for staying involved in a faith that is nonsensical, superstitious, and bigoted. All it would mean is that we would have to find ways to make life meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling on our own. And, of course, that is exactly what we do.

  • Carl Sanders’ hypothesis: “All religion … undermines the human race”.

    Carl Sanders’ argument: None given.

    Carl Sanders’ conclusion: By means of “common sense, … you can work it out for yourself!”

    PhD Jury’s deliberation: We recommend Carl Sanders highly.

  • Religion undermines the human race by (1) wasting energy and money on propping up institutions that exist to promote myth (i.e.churches), (2) diverting resources away from pragmatic, beneficial activities, like scientific and medical advancements, (3) promoting bigoted and outmoded social views towards minority groups, and (4) frequently justifying war.

  • “Religion” – and Philosophy and Science and Politics and Economics and Culture and Tradition and, you know, pretty much the entire “human race”, you mean, “undermines the human race”?

    The original question, though, was, How have Y-O-U – as in personally – been undermined by religion? You didn’t explain either.

  • You do realize, don’t you, that scoffers have been forecasting the waning and imminent demise of our “Bronze Age” (actually it was Iron Age in origin, but far be it from me to upset the gospel according to Dawkins) “superstition” and “mythology” ever since the dawn of the Christian era? And with far more justification than now. We all know the small proportions of the early church in Rome — it should have been a cinch to wipe it out with a little help from the government lions. Islam actually DID wipe out the Christian population of the middle east during the middle ages but could only go so far north.

    Ever hear what proportion of the population in colonial “enlightenment era” America actually belonged to a church? About 17%, roughly the same percentage as in Europe of the time. Small wonder that Voltaire was predicting the death of Christianity within 100 years, while Jefferson was nearly at the same time forecasting that all formerly Christian Americans would have evolved into unitarianism within a generation (which was probably the closest to his own belief system). But those pesky “awakenings” that happen from time to time have an annoying way of messing up the scoffers highly logical and precise prognostications. All these decades later, even the currently decreased percentages of church attendance that short-sighted atheists are crowing over are nevertheless the stuff of enlightenment-era pastors’ dreams.

    Not to mention the atheist regimes of the 20th century who were sure that faith would be forever gone from their countries after a generation or so of children brought up with only “science and reason” and no parental indoctrination into “superstition and mythology.” And nevertheless faith is returning. One of my good friends grew up in totally atheist Albania (violently established by dictators with the assistance of mobs of — of course — “curious, reasoning” college students), with parents who never dared to breathe a word to her on the subject of God for fear of being targeted by government. Now faith is returning there, mostly Muslim of course but increasingly Orthodox and Catholic as well, and my friend is the wife of a Christian minister helping others find the answers that atheism tried to suppress. The same is true of Russia, China, and every other place that atheism purported to claim for “reason and curiosity” by shutting down “superstition.”

    Faith has waxed and waned over the ages — any panoramic view of history clearly shows that. Apostasy is no boogeyman, for it was foretold and warned of long ago. It either wanes with revival or it ends altogether with the Kingdom itself. If the the earth is allowed to continue for another century I’m quite sure the faithful will still be right here as they always have been, who knows in what higher or still lower proportions, and the scoffers will still be forecasting their imminent extinction as usual. So goes life on planet earth of the church age.

  • Matthew 25 says the “nations” will be judged according to how they received “these brethren of mine.” Look up who Jesus’ “brethen” are.

  • No, he was an acknowledged Catholic and had the tacit and in some cases active support of that church for what he did.

    Nothing in evolutionary theory instructs doing a holocaust,. Actually though, your bible presents your own god as killing entire races, repeatedly, so your god had that aim and action attempts in common with your Hitler.

    Now, back to the subject at hand, what proof can you offer for the existence of the god of your particular god fables?

  • For me personally, it would take more than a really questionable, ancient, self contradictory book such as the bible. I might begin to accept verifiable modern evidence, such as some clear simultaneous omni-media statements including modern media types, and visible modern action identifiable with a supreme being, and actual responses to queries. Silence for thousands of years and a kooky book such as the bible doesn’t cut it, for sure.

    So what evidence can you offer? Everything you’ve said so far has been pretty laughable, and has made your beliefs even less credible.

  • Disciplines like philosophy, science, politics (as in statescraft), and economics are built upon two common features: empiricism and logic. All arguments for theism and other supernatural claims by religion boil down to one thing: faith. Regardless of how you value faith, it is undeniably true that it is the polar opposite of empiricism and logic. Hence, those disciplines not only exist independently of religion, they operate far better when as further separated from religion as possible.

    “Culture” and “Tradition” are also not dependent upon religion. And it’s certainly true that many elements of religious culture and tradition are now, rightly, considered barbaric, superstitious, bigoted, and cruel. Any religious traditions that are good are good for reasons entirely independent of religion itself (e.g. charity).

    As to how religion harms me personally? Well, I am a part of the human race, thus when religion harms the human race, it harms me as a part of it. It does so in countless ways, both directly and indirectly. It harms me less than some others, of course (being a White straight male), and I am fortunate not to be subjected to its torments by being involved in a particular religion. The most common way religion hurts me is politically, in that I am forced to live in a country that is dominated by a party that exploits people’s superstitions to pass legislation that hurts the majority of citizens, myself included. Look, I appreciate that you are trying to change the subject, but it is worth coming back around to the fact that religion undermines the human race, which hurts us all, theists and atheists alike.

  • No, that’s a no-go for you, Hpoo. My response was appropriate, and my paragraphs were already presented above. You lose.

  • No, actually it doesn’t. And furthermore, that argument doesn’t make the case for your PARTICULAR god story.

  • “God is Love, not FEAR.” As an atheist, I’m always ambivalent about this sentiment. On the one hand, “God is Love” is far better idea than the tenets of the Bible. I would certainly rather Christians adopt a genuinely loving stance rather than the tribal, hateful one that has infected much of the religious right.

    On the other hand, it is a strange departure from scripture. After all, if one believes Paul, God sends people to eternal torment if they do not have adequate or accurate religious faith. That seems like something to be afraid of. It’s why the Bible so frequently exhorts adherents to fear God:

    “So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 6:24

    “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.” Psalm 34:7

    “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.'” Acts 10:34-35

    Of course, there is no heaven or hell or gods, so there isn’t anything to fear on that score. But it’s worth observing that Christians who use their faith to justify cruelty or oppression towards certain groups are not acting out of compliance with their scripture.

  • Whoever told you that, for the atheists, ”life is meaninless” ??? Where did you see that (outside of croaking religious fundamentalist sites, of course ! ! !).

    Stop building strawmen in your head, open your windows and go out meet REAL people. You’ll see, it’s quite marvelous !

  • It is useful to define terms. When I say a life is “meaningful”, I mean that life is experienced as being a valuable part of a larger whole. For humans, this is largely accomplished through our relationships with loved ones, but it can also exend to friendships, colleagues, neighbors, hobby groups, political circles, and on and on. The more one feels connected to people and contributes to the betterment of their lives, the more meaningful your life becomes. Neither god nor the belief in god is necessary for meaning.

    Purpose is closely related to meaningfulness. Purpose is action-oriented. A purposeful life is one that is driven by aims related to making the world a better place. Neither god nor the belief in god is necessary to have a sense of purpose.

    And fulfillment is the sense of making the most of one’s life. This is obviously related to both meaning and purpose. Neither god nor the belief in god is necessary for a sense of fulfillment.

    Atheism doesn’t “imply” anything about meaning, purpose, or fulfillment, because those traits manifest naturally in the context of relationships. Your own take does, however, imply that humans have no value outside of the context of god. In other words, according to your worldview, humans have no actual value regardless of the quality of their relationships or the positive impact of their efforts. This is a sad and isolating perspective and a major deficit that is common in religion.

  • No. I think we are going to argue with you that your “atheism” is just as much of a religion of “faith” as any other. The fact that you are here, now, posting, proves your commitment to share your “faith” that God doesn’t exist.

  • And this is sort of the problem. Without any certain knowledge, atheists shout down the existence of God. Cells are complicated. Atoms work with precision. Molecules use exact Math. Who made the rules?

  • Thankfully Jesus is alive and well. Many throughout history have tried to stomp him out and yet Christianity is still the largest religion.

  • He was raised Catholic but he was simply a monster. He attempted to use Religion to his own means. He was a nationalist and a white supremacist. Once again, Hitler was an irreligious monster.

  • As proof of the existence of God, we just have to look at the complexity of a strand of DNA. Without the existence of God, you must think that DNA, and many other complex details that gives us life, just created itself somehow. Without creation there is only self creation.

  • In the case of the atheist, they are also making a claim. If I try to convince others that the sun does not rise in the East. That is a claim. The burden of proof is just as much on me as it would be on the “believers” of the sun rising in the East.

  • Some think that your claims of “no existence of God” are extraordinary. The extreme series of events that are simultaneously happening in my body just so I can type these words supports the existence of a creator over self-creation.

  • The existence of mathematical rules in the universe supports the existence of God. Who made the rules?

  • He removed a cancer spot on my chest that had been there growing for years the day after I finally listened to him and “fed his sheep.” He is visible, audible, and perceptible.. If you choose to listen.. And I mean literally the next day it was gone……….

  • Nobody. “Laws” of nature are the deductions of human beings, based on observation. There existence doesn’t require, or even imply, any mind establishing any rules.

  • Atheists aren’t trying to prove God doesn’t exist. All we are saying is that the evidence for your belief in an infinite/personal creator is too weak. Complex systems evolved from simpler systems, and there are the transitional fossils to demonstrate that, contrary to the uninformed claims of creationists.

  • Nice try. No cigar. You can pretend your life has meaning in a meaningless-purposeless universe but the fact is that it doesn’t. Your sense of fulfillment is not based on facts but a delusion.

  • Your sense of fulfillment is not based on facts but a delusion.

    … says the person getting fulfillment from his or her belief in an imaginary friend.

    The delusion is entirely yours.

  • 1) “You can pretend your life has meaning in a meaningless-purposeless universe but the fact is that it doesn’t.” You are conflating the subjective experience of meaning and purpose with the question of whether or not the universe has meaning or purpose. It’s true that the universe has no meaning or purpose; it just is. But as I explained, the subjective human experience of meaning and purpose is derived not from “the universe” but from our relationships and the good we do for others. This isn’t a guess or an arbitrary argument, it’s how science shows we develop these experiences.

    2) “Your sense of fulfillment is not based on facts but a delusion.” This is a vague sentence. One the one hand, I appreciate that you can acknowledge that atheists can indeed experience a sense of fulfillment (and meaning and purpose). But I’m unclear as to what is delusional here. My relationships (which give my life meaning) are facts. My intentional actions (which give my life purpose) are facts. The benefits that accrue from those relationships and actions (making my life fulfilling) are facts.

    Now then, I can fully acknowledge the possibility that you genuinely cannot imagine having a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment without a belief in a god. It is painfully obvious you aren’t interested in trying. And I feel pity for you on that score; your fear of a meaningless life is one of the chains locking you to religion. The good news is that your fear is unfounded. Atheists are perfectly capable of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment, as I’ve demonstrated. Perhaps you yourself will never be ready to free yourself from superstition. But as the article points out, an increasing number of people are. Thank god.

  • You may need your bible to tell you the difference between good and evil. The rest of us have something called a conscience. No god needed for that.

  • You are the one making these “atheists can’t tell what is evil” claims. The burden of proof therefore falls to you.

  • HpO: How have Y-O-U – as in personally – been undermined by religion? You didn’t explain either.

    Ash Bowie: Well, I am a part of the human race, thus when religion harms the human race, it harms me as a part of it.

    HpO: Non sequitur. But I appreciate the spot you must be in. Your or my ethnicity, however, isn’t “the human RACE”; nor does the latter caringly care to represent the former. “The human race” just doesn’t care about you or me even though the altruism is true that we care about “the human race”. Like I said, non sequitur.

    Ash Bowie: The most common way religion hurts me is politically, in that I am forced to live in a country that is dominated by a party that exploits people’s superstitions to pass legislation that hurts the majority of citizens, myself included.

    HpO: Details, please. What such “legislation” has been passed? And explain how that, as you put it, “hurts me politically”? (There’s an escape hatch in here somewhere lest this drags on. But I’m gamed, if you are.)

  • I appreciate the spot you must be in: you are trying to defend the indefensible. That’s tough. Which is why you are now merely repeating questions that have been answered. I gave four primary ways that religion harms the entire global community of humans (since you don’t like or understand the word “race” in this context). It is easy to then extrapolate how each of those harms can impact individuals, depending on their individual resources, geographical location, and place in society.

    But you want a detailed example. Ok. Religion has played a key role in preventing efforts to combat climate change (by insisting that God controls the weather, not humans). Because we’ve done next to nothing, I am impacted by a warming climate (I just sat through the hottest weekend on record for my city). I have family and friends in Houston that are devastated by a monster storm that was made far worse by climate change. Thanks in part to religion (and the pro-oil politicians that exploit the religious), we will continue to do little to prevent future calamities, which will result in further harm to me and countless others.

    Now, I get that you are going to give some kind of weak hand-waving response to this, or even deny that climate change is real. I expect nothing less. But I reiterate: Carl was correct when he wrote that religion undermines the human race.

  • HpO: Details, please. (1) What such “legislation” has been passed? And (2) explain how that, as you put it, “hurts me politically”?

    Ash Bowie: I am impacted by a warming climate [“legislation”] … Family and friends in Houston … are devastated by a monster storm that was made far worse by climate change [“legislation”]. Thanks in part to [such “legislation”], we will continue to do little to prevent future calamities, which will result in further harm to me and countless others.

    HpO: Thanks for answering part (2) of the original question I put to Carl Sanders, PhD. Now answer part (1), please, as to this “climate change”-legislation in the United States.

  • Sigh. Please don’t be thick. I answered the question, despite the fact that I was, in the case of climate change, pointing to an absence of legislative action. The point being, religious-backed public policy has hurt me directly, but more importantly, hurt the country as a whole.

    But here is another example. I work in schools that rely on public funding. Over the last 40 years, religious-backed conservative policies have continued to starve public education of funding (and it keeps getting worse). This has impacted me both financially (I have to take a lower salary than my experience and expertise justifies) and professionally (in that I can’t afford to give my student clients all the services they need and deserve). Thanks in part to religion, I am hurt and, much more importantly, the children I serve are hurt.

    Really, I could go on and on about how religion has poisoned American politics and given us horrible policies. Some impact me less than others because I am in a uniquely privileged position, but as a human being, I am hurt when others are unduly hurt. I would think a Christian should understand that concept.

  • No you’re plainly the dork here and it’s your religion that’s in decline.

    As for your laughing, most people don’t laugh from there, but in your case as you stated it, your mouth is coincident with that place, also causing you ingest the odoriferous output…

  • No he passed away and was eaten by worms thousands of years ago. Now that other popular religious delusion is overtaking yours, and yours is fading out.

  • Again, your pretty cancer anecdote doesn’t fly as evidence for your god TR, unless you want to also thank your god for killing all those innocent kids who died of cancer.

  • There are massive grounds for saying what is evil or good or amazing or moral. The assumption that only a belief in a God gives humans the right to define evil or good or right or wrong is just senseless. Long before a child learns anything about the existence or lack of existence of God the child learns good from bad and other concepts of right/wrong. People who have never heard of God have a clear cut concept of evil and right and wrong and love and hate, etc.

  • Atheism is not a philosophical concept. It is simply the recognition that there is no God. Doesn’t have anything to do with whether there is good or bad or evil or joy or love or anything else in the world. An atheist may or may not believe that evil exists or that love exists or that the color red exists or anything else. The only thing that being an atheist means is that the person does not believe in the existence of God.

  • Anecdotal junk there TR, not evidence. Re your cancer story, think about all those kids who died of cancer and other diseases despite their mothers’ devout, desperate praying for them. Think about that again, and again, and again, until you finally put your silly religious delusion away.

  • Atheism is the belief that there is no God. There is no degree of not existing so there is no strong belief that God does not exist. God does or does not exists and an atheist believes God does not exist. Agnostics are undecided whether or not God exist so are unable to say it does or does not.

  • No, one does not incur a requirement to prove that God does not exist in order to be an atheist. Inferring God exists based on Christian theory or the bible is no more proof than inferring God does not exists based on personal observation, etc. People can readily look at needless death and suffering, at natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods and infer God does not exist just as they can look at rainbows and sunshine and plants growing and infer he does exist. Proof means that there is accepted evidence that can be verified and therefore there is no proof that God exists since the bible is the only ‘proof’ Christians have and it can be shown to not be reliable, let alone independent of human tampering. The bible is not proof that there is a God any more than other religious books are proof of the realness of the beliefs of those religions God(s). Simpy put, an atheist does not have to prove there is no God and someone who believes there is a God has no basis for trying to demand proof of God’s non-existence. Sorry, but those who believe there is a God do not get to make up rules as to what others can or cannot believe or must prove.

  • Feel free to adopt any label you want, but rational, evidence-driven people would want to embrace atheism at all cost. The demonstrable current biological and scientific evidence points in only ONE direction. It ain’t the existence of an all knowing, all present God.

  • Atheism has nothing to do with slavery or genocide or evil. Atheism is the belief that there is no God. Atheist have a massive range of other, sometimes conflicting beliefs such as whether love exists, what is evil, is the death penalty okay, is abortion okay, is rape in marriage acceptable, what is good, what is acceptable behavior in public, what kind of tea is best, etc., etc. Atheist have the same range of opinions on subjects as do people who believe that there is a God. The only difference is the belief in the existence of God or the belief that there is no God.

  • Believing in the existence of God does not provide a moral system. Each group of people who believe in God set up their own criteria for morality, right and wrong, etc. All Christians do not share the same moral system just as all non-Christians who believe there is a God, from Muslims to Jews to Hindi to whoever, do not have the same moral system. Even within a group such as Baptists, the moral system is not the same for example some Baptists believe it is moral for a man to beat his wife and other Baptists totally believe that it is wrong for a man to beat his wife, some believe slavery is okay and some believe it is wrong. Any group of people, or in fact, any individual, can and should decide what is morally acceptable, or more relevantly what is legally acceptable. Each individual must decide for themselves what is acceptable or unacceptable for them. No blaming the group or family or anyone else for your own behavior or values. Nothing can be shown by atheism, or by a belief in God, as evil or good. All the belief or lack of belief in God does is show that there is a belief God exists or a belief God does not exists. Everything else is controlled by the group or individual. If belief in God could prove, for example, that slavery is wrong, then all who believe in God would believe slavery is wrong and that is not what has happened over the centuries.

  • What a ridiculous comparison. The motion of our planets and sun are naturally occurring events. They are testable, predictable, verifiable and most importantly falsifiable. If a person said “I do not believe the sun rises from the east,” it is still the affirmative that has the burden of proof. Anyone, from any faith or lack thereof can observe it. And there is abundant evidence to support it.
    Your analogy would be better stated as; There is a second sun that rises from the east. The only way to observe it is through faith. Because I can not verify this supernatural event through naturalistic means I would dismiss this claim. It is neither testable, predictable or falsifiable.
    Try again

  • That’s YOUR story. Not the story of any atheist I know. You assume that god must be there to give life meaning. Which God? whose god? And why God?

  • Shorter. Erosion, because I agree with you. To say kind has no meaning is not to say that life has no value.

  • I don’t need a bible to tell me that, ie, kicking someone in the nads for a reason other than self defence is wrong. Why you ask? Because I know being kicked in the balls, regardless of intent hurts like all f. So thus I don’t kick people in the groin for no reason.

    I know through being able to rely on my senses or logic that if I do A to person B then if person C comes and does it to me I may or may not enjoy the consequences.

    So no, I don’t need a book to tell me right from wrong, and I especially don’t need a book that claims to be the word of a God, when there are no writings by the person who prophesied and supposedly delivered the belief structure. What was it tha Jesus did or didn’t say that got left out? Did his message disagree from the message a God wanted so much that a person who supposedly healed the sick, fed people from an never-ending supply of food contradict the bible so much that they felt it was a threat to their religious agenda?

    That would be like having a treatise on string theory but leaving out all observable data and just guessing what the results actually are.

    I don’t need fear of being toasted alive for eternity to guide my hand or thoughts, cause and effect is a good enough teacher as it is.

  • Mr. Bowie, forgive me, please, for this quite late reply. I support religious freedom including the right to follow one’s conscience. If you are an atheist, such is your right!

    The word ‘fear’ has a biblical meaning different from that found in our ordinary discourse today. In biblical terms, the word means (essentially) “reverential awe”. I always put the word in caps — FEAR — in my blogging because I think fundamentalist/right-wing Christians have a distorted understanding of this word, thus explaining their belief in a God who is prepared to consign folks to hell because they don’t believe or die in serious sin, etc. Never mind that this understanding of God is at odds with much of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel. My favorite sources of an all-loving God are in Mt 9:13 and Luke 15, among others. If God is Love itself (as I believe), I can’t fathom God consigning sinners to hell or allowing them to consign themselves to hell. The Catholic Church, which has proclaimed certain people to be in heaven, has never declared anyone to be in hell.

    I agree with you about the hypocrisy of folks who declare themselves to be Christian but behave otherwise toward the poor, minorities, refugees, and immigrants.

    Hang in there!

  • The fact that a seminary professor believes we can answer religious questions with secular answers tells me a great deal about the nature of the problem as a whole. When the teachers fail to teach, collapse is of little surprise.

  • This god is a creature of your creation. YOU made THIS god and he resides in the interior of your mind. Jews and Christians do not know and have never known this god.

  • Do some homework and tell me who provides more social goods and services, atheist charities or religious charities.

  • Actually, the first cells were very simple. Even the one celled amoeba today is very simple. We know for a fact that earth became full of organic chemistry, most likely came from meteoroids as they are full of organic chemicals. The structures organised to produce, not DNA, but RNA. Then over tens of millions of years, DNA became the more adaptive way to propagate,

  • I suspect you never finished school. Funny.

    You claim a God. Nobody has seen one. It is remarkable. Remarkable assertions require remarkable proofs.

    I do not find your assertion credible. You mights well be certain that little green men have arrived from Mars. I won’t believe you with out proof.

  • However, evolution is far more plausible, in biological terms, and most importantly, because evolution makes predictions that can be tested.

    I see no evidence of God. Nobody has. That is your problem. You just have a belief. a belief that I find unjustified.

  • You do not sound educated at all. You come across as a very intuitive thinker, and lack any basic understanding of that constitutes evidence. Pointing to a person and saying that that is evidence of God is laughable. By the same reasoning you might say the same person is evidence of the great Ju Ju who is an entity out of the 12th dimension who it uses to enter this dimension. (Complete junk), but just as valid by your reasoning.

    Please try to learn how to think critically. Critical thinking should be thought to under 10s.
    In any case, I wish you a happy life.

  • How many parts make up a cell? How were these parts created and put together? Keep in mind that this cannot be done with any intelligence involved.

  • You are positing the existence of a God who created the universe. You are making the claim, therefore, you have the burden of proof. It is not incumbent upon anyone to prove a negative.

    You believe that the universe is so complex that it must have had a designer, and you call that designer God. The complexity of the universe is why you believe in God, and you say that God is even more complex than the universe. So my question to you is, who designed God? And if you are going to say that God didn’t have a designer, that God’s existence is a primary, then my question to you is, if God didn’t need a designer, then why does the universe need a designer? If God’s existence can be a primary, then why can’t the existence of the universe be a primary?

  • You cannot surmise the existence of a designer by what you think is design. You can only know that design exists when you know there is a designer.

  • I don’t say that atheism explains my existence. It does not. Evolution explains why I have a brain, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, legs, and every other body part I have.

    You can argue until the cows come home that it was extremely unlikely for life to start without a God. In the end, all you can possibly do is prove that an extremely unlikely event occurred. You will not have come one step closer to proving the existence of God.

  • Typical…
    On one side the atheists are raving on about the fools who are religious and those who believe make comments rejecting the science and reply in their own insulting ways.
    The extremes on both sides who evangelize in the most mean spirited ways for their views are equally obnoxious.
    For many of the rest of us, this is a personal affair, we will not presume to know the truth for anyone else, and are fine with our own understandings and quests searching to answer the big questions, many of which are mysteries.
    Anyone who thinks they have all the answers, and so feel justified in making the type of arrogant and mean comments prevalent here, regarding such “unknowables”, are narrow minded haters.
    Sadly, as is so common these days, it is the voices of the loudest and most obnoxious that control the conversation.

  • Man what a load of crap. Do glad my state doesn’t try to ruin what our founders fought for. Ridiculous is what the faith deniers are doing to our Christian nation. May God show you mercy and grace

  • It is always up to the one making a spectacular claim to provide proof. Science works.

  • You made the claim I was wrong so give me the facts that shows that. Mere assertions are not facts.

  • You don’t really understand logic, do you? I made no claim on the existence of god.
    Precisely, assertions are not facts, think about it!

  • I am not an atheist and I did not ask you about any claim of theirs. I am asking for proof of your extraordinary claim of existence of god. Not opinions, or assertions or more questions. Just provide some evidence.

  • I make no claim. If I have to be something, then I am agnostic, but what does it matter? I am asking for your evidence of god. I can safely guess you don’t have any.

  • I’m not sure that you’re wrong. Please provide evidence that you’re right. Then the non-religious crowd can give evidence for their side. Convince me.

  • Not to “stir the puddin’,” as it were, but it is my belief (my belief; as always, “your mileage may vary”) is that the Bible tells us what happened, and science tells us how. I believe that science is the window into God’s handiwork, and that He has no problem with us using science to find out what makes this whole thing work (since He gave us inquiring minds, why would He care?). Don’t worry, I know that my belief/opinion and $.85 will get you a Coke out of the machine where I work. Just sayin’.

  • This is fake ‘research’. White evangelicals, according to GSS data, have the highest fertility rate which is around 2.2 and quickly rising. As a matter of fact, it is the only relevant religious group in the US with rising fertility rates. Also, only a small fraction will leave Evangelicalism while more people join it than leave. As a result, America will be more white and more evangelical in the future. Liberals, in their hatred of whites, are trying to make you believe white evangelicals are doomed whereas in fact it’s white liberals who will soon vanish with their below replacement fertility rates of around 1.6. Also, according to a recent Harvard study, Christianity in the US is growing, not shrinking: http://thefederalist.com/2018/01/22/new-harvard-research-says-u-s-christianity-not-shrinking-growing-stronger/

  • I’ve never understood why people that hate God, don’t believe, mock Christians find it so necessary to jump onto “Religious” web and news sites with this uncontrollable desire to share their “Wisdom.” You don’t find me at Atheist websites mocking their beliefs. It really borderlines on a mental disorder to be afraid in what you claim you don’t believe.

  • I’ve never understood why people that hate God, don’t believe and mock Christians find it so necessary to jump onto “Religious” web and news sites with this uncontrollable desire to share their “Wisdom.” You don’t find me at Atheist websites mocking their “beliefs.” It really borderlines on a mental disorder to be afraid in what you claim you don’t believe.

  • Disqus ranges across a wide field of websites and topics.
    You make a lot of assumptions here. I don’t “hate god,” and I’m not afraid of superstitious nonsense.
    You know what they say about assumptions, don’t you?

ADVERTISEMENTs