Dave Silverman on CNN: Will God Exist in 50 Years?

Here’s why I love watching Dave Silverman appear on TV: He knows exactly what message he wants to get across. You might argue that he speaks in absolutes — there’s no nuance in any of his answers — but when you’re on camera for something like this, you don’t know if you will have 30 seconds to speak or a few minutes. So Dave gets right to the point, even if it is a bit exaggerated. Your call whether that’s effective or harmful. I think it’s effective.

Here’s another question up for debate: Linda LaScola has done this incredible work with former clergy members, but when she was asked questions about the future of religion in general and in politics, she decided not to say anything since it didn’t involve clergy. I think that’s missing out on a golden opportunity. Even if you’re not knowledgeable in that area, you should find a way to steer the question toward your area of expertise. She did that initially, but eventually just said she had no comment.

Thankfully, it didn’t stop Dave from jumping in and taking advantage of that valuable airtime.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I thought Silverman’s comments were excellent. There was nothing rude or harsh about them; the public face he puts on atheism seems to me near perfect. LaScola’s comments were also effective. I thought it was good that she refused to answer the question about politics- she presented herself as an expert on atheist clergy; to openly offer no comment about something she feels unqualified to address is honest and respectable.

    That said, I was most impressed by the third interview, with Jay Bakker. I think he really understands what Christianity is likely to look like in the future. Non-judgmental, non-discriminatory, perhaps not even strongly organized. He isn’t threatened by atheists, he isn’t threatened by the apparent decline in faith (or at least, increase in doubt) that the polls reveal. He seems focused on the abstract spiritual issues and on the positive messages that can be found in his religion. He doesn’t seem to see everyone with a different opinion as an enemy.

    • Nick

      Of course, that automatically makes Jay Bakker  “not a true Christian”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HUHIP23UNZBYV737J7HU4Y2Z4Q GetReal

    From roughly 7:20 to the end of this video can be skipped.

  • summertimebluesandgreens

    Shoot, I already eye politicians with skepticism because of their religious beliefs and watch how they act in regards to them. I’m not voting for Romney because of it.

  • Blake

    As much as I want to agree with Silverman’s ideas on the future of religion, I can’t get myself to feel that there will not be many people proclaiming the atheist stance in the future that will be doing it because they want to fit in and that they may be discriminatory against theists.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Stephen Prothero,  at < 4:17 " I don't see a lot of evidence here for a kind of secularization problem in America."

    Spin, spin, spin. Who, other than you, called it a “problem“?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    Personally the best religious people are those that would rather feel the need to just stay focused on their faith rather than convert anyone that isn’t their faith. Making death threats to Atheist figures isn’t making their side sound very tempting, so they’re best off just keeping to their own.

  • Pepe

    That’s one of the most sensible pastors I’ve listened to.

  • PattiEFink
  • http://twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole Introvert

    How did Jim & Tammy Faye produce that guy?  He seems rather respectable. 

    • Annie

      I was thinking the same thing!  I was really surprised at how much I liked him.  But the host was a big disappointment.  How many times did he say, “I’m just playing the devil’s advocate”?  He must have been afraid that the tabloids would say he was an atheist.

    • Revyloution

      The cynic in me says:
      It’s quite simple how Jim and Tammy Faye produced him.   They were leaches that knew how to fill their niche and suck the blood of their followers.    It’s a safe bet that their son will find a similar niche to bleed his generation.

  • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

    I do believe this article to be true in that the number of none believers will continue in increase.  This movement starts at home, the schools, in the court rooms and now on the internet.  This is also biblical.  A day WILL come when believers will be persecuted for such beliefs.  All that being said, popular opinion does not result in accuracy. 

    It saddens me to about the eternal consequences that individual beliefs will cost them.  Even more dis-heartening is the fact that a lot of it is based on inaccurate information.

    Although it hasn’t happened here (yet), I continue to find others who disagree with me, cursing me and insulting me for something  so simple as my faith.  I don’t go around judging or condemning, but when I say what I believe is the truth, the slander begins. 

    Why are so many non believers so angry?

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Because we are under constant and dangerous assault by believers, people in powerful positions who are actively seeking to deprive us of our rights, and to drive us into a new Dark Age. That seems like something that demands an angry response.

      • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

        Still waiting to hear what constant and dangerous assaults you are under.  That’s truely hilarious.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          OFFS.

          We have people trying to make our kids pray in school.  We have people tying to convert our kids in school.  We have people getting death threats because they win a federal lawsuit.  We have people refused employment because they don’t believe in God fervently enough.  We have people paying more for a service unless they want to lie about their religious belief.  We have state constitutions that (unconstitutionally) bar candidates who don’t express belief in a higher power.  We have people unable to join organizations like the Boy Scouts.  We have a lie on our money.  We have our completely innocuous “atheists exist” billboards protested and vandalized in alarming numbers.  We have presidential candidates saying that their ‘side’ comes from a position of  “reason, common sense, and diving revelation”.  We have constant attempts to undermine the science curriculum at the high school level.

          That’s quickly off the top of my head.  I could go on for ages.  Maybe since you’re so interested in anger you should look for Greta Christina’s video or blog post on “Why Atheists are Angry”. 

          And while you keep pushing this stupid question, and wording it in ridiculous ways, you haven’t responded to any points made against you either.  You think you’ve got a “gotcha” question, and that in the way you’ve phrased it (what rights have you lost) we won’t be able to answer, so you’ll smugly go away feeling self righteous.   The thing is, your head is so far up your ass to even ask that question that I have no illusion that I’m going to enlighten you.  But maybe this will help someone else reading.  You, “HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth” are a “VictimOfConvincedSelfRightousPosition” waste of time.  The sooner you swagger off to chortle with your buddies the better.

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            It’s a “gotcha” question in his mind, as long as he ignores all of our responses and rebuttals to him.

          • Brian Sherson

             And add to the list that people like you who refuse to acknowledge the assaults we describe are problems at all.

            Also, people like you HIJACKING the word TRUTH. Your “truth” is unimportant to us. We take your “truth” about as seriously as a schizophrenic’s claim that his neighbor’s cat is plotting to steal his car.

            You presume to know why we are angry. You come in and kick the proverbial hornets’ nest, ask why the hornets are angry, dismiss the idea that kicking the nest was what made them angry, and then offer up your own half-baked opinion, and presenting it as fact.

          • Kevin_Of_Bangor

            That was brilliant.

          • Annie

            My family is wondering why I am clapping at my computer screen.

      • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

        I’m guessing you will never answer this question because it was a factless and general statement.

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          I’ve already answered.

    • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

      Please explain the rights you are being deprived of that you once had.  What is the assault that I’m missing.  Last I checked, it’s the Judeo/Christian believers who are being assaulted.  No prayer in school, removal of the 10 commandments, chaplains who are told not to pray in the name of Jesus, an individual arrested for reading the bible in a parking lot,…

      Again, please give us some details beyond a generalized blanket statement.

      • Patterrssonn

        Hilarious stuff HP! You’re too much!

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        Judeo/Christian believers being assaulted? What rubbish! It is no assault on Christianity to ask that the First Amendment be observed.

        The government is endorsing prayer at public meetings. That’s an assault on my Constitutional rights. Religious organizations are being allowed exemptions to the law. That’s an assault on the Constitution. Religious organizations are being granted tax privileges. That’s both an assault on my Constitutional rights, and on my personal finances. My tax money is being directed towards religious organizations that provide various services and which run schools. That’s an assault on the Constitution, and on my finances. Religious organizations are using their tax exempt money to influence elections. That’s an assault on the very foundation of our government. Religious organizations are infiltrating and influencing government to allow false information to be spread: that evolution is not true, that humans aren’t altering our climate, that homosexuality is wrong or unnatural. Another assault- on rationality and on civil rights.

        • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

          Neither have constitutional value.

          Let’s talk civil rights.  Btw, I’m married to a mexican. 

          1.Illegal immigrants violate my civil rights when they vote and claim entitlements.

          2.The Earned Income Tax Credit violates my rights as well.

          3.The Federal government attempting to force states to give to planned parenthood is also a violation of state rights.

          What tax money goes to private schools?  Charter schools are denied tax money because it takes away from government schools.

          I look forward to your continued avoidance of these tough questions.

          • http://www.phoenixgarage.org/ cr0sh

            “Btw, I’m married to a mexican.”

            That statement is very…telling.

          • amycas

            States don’t have rights, people have rights. States retain powers not specifically given to the federal government–that does not translate to rights.

        • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

          You do realize that the term “separation of church and state” is NOT in the constitution don’t you.  It was in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Dansbury baptist in an attempt to explain how the 1st Amendment protects them.

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            Just like how “checks and balances” in NOT in the Constitution. Yet the idea is still established there. See: nearly every single Supreme Court case regarding separation of church and state, where the First Amendment is interpreted as establishing such.

            • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

              That doesn’t make it Constitutional.  The supreme court has frequently legislated from the bench over the years.

              • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

                You do realize that the Supreme Court isn’t “legislating from the bench” when it refuses to rubber-stamp what Congress and the President do; that their purpose is actually to review the actions of those bodies?  “Legislating from the bench” is pretty much code for “boo-hoo they won’t let us do what we want to even if it’s against the rules!”  I don’t agree with many SCOTUS decisions (Citizens United comes to mind), but I don’t stoop to attacking its integrity every time it doesn’t let me get my way.  But since your so fond of asking for proof, how has SCOTUS legislated from the bench?

              • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                One last time, HighPriest. Pay attention this time. The Constitution was written in such a way that the Supreme Court would decide specific cases relating to the application of various sections thereof, including the Amendments. The Supreme Court does so, and they establish the precedent, as well as the official interpretation of the Constitution. The current interpretation of the Establishment Clause (part of the First Amendment to the Constitution) is that there should be a separation of church and state, resulting in a secular government.

                Are you trying to argue that we shouldn’t have a secular government? Does a Christianity-based government benefit the people better? Or doesn’t it follow (which it does) that a secular (neutral) government is a fair one, and protects ALL of our rights, not just special groups?

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            You do not realize that the Constitution isn’t the law, it’s the blueprint for the law. Constitutional law is based on the Constitution and on the decisions of thousands of individual cases that tested its meaning and developed its interpretation.

            BTW, Jefferson’s comments were entered into the record in several SCOTUS decisions, formalizing their place in Constitutional law.

          • TiltedHorizon

             Neither is any mention of a creator, a god, a higher power, a man in the sky, jesus, the holy spirit, or an almighty. There is a mention of “Lord” as in “the Year of our”, a context which was a common way of expressing the date, not an expression of faith. Does not stop the faithful from declaring this a christian nation even though the first amendment states quite clearly:

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
            religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

            No national religion and the freedom to exercise, or not, a faith. i.e.   the term “separation of church and state”

             

        • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

          Here’s what the 1st amendment actual say since you clear don’t know:
          Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

          What law has congress made or attempted to make that violates your religious freedom?

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            National Day of Prayer. It was passed into LAW. It respects the establishment of religion. (Prayer certainly isn’t a non-religious action, now is it?)

            Adding “In God We Trust” to our motto and currency (officially). It was passed into LAW. It respects the establishment of religion. (God is established by many religions. Certainly not inclusive of atheists, now is it?)

            I can go on. But, you see, the Establishment Clause is written rather vaguely, as it is open to interpretation, and purposefully so. Our higher courts have, time and time again, interpreted the Establishment Clause to erect a wall of separation between church and state, making our government a secular one (i.e. neutral in regards to religious beliefs).

            • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

              Yes it recognized by the government but what are the consequences of not following them.  How are your individual rights being assaulted.

              Our founding fathers were NOT trying to be “all inclusive” when they found our once pride and great country.  That would be impossible.  They were trying to ensure that no individual rights were infringed upon by religious groups or the state.

              Not a violation of the 1st amendment and as I pointed out in an earlier post which I’m sure you know, the phrase “separation of church and state” is NOT constitutional.  It was in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Dansbury Baptist while attempting to explain how the first amendment protects the church.

              • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                Dude, you asked if the government has passed any laws that violate the First Amendment. I gave you some examples. Now you’re arguing against some straw-man, where I somehow said that our rights are being threatened.

                Also, I already proved you wrong about the Constitutionality of separation of church and state. Please educate yourself, as I’m done trying to brush away the tumbleweeds of ignorance cluttering up your brain.

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  The national day of prayer is NOT a law, it is a date recognized by the government for prayer.  There are no consequences if you don’t pray.

                  In God we trust is also NOT a law.  Again, no consequences. 

                  Definition of LAW
                  1 a (1): a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority (2): the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules (3): common law b (1): the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law (2): the action of laws considered as a means of redressing wrongs; also: litigation (3): the agency of or an agent of established law c: a rule or order that it is advisable or obligatory to observe d: something compatible with or enforceable by established law e: control, authority

                  I can’t see how you 0.7 % of the American population who are atheists out there are losing your civil rights or are being persecuted over either.

                  Find something meaningful to take issue with.  How about the EITC and it’s socialistic intent.

                • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                  Want a clear-cut case of our rights being violated? The School Prayer Banner case in Cranston, RI is a perfect example.
                  As a parent, I should have the right to send my child to a publicly-funded, government-run school without any religious artifacts on the wall, giving a clear and privileged endorsement of Christian beliefs and practices (prayer). However, that right is violated when one group gets an unfair advantage and has a prayer for their religion (“Our Heavenly Father” is a uniquely Christian moniker for their monotheistic deity) up on the walls where they don’t belong.

                  This violates my rights as a parent, because I should have total control over what religious beliefs (or lack thereof) I wish to instill into my children, whether it’s outright atheism, or just a gentle prodding along the path of skepticism and critical thinking. It is a violating of my rights as a parent to have a school that my child might attend endorsing any specific religious belief, which sets me and my child[ren] apart from the Christian majority.

                  This is not a majority-rules nation when it comes to rights and religion. Your beliefs don’t get to have special endorsement or privilege over mine, yet they do on a near-constant and daily basis.Want another example? I can point you to a dozen or so towns and areas where Creationism is being shoved into public schools, which is an affront to science and anything truthful. Certain forces are attempting to have their religious beliefs seen as scientific fact, to which is nowhere close. This violates my rights, once again, as a parent, because I want my child to learn about REAL science, not some horse-shit Creationist fantasy that is essentially a forced indoctrination of MY children.

                  So get the hell out of here with your “your rights aren’t being threatened” bullshit, HighPriest. We’re not buying it.

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  Still no rights are being violated.  They aren’t required to recite it are they?  Does it affect the grade if they don’t?

                  No laws were passed requiring the banner to be there.  No consequence of any sort related to it.  Just a very small minority looking to bully the majority.

                  Here’s a real violation.  I feel my tax dollars should support Planned Parenthood, but Obama is bullying the states regarding this matter.  That is a true violation not just hurt feeling because they share very different opinion.

                • amycas

                   You really need to actually read the court case surrounding this and other first amendment cases, because you come off as being profoundly ignorant on the subject.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Taxes paying for something you don’t agree with is not a violation of your rights.  That’s the way taxes work.  So pretend you taxes pay for, I dunno, military pay, and mine will take care of PP.

                  I’m also against my tax dollar being redistributed to the non tax payer.

                  Keeping with  Luke 14:13 I see.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        LOL, You’re confusing a war on religion with not getting your own way.  

        Prayer is allowed in school.  It’s just that the school can’t initiate it.  Students are free to pray on their own so long as they don’t disrupt the class with it.

        Your other cases are equally silly.  It’s like you and your gang have been taking apples from the apple cart.  And since there are enough of you, the owner of the apple cart has always kept his mouth shut.  But now that the owner is fed up and telling you to stop stealing, you’re all upset.  Boo fucking hoo.

        And I’d love a citation for that parking lot case.  Either someone grossly misunderstood the law, or the person was arrested for either trespassing or demonstrating without a permit.

        • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

          Again, what constant assault are the non believers under? 

          What rights are we trying to take away from them that they once had?

          Why are you afraid to answer these questions?

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Sigh.  We’re ‘avoiding’ it because it’s a straw man.

            Please explain the rights you are being deprived of that you once had.  

            So as long as we don’t lose any rights, we should have nothing to complain about?

            The status quo of injustice is acceptable, so long as it doesn’t get worse?

            Oh, right, you feel like you’re under assault because you’ve been taking free apples for so long that you think they belong to you.  You think that might makes right, and that since a lot of you want the teacher to lead the class in prayer, that’s the way it should be.

            An assault on your rights would be the teacher leading the class in a declaration that religious people are weak minded.  An assault on your rights would be a stone tablet with the five pillars of Islam on a court house lawn.  An assault on your rights would be money with “There Is No God” printed on it.

            • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

              Perhaps non believers like you are angry because of an absence of the holy spirit.

              I’m sorry you are not able to answer my question, but it really doesn’t surprise me.  You’ve had nothing to offer that is based on fact to this point so why start now.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Perhaps non believers like you are angry because of an absence of the holy spirit.

                Great hypothesis.  And easily tested.  All we need is a single example of an angry religious person.

                You’ve had nothing to offer that is based on fact to this point so why start now.

                Ah, I think I see the problem.  We disagree on the definition of ‘fact’.  See, I use something like: “a truth known by actual experience or observation; :”

                I’m not sure what you call a fact, but since you haven’t provided any, I can understand the confusion.

                • Kevin_Of_Bangor

                  Be nice to the troll, Rich. He might take his ball and go home.

            • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

              No I don’t find the teach comment to be an assault and wish that would happen at my kids school.  That would be fun.

              Your Isalmic tablets.  Ok, if a community is comprised of a majority of people who want that, then go for it.

              You money comment, again, put it to vote.  My problem is how a very small minority of people are bothered by “In God We Trust” or “One Nation Under God”.  If it’s that offensive and assaulting then find a better country that supports your beliefs in the manner you want them too.  Outside of that, it has no bearing on your individual rights.

              Remember this country was founded by a large majority of Judeo/Christians.

              • Glasofruix

                “If it’s that offensive and assaulting then find a better country that supports your beliefs in the manner you want them too.”

                All that talk about freedom of religion and then you basically say that if somebody doesn’t believe in your skydaddy he has to leave?

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  Stop playing make believe, I said if they don’t like then find a better country. 

                  Nice attempt to spin.

                • amycas

                  Freedom of religion is not up for a majority vote. The Bill of Rights was written and ratified specifically to prevent the tyranny of the majority. Minorities have the same right majorities do, but they need extra protection for those rights, or the majority can (and most likely will) take them away.

                • Glasofruix

                  Yes yes that’s exactly what i meant. Just how retarded can you be?

              • http://profiles.google.com/robertbos Rob Bos

                 You seem to be implying, with your last sentence, that because something started out a certain way, that it should continue that way. Consider the logical statement “X was created by Y, therefore X should remain in control”.  Notwithstanding the truth of the statement, the inference is self-evidently false, and you should stop using that argument.

          • Occam

            Why, oh why, do I feel compelled — like so many others on this forum —to respond to this religious troll?  Yet here I go again….

            I know it’s really difficult for HighPriest to wrap his deluded mind around what it’s like to be an atheist constantly bombarded by his religion, which he takes for granted as the One True Way; but if you will, HighPriest, please imagine the following scenario:

            You’re at a basketball game at your child’s public school.  In large letters above the court is a verse from the Koran.  The coins in your pocket have the inscription “In Allah We Trust.”  Before the game, everybody says the flag salute, which includes the line “One Nation, under Islam.” 

            Think about this and answer honestly: would this make you feel uncomfortable in any way?  This is how an atheist feels every time your religion is shoved down our throats, each and every day.

      • Glasofruix

        How about a bunch of old white dudes deciding what rights women should or should not have when it comes to their bodies?

        • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

          Are you talking about legalized murder?  Ironic isn’t it when you look at court cases how people will be convicted of a double murder for killing a pregnant woman.  I guess it’s only murder if its wanted.  What happen to personal responsible to avoid the pregnancy in the first place.

          Did said “old white dudes” force a penis into the woman, cause it to ejaculate, and create life or did the woman make that decision?

          • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

            Yeah, those damn dirty sluts should take what they obviously deserve for having the audacity to spread their legs!

            You’re despicable, you know that?  You’re “personal responsibility” claptrap only affects one of the parties involved.  “Painful truth” would have an entirely different meaning for you if you had to be pregnant.

            • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

              I think it’s terrible that you call them that, and you call me despicable.

              How about a condom or birth countrol pill. 

              So she HAD to be prenant huh?  No way to stop it is there?

              Lol

              • amycas

                Fuck you, consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Oh, by the way, birth control can fail. Or she can be pressured not to use it by her partner. Or she and her partner maybe can’t afford it. Or she and her partner are miseducated about the facts of practicing safe sex (thanks a lot “abstinence only “education”” ).

              • Glasofruix

                “How about a condom or birth countrol pill. ”

                The ones that religious institutions fight so vehemently against?

            • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

              You’re an absolute idiot.  I didn’t call them that.  I articulated what you were saying in not so many words.

              And that’s rich, a pro-lifer that’s gung-ho about contraception.  You might be the first I’ve come across.

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                I also think we should legalize protitution and weed.  I don’t believe in moral laws.

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  I’m against murder not contraception.

                • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

                  You must also be against properly using definitions, since you can’t murder something that’s not legally a person.

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  Tell that to the number of laws on the state books and the number of people convicted of double murders for murdering pregnant woman. 

                  Even you can’t deny all that is there because its all modern times.

                  Do some google searches and learn.

                • amycas

                  Case law is complicated, too bad you can’t be bothered to properly understand *why* the fetus in that case might be considered a person.

    • Patterrssonn

      Kudos HP, your post is the funniest thing I’ve read all day, I hope to see lots more.

      • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

        Thank you for your avoidance.  I will consider that as having nothing to offer to the discussion.

        There will be plenty more to come so sit back quietly as you are now and enjoy.

        • Patterrssonn

          Lovely, I have no idea what you’re saying, but it’s brilliant stuff. Pure gold.

          • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

            Thanks

      • Glasofruix

        He’s so funny, compared to him even DG looks like a reasonnable person.

        • Patterrssonn

          Especially that name, I do hope he sticks around.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Why are so many non believers so angry?

      You say that like it’s a bad thing.  You keep listing what you claim are injustices, and seem to be angry about them.  Isn’t anger a normal response to injustice?  The key is what we do with that anger.

      • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

        3rd time I’ll ask. 

        What injustices?

        Your side can’t seem to name them.

        • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

          More like ‘our side’ gets tired of basic education on the injustices caused by religion. Are you really so ignorant you can’t name one yourself?

          Often the religious folk turn up here and think they’re presenting ‘new information’ that no-one has heard before. I’d venture to guess that a bunch of people posting here know more about religions than do the believers…

        • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

          The reason we are angry is a really really long list, much too long to enumerate in a blog comment.  The best summary I have ever heard was Greta Christina’s speech at Skepticon IV.  Rather than trying to reheah it here, I’m just going to give you the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUI_ML1qkQE

    • Spherical Basterd

      Because you have no evidence of the existence of your god. No more evidence than  for us to believe in leprucans, unicorns or any of the gods before your Yahweh. Yet you and your ilk expect us to live by your god’s silly decrees and expected rituals.

      You’ve made the claim. Provide evidence now. Evidence that will stand up in a court of law in the United States.

      • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

        I don’t expect you to live by ANY religious rule.  Please tell me who has?  That would be unconstitutional.

        A court of law?  Lol

        Any evidence I have provided is always claimed as brain washing or lies. 

        How would you explain the miracle that occurred with George Washingtons coat?

        • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth
          • http://profiles.google.com/robertbos Rob Bos

             Well known mythologization.  Dubious provenance, no actual evidence, most likely came from a propaganda leaflet.

            • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

              Of coarse, leaflets, that’s GOT to be it.

              Side note:  Do you live in Jester in Austin or am I thinking of another Bob Bos?

              • http://profiles.google.com/robertbos Rob Bos

                 No, I’m afraid not.  I’m not the pastor in Australia either, though I sometimes get his email.

                I did look up the GW thing. There is a fascinating discussion on the subject on Snopes’ forums, if you’re interested.

                http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=16064

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  I’ve seen that discussion before.  The problem I have with the nay sayers is that it’s another denial of history.  They deny what GW said and the Indian Chief said.

                  Very difficult to prove anything to your side because when evidence is there, it’s denied.  It’s like your side needs to speak to GW himself or have had to been on the battle field.

                • http://profiles.google.com/robertbos Rob Bos

                  Big claims require big evidence. If I say there’s a pink elephant under my bed, I’d better be ready to produce the elephant.

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  Plenty of historical evidence, buy you can not speak with GW.  I’m sorry.

                • http://profiles.google.com/robertbos Rob Bos

                  Well, being able to talk to him might help, for sure. Though I would demand of him a pretty high standard of evidence, too.

                  If we can’t get a good reason to believe him, then the appropriate response is to withhold judgement regarding the truth.

                  You can talk to me. If I say I have a pink elephant under my bed, you would ask me to show you, or show you the footprints, _something_ that isn’t hearsay.

                • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

                  What historical evidence?  I’d say the Snopes commentors do a pretty good job showing how suspect the evidence for the incident is.

          • Guest

             I think the reference to that link says all we need to know about HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth — as if all of the previous comments and biblical quotes weren’t evidence enough.  Please don’t feed the religious trolls!

            • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

              But I’m hungry!

              • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                The last thing we need around here is another ignorant religious troll. Go peddle your willful ignorance somewhere else. We here enjoy real debate, not straw-man arguments, changing the subject rapidly, and self-admissions of trolling.

              • Patterrssonn

                And funny

            • Annie

              I just hope Hemant makes money off of each comment.  If so, HighPriestofThePainfulTruth is quite the philanthropist to an atheist blog!  For some reason, that makes me very happy.

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                Lol

        • amycas

           Really?? Now I know you’re just messing with us.

        • Spherical Basterd

          Then why are you here? So you can go back to your silly little bible study group of Cafeterians and say ” I spread the gospel to the infidel unbelievers today and secured my place in heaven”?

    • DG

      Stats on the rise of non-belief are actually fuzzy, if you break them down.  For instance, over all, the number of non-believers is rising around the world.  But then, if you break down the numbers, it presents a mixed view.  For instance, the number of young people who leave the belief they grew up in is growing.  But the number of adults over 30 that return to, or pick another faith, is also growing.  Likewise, the rise in non-belief itself is also confused with the rise of those who are ‘seeking’.  Plus, you also have the number of children raised by atheists who actually leave the non-belief they were raised with to embrace some other form of religious belief.  Then last, and certainly not least, you have those numbers of non-believers who say things that make no more sense than some of the things people of religious faith say.  For instance, the number of self-proclaimed atheists, who add to the growth of atheism, but who nonetheless claim belief in a higher power, with some actually believing in a ‘personal god.’  An atheist who claims belief in a personal god?  What’s that even mean?  So it’s more than just a simple ‘X number is growing’.  Break down the stats, and it shows what’s always been true: it’s far more complex than a single, simple stat can demonstrate.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/runawayuniverse runawayuniverse

      You can watch this to see why I’m angry

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf_f1H14rXE

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14
    • Neil

      I’m not a particularly angry atheist, most of the time, just like most people aren’t angry most of the time. 

      But if nothing else, living around people who can’t be bothered to investigate, explain, or show any evidence for their beliefs is somewhat annoying.  It bothers me, just a bit, that so many people seem to value cheap emotional gratification over truth and honesty.

      Having those same people claim that their unexplainable, unprovable beliefs are VERY, VERY important on a cosmic, eternal scale, is even more annoying, even if they don’t try to force them on people.

      Having a large number of those people insist that their personal, unexplainable, unprovable beliefs are not only VERY VERY important, but must be respected, shouldn’t be questioned, and should be spread to others by way of training them young, or using emotional blackmail like threats of heaven and hell, or even by using force, is much more than annoying, and enough to make any sane person angry. 

      The members of the cultures that most of us live in, do all of these things on a regular basis.  Sometimes that makes people angry. 

      It’s really not that hard to understand, if you think about it for more than half a second. 

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I was just glad they didn’t feel the need to be “Fair and Balanced ™” and bring in Bill Donahue and half a dozen other assorted apologists to present the ‘other side’.

    • Robert

      Don Lemon did a nice job….thats rare.

  • DG

    I still have my sociology textbook from college.  That’s mid-1980s.  In the section on religious belief, the authors admit that their original text, first plublished in the 1950s, had predicted that in industrial countries, by the end of the century, religious belief would be all but gone.  In the mid-80s, they were forced to revise their predictions.   It’s sort of like predicting the end of the world 50 years from now.  You can keep doing it, and by the time the date pasts, you can do it again and nobody will remember.

    • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

      I’m happy for religion to be around, just not in my face, in politics, in schools or being used as a way to discriminate.

      Oh, and by the way:
      - non-religious people predicting the end of religion; probably incorrect but harmless
      - religious people predicting the end of the world; at best harmful (as there’s always *someone* who believes it and sells their house or whatever), at worst frightening (eg some Christians seems to be fixated on Judgement Day or have some sick kind of wish for death as a ‘path to heaven’ or the end of the world)

      • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

        Were the Myan’s Christian’s?  They’re the only ones I’ve heard a date from.

        • DG

          Every now and then you have someone who insists they’ve read the tea leaves and figured out the exact day, hour, minute. 

          • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

            Actually Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32  both say, “no man knows the day and hour” so if a Christian makes any claims they are misguided and it’s not Biblical.

            • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

              Sure, that doesn’t change the fact that Harold Camping, a Christian, used the bible to predict the end date and thousands of Christians lost everything because they believed him.  Misguided or not, it happened.  Not surprising considering Christianity’s origins as a doomsday cult.

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                People should reference the bible not some nut case.  We could point to the Branch Dividians and many other cults for that matter.  Some people believe anything.  lol

                What does that have to do with the truth of what the bible says?

                • amycas

                  Yeah, some nut case who rasied millions of dollars from his followers. He ruined lives and used the Bible to back up his bullshit.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Not only should people reference the bible, but they should consult you for the correct context.

            • Neil

              I knew without looking that you would quote that verse.  I also knew that you would ignore the larger point made above, that the belief itself, without any date, can still be harmful. 

              The belief itself, that there will be a god-chosen end to the world, that it could happen anytime, that it will involve judgement of sinners and resurrection or heaven for the faithful, is at the root of many damaging attitudes that have nothing to do with picking a certain, final date.  Religious people who believe in an unspecified armageddon often choose to ignore environmental concerns, pollute with abandon, hunt species to extinction,  ignore long-term political concerns, ignore issues of justice and inequality, or just generally have a fatalistic attitude toward life and society, all because they believe that none of it “really” matters, compared to all the wonderful things they “believe”.  It encourages people to make their imaginary life more important than their real one, and encourages the dismissal of very real problems that real people face in this life.

              Also, Jesus himself issued a prediction, vague though it was…”This generation shall not pass away, untill all is fulfilled.”  Of course, the plain words as translated aren’t good enough for theologians, and I have heard some say that he was using the term for “future generations”, “family”, or “kindred”, so the obvious contradiction (they’re all dead and jesus didn’t come back yet) is  avoided…but it IS  still a prediction, even if vague.

              I guess Jesus doesn’t  have to follow the rules, just like most schemes of authority.  

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                Lol, nice twisting.  Jesus did NOT name the date or the hour.  He also said when the “Fig Tree sprout”, I believe, which many interpret as Israel reforming in 1948, “that generation will not pass before my return.”

                I’m all about the planet silly man and teach my children responsibility with the earth by using resources wisely.

                You should write a book because you have a great imagination.

        • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

          Were you hibernating for a year and a half before May 21, 2011?

        • Neil

          You seem to have a habit of saying things that any rational person with eyes and ears would have a hard time believing.  Many types of christianity, as well as other religions and assorted mystics, have predicted the end of the world, probably hundreds of times over the centuries. 
          Even though many choose not to predict a set date, the majority of christian sects and followers have held the idea that there will be a 
          god-chosen end to the world, involving judgement and resurrection.

          I’m trying to be generous, but I’m starting to think that you are just another liar who will say anything that justifies your beliefs.   

  • Annie

    That statistic of 68% never doubt the existence of god was mentioned on Hemant and Jesse’s broadcast too.  I am actually shocked that it is still that high.  I would think that even people who identify as religious would have a much lower percentage.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I suspect it’s something a of people wouldn’t feel comfortable admitting to a pollster.  I hate it when religious people try to explain what atheists reallybelieve, so I give that with the grain of salt that there’s no way to verify it.  But it sure would be nice to know.  I suspect the number would be higher among Catholics, where there seems to be an acceptance of the idea that people will have hard questions for which there is no easy answer.  I have a friend/co-worker who teaches RC Sunday school, and says he teaches his older classes that it’s normal to distance oneself from the Church as an older teen, and some stay away, and some return later.

      • Annie

        My mom taught CCD (like Sunday school, but for Catholic kids who went to public school) one year in the seventies.  She brought in John Lennon’s album Shaved Fish and had the students write about the song “Imagine”.  They didn’t ask her back the next year. ;-)

      • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

        I was raised episcipal, married catholic, then converted to christianity.  Many denominations and churches within denominations don’t teach from the bible and distort the truth.  Many also teach that you have to “earn” your way to heaven.  That is NOT what the bible says.  These same groups also inspire hate towards the sin of others while ignoring there own.  It’s this type behavior that gives Christianity a bad rap. 

        Christianity is not orthodox or doing things religiously.  It is a relationship with Christ.  NO ONE should ever be bullied into Christianity.  God wants us to choose Him freely.

        • http://twitter.com/kariedgerton Kari Edgerton

          Episcopalian and Catholicism are Christianity.

          • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

            I was NEVER taught about salvation or a personal relationship with Christ which is what the bible teaches so I can’t claim the Episcipal or Catholic churches I attended were Christian churches. 

            Christianity has nothing to do with “good” deeds.

            • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

              Is that what the bible teaches?  Really?  I’m wondering how much of it you’ve actually read.

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                Since you asked:

                “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all …” (1 Timothy 2:5)“There is one body and one Spirit … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4)Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and find pasture … I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:9)Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25)Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)“… whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:15-16)“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)“… And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11)“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:14)

                • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                  Yeah, but how reliable is the Bible, really? Just skim through the list at 
                  http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.html and you’ll see hundreds of examples of inconsistencies therein.

                  The Bible can be used to justify just about anything. One sect can claim that the Levitican laws apply to Christians, another sect can claim otherwise. One sect can claim that God is responsible for all sickness, another can claim that it’s all Satan. One sect can claim that good deeds get you into heaven, another can claim that only acceptance of Jesus Christ can do so.And they can all be right, because of the cherry-picked portions of the Bible that they have decided to believe in.

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                And then there this:

                “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and
                this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one
                can boast.”

                Ephesians 2:8-9

                Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to
                His mercy He saved us…..

                “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son,
                that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. for God
                did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world
                through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not
                believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of
                God’s one and only son.”

                John 3:16-18

                I kind find more.  Just saying.

                • Patterrssonn

                  That’s the beauty of the bible, it’s so vague and inconsistent it can mean anything you want it to mean. That’s why it’s spawned so many christianities, and not to mention countless inanities.

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                All New Testement.  Nothing about tattoos, face hair, clothes, what to eat or not eat, ect…

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Including Mathew 5:17 I presume?

                • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                  I’m glad you brought that up.

                  “Remember, the Pharisees were a group of Jews who were focused on the Law, to the exclusion of caring for others. They understood the letter of the Law, but not the intent of the Law, and Jesus repeatedly found fault with them for this.Jesus says here that we have to be more righteous than the people who are focused on the Law and who teach the Law, the experts. Can we know the Law better than the people who know all of the Law? Can we obey the Law better than those who obey it perfectly? Then how can we be more righteous than them?When you realize that the Law is simply the means to an ends, to reconciliation with God as the covenant established in Ezekiel, it’s obvious. Jesus fulfills that covenant and gives us access to God, reconciles us to him. He completes the Law; he does not abolish it.”

                • Neil

                  So…what exactly does it mean that “He completes the law, he does not abolish it?”  Are the old laws (and therefore deeds, as opposed to faith) necessary or not?  A clear, simple, honest answer, please. 

                  If you have the right “relationship” with jesus,  do you not need to follow the older laws?  Does salvation mean a christian can do whatever they please as long as they believe? 

                  Or will your “relationship” motivate you to follow the laws, even if you sometimes fail, being only human? 

                  Or will it enable you to distinguish between the laws that are still important and the ones that aren’t? 

                  Are the ten commandments still valid?  What about sexual laws, some of which are brought up again in the new testament?  Is homosexuality wrong?  Sex outside marriage? 

                  The most generous reading I can see for such a thought (he completes the law, he does not abolish it) is that belief in jesus and forgiveness for sins are more important than being a perfect law-follower.  Is that what you believe, or is there something else there? 

                  Even if that is the essential meaning, it’s still pretty darn vague…I hope you are aware that non-believers are free to investigate and invent their own sense of morality, just like what you are doing with your ‘relationship”.  We just don’t feel the silly need to believe a bunch of horseshit about gods, souls, eternal life, rising from the dead, original sin, the need for a perfect saviour, etc, to feel like taking our moral choices seriously.   

                • Glasofruix

                  How about the one that tells to women to STFU?

            • Patterrssonn

              “Christianity has nothing to do with “good” deeds.”

              No kIdding

              • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

                Nope Christianity is a relationship.  When the relationship is there, the good deeds will happen.  However, Christianity isn’t defined by good deeds.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I have a personal relationship with reality.

                • amycas

                  Yep, so nobody can say that Christians act any better than everybody else (seeing as how it has nothing to do with “good deeds”) and we can also safely assume that god is not sending people to hell for their misdeeds but for the simple fact that they don’t believe.  How very shallow of her/him/it.

                • Patterrssonn

                  That’s great, it’s all so wonderfully vague.

            • amycas

              I bet Episcopalians and Catholics aren’t Scottish either. ;-)

              • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

                While appreciating what you’re going for there, isn’t Presbyterian the main Scottish denomination?

            • Neil

              Having a “personal relationship” with Jesus that outweighs what any church might say is both old and new.  Old in the sense that there are many sects of christianity that contradict each other, and each believes their “relationship” to be the right one.  As a widespread point of view for the masses, encouraged by various preachers, it is a fairly new thing.  Many American christians who aren’t part of an established, long standing church describe their religion this way, hoping to avoid the conflicts between religion and modernity that older churches are having big problems with.  I can sympathize, but it often seems to me to be a “get out of contadictions free card”, allowing each person to interpret the bible however they choose without having to accept any intellectual responsibilty to deal with the parts of the bible,  christian history and tradition, or current popular christian beliefs that are unpopular with non-christians and liberal christians.  Saying that “it’s a relationship, not a religion” doesn’t mean you get to ignore problems and expect others to not notice. 

               I find it very hard to believe that you were taught nothing about “salvation” in those churches yopu mentioned.  Maybe you weren’t paying much attention or disagreed with their interpretation, but “salvation” as a concept is central to every form of christianity I’ve ever heard of.   That’s why they all call Jesus their “Saviour”. 

        • P. J. Reed


          God wants us to choose Him freely.

          What do you believe happens to people who do not worship your God?

          • HighPriestOfThePainfulTruth

            They will be judged just like me by Jesus Christ.  I’m not willing to judge them because I am NOT Jesus.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
            • P. J. Reed

              That’s awfully vague.  What exactly does “being judged” involve?  If it’s just like you, does that mean it doesn’t really make a difference whether your God is worshipped or not?  Or is there some sort of penalty to your judgment if you picked the wrong faith?  What are the conditions you’re judged by, and what are the possible results?

              • Neil

                Good questions.  In recent threads I’ve been arguing that it is wrong for atheist to insist that particular believers can’t be christians becasue of their disagreements with the bible or traditional teachings.  But at the same time, it isn’t fair for people to to be able to say “I’m not THAT kind of christian”(referring to homophobic or sexist attitudes or other conflicts with modernity and rationality) and move on, without providing any more detail or justificaion for what they DO believe.

                I’m curious to see some honest responses.  Looking below, it looks like all the commenter does is list some highly debateable scripture and claim it helps his/her interpretation, without addressing why his/her interpretaion is correct or why centuries of tradition is wrong, but maybe it’s a start. 

  • http://www.summerseale.com/ Summer Seale

    I have to echo the sentiments posted here about Pastor Bakker. I have no idea how Jim and Tammy produced him, but I’m glad they did. He sounded at least completely reasonable and humanist. (Well, not completely reasonable as he actually still has “faith” but, you know what I mean).

    I can only hope there are more young generation Christians like that out there. I know we can’t de-convert all religious people, but if we can get most of them to believe in humanist ideals such as the ones he appears to have expressed (or hinted at), I’d be a lot happier about the way this struggle is going.

    • http://www.facebook.com/priscella.a.payne Priscella Aretha Payne

       I always wondered the parameters behind “reasonable”. I don’t think one’s individual thought about an unanswerable question makes them unreasonable. Rather, I would wager that certainty, or arrogance, about it makes them unreasonable.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      If you’re interested in Jay Bakker, there was a documentary about him called One Punk Under God. Since it seems unlikely that Christianity is going to fade away in the near future, Bakker’s form of the religion appears to be quite an improvement over most of the previous incarnations.

  • Sam Freedlander

    Wow, I have to give credit to both the host and the pastor they had on. Usually you get people who range from passive-aggressive to blatantly belligerent, but both of those men were professional, respectful, and honest. Well done CNN.

    • Robert

      Much different than that defensive ass Pearce Morgan when he had Penn on his show. Lemon did a good job.

  • seasideb2

    GOD  has existed for all time.. there was NO BEGINNING TO GOD. and he will exist forever,,
    as will you in hell,, i hope you enjoy it.. cause SATAN has just the right place for you.
    time never started,,, nor will it ever end,,  regardless of what your psychotic mind
    tells you…….. your a dumbass moron. did your father fuck you in the ass when you were young ??? cause you are definitly fucked up  i believe your mother should have swallowed his cum,, cause you
    are nothing but that======a wad of cum..

  • moses

    athiests are the lowest form of  life on this or any planet. go see a good psychiatrist
    and get some help== like haldol..


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