The Sad State of Religion in the U.S.

“There’s no longer evidence for a need of God, even less of Christ.  The so-called traditional churches look like they are dying.”

It matters who said this.  If it came from Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens – the Four Horsemen of the New Apocalypse – few would accept it as an objective assessment.  But the author of this quote was Pope Benedict XVI.[1]

The Pope’s candor fits well with other research sponsored by churches.  When you count the people in the pews on Sunday rather than having a pollster ask whether or not they attend church, fewer than 18% attend church regularly.[2]  From 1980 to 2005 in the Southern Baptist Church, baptisms of people between eighteen and thirty four – in other words, their next generation of leaders – fell 40 percent, from 100,000 in 1980 to 60,000 in 2005.[3] 

But the U.S. population grew by 27% during those 25 years, so the Baptists would have had to baptize 127,000 in 2005 just to stay even; they really fell by 52%.[4]  In 2006, the Southern Baptists – who claim almost six times more members than any other white evangelical church – made a concerted effort to baptize one million people.  Not only did they fall over two-thirds short, they actually baptized even fewer than they had the year before.[5]

You might think that some faith group must have grown during the last thirty years, and you’d be right: atheists and nonbelievers more than doubled in the eleven years between 1990 and 2001, from 14 million to 29 million: from 8% of the country to 14%.  There are more than twice as many atheists and nonbelievers as there are evangelical Christians.[6]  And since it’s hard to believe that all atheists/nonbelievers would be willing to confess that to pollsters, the number is probably much higher.  From 2000 to 2005, church attendance fell in all fifty states.[7] 

Nor is this trend a new phenomenon: American churches have not kept up with population growth in over a century.[8]

Then, to add insult to injury, when a sampling of non-Christians were asked to rate eleven groups in terms of respect, they rated evangelicals tenth.  Only prostitutes ranked lower.[9]

Are believers more moral?  No.  When pollster George Barna – himself an evangelical – looked at seventy moral behaviors, he didn’t find any difference between the actions of those who were born-again Christians and those who weren’t.  His studies and other indicators show that divorce among born-agains is as common as, or more common than, among other groups.  One study showed that wives in traditional, male-dominated marriages were three times more likely to be beaten than wives in egalitarian marriages.[10]

Evangelicals constitute not 25 percent of the U.S. population – as they have claimed – but at most 7 percent, and their numbers are falling, not rising.  All these numbers come from the churches themselves.  (Wicker, p. 67)  While evangelical women make up at least 3.5% of the population (half of 7%), they make up about 20% of the women who get abortions.[11]

“The Spirit,” as the Gospel of John says, “blows where it will.”  Where is it blowing now?  Adding together the data from pollsters, evangelical researchers and Pope Benedict XVI, it’s not a stretch to say the Spirit – the spirit of life and the truth that can make you more free – has settled in the land of atheists, nonbelievers, and church alumni.


[1] Sydney Morning Herald, July 28, 2005 ([2] Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler, “How Many Americans Attend Worship Each Week? An Alternative Approach to Measurement”) in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44, no. 3 (September 2005): 307-322.
[3] Christine Wicker, The Fall of the Evangelical Nation (2008), p. 63.
[4] U.S. population in 1980: 227,224,681;  in 2005: 288,400,000.  From U.S. Bureau of the Census.
[5] Wicker, p. xiv.
[6] Wicker, p. 53.

[7] David T. Olson, The American Church in Crisis (Zondervan, 2008), p. 37.
[8] Olson, pp. 144-145.
[9] Wicker, p. 143.
[10] Wicker, p. 80.
[11] Wicker, p. 81.

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About the Author

Davidson Loehr is a former musician, combat photographer and press officer in Vietnam, owner of a photography studio in Ann Arbor, and a carpenter. He holds a Ph.D. in methods of studying religion, theology, the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science, with an additional focus on language philosophy (The University of Chicago). From 1986 to 2009, he served as a Unitarian minister. He is the author of one book, America, Fascism & God: Sermons from a Heretical Preacher, (Chelsea Green, 2005). Now retired from the ministry, he is building a platform to become involved in national discussions of religion, science and culture. His book in progress is The Rise of Secular Religion in America.

  • Mike

    I see nothing sad about the demise of the outdated and worthless.

    • Tim

      Why is it that most people who are glad to see religion hurt, always seem angry? I'm not trying to be controversal. I would actually like to understand your reasoning and your, from my view, hostility towards people with faith.

      • Bill

        Many people see what they want to see, or what they themselves feel. But aside from that, put yourself in the shoes of an atheist. It is annoying to be sitting at home only to get a knock at the door from someone selling you something you don't agree with, don't want, and don't believe in, and when you express as much – no matter how politely – you're met with the declaration that you will burn in Hell for all eternity unless your soul is saved. That's enough to get someone pretty pissed off, and it's not a one time ordeal. The minute a Christian finds out you are an atheist, suddenly you are a project – a target for conversion. It is the MISSION of Christianity to spread the Good Word and to convert as many people as possible. And this is openly admitted! So, if atheists come across sounding a little angry, it might be that we're just as mad as hell and refuse to take it anymore!

        • JConstantine

          "The minute an Atheist finds out you are a Christian , suddenly you are a project – a target for conversion."

          There, fixed that quote for you — sorry to point out the hypocrisy of your statement there Bill but there it is. What you attribute to religion or Christians is in fact a -human- trait — a little science and psychology would help your understanding a lot, Bill. Perhaps tend your own garden?

          As to Christians' 'mission'… what you have stated is conveniently incorrect (and a cliche` straw-man). In fact, as to the spreading the word of Christ, the responsibility is to offer and walk on if there is no desire for receipt: you don't get points for who does or doesn't listen, only for trying to reach them. Given the consequences, you might take a moment to grasp that they do what they do because they care. Instead, you turn to hate-rhetoric. Seems an odd response, even if you dislike the method in which someone shows caring.

          "And this is openly admitted!" Are you admitting that you do -not- want everyone to convert to atheism? Or are you going to try to hide that fact?

          "So, if atheists come across sounding a little angry, it might be that we're just as mad as hell and refuse to take it anymore!"

          What you sound like, if I may be so bold as to be objective, are the handful of people, ostensibly people of faith, who aren't precisely certain and feel directly threatened by anyone who disagrees with them. You lash out with hate instead of understanding the actions — no matter how undesired — come from love and compassion.

          Atheists such as yourself, Bill, portray all of the hallmarks of "intolerant religion" that you supposedly abhor — hallmarks most people of faith, most Christians, abhor as well.

          You're a religious zealot, Bill, of the very worst kind.

          • Brian

            I think the main issue is that all atheists want is a little evidence for the claims that Jesus is our savior, God loves us, God will intervene in our lives if you close your hands and think to him, etc. I would happily 'believe' in your God if Christians actually provided some solid evidence. I may not worship him though, but that's a whole different issue.

            But, when asked for evidence all Christians can ever provide to us is the same old logical fallacies over and over and over and over again. When we point those fallacies out, we usually get threatened with an unimaginable eternal torture in a fiery hell-pit. I think you would get a little annoyed too if you were threatened with your eternal 'soul' every time you talked to a group people. Don't tell us that the anger it is not warranted if you have never walked in our shoes.

            If you ask me, the Christians are the unpleasant angry one always threatening people. When was the last time you saw some atheists going door to door declaring heaven isn't real?

          • panicBoy

            We want irrefutable evidence.

          • Ahuman


            Your response reeks of the foul and pathetic stench of the pious condescension so typical of believers.

            You can't "convert" to atheism, so your assertion that atheists want to convert christians (or anyone else) is absurd and just shows how ignorant you really are. It's like saying that people who are apolitical want to convert democrats or republicans to their political views. Um, "apolitical" means they have no policital affiliation, so there is nothing to convert people to. Open a book besides the bible once in awhile. Atheism is not a belief system, like christianity, islam, judaism, etc. that one can convert TO from another religion. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a supernatural being; a deity. That's it. Nothing to evangelize, nothing to spread, no money to extract from the flock, and more importantly, no one to kill or ostracize for their disbelief.

            Religion is the celebration of ignorance. Science seeks to eradicate ignorance. Stop embracing ignorance and holding the rest of us back.

          • Ahuman


            Your response reeks of the foul and pathetic stench of the pious condescension so typical of believers.

            You can't "convert" to atheism, so your assertion that atheists want to convert christians (or anyone else) is absurd and just shows how ignorant you really are. It's like saying that people who are apolitical want to convert democrats or republicans to their political views. Um, "apolitical" means they have no policital affiliation, so there is nothing to convert people to. Open a book besides the bible once in awhile. Atheism is not a belief system, like christianity, islam, judaism, etc. that one can convert TO from another religion. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a supernatural being; a deity. That's it. Nothing to evangelize, nothing to spread, no money to extract from the flock, and more importantly, no one to kill or ostracize for their disbelief.

            Religion is the celebration of ignorance. Science seeks to eradicate ignorance. Stop embracing ignorance and holding the rest of us back.

          • BLeMaster

            "Your response reeks of the foul and pathetic stench of the pious condescension so typical of believers."

            Ad hominem.

            "so your assertion that atheists want to convert christians (or anyone else) is absurd and just shows how ignorant you really are."

            Ad hominem.

            "Religion is the celebration of ignorance. Science seeks to eradicate ignorance. Stop embracing ignorance and holding the rest of us back."

            Sweeping generalization.

            And atheists complain about the religious using logical fallacies…

          • PNadeau

            Sorry, JConstantine, but you're way off base. I'm an agnostic and my belief in a higher power is mine alone (no other person that I know shares my same exact belief)

            Every time I have been confronted by a Jehovah or any other "Christian", it has been a situation where the "Christian" repeatedly attempts to shove their own view of "Christianity" down my throat no matter how much I disagree or hold steady in my own belief. Usually, for the sake of getting me to join their church. And then the next step inevitably follows – Surprise! The church wants my money and my time. Never fails. It's gotten to the point where I can see deliberate infighting amongst the church members themselves as far as their doctrine is concerned and yet the church doesn't care what anyone believes (or does for that matter) as long as they cough up their dough and their time.

            Why is it, that when the Jehovah's come pounding on my door and I announce that I am 7th Day Adventist, that they run for the hills? They have nothing more to say to me? But when I announce that I don't believe in their God or their church that they keep coming at me?

          • Brian

            If you believe in a higher power, you are not an agnostic, you are a deist.

          • Another Brian

            "There, fixed that quote for you — sorry to point out the hypocrisy of your statement there Bill but there it is."

            Puh-lease! How would people react if atheists started handing out Dawkins' "The God Delusion" on street corners? or handing out atheist "chick tracts"? or if they stood on corners with signs and megaphones and "preached" to people? or went door to door?

          • T. Osborne

            You make some valid points JC, however, I haven't run across, or heard of, any door-to-door proselytizing by Athiests.. I also agree with your view of Athiests exhibiting the hallmarks of an intolerant religion. Upon re-reading both your and Bill's post, your post sounds the most hostile of the two. I think agnosticism is the way of reason, the ability to say I don't know, seems the wisest. I find examples of rabid hostility on both sides of the God or No God argument, however it hasn't stopped me from researching, learning and enjoying ecumenical discussions with my church going co-workers. I do have a problem with the religious zealot… of the worst kind comment, does judge not lest ye be judged sound familiar.

          • @Justintime233

            JConstantine you sound like exactly the kind of jerk christian that guy is talking about. You seem to think you are better than everyone else and your view is the only view.
            People like you are the exact reason people don't like christians. Try to keep your nose in your own damn business and stop "caring" as you call it for other people. I don't want or need your "care".

            Also stop trying to use words like abhor, perhaps, precisely, etc in an attempt to sound more intelligent. It just makes you sound like a snooty stuck up pretentious ass. Which is likely true anyway.

          • Don

            I have nothing against God (should he exist), it’s the fan clubs I can’t stand.

        • Jon Griffiith

          It doesn't take religion for outdated sales pitches to be annoying. Refusing to listen isn't going to make people shut up. Just don't listen. When someone says something you don't like, you have a choice to respond however you want to respond. You can respond in a healthy way, or not. Don't let someone else's point of view piss you off. That only proves your weakness.

          Even Atheists have a belief system, a world view.

      • Trinity

        Because it's advancement of humankind. We're not basing our beliefs on ghostbusters anymore

        • Jon Griffiith

          Advancements? We don't assimilate knowledge genetically, and patterns that have existed for eons continue to occur. Our technology has advanced. We aren't much different.

      • Robin

        Because "people with faith" are constantly trying to legislate their beliefs, attempting to force non-believers to conform to what the "people of faith" believe.

        A trivial example: a small town near here is considering removal of their Blue Laws. "People of faith" oppose not just the removal of the Blue Laws, but oppose even putting it up to a local vote because they fear they'd lose. And the *only* reason they're giving for opposing this seems to be "But, but, but .. it's Sunday!"

        I will happily stop opposing "people o faith" when they stop trying to run my life.

      • Leeds

        The anger stems from the fact that blind faith is a terrible, terrible thing.

        People who believe in magic and gods and unicorns have been wielding their power a lot more in the US as of late. If they had their way we'd be pulled back into the dark ages, kicking and screaming all the way.

        Logic is supreme and anyone who believes that fairy tales are somehow on par with science, logic and reason is dangerous to society. They are a cancer that needs to be stamped out post haste.

      • the crustybastard

        Why is it that most people who are glad to see religion hurt others always seem angry? I'm not trying to be controversal. I would actually like to understand your reasoning and your, from my view, hostility towards gay people.

    • Gerry

      I agree, they have twisted the word Jesus to the point where I no longer see them as Christians. We have our fundamentalists here in the USA and they are very similiar to Fundamentalist Muslims, very little if any tolerance. I grew up being taught that simple phase, "They will know we are believers by our Love". You just dont see that anymore. Its become so hateful and bigoted. You are not supposed to force your views on others, they will come to believe in their own time, and in their own way.

  • Dan

    It is likely that, while religion will eventually be sidelined in this and upcoming eras, it will likely survive in some way, shape or form for centuries yet. If not in the hearts and minds of practitioners, then it will live on in the histories of the world as something less evil than vehement secularists claim, and less good than the religious hold it to be.

    • Bill

      That is, unless the history revisionists get to that, too.

    • Rob

      I hope so. Though I'm an atheist and think we need to stop taking religion so seriously as to base matters of national policy on doctrinal claims, religions are still information rich and arguably an art form. I wouldn't want any of them to be truly lost to history any more than I'd want a painting, statue or book destroyed.

      • guest

        If religions were relegated to the status of merely an art form, I believe that would be a very positive thing.

  • Kevin

    It would be a shame for religion to NOT live on in the histories of the world. To wrong deny that something happened is terrible thing. I like you're balance of perspective. :)

  • Baldemar Huerta

    Would you want to go to a doctor if medical school were taught from books written like the bible? Didn't think so. The bible is poorly written, boring and flat out lame, just like Shakespeare.

    • PhD

      Have you ever read a text book? Its hard to get much more boring and flat out lame…

    • Wat

      >Would you want to go to a doctor if medical school were taught from books written like the bible? Didn’t think so

      If they did, George Washington may not have died from being bled out

      For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11

      • Jim

        You do realize that blood letting is a valid medical practice for some diseases, right?

      • Kim

        I liked your answer. Intelligent and well thought out. You're the antithesis of the 'ignorant Christian' so many believe us to be. Thank you.

    • Dormrat

      Hey – don’t knock Shakespeare!

    • Mal.

      Nice troll. Can't believe how successful that was.

    • Peter

      You need to keep in mind that 'The Bible', in spite of its name, is not a single book, but a collection of many. The books of the Old Testament just do not belong with the books of the New, and I just cannot understand why any self-proclaimed Christian would want to be associated with anything in the Old Testament; it is barbaric and stupid.
      So you think that you are a better writer than Shakespeare? He may not be to everyone's taste, but to call him a poor writer is stretching things a bit, don't you think?

    • Jon Griffiith

      Your assumption is a generalization, and is not true for all. If my doctor learned his trade underground, and he proved to be the best, then I wouldn't care what books were involved.

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  • sonickouch

    Best. Stat. Ever.

  • Dave

    There is no other man-made object that has caused more death, more grief, more destruction, more war, more suicides, more persecution, more judgment, more guilt, more rapes, more loss of innocence, more hate – than religion. Believe in God if you want to, but religion is hypocritical mess.

    • Andrew

      I don't think that is correct. Wars and violence may claim to be the will of religion-but the reality is WE are the cause. Resource aquisition fuels all those acts you list-and whether I use patriotism or religion or hatred it needs to be remembered that these ideas are a construct our brains allow us to create to commit these acts. Blaming religion for violence in my opinion conceals the real causes-and we really need to get a handle on what we are as opposed to what we THINK we are.

      • guest

        Religion is nonsensical. If you think wars do not occur because of religion then you are an idiot. Adhering to an obviously false belief is willing delusion.

        • Jon Griffiith

          Hmmm…if you believe that religion is the sole cause of wars, then you would be AS ignorant. Obvious to whom, and how?

    • G Hogan

      In the 20th Century, Atheism killed more people than religion. Hilter, Stalin, Mao, and those in Cambodia, all professed an atheistic (Hitler anti-christian). To convert people to the atheistic communism, and the master race multiple millions died.
      Yes, religion and even Christianity, has been the reason or excuse to kill others. But we cannot blame all mass murder and genocide on religion.

      • James

        Hitler wrote: "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

        We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity- A Hitler

        My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them- A Hitler

        Hogan, whoever told you Hitler was an atheist?

    • Jon Griffiith

      Religion is no more hypocrisy than a basketball is perseverance. People behave hypocritically. Religion does not have behavior.

    • Myra

      Dare I say it? I'm in the Amen Corner on that!!

  • Statsologist

    While women make up at least 50% (half of 100%) of the population, they make up about 100% of the women who get abortions.

    • statsRfun

      Women make up 50% of the parents of aborted babies.

      • C.B.Rodriguez

        Not necessarily true. Many abortions are done by women who were raped or abandoned. Some never even tell their partner. So many times, the male never has to carry the burden. A terrible, but necessary choice for so many women.

        • Statsologist

          Ghost sperm?

        • the crustybastard

          100% of the time, the male never has to carry the child, or assume the health and mortality risks associated with pregnancy, or any of a pregnancy's profound long- and short-term physiological and psychological effects.

          Nonetheless, many males think the paltry contribution of their own orgasm grants them at least a 50% say in whether she'll assume these risks and effects.

          It's like a woman deciding that a guy should assume a mortgage for their shared residence because she enjoyed a one-night stand with him.

    • guest

      So? Once you take your "magic book" and your poor logic out of the equation, your statement becomes meaningless. The "Abortion is murder" argument is specious and blinkard. It is also trite, by the way.

    • Jon Griffiith

      That was brilliant. Oranges are orange.

  • Brian

    I think the people have finally realized that Jesus was a shoddy carpenter who just couldn't master the installation of crown moulding. Good advertising doesn't equate with quality workmanship.

    • Baldemar Huerta

      HA! So THAT's why they crucified him!

    • eccles

      Jesus was the result of a Jewish Teen age girl being raped by a spook under the orders of a crazy "god".

  • API

    Wat – please don't quote Leviticus. It's one of the main reasons I lost my faith.

    "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property." (Leviticus 25:44-45)

    This is only one of the MANY insane things that is written within Leviticus.

    • JCG

      Poor translation, and clearly quoted of of context.

      • Jim

        The answer to everything that is objectionable to modern morality in the Bible.

    • sru

      Wow! I didn't realize the Bible held the answer to the illegal immigration problem too! Is there nothing it doesn't cover?

    • eccles

      That is nothing. Try Numbers 31:
      14And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. 15And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? 16Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. 18But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. 19And do ye abide without the camp seven days: whosoever hath killed any person, and whosoever hath touched any slain, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day. 20And purify all your raiment, and all that is made of skins, and all work of goats' hair, and all things made of wood.

  • DovS

    Just a minor point here: When you point out that "evangelical women make up at least 3.5% of the population (half of 7%), they make up about 20% of the women who get abortions", you are presenting the data in a misleading way. You are trying to compare evangelical women as a percentage of the full population versus the percentage of women getting abortions. Since men do not get abortions at all, it is misleading to compare evangelical women against the full population. You should only compare them against the female population, of which the statistics suggest they would make up 7%. While 7% is certainly much less than 20%, it is double the 3.5% you emphasized.

    • Einstein

      The story claims that 7% of the population is evangelical. Assuming half are women (3.5%), it then claims that these evangelical women represent 20% of the population of women who get abortions.

      Nothing misleading about that.

      • Jeff

        6x or 7x times more, I suppose its because evangelical communities have such stigma attached to sex and adultery that they break their faith to hide their shame.

      • Angus

        Think through the mathy on that.

        3.5% of the women are evangelical, and represent 20% of the abortions?
        (First point, this data is unsourced).

        OK let's say that true.

        Searching "percentage of women who have had an abortion" I found a low of 28% and a high of 48% estimated.

        20% of those numbers would be a range from 5.6% to 9.6%. So… somewhere between 5.6% and 9.6% of all women are evangelical women who have had an abortion. But… the story also claims that 7% of the population is evangelical.

        SO you can believe one of three things:

        1) Truth posted on the internet trumps math.
        2) Between 80% and 137% of evangelical women have had an abortion.
        3) The source cited is a load of crap.

        • Will I am

          How about a correctly cited work on abortion.

          • two-thirds of women having abortions intend to have children in the future;
          • Catholic women have an abortion rate 29% higher than Protestant women;
          • one in five women having abortions are born-again or Evangelical Christians;
          • single women who live with their partner or have no religious affiliation are about four times as likely as other women their age to have an abortion;
          • Hispanic women have a much higher abortion rate than white women, but their rate is not so high as that of black women.
          "Abortion Patients in 1994-1995: Characteristics and Contraceptive Use", by Stanley Henshaw and Kathryn Kost, appears in the July/August 1996 issue of the Institute's peer-reviewed, bimonthly journal, Family Planning Perspectives.

  • Chad

    Why does the other seem to imply that EVANGELICAL Christianity is the only "right" Christianity? Of course they're being rated and viewed so lowly. They are the most immoral and most willingly stupid of all religions.

    Catholic numbers are staying fairly even, and they aren't viewed in such a negative light, so why is the author putting so much slant on a religion that denies such a simple fact as "the Earth is several billion years old"?

    • sharpei_diem

      Don't forget, many evangelicals consider Catholics to be Satanists at worst, and sadly misguided at best.

      • Baldemar Huerta

        And don't get 'em started on the JOOOOOOOs.

  • Some girl

    Considering the general state of America and people's lack of faith in the bible or God are we really any better off? I agree that christians have not been the light that shines in the darkness and they have done things that make me question their sincerity. The focus I believe should not be put on what are they doing, but what does God want to do in your life? "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

    • ringo

      Your God was into child sacrifice. That's part of the problem…get it?

    • Noel

      I seriously doubt that you even read this article. Shame on you for only exposing your own agenda while failing to come up with a decent response to the whole argument.

  • C.B.Rodriguez

    Evangelicals and Born-Agains are the worst. Right above KKK members and right below Mormons on my list of dumbest branches of Christianity. At least the Catholics believe in science. #1 is of course, the Jesuits. The most badass of all the Christians.

    • @TaxicabMessiah

      Jesuits are Catholics. And yes they are badass because they actively seek out knowledge that could alter their beliefs. Plus they were one of the few groups Christian groups to assist Jews during the Holocaust.
      As a Catholic I really wish they would allow the election of the Pope to be open to all practicing Catholics. It would break tradition, but I felt like the Church took a huge step backward following up JP2 with Benedict.

    • Jon Griffiith

      Are you implying that Christians don't believe in science? That's simply not true.

  • Dave

    Look, you can quote any book, paragraph or phrase you like from the bible to make or emphasize any point you'd like to see emphasized.
    Whether you are quoting Leviticus or John matters not at all.
    As they have been all lumped together by the successive leaders of this Faith over the years, they must be all taken in equal context.
    Thus, buying your neighbors as slaves is every bit as justifiable as believing that God gave his only begotten son for you.
    On the same note, homosexuals are faggots on the fires of hell and wearing clothing of mixed materials should be punished by a stoning.
    Let's get serious, people.
    You can honestly say, in the same breath, that Zeus and Apollo, Thor and Hera, Vishnu, Epona and Kokapelli are all silly fables and fairy tales, yet Noah, Methuselah and Jesus were proven historical fact?
    Because you read it in a book?
    But, I read about those other Gods in books, as well.

    Will we ever be able to rise above our superstitions and fears and take charge of our own lives as a rational and intelligent species?

    Stories like this one keep me doubting for the future of my own race.

    • Angus

      You can honestly say, in the same breath, that Zeus and Apollo, Thor and Hera, Vishnu, Epona and Kokapelli are all silly fables and fairy tales, yet Noah, Methuselah and Jesus were proven historical fact?
      Because you read it in a book?
      But, I read about those other Gods in books, as well.


  • Bob Smith

    Sad? Thats the best news i've heard all day! Stupid fairy tales and the idiots who believe them. Wait is that a Scientology link? Hahahahaha, yes the only ones with a religion stupider than the Rastafarians.

    • Jeff

      I almost thought you said Pastafarians were silly. I'm glad he didn't have to strike you down with his noodley appendage.

      • Mel

        Pastafarians have the cheesiest rituals.

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  • Jeremy Thomson

    I became an atheist at about 4 years old.
    I was at a new sunday school, didin't know anyone and the adult in charges said "Okay, kiddies what song would you like to sing". I put my hand up and answered "Hey Jude". The reply was "don't be silly Jeremy!". I didn't think singing "hey Jude" was silly but I had small awareness that they wanted to sing their songs and no one elses. That day I told my parents I didn't believe in god (lower case G intentional), didn't want to go to sunday school, didn't want to have say prayers at night. I'd probably been feeling I was praying to thin air anyway.
    I figured out that god didn't exist at 4.
    Imagine my level of respect for people yet to realise this truth.

    Jeremy Thomson

    • Susie

      I had a similar experience as a child. At first I just couldn’t understand how so many corrupt people could deceive the church into making them a part of all the ceremonies. I am afraid I was 7 or so when I realized it was all a bunch of hooey. We were listening to a missionary who had just returned from Africa telling us how those people had no knowledge of love until the Christian missionaries explained it to them, and how African women would throw their children to a lion in order for the adults to safely escape. Then there was a thunderous sermon with singing and chanting and people shouting AMEN! It was all a big show leading up to the passing of the collection plate. That particular lie I was required to sit and listen to made me reflect on all of the deceitful and stupid things I heard in church, I thought that no one believed any of the crap they were preaching and that it was a big secret you weren’t supposed to talk about.

    • Mel

      I was a bit slower, but at 7 years old, when I heard the difference between the mother's day sermon ("Dear God, Forgive us for succumbing to the worldly temptation of materialism and leaving our rightful places at home with our families…" vs. "Dear God, thank you for giving us the strength this past year to guide our families down the paths of righteousness…") (And that was just the United Church… yeesh!)
      After the second sermon, I told my parents why I didn't ever want to go back there and they let me quit. And by the end of the month, they stopped going too.

    • TexasRedbud

      Who could argue with the wisdom of a 4 year old who loves the Beatles?

    • Jon Griffiith

      You figured out a cosmic argument that mankind hasn't been able to solve for thousands upon thousands of years at age 4? Amazing. Yet your language elevates you above those who would believe something you don't…or so I've inferred. That's interesting. Sounds like Atheism is as much of a point of view as Christianity is, which seems to be to be evidence of some sort of organized method of thought.

  • Stan

    Sure plenty of people have said it but: Atheism is not a ‘faith group’. It is the entire absence of faith.

    Thats not to say that some non-believers don’t have faith, some surely worship at the Church of Science i.e. believe that one day science will be able to explain everything. It may well do, but that is faith. It is not fact.

    But most simply believe that out of 2 possible ways to go about understanding the Universe, its probably better to test and measure empirically than to guess introspectively.

    • Jed

      Atheism is a faith in the absence of a supernatural god. It is correct to present an atheist's position this way because, as gods are supernatural and therefore immune to empirical proof, it is impossible to say that they do not exist as fact (unless "fact" is defined as whatever can be proven empirically, but that definition may also be flexible depending on our current theories and abilities vis a vis the universe). Therefore, rejecting a religious person's faith in the existence of god (or god's plan, etc.) is simply expressing faith in the nonexistence of god.

      • Stan

        Jed, I’m afraid you’re wrong on this one buddy and I’ll try to explain why.

        Saying that ‘Atheists have faith that there is no god’ is undoubtedly true in the way you have defined. However it is the same kind of true as the sentence ‘The people of the world have faith that at the centre of the Universe there is not a mouse with a string hat blowing bubbles and singing Ba Ba Black Sheep’. Again this sentence is true but to extrapolate from that, that all the people of the World belong to a faith based around non-existent hat-wearing mice is undoubtedly misleading.

        People do not actively believe in a non-existent God / non-exisitent hat-wearing mouse etc. Sure, its possbile to frame the absence of their belief in those terms but there are literally an infinite amount of things that human beings don’t believe in (hat shaped flying sponges, pencils made of mythril that you can only purchase in the past, goats with the heads of rats and stomachs of cheese) the list literally goes on to infinity.

        If we accept your definition of ‘faith group’ then we have to label every human being born or to be born, a member of a faith group. In fact, all sentient life by your definition claims membership of an infinite number of faith groups.

        So the decision is, do we want to use your definition of faith group, which is effectively worthless since it applies to everyone in an infinite manner. Or do we want to use a more functional definition based around a conscious belief in something or an absence of conscious belief in something.

        Even if you stick to your guns and argue that we should not use the latter, it does not stop the fact that the two groups are seperated by an ideological bridge which requires description in one way or another. You position provies no clarity and no understanding of the distinction between the two and would therefore require further explanation. My definition, which is the accepted position amongst atheists, provides this clarity and distinction without requiring further explanation. Clearly arguing that Christians and atheists share ‘faith’ is not helpful to anyone seeking a transparant and informative debate on the topic.

        The other problem with your definition is that it would nominally define agnostics as a non-faith group. Agnostics have neither faith in God nor faith that there is no God. They are open to the possibility of both. But agnostics by their very nature are a lot closer to having faith in God than atheists so it is counter-intuitive to label agnostics as a non-faith based group and atheists as a faith based group. (although, again, agnostics by your defintion are a de facto faith group because they will all have faith that the bottom of the worlds oceons are not made of recycled marshmallow bits etc ad infinitum)..

        Many beleivers have a real problem wrapping their head around the notion of non-belief since belief in something / anything is so fundamental to them, that it is impossible to imagine life without it and more impossible still to accept that others can experience life this way. But that is how it is.

        Very simply put, faith requires additional things of you (e.g. to believe that the Chinese have the ability to manufactuer wafers that, when consumed, turn into a literal human body). Lack of faith requires no such thing. This is why it is robust and logical to define the two in those terms, rather than to use your metaphysically problematic and cyclical definition.

      • the crustybastard

        Atheism is a faith like bald is a hair color.

  • niki

    Jeremy, you're gonna make a judgement on the condition of your soul based on some idiot who wouldn't let you sing a song? wow.

    • sru

      Niki, the truth is that idiots are disproportionately represented among religious zealots of all types, including Christians. He was simply aware of the idiots in his midst a bit earlier than most.

  • Maria

    One little thingie I'd like to understand is why Paul is followed and not Jesus? We rarely hear quotes from Jesus, but the interpretations from Paul…who wasn't even a follower until it was politically expedient. Yes, I know there were two Pauls…so which is which when we are read to from the bible?
    I also find it weird that we listen so closely to the teachings of men who did not believe women had souls. Wouldn't this scew their outlooks a bit? The Jordanians still don't believe women have souls, this doesn't make them bad people, but it does color their society. I'll admit, Lady Gaga, does us ladies no favor in this matter. But, I'm pretty sure I have a soul. It twitched when some folks rang my doorbell earlier today. I was very tempted to answer the door naked and holding a black candle. Not to worry, I was very nice and said no.

    • Mel

      You hit the nail on the head, Maria. Most people calling themselves "Christian" are acting as "Paulines," and even an idiot reading the bible should be able to spot that Paul was a Roman who spent his early days killing Christians and his later days infiltrating the organization and subverting it to suit the needs and fit the worldview of the Roman lawmakers.

      • Will I am

        I would go further and call them Niceans, Mel. As a group, christians with some minor exceptions, follow the beliefs dictated by the Nicean Council in the 300's C.E. I believe in the fluidity of reality, but to myself organized religion is just the accelerant to relesing some happy brain chemicals; utilized by the powerful as a tool for dominance.

    • Bones

      I completely agree with you. As an athiest growing up through Jesuit taught Catholic school, reading the church founders lead to some interesting discussions. Catholic (well, educated ones ) understand that the christainity of the gentiles is pauline, and as Will pointed out, is Nicean. The history of the church is unabashedly full of this information. Read anything from the early martyrs or research into martyr cults of the Late ancient and early medieval period and you will find the origins of practices still performed to day that have little meaning.

    • the crustybastard

      Paul wasn't religious until he sustained a head injury.

  • Gottsman

    At least in the US, organized religion has really lost its way. From Fred Phelps to the Bible Thumping Tea Baggers, the public face of Jesus is as a poorly educated right wing bigot. If you are NOT politically conservative, accept people of all races and sexual orientations equally, have no desire to torch the local abortion clinic, and don't hate anyone for their beliefs, it appears there is not room in the church house for you!

    If I were to ever in my life try and seek out some kind of personal knowledge of any god, they very last place I would look is in a house of worship. They can be some of the most soulless, godless places ever created.

  • ErnestPayne

    Amuricans, like the Mayans (and probably others) appear to have finally woken up to the fact their gawds have failed them. The problem is that their religious beliefs tanked while they were headed to third world status not first world status.

    • TexasRedbud

      Now that is an interesting coincidence, less people going to church , and third world status looming large. Funny thing

  • John S

    It is so easy to prove God … I can't for the life of me figure out how anyone can honestly deny it.

    • Jeff

      troll much?

    • Jon

      Way too much order to be random chaos

    • stacy

      how do u prove god? i have never once seen anything in my 41 yrs to prove to me there is a god. the church ppl say he is a merciful god, but my idea of a merciful god is NOT one who "lets" small children become victims of horrid crimes. if i want to believe in something unproven and unreal i will stick to believing in santa claus or the tooth fairy…..

    • Kara

      If it's so easy, please do it! If you're going to point out something like the animal kingdom, I would ask do you mean the animal kingdom in which half the animals die in agony and terror to make food for the other half? I have ZERO desire to worship a god who came up with that one!

  • Steve D

    As a Christian, I think this is good. Christianity has gotten so corrupt that it is time to tear it down completely and rebuild it. Joining a religion is not the same thing as converting. If you're an evil, bigoted nonbeliever, and you pray the Sinner's Prayer, you merely become an evil, bigoted Christian. Good people practice good religion and evil people practice evil religion.

    • guest

      Ethical behavior has is totally independent of religion. If you need the threat of eternal torture or the temptation of eternal paradise to persuade you to act ethically then you are childish. and an immoral person.

  • Jeff

    Atheism is NOT a position requiring faith, just as not believing in Santa Claus does not require faith.

  • Ben C.

    Notice the number of atheists posting versus the number of "evangelicals" posting. This has turned into one giant god-free circle jerk. Enjoy.

    • guest

      A "god-free" anything is a good thing.

    • Susie

      evangelical circle jerks are much more righteous

    • Mel

      That's better than an "Evangelical Free Church" any day. Talk about false advertising.

    • Athiest666

      Is it not great, though. It seems almost……peaceful

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  • guest

    Personally, I would rate prostitutes above evangelicals.

  • obbop

    I fear that many "religions" are merely another form of social hierarchy based upon the human instinct for being a social, a "pack" creature that has a natural inclination to form a social hierarchy conducive to a pyramid-shaped hierarchy with the powerful few at the top with a descending hierarchy that grows larger towards the base where the non-powered masses dwell.

    When properly created by the powerful few at the top the wealth that is skimmed from the crowd below provides wealth and often lives of ease for the few at the top.

    This hierarchy is evident in so MANY aspects of human life.

    From government to corporations to clubs and organizations of all types.

    What is appreciated by some is the hierarchy that shares the wealth, that is not excessively greedy. That attempts to assist all the hierarchies members without excesses at any one level of the organization.

    However, that sharing appears to have become increasingly rare.

    We, the People has been usurped by so many, too many entrenched bureaucracies as evidenced by the growing numbers of working-poor who have had so many obstacles placed before them so as to be almost insurmountable.

    Yet, the relentless propaganda / brainwashing at so many levels from our earliest years onwards appears to have deluded the masses of citizens that as "things" are is correct and proper.

    Obey or be labeled a scalawag, a Commie, against the troops or unAmerican.


    Love it or leave it.

    Accept multi-MILLIONS of illegal invaders who harm you economically or be labeled a racist, a xenophobe, a "hater" of "brown people."

    The president, along with most (all?) past presidents, have been mere lackeys, figureheads for the ruling elite top-dogs high atop the USA-wide socio-economic pyramid that skims so much wealth away from the masses of commoners at the bottom of the socio-economic pile.

    Love it or leave it.

    And the few at the top HAVE used extreme measures, including murder, to maintain the status quo so beneficial to the top dogs.


  • hmm


  • Fed Up

    Since all "evidence" is interpretation of an event, atheists are just as guilty as theists of faith and belief. Evolution uses the fossil record as evidence. It interprets the similarities between different species as evidence that they came from each other. Christians interpret the differences between species (irreducible diversity) as evidence that they could not have evolved. Neither can definitively prove how the universe was started. Let people have their beliefs, one way or another we'll all find out who was right in the end.

    • AYA


      • Fed Up

        Anything claimed as "evidence" by either side has been interpreted by that group to fit their own worldview. It really is impossible to know for sure if evolution or creation is true because the initial cause of the universe can not be known. Anyone who claims to know one way or another is ultimately relying on their own interpretations of the world, or if you prefer, their own beliefs. The entire arguement is cyclic and pointless because it is impossible to arrive at a conclusive answer.

        • AYA

          You must be joking. You believe that the claim the Earth is roughly 10,000 years can't be disproven? Are you an agnostic by any chance?

          • Fed Up

            I like to call myself an apathetic. It doesn't matter much to me whether the earth is roughly 10,000 or 10,000,000,000,000 years old or we evolved from single celled organisms or if some all powerful entity poofed us here. How we got here doesn't affect my everyday life. Somehow it started, it'll end eventually, there might be something afterwards there might not. How arrogant are those people who claim to have the answers. I AM SIGNIFICANT!!! screamed the dust speck.

          • Sav

            What does the variation of allele frequencies in a population over time have to do with the origin of the Universe? I don't understand.

        • Gottsman

          Most of us simply do not believe in god. We need no evidence. When someone says there is a god therefore . . . we simply say "No thank you" and go about our day. One side strongly puts forth their beliefs with no evidence. The other does not really care.

      • the crustybastard

        It's an explanation of why you don't want Christians on your jury.

    • billy C

      What . . . is this? It is so confused one doesn't know were to start. The evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of evolution. Is the theory of gravity a matter of someone's assumption or beliefs?
      How do you propose that we will find out who is right, then?

  • Koren

    It is so sad to see all of these comments. As it was mentioned many times, the hatred that is being poured out. The fact of the closing of the ears and the opening of the mouth. It is always better to listen than to be heard, which is what almost stopped me from commenting, but my heart is broken over many of these statements. The fact that all Christians are viewed as people who are trying to shove religion down someone's throat is a disgusting fact. I say fact because as in all groups, only the ones who have the worst manners are obviously the ones who are the most recognized for their group. When you look at a group and notice one normal person hanging out with the others and one person screaming you are going to hell, which one do you notice? I would be that Christian, that most people if you met me would not know. Well you would because its very evident in my actions, such as "love your neighbor as yourself" so treating people decently and not threatening their souls is something I normally partake in. I also have learned to turn the other cheek. So I am not trying to argue with anyone, because I agree Christians give themselves bad raps, well at least the ones anyone is going to remember. I even as a Christian do not appreciate the "repent now or you are going to Hell" speeches, in fact I normally last out at whoever is giving them because it does not show what Christianity is or believe in God. I understand that many people do not believe that the Earth was created by a God, I as a pretty educated person, do not understand how you think science can explain it all because honestly no matter how far back you would like to go, something had to be the catalyst, something had to cause it all to happen. It's like saying that the house I am sitting in evolved from the earth, no man was used to build it. I mean it is made of wood which is from trees which grow in the ground. So obviously one day the tree decided "I am going to cut myself down, then make myself into a house. I mean that's what the Big Bang is basically stating or whatever statement you would like to say in accordance to why God does not exist. So if that is your belief keep on believing, but it is not mine. I believe that even if you want to say the Big Bang was how everything was created, who started that big bang? God. In the beginning of the bible it talks about how the Earth was created, but it never says nothing didn't evolve, yes first there was light and dark, then water and earth, then animals, etc. But nothing says "these did not evolve from each other". Again not something I specifically do or do not believe in, its just something I would like to state. I believe there is a God, and the saddest part is that our nation was created in this belief. You want to take it out of everything, well if you did, you would no longer have the US. It was built on the belief of God, every document that started this country has some roots in the Christian belief. So to take God out would be like taking away the country. I understand that religion is the biggest deal, and I totally agree. So many people scew religion to what they want it to be, so by the time it is done it is one big mess, each religion says something different, each religion does something different. They say they are Christian but most of the time they forgot what being a Christian is. Being one who is Christ like. A person who loves the outcasts, who denies no one, who does not hate. A person who is accepting and loving and their main goal is to love and show God's love to everyone they possibly can. So it saddens me when I read about all this hatred and because this is so long many may not read it. But I could not stand by without putting in a word. I am a very argumentative person but I will NEVER shove God down someone's throat, you can ask any of my atheist, agnostic, jewish, muslim, etc friends. You can ask anyone who knows me I am a Christian and I will talk about it because it is my life but I will never force Jesus down your throat because that's not the way to be a Christian or to show love. The only way to win someone over to Christianity is to show them what a Christian truly is and to let them decide in their own way and their own time. By shoving something down someone's throat does not make them swallow, they will almost always throw it back up, that's what the gag reflex is for.

    • Steve

      The "Enter" key on your keyboard – learn it, use it.

    • Gottsman

      I tried to read you post – but one HUGE paragraph is hard to make sense of.

    • Jon Griffiith


    • the crustybastard

      I believe there is a God, and the saddest part is that our nation was created in this belief. You want to take it out of everything, well if you did, you would no longer have the US. It was built on the belief of God, every document that started this country has some roots in the Christian belief. So to take God out would be like taking away the country….but I will never force Jesus down your throat because that's not the way to be a Christian or to show love.

      And yet here you are, shoving Jesus down our throats. Quick history lesson:

      Pilgrims were intolerant Christians who were outraged by the fact that other intolerant Christians back at home didn't tolerate them.

      The founders were a bunch of people who couldn't agree about the existence of any god, much less agree on any dogmatic specifications.

      As for your absurd contention that "every document that started this country has some roots in the Christian belief," it's a fact that the only religious issues the US Constitution (the most fundamental of fundamental American documents) touches has to do with (1) not allowing Christians to require that only other Christians may hold public office, and (2) not allowing certain Christian sects to use the political process to dominate and exterminate other beliefs.

      These limitations on the faithful weren't imposed because Christians are God's own gentle, tolerant folks.

      It's because you people are reliable fascists that must be constrained by the strongest of laws.

  • Anonymous

    I find it interesting that they're only looking at evangelical Christians–what about the rest of us, who aren't hellbent on being jerks and shoving our religion down other people's throats? And just because we don't go to church, it doesn't mean we've lost our faith in Christ. Rather, it means we've lost faith in the church. Perhaps if organized religion moved with the times more people would show up.

  • Jeff

    John S. – I'm an Atheist, but certainly interested in hearing your proof.
    I think it would be great if there was some type of supreme entity that would answer all my questions after I die. Let me know how to find it.

    • Steve

      Your an AGNOSTIC

  • Sandman

    That article just made my month, maybe my year. Lets see if we can get that 7% down to 0%.

  • Thinker

    @ Koren

    You make a good point, better worded than my own. Some posters on both sides of this debate have been guilty of stereotyping the other.

  • Thinker

    Sorry, last sentence should read "But please don't miss the message because of difficulty overcoming personal 'feelings' about the messengers." MAJOR mis-type.

    • Zatch

      The Greeks knew the world was round way before the Bible was compiled. Read a book…. and by that I mean "another" book…

      • Sav

        The Bible also says that showing striped sticks to pregnant animals will make them bear striped offspring…

  • Betty

    The problem here is that faith is not, by its very definition, a matter of fact. Anyone who believes that empirical thought has anything to do with religion, is sadly mistaken. Anyone who thinks that a cursory reading of an American-English translation of the Bible will provide you with truth is equally mistaken. The fight isn't necessarily between people of faith and atheists. The fight is more often, if the above comments are any indication, between Evangelical/Conservative Biblical literalists and atheists. Of course atheists are angry. I too am angered by the spread of Evangelical ignorance.

  • Betty

    The only offense I have ever taken with regard to atheists is that most atheists (but not all) will assume that I am just like every other bible thumper out there simply because I am a Christian.I am a Christian, I have faith, do I require a proof? Certainly not. If there was such a proof, then my faith would have to be reclassified as science because religion has nothing whatsoever to do with empiricism and it never did.

  • Betty

    Do I go knocking on people's doors. Never! Why? Because the Great commission to spread the word of Jesus Christ has little to do with conversion (and anyone who ever bothered to consult the works of reputable theologians would know this). Rather, the Great Commission is to "share" one's faith through one's living, not bombard them with misinterpreted Bible verses that have been plucked out of context and have been ignorantly applied to the wrong situations just because they sound nice in English (which of course does not constitute evidence or a logical proof). The proof of faith is how one chooses to live in relation to others. I and most liberal Christians (and there are a lot of us, we just don't waste time screaming as much) do not require atheists to believe in order to be saved because that would mean that we do not trust God to do God's own work. If you are an atheist, but you choose to live your life richly and with abundant love toward your fellow human being, that is enough for me and it should be enough for everyone else, especially other Christians.

  • Liz

    This post is rather misleading. Naturally it does not also include the statistics for other branches of religion or, gasp, the rise in popularity of personal spirituality and faith at home. Me, I think the savior of humanity will be the ability for one to gain personal enlightenment and seek things like true peace and positive energy, rather than dominion and hatred (all forms of organized religion feature large groups of people who display these traits…extremists, ugh). I don't care how much meaning you get out of the bible…it's still a physical book, written by human hands, and is thus more than capable of error. Treating it like the bedrock foundation of all life is a bit ridiculous. It should come as no surprise that I do not regularly attend church or am of a 'traditional' religion, as I think that it has been mislead for too many years. This does not mean I am without god or love in my life, and it does not mean that I think all organized religion is bad. I have gone to church and know them to be places of peace and positive light for many people…I just personally find it more enjoyable/purposeful to spend that time at home.

  • Deb

    We are participants/pawns in a great project to amass the knowledge of all that is good and all that is evil on a scale from minimal to extreme in Earth's particular physicality. In order to fulfill this quest we must have atheists as well as faith believers. (As the gods look down they nod their heads with approval for everything is going according to plan.) For those who adhere to bible endtime prophecy we have: Wise in their own eyes they became fools; Darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the peoples, Men's hearts will wax cold, Beasts will lose their fear of man, The fool hath said in his heart there is no God….. And for those who don't adhere we have: What will be will be, C'est la vie, Touche, and Human Ego. When Mankind's imagination is exhausted, when the databanks are filled and there is nothing let to KNOW, good or evil, this project will be OVER and we can all go back to where we came from where ever that might be. Thank you and have a nice day.

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  • zatch

    I've met hundreds of Christians, still waiting to meet a follower of Jesus…..

    • TexasRedbud

      This is s sad truth. I would bet that no more than 1/3 of people attending church understand the teachings of Jesus.

  • JD

    My, but there is some serious hatred for organized religion in here. I long for the day when the anti-religious pseudointellectual elitists can, if not embrace religion, at least admit that the Church did some good in its history. It wasn’t in every case a bastion of stuffy, anti-science arrogance, as it seems to be in the less-than-well-read mind of the average atheist on the street. In fact, it was the Church that preserved literacy and learning after the fall of the Roman empire, and it was the Eastern Churches from whom an expansionist Islam took the wisdom of the ancient world that it preserved to transmit to a newly reawakened Europe. The Church fostered in the West the growth of what would develop into the modern University system.

    The fact is, uncomfortable though it is for many angry postmodern anti-religious zealots to acknowledge, you have the Church to thank for your education.

    • Jeff

      Agreed sir. It is commonplace in the United States for people to speak only what they hear other people speaking. They rarely look at anything but their own assumptions unless it bolsters their argument. Let us not forget all the relief efforts, lives saved, and people changed by religion.

    • Gottsman

      And it was the Church that brough to us the abject horror of the Inquisition – an early grisly study of depravity and the depths of man's inhumanity towards his fellow man. Oh, and the Crusades. Gosh, who can forget about that long series of pointless wars based solely on christian religious belief. The entire middle east ran red with blood for centuries!

      Oh oh, and the witch burnings! In mean, what a religious gathering without a bonfire! Over a hundred thousand horribly burned to death for . . well . . . nothing as it turns out.

      What the Church WAS a bastion of was religious bigotry, backing wars for political gain and the seeking of power and wealth. Pure avarice. Only the names and the stakes have changed.

      Please name one instance where religious zeaolts, priests, etc. have gained political power where the populace they are supposed to serve has not suffered horribly.

      • mang

        There would have been education even without churches and probably a better on at that too!

    • the crustybastard

      Ah yes. After nearly 2000 years of Western civilization under pagan Greece and Rome — law, democracy, citizenship, literacy, arts, and culture.

      Followed by 900 years of rule by The Church — also known as the Dark Ages — where law became dogma, democracy became absolutism, citizens became serfs, and literacy, arts and culture became virtually extinct.

      The fall of the Roman Empire happened within decades of adopting Christianity as the state religion, despite thriving for centuries as a "pagan" culture.

      So there's that.

  • eccles

    The "Holy" Bible is the worst book of fiction ever written. It should be classified Horror/Fiction, not suitable for under 18.

  • eccles

    Religion POISONS everything and is a dangerous Mental Health Hazard.

  • eccles

    And how about the stupidity of 46% of the citizens of the United CHRISTIAN States of America who believe the World was 'created' in the year 4004 BCE on the 3rd. October at 9:00 am.

    AND the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Rev. Billy Graham, not Jesus.

  • Gottsman

    Please Mr. Thinker, think a little more deeply. For many centuries the Christian Church, that is the "Holy Roman Catholic Church", insisted the earth was the center of the entire universe. (Sorry evangelicals, but your branch of religion was not conceived until Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, over 1500 years after the death of christ – until then – Catholicism was pretty much the only game in town)

    If you disagreed, well – can we all jump up and shout Heretic! You could easliy be burned at the stake or even worse, and yes, they had things that were worse, being good christians and all.

    Christianity has never embraced science or logic. If it ever really did, I believe it would vanish in a puff of smoke.

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  • twocans

    I see all religion all a big spin to get peoples money. When I say all I mean evey Christian, Catholic, Muslim and what not. All priests are well fed and many have a secret sex life.

  • Josh

    I can't stand Christians. And why do they hate gays so much? It wasn't even important enough to put on their top 10 list.

    • Jon Griffiith

      Your statement is uninformed. To imply that Christians hate gays (assumed generalization of "all Christians") is neither a valid, nor productive statement, whether you're Christian or not.

      • the crustybastard

        Your statement is stupid. To imply that Christians don't hate gays because some individual Christians don't is sophistry.

        The overwhelming majority of Christian sects work tirelessly against the rights of gay people.

        If that makes you uncomfortable, it should.

  • Lando

    There are a lot of ignorant comments on this post. Ignorant comments from both sides. Most atheists do not know or understand what a Christian is supposed to be. Also, most Christians do not understand what a true christian is supposed to be. Personally, I blame religion for that. I believe God is real. I believe in Christ and not ashamed of it. However, I do not believe in man-made religion. Even the Bible says that in these times the Church would become corrupt, and it has. The corruption and the hypocrisy of the church and it followers has driven countless people away from the pews and away from God. That is the saddest part in all of this.

  • Bogdan

    I rarely understand why we separate religions and look at Christians or Muslims…when in fact and with all due respect, we should simply focus on RELIGION itself, regardless of color and flavor. Religion was an important form of manifesting population control and also the single form of education until SCIENCE came along. It does not matter what religion we are talking about. It is part of our history and development and we should concentrate on why it is maybe the time to declare all religions obsolete. To do so, TOLERANCE is paramount, since billions of people still rely emotionally and spiritually on their faith. I would celebrate the day when religion would only be a subject of study from historical perspective, but I am very aware if its current power in society. I am afraid that humankind may still fail to understand the grave error that it built-in any religious beliefs. Bogdan Heretoiu, author – Evolutionary Exploration

  • Monkey Man

    SUPERSTITION puts belief above goodness — credulity above virtue.

    Here are two men. One is industrious, frugal, honest, generous. He has a happy home — loves his wife and children — fills their lives with sunshine. He enjoys study, thoughts, music, and all the subtleties of Art — but he does not believe the creed — cares nothing for sacred books, worships no god and fears no devil.

    The other is ignorant, coarse, brutal, beats his wife and children — but he believes — regards the Bible as inspired – bows to the priests, counts his beads, says his prayers, confesses and contributes, and the Catholic Church declares and the Protestant Churches declare that he is the better man.

    The ignorant believer, coarse and brutal as he is, is going to heaven. He will be washed in the blood of the Lamb. He will have wings — a harp and a halo.

    The intelligent and generous man who loves his fellow-men — who develops his brain, who enjoys the beautiful, is going to hell — to the eternal prison.

    Such is the justice of God — the mercy of Christ.

    –Robert G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899 )

  • Diana DeNapoli

    Both of the above are "sinners"! One accepts Christ as Lord, and one does not. Yes, the one who accepts Christ will go to Heaven and he who rejects Christ goes to Hell. Those are God's rules.
    When you say that the Catholic & Protestant Churches "declare" that the first man is "better". it is because they are looking upon his OUTWARD appearance! God looks upon the heart…Developing your brain, enjoying the beautiful, or being intelligent are NOT criteria in getting to Heaven. You do not understand. Please read the Bible. Getting to Heaven has nothing to do with "good works, good deeds,
    or being a good person". The first man is full of Pride, self-centered, not God -centered.

    • the crustybastard

      "Those are God's rules."

      So your loving God refuses to tell its beloved children it's "rules" for eternal salvation in a way that each of us can personally understand in the most unequivocal possible manner, and instead relies on delivering it's rules via…you on the internet, having extracted your idea from a bad translation of a crappy edit of an ancient writing of at best unknown, and at worst fraudulent, origin.

      What a terrible waste of omnipotence.

    • Jenna

      Punkin, it’s your hell….you burn in it.

      Oh, and while you’re at it, stop threatening people with your hellfire and damnation. It’s petty, childish and ridiculous.

      One more thing…..if YOU take your morality from the Bible, you’re all for genocide; killing non-virgins on their wedding night; stoning those who eat pork, wear a poly/cotton blend, cut their sideburns or plant tomatoes and beans in the same field; and you think women should not be allowed to speak in your church. We all fervently hope you’re more moral than your Bible, your religion and your God.

  • Diana DeNapoli

    David, why is it necessary in each post to always use statistics and so many of them? They do not matter to most people because they are never accurate. If the Baptists wanted to dig up statistics
    against Catholics and Protestants, I am sure they could. Statistics are biased based on who is compiling them…

  • the crustybastard

    Nonsense. The Bible says the Earth is flat, has four corners, supported by four columns.

  • Jenna

    While I am pleased that superstition and religion seem to be losing their foothold here in the US, it’s not happening fast enough. Religious people are taking away as many rights and degrading our education as fast as they can.

    Religious people still have entirely too much power and influence. “Sad state” is hardly the case. They still put idiots in office, attempt to restrict our rights and hope to remove any and all non-Christians from this country. The religious right is still a very dangerous entity and we cannot let articles like this lull us into a sense of security.

    Keep spreading the doctrines of learning, scientific inquiry and humanity. We all benefit from them….even the religious.

  • Pingback: The Sad State of Religion in the U.S. - Davidson Loehr at Chelsea Green

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