Why God doesn’t go away
March 27th, 2013
09:41 AM ET

Why God doesn’t go away

By Paul J. Zak, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Paul J. Zak is a professor at Claremont Graduate University in California and author of 'The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity.' The views expressed are his own.

I carried a lot of crosses as a Catholic altar boy. I also learned to mumble phrases in Latin and breathed in enough incense to choke an elephant. There is something serene about being behind a ritual. It lets you observe and reflect. And wonder why in the world people show up.

Roughly six percent of Americans report that they are atheists or agnostics according to a 2012 Pew Research Center poll.  But, that means that over 90 percent believe in a God. Pew also reports that 80 percent profess a religious affiliation and half of those with a religious affiliation regularly attend church. So what motivates 120 million Americans to attend a church, synagogue or temple?

I began running experiments searching for a biochemical basis for moral behaviors in 2001 and found in a decade's worth of research that the molecule oxytocin motivated people to return kindness when they were shown kindness. Given my Catholic background and later skepticism that only Catholics would get into heaven (if such a thing exists), in my experiments I only asked college participants the most cursory questions about their religious beliefs. Guess what? Few college students are religious at all – and I found no difference in oxytocin functioning or prosocial behaviors between believers and nonbelievers.

Then the "weenie alert" went off in my scientist brain – I could learn so much more about the role of religion in moral behaviors if I got off campus. Free roaming humans are more religious than college students and I could study them in their natural habitat rather than in the sterile confines of my lab. Presuming, of course, religious people would let me study them.

More from CNN: Americans polarized over religion

After several meetings to gain permission, I went to a Christian church and took blood from volunteers before and after a Sunday service. I also took blood at a folk dance because many ancient religious rituals (and some current ones) involve coordinated movements. Then, I trekked deep into the rainforest of Papua New Guinea and took blood samples from indigenous peoples decked out in leaves and feathers as they did a centuries-old tribal dance.

In all these rituals, a majority of participants released oxytocin. Those who released oxytocin reported that they felt closer to their communities and said they would volunteer to help other community members. We did not find that the change in oxytocin was associated with an increased sense of connection to God or some "ultimate reality." In fact, there was no discernible difference between nonreligious and religious rituals at stimulating oxytocin release. A rugby team I studied produced as much oxytocin during their warm-up as did evangelical Christians who worshipped and sang in my lab.

The effect of ritual even worked for this skeptical scientist. Due to several equipment failures, I was embedded in my village in Papua New Guinea for several days with nothing to do. Quite quickly the villagers brought me into their daily rituals and I felt like I had joined their community and formed attachments to its members.  I still feel this way.

So why do people show up at church? Because people show up at church. Rituals build community by releasing oxytocin making rituals "sticky." An older woman in our folk dance sample told me she attended because dancing reduced her chronic pain. I asked her if this was due to the exercise or the people. After a pause, she said "both." Our data support her intuition.

Research from other scholars has shown that regular churchgoers are generally happier and healthier. Why? Oxytocin reduces stress responses and having more relationships make us happy. Churches also give attendants a chance to help others, another activity that increases one's satisfaction with life.

Sure, you don't need God, or church, to be happy or healthy. But the desire to park bottoms in pews has led churches in the U.S. to be effective community builders.  Humans need community and even reminders to be a bit less selfish and help others by studying ancient texts. Perhaps the saying "God is love" has it backwards. When we love others, we embody Godliness.

The proportion of atheists and agnostics may keep on growing, but as long as churches use rituals to bring people together, God is unlikely to go away.

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Topics: Religion

soundoff (634 Responses)
  1. Concerned John

    It doesn't take a highly intelligent or educated person to read history. The Apostle Paul was inprisoned in Caesarea, where he stood trial before Felix the appointed Roman Governor there. Felix's wife was Drucilla. Check your history books regarding the volcano eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Governor Felix's wife and son were killed in that eruption. The characters of the Bible aren't fiction as many people believe or imagine. The Bible tells all of us that even Satan and his demons believe in God. Only those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their savior will enter into Heaven. Our souls are eternal and will live for ever. It is our choice as to whether we spend eternity in Heaven or eternity in Hell. The Bible also tell us that only a few will enter into Heaven. The road is narrow that leads to Heaven and the road is wide that leads to Hell. Ephesians 2:8-10 explains that faith is a free gift from God by his Grace. For those of you, who think you are so wise, those of you who refuse Christ as your savior.......God promises to spit you out and your name will be blotted out of the Book of Life. I pray that you reconsider......what have you to loose, but your soul. God is a just and righteous God. There will be no excuses for those who try to plead ignorance. Time is near, even though no one, but the Father knows. Satan wants you to deny Christ and be a lost fool.

    March 30, 2013 at 1:51 am | Reply
  2. George

    Why God doesn't go away – because he/she/it was never there in the first place and is just a fairy tale like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and every other mythical creature that most adults stop believing in once they reach a certain age. Unfortunately, some people are so frightened of death (and sometimes life) that they must believe in an imaginary being in order to appease their fear.

    March 30, 2013 at 2:01 am | Reply
    • Cal Newlan

      Where did you learn your psychology, George, on the back of a cereal box?

      March 30, 2013 at 2:04 am | Reply
    • Let There Be Light

      If you don't believe in God, then you also are not qualified to have an opinion about God. How can you have an opinion about that which you say doesn't exist. And any opinion you do have is worthless...

      March 30, 2013 at 4:11 am | Reply
      • Bostontola

        Do you have an opinion on whether Santa Claus exists?

        March 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • marsally

      I think there is truth in what you say. I do think that religion plays the fear and guilt card too much. But there's more to this faith thing than that, I think. Not sure how to explain that, nor are you asking me to, but I have to say that for me at least there is more to my being a follower of Jesus than fear. I actually like the guy. I think Jesus is interesting and I am drawn to the vulnerability that he allowed in himself with others. I've also been a Christian my whole life, so I'm not sure I could just walk away even if I wanted to. And sometimes I honestly do want to walk away. The folks that bug the heck out of you, bug the heck out of me too.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:14 am | Reply
  3. miscreantsall

    Give Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, give Jehovah (the name of God that some decided was too sacred to say) what belongs to Jehovah!!!!!!!!!

    SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE…………….from the damn horse's mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2013 at 2:17 am | Reply
  4. snowdog

    God will have the final word in the end. All you non-believers will bow down at the one you do not believe in and the one that loves you. 90% of people do believe in God. Atheists are a small group.

    March 30, 2013 at 3:44 am | Reply
    • gager

      And you know this how? You were told and for some reason believed the nonsense.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:30 am | Reply
    • marsally

      Or what – a loving God will throw into a burning hell for all eternity because they did not believe in Jesus? This is the what you offer?

      March 30, 2013 at 7:04 am | Reply
  5. allenwoll

    .
    These are all, one way or another, specious arguments based onthat old black magic of debate : Failure to adequately define terms. . Such can go on for yet more millenia without producing even the slightest recognizable result, of any sort at all..

    March 30, 2013 at 3:59 am | Reply
  6. aliakbar124

    It was a completely useless article. Totally incoherent and irrelevant facts thrown together. Editors and moderators must take notice of such low quality materials.

    March 30, 2013 at 4:26 am | Reply
  7. mmi16

    Whatever floats your boat! Religon doesn't float mine.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:50 am | Reply
    • Tkp353

      Religion is wht killed Jesus...try just believing...open your heart and be amazed at what you find.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:37 am | Reply
  8. Conrad

    It's amazing that so many people think a belief in a higher being has to involve a man-made religion. Unless you align yourself within one of those power structures, you must be an atheist!

    March 30, 2013 at 7:07 am | Reply
    • Bostontola

      Conrad, only one religion at most can be right. All but one are man made. Why is it so hard to imagine that one more is also man made?

      March 30, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  9. Bostontola

    Why are Christians asking atheists to open our hearts to Christ on this blog so we can be with Christ for eternity? We are the minority. What about Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., they will also go to hell in the Christian model and there are a lot more of them.

    March 30, 2013 at 9:47 am | Reply
  10. Melissa

    Your god doesn't go away because you people won't stop trying to force your religion on others. That's it, that's all. No one cares if you believe in an imaginary man in the sky, we just want you to leave everyone else out of it.

    March 30, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
  11. power4things

    I wish I could find a molecule or any other way to get 90+% of any group of people "delusional", then sell them whatever I'm going to make. Hmmm, don't think it qute works that way. "People are nice because a body enzyme makes them feel good when they are nice?" Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy. What's the enyme for when they kill each other by the millions?

    March 30, 2013 at 10:11 am | Reply
    • Melissa

      I agree. One heck of a money making scheme. Just convince everyone to worship you because you speak for an imaginary man in the sky that they will never see or experience in any way but gives them easy answer to hard questions, and your childrens children will be set for life.

      March 30, 2013 at 10:21 am | Reply
  12. GOD IS LOVE

    GOD doesn't go away because he is our everlasting almighty and creator.....

    March 30, 2013 at 10:11 am | Reply
    • Melissa

      No, god is imaginary. Its just that the weak and desperate are so afraid and useless that they cling to this imaginary man in the sky because they can't figure out how to deal with life as it is.

      March 30, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
      • GOD IS LOVE

        no GOD exists and man has been designed to seek HIM. You exist because of HIM and when you and I are gone, HE will continue to exist as HE always has. Even you here denying HIM, shows that you are engaging him and seeking answers.

        March 30, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Melissa

        No, I exist because of a little thing called "s e x".

        March 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • snowdog

      Amen. God is love. Amen!!!

      March 30, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  13. jay552005

    You can know whether God lives, just as he promised, through spiritual communication. Don't disregard this, it is absolutely viable. Second, God's influence, through his holy spirit, is over every human being on the earth, not just the religious ones. This is a long known teaching and fully explains why morality is not limited to religious peoples. Although less so with the ones who once felt he exists but then later deny him or fight against him. God loves all his children, not just the ones who have been raised properly with a proper loving family or true theological doctrines. The love of God permeates the whole earth and tells every human being what is right and what is wrong. Your philosophical discussion is just that, a very limited man's view (man's wisdom is compared to the wisdom of a baby or little child in the Bible as it relates to the actual reality of things as they are, both with things spiritual as well as physical). Don't believe for an instant that the truth has to be contained within the parameters of your argument. That would be a grievous error.

    March 30, 2013 at 10:32 am | Reply
    • Bostontola

      This self admitted very limited man wants to know which god you are referring to? Odin, Vishnu, Jesus, other? No ones god is recognized by the majority of people. Why would god have the majority of people rot in hell because their parents taught them to worship the wrong god?

      March 30, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
      • Melissa

        Because the christian god is a vindictive selfish child that doesn't know what mercy is.

        March 30, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • jay552005

        Excellent question and it's a great thing you're asking questions. God works with man by guiding him from one bit of truth learned by that man to the next and then to the next, and so forth until he arrives at all the knowledge he needs. As long as a man stays true to the correct truths and principles he has already been taught then he will eventually learn all he needs to know on the matter. To start this process a man is supposed to be as good he believes his God wants him to be. This is first. Then from there god's influence can be greater on that man and is better able to teach him (as he is now teachable and doesn't offend the holy spirit by his living habits). Furthermore, the principle of god called "faith" which is defined as not only believing but ACTING on the truths taught to him by god strictly because of those beliefs enables god to literally work real miracles in that man's life for his benefit, both spiritual benefits as well as any type of need that man has in living his life. His mind and spirit will be taught according as his questions need answers to. Just as Jesus taught, man is taught principle upon principle, guided from truth to truth , precept upon precept, here a little and there a little until he arrives at the perfect day and been given a perfect knowledge (in this case the perfect knowledge of god's existence and his true doctrines, as well as many other things about god if one desired to know).

        I'll answer your question about the majority of people on earth being either taught the wrong doctrines or not being taught any doctrines at all. But first I need you to reply to this so I know you're still here. Please reply: or anyone who wants to know can reply

        March 30, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • jay552005

        God would not be god nor just if he did not give everyone at least one chance to know the truth and act on it, regarding his true religious doctrine and who he is. What that means is that all people of every age and culture and time will be given that chance, which also means many will be given that chance after their death on this earth. Simply put, not all receive the necessary chance to learn of him or follow him in this earth life. This is necessary, and is what is taught. Now that doesn't give excuse for anyone who does, in fact, get the chance in this life to obtain and follow his truth. But you should know that god absolutely makes preparations for all to receive him and not be condemned. Make sense? I assure you that god and his ways do make sense.

        March 30, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • Bostontola

        Jay,
        "I'll answer your question about the majority of people on earth being either taught the wrong doctrines or not being taught any doctrines at all". Do you really think you know the answer? If so, you have delusions of grandeur. If you said "I can give you my opinion", I would be more receptive.

        March 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • Melissa

        Your imaginary god is NOT just or he wouldn't allow the suffering in the world that's going on now. And he wouldn't throw people in hell for stealing a pencil and not being sorry for it. Nothing about your god resembles justice.

        March 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Melissa

      It is no more viable than a unicorn and fairies in your garden.

      March 30, 2013 at 10:41 am | Reply
      • jay552005

        Not so. I know that it is viable. Don't shut the door to god. He will let you, because he honors your decisions, but it will only lead to your sadness in the future, both in this life and in the eternities.

        March 30, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • snowdog

        Wow Melissa. God is vindicitive and selfish. That is why he sent his only son down to earth to die for our sins a terrible viloent death for you and me. Yeah that is selfish and vindictive. That sounds like pure love to me. God is merciful. All we have to do is believe in his son and we are saved. We do not have to do anything for our salvation. Yeah, that is not merciful. I will pray for you.

        March 30, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • Melissa

        jay, its only viable in your head, nowhere else.

        snowdog, noooo... so he sent his son to be tortured and murdered and you call that loving? What is wrong with you? You sick in the head?

        March 30, 2013 at 11:29 am |
      • snowdog

        Jesus was God so God sent himself down to pay for our sins because he knew we were lost. That is pure love. He could have just said the heck with all of you sinners, but he did not. Melissa why are you so full of hate? Are you 100% sure that there is no God and then when you die you just die. If you know that there is no God than you are amazing and the most brilliant person in the world. How can you say 100% that there is no God???How do you know. Look at the human body and how intricate it is. Look at the mast universe and how beuatiful it is. You believe that this all happend by chance. That does not even make sense. It makes more sense to believe that a loving creator designed all of this for us to enjoy.

        March 30, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Melissa

        lol. You're funny if you actually believe that garbage. It's called "fiction". Its no more real than Star Wars.

        March 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  14. steve ramsey- canada

    THIS IS GOD UNIVERSE AND WE ARE PARASITES, BACTERIA AND VIRUS OF HUMAN BEEN we reject his existence dont pray for him and we broke all the commandments now men can marry men!!! God want us to be a good bacteria but we refuse and we poison our self with ill, evil way of behavioral and thinking and think that all of this created by it self ....One day you will know the truth about your maker and then it will be to late as when you die you will 1005 awake , you think you are a wake now cause you are a life...think again and you will see you are a slug a sleeping parasite of human been........................BY THE WAY jests is not God and he is not his Son at all......he is just like ADAM GOD CAN CREATE ANY BODY LIKE HUMAN CAN CLONE SHEEP...

    March 30, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
    • Melissa

      You should be ashamed. I expected better than what you displayed of Canadians.

      March 30, 2013 at 11:10 am | Reply
  15. steve5777

    Why are so many threatened by beliefs other than their own? From the juvenile "Flying Spaghetti Monster" to the silly "My words are the unchangeable word of god", it all seems so pointless. If you're secure in your beliefs, you find no need to attack the beliefs of others. Just be happy with them. 🙂

    March 30, 2013 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • Melissa

      I don't care if someone doesn't believe the same as I do, I care when that person expects me to live and lie as though I believe it too just so they feel good about themselves.

      March 30, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
      • steve5777

        Melissa: I agree completely. 🙂

        March 30, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • jay552005

      Attacks? Probably not. Certainly not my own posts. Here is a constructive conversation and people are posting what they think and want feedback.

      March 30, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
      • steve5777

        Jay: I have friends who are Wiccan, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist and practically anything else you could name. We respect each others' beliefs, with no need to "convert" anyone to our own truths. It's simple to me, and I learn a lot. 🙂

        March 30, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  16. snowdog

    God will never go awy becuase he is real and wants to be a part of our lives. He is love, pure love.

    March 30, 2013 at 11:22 am | Reply
    • Melissa

      No, your god is imaginary. You'll have to deal with that some day.

      March 30, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
    • snowdog

      No Melissa, you will have to face God one day and tell him to his face that you do not believe in him. He will give you what you want. Eternal separation from him, from love. How sad you will be then. I feel sorry for you and for the minority the believe like you.

      March 30, 2013 at 11:39 am | Reply
      • Karen

        True words. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father except through me." Why? Because Jesus came to Earth as a man to make a way for us to spend eternity with His Father. And yes, God is a gentleman and will not force you to believe in Him. You can choose utter darkness over the light.

        March 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • Melissa

        lol. Ok lets assume your god is real for a second and that I'll meet him when I die (I won't. I already came as close to dying as you can once without it being permanent and didn't see anything)...

        The christian god is one of the most hateful and cruel gods I've ever seen. Why would I ever want to spend my life worshipping such an SOB? He's at least as bad as your fictional devil.

        If your god is as loving and merciful as you say, then he wouldn't care that I don't worship him. He'd forgive me just on the principal of the thing and I'd go to heaven.

        You see.. given the arrogance you just displayed... you are going to hell before me. You see, I just don't have a god. It makes no mention of not having a god in your bible. But you just displayed the deadly sin called "pride". See... the ten deadly sins are worse than any other sin in the bible. You will be going to hell before I do.

        Now.. let's examine your bible a bit. It tells you that you are going to hell for eating shellfish. The men in the bible have many wives, and many children, many of them being illegitimate. The bible also promotes eating your children, and how to sell your daughters into slavery for a good price.

        You don't get to dismiss the old testimant, you know. Not even if you want to. Nowhere does jesus ever say that it no longer applies. And you don't get to pick and choose what parts you live by and what parts you don't, no matter what you want to think.

        Me? I try to live life being good to people, being kind, caring, and compassionate. You, on the other hand, do not. You promote treating anyone that doesn't believe in your god or your bible as complete dirt. And you promote treating anyone that you feel may ignore your personal version of the bible as though they are less than human.

        So yes, you are going to hell before I am.

        Remember these words "judge not, lest ye be judged". Remember them well. Prove you can live by your bible. Stop being so arrogant and prideful. Because if your god exists, right now you are going to burn for all eternity.

        March 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
      • Melissa

        Karen, those very words are an example of violation of everything in the bible including pride. Nice try. You have no proof that your jesus was a god. Or the son of one for that matter. No more so than Hercules. You just want to believe it's true. Believing it doesn't make it any more real than unicorns.

        March 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  17. Mobius008

    All the talk about oxytocin reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite novels,

    "Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half of your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears – that is what SOMA is."

    So, maybe Huxley was right about our future, after all.

    March 30, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  18. ksindependent

    Why are so many threatened by beliefs other than their own? From the juvenile "Flying Spaghetti Monster" to the silly "My words are the unchangeable word of god", it all seems so pointless. If you're secure in your beliefs, you find no need to attack the beliefs of others. Just be happy with them. 🙂

    March 30, 2013 at 11:24 am | Reply
  19. Damie

    I look forward to the day when communities in America and across the world are freed from the trappings of religion and people will come together to sing, dance, laugh, and love without feeling they must espouse – or at least pretend to espouse – a set of beliefs, including beliefs about "god." Being a decent human being has nothing whatsoever to do with religion and god. Such notions feed the ego – not the spirit – and as a result cause separation and strife.

    March 30, 2013 at 11:28 am | Reply
    • Melissa

      The world will be a better place when we get rid of the religious garbage.

      March 30, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • snowdog

      Sad Sad Sad.

      March 30, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
      • Melissa

        Why is it sad? because I refuse to be deceived by arrogant bronze age tribesman who thought the earth was flat?

        March 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  20. jay552005

    Regarding the subject of religion: just because something that is good has in different areas of the world and life been corrupted and changed and perverted doesn't negate that the original good and unchanged and pure and true religion is still available. Sure, you can say many have tried to give religion a bad name but they cannot change truth. Truth doesn't change. and truth is the essence of the only true religion of god. To say that someone did something bad in some church and say that reflects upon god's true religion is utterly false.

    To give an example of this in worldly terms I went to go see a doctor about a medical problem, later I found out he treated me wrongly and caused me harm. I would have been in better health if I had not gone to see that doctor. Now should I have not sought a medical doctor for my problem in the first place? No, it was the problem of that particular doctor because just like any priest in any church, he is a human being who is corruptible and imperfect. I should not have been discouraged, but just gone to another doctor.

    March 30, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
    • Bostontola

      Jay, your analogy is quite good. Be skeptical. I do due diligence on doctors, employees, financial advisors, etc. Many people would benefit by asking questions and finding their best fit in religion (or absence of). My issue with many people of faith is that they want to impose their beliefs and values on me and others. When they do that, I fell the right to push back.

      March 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
      • jay552005

        Absolutely Bostontola, thank you for pointing that out. I would never try to force my views upon someone. I only offer my witness that I know god doesn't lie, he did provide a pathway to learning truth. Truth is not relative, it doesn't change from one person to the next. truth is absolute and has always been that way, even right down to the law of gravity. For this reason there is danger for those who think they can "shop around for religious truth" or for that matter "make up their own religious truth" and then they do so according to how they want it to fit their chosen lifestyle. God doesn't change the rules just because someone doesn't want to live those particular rules. The reason I brought that up is that is a very common mistake and is a stumbling block to what they wanted to find in the first place. I am not forcing my opinion or beliefs on anyone, just offering my witness.

        March 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Bostontola

        Jay, I respect your right to believe whatever you want. You state your beliefs as though they are facts. It's not a good idea to mix facts (gravity) with beliefs (there is one absolute truth). Please remember that witness has been shown to be one of the weakest forms of evidence.

        March 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • jay552005

        And another thing, I had a conversation with someone I know and she said "religion has too many rules and it cramps my style". This is in error. God's rules or "commandments" are only for our benefit.

        Another analogy: when you want to fly a kite in the sky what do you do? You tie a string to it and then throw it up into the wind. The kite represents you and me, the string represents restrictive commandments. If you cut the string the kite falls to the ground in a crash and is destroyed. But allow the string to stay on and the flyer on the ground to work with you you fly higher and higher into the bright blue sky. Many think commandments are restrictive and lower our ability to have fun and joy. Not the case, as with the kite we actually are put into positions to have more fun and more happiness and joy even though we are still tied down to a string or set of commandments. The commandments truly are for our benefit.

        Another example your doctor's commandment to wash your hands before eating or cleaning an infected wound. those are restrictive, yet we are made happier by keeping them.

        March 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • jay552005

        Sorry I came off like that. As in life you can pick and choose what you want to keep or throw away. It's your choice. If there's anything you want to keep what I said go for it. Otherwise you're free to throw it away.

        March 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • Bostontola

        Jay, I like your analogy. I am an atheist, not an anarchist. I follow our civil laws because I respect my fellow people and their rights.

        March 30, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • Melissa

        jay, except that you haven't actually lived by anything that the bible has said. You keep violating the ten commandments every time you open your mouth. You can see it in the way you type. You are actually proud of yourself for this. You are going to burn in hell. Have fun.

        March 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  21. Karen

    Church rituals have absolutely nothing to do with God staying or leaving. He is all and in all and isn't going anywhere. I go to church and believe in God out of thanks. I love to spend time with Him, thanking Him for all that He has done.

    March 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • Bostontola

      I understand, I do things I enjoy also.

      March 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  22. DARK MATTER

    GOD ARE EVERY WHERE IN UNIVERSE,,,PLANET,, STAR,, HUMAN,,ANIMAL,,TREES BACTERIA ,FISH, ALIE,,,, ALL OF THIS ARE GOD PARTICLES,,, WE ARE ALL CAME FROM THE DUST AND GRAVITY,, THE BODY OF THE GOD,,

    March 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • Melissa

      You need to find a better online translator. Or you need to learn how to speak proper english. And your god is fictional.

      March 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  23. sweenbass

    When it comes to matters concerning all of the books that people consider to be "holy" (Bible, Koran, Gita etc...)

    Are there some interesting stories in those books? Some stories are & some are not. the ones that you think are interesting may not be the ones that interest me but that's personal taste.

    Do those aforementioned books contain philosophies that people can use to help improve their lives & the lives of others? Of course That is true of all those books & more

    When it comes to questions of a spiritual nature (A dieity, A life force or soul, existance after natural death etc...) however, the best that those books can do is speculate. That is because they were written by people.

    Some people wish to hang their spiritual hat on a speculation that one of those books offer. I do not.

    Is there a spiritual component to the universe? I don't know.

    I have not read aynthing in any of those books that convinces me that those speculations are anything but that.

    That is why i refer to myself as an agnostic.

    March 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  24. Let There Be Light

    FACT:

    1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    A "doctrine" is a belief or a teaching. While some doctrines can be true, other doctrines can be false. Certain beliefs like "God does not exist.", the "Big Bang Theory", and the "Theory of Evolution." are all beliefs that originated with devils. Those false beliefs were thought up by Lucifer and invented by devils in order to seduce you over to the dark side and to send your soul to hell. Lucifer knows what you want, and he knows what you desire. And he's basically giving you what you desire in order to trick you and to send your soul to hell…

    To be "seduced" means to be drawn away toward something that appeals to you. Atheists so easily believe statements like "God does not exist" and "Hell is not real." because it appeals to them, it appeals to their flesh, it appeals to what they want and desire. They don't even realize they are in the devil's trap and on their way to hell. In actuality, atheists are people with weak minds who have been seduced by false doctrines and seduced by the dark side. In contrast, the believers are people with stronger minds who have resisted the lure and pull of false doctrines and have chosen to believe in God…

    March 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • Bostontola

      Evolution is an objective fact, a phenomenon that is directly observable. The theories of evolution are a set of scientific models to describe how evolution happens. The theories will get tested and will improve over time. It is just like gravity, a directly observable phenomenon. The theories of gravity have changed and likely will continue to change when sufficient test data and imagination are combined.

      March 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • Melissa

      lol. So is it fact that Hercules was born of a mortal mother and a god father? How about Thor, his hammer, and the bifrost? Same thing, different myth. Your bible is no more fact than any of the other religions of history.

      March 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Reply
    • lolwut

      You're kind of an idiot, aren't you...

      March 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Really?

      ............Yep, can see why America's falling behind soo much, religious nuts like you who condemns all other belief systems, while constantly promoting your own. Have you heard of the quote by Gandhi, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
      Sums up nut bolts like you quite well.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • Let There Be Light

      Evolution is a doctrine of the devil. Most scientific theories are doctrines of the devil. They are nothing more than inventions of Lucifer to send your soul to hell. And people who believe such false doctrines have weak minds. Nonetheless, there is a day coming when all you unbelievers are going to find that out the hard way. It's called Judgment Day. And it will be here in about 1,000 years...

      March 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Reply
      • Bostontola

        Ok, now I know you're just trolling.

        March 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
      • Let There Be Light

        Bostontola… What people like you call a troll is just anything you don't want to believe…

        March 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
      • Bostontola

        You're right, I don't want to believe someone would say the things you did in seriousness.

        March 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • Let There Be Light

        Which is precisely why you're bound for hell and the lake...

        Mark 16:16 – (Jesus speaking) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

        March 30, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  25. darkelemental1

    I am not totally opposed to religion, its breeds a sense of community and hope for those that otherwise would have felt alone and hopeless. However skimming through the comments alone I see alot of people speaking for their god. What right allows you to do that? You can not speak for me, you can not speak for the random person you see on the street, you can not even speak for your best friend, you can only speak for yourself 100% of the time. It is extremely unlikely that god speaks to you directly and even if that were the case this would not be the stage you should be speaking on. Please stop.

    March 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • Cal Newlan

      no

      March 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
      • darkelemental1

        Sure self delusions of grandeur that some higher power is speaking to you or through you must be fun, but as an adult you are just seen as crazy and belittle your own faith. Thats sad of you and for your ministry.

        March 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Let There Be Light

      To "darkelementa1"… And what gives you the right to tell other people what they can or cannot speak about? I mean, "Who made you God? Last I heard this was America and a free country where "freedom of speech" applied. If so, that alone gives people the "right" to speak their mind. And you don't even have to be religious to do it…

      March 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  26. John Gid

    I find the article a bit ambiguous. His findings as stated appear to support that any group of people that associate release oxytocin and for that reason are willing to help others regardless of their environment?? His findings would support God disappearing sooner than later. However, beacause the word God is used, it certainly seemed to stimulate alot of chatter.
    The article assumes that we are merely a physical property exerting a chemical. Mind, Body and Spirit currently co-habate in my person but I suppose that would mean that I exist as 3 enities at the same time. Impossible right? Well, I am also a son, a father, a brother, an employee, a supervisor, a friend a student and a servant of God. Not to mention H2). can exist as liquid, vapor or ice. Going to church is certainly a part of my search for God as is prayer and studying the word. I tried the world and all it has to offer. Pleasure seeking and other searches nearly killed me. Surrender and Live :)Happy Easter.

    March 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  27. Religion = Fairy Tales

    Of course religion will not go away.

    It was established by a people, that in their time had no scientific or modern understanding of the world. Simple weather events were acts of unseen gods. Even as close as a few hundred years ago people were murdered in the USA for being "witches".

    Mankind needs an explanation for the unknown. He is too afraid to simply accept that he doesn't have an understanding. So he invents explanations. The sun is Apollo, the sky god. A locust attack was god. Some pilgrim got sick, a witch did it.

    The fact this nonsense persists today only tells you how many uneducated fools are out there. So embarrassed by their make believe faith that they would rather ignore truth, reason, and logic, then admit they are wrong. So indoctrinated into religion by their family, that to go against the grain would be unacceptable. And in some religions (scientology, jehovah's witnesses), PUNISHABLE by banishment from your family. Sickos.

    Murders and war have been comitted in the name of religion.
    No athiest has ever killed anyone on the basis of their beliefs. We may make fun of you. But WE WILL NOT MURDER YOU. Unlike you, sick religious people.

    Moreover, religious people are motivated by a lake of fire or some other "bad place" they may go in the afterlife. So when they perform any good deed, is it really because they are good? Or because they were afraid, and want to buy their afterlife. No Athiest will ever try to buy their afterlife. Ever. That makes Athiests morally superior to each and every single religious person in the entire world.

    March 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Reply
    • John Gid

      I saw a bumper sticker the other day. it said, "I don't believe in God". I was able to pull up alongside him at the next traffic light. I motioned for him to roll down his window. Reluctantly he did so. I asked. "I see you don't believe in God". He said "That's right". I said, "That's OK, God don't believe in Athiests either"

      March 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
      • Bostontola

        Apparently he doesn't believe in grammar either.

        March 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • John Gid

        My apologies. should have please replace don't with does'nt 🙂

        March 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • Peteyroo

        JohnGiddyUp, was that a joke? You must have left something out. The funny part!

        April 1, 2013 at 12:50 am |
  28. God

    Why do atheists post comments on discussions ,do they run out of play doh?

    March 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • warlocalcott

      A BIG AFFIRM there, God! Atheists somewhere along the line, thought they had a roll going. I don't know where that ever came from. Poor guys and gals. I am Wiccan, which has been the fastest growing religion in America for the past 5 years. And I will tell you, people, no matter what their religion, believe in a higher deity. My advise to them would be, crawl back in your hole, someone will bring your meds around shortly.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
    • Bostontola

      Using god's name in vain?

      March 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
    • Peteyroo

      God's Dog, we atheists need to keep you on the straight and narrow. Imagine the dumb things you'd be saying and believing if we weren't there to correct you. Turn to an atheist. We'll guide you as best we can considering how low your IQs must be to believe such nonsense. Mother Nature gave us the looks and brains and gave you the short end of the stick.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:47 am | Reply
  29. blessedgeek

    "So what motivates 120 million Americans to attend a church, synagogue or temple?"

    Or mesjid.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Reply
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