CNN Thinks Atheists Are the Devil


Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast
The network aired a program about nonbelievers that wrongly suggested they not only are a unified group, but the most hated one in the country.


By Vlad Chituc|The Daily Beast

Tuesday night, CNN’s Kyra Phillips spent an hour looking at atheists in America. She followed a nonreligious student at the University of North Georgia who had friction with his religious parents, and she interviewed Richard Dawkins (who seems to be softening with age, if only slightly). Phillips visited a pastor who left his church to start an atheist congregation, and she spoke to another pastor who had lost his faith but still preached every Sunday—he had “a very dark secret,” Phillips narrated with melodrama: “He’s an atheist.”

Accordingly, the preacher’s face was blacked out and his voice masked.

One couldn’t help walking away from the program with the sense that atheists are a roughly unified group. They might have a lot of different labels, but they’re alike in what matters. Phillips spoke with Greg Epstein, a humanist chaplain at Harvard and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Good Without God, and when she asked him about all the different labels nonbelievers tend to use—atheists, humanists, agnostics, skeptics, freethinkers, and so on—Epstein replied, “It’s all one community.” Epstein and I tend to ideologically align more so than not, but here we disagree.

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