Marianne Williamson campaigning in Iowa
You know, I'm a serious lefty. But I understand why people on the right call them godless. I mean, I didn't think the left was as mean as the right. They are," Williamson said.

Just days after catching heat for arguing prayer has the power to divert hurricanes, presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson did herself no favors when a hot mic moment handed her critics even more ammunition.

While taping an interview on Sinclair Broadcast Group's show America This Week, Williamson was heard telling the host that right-wingers have been much kinder to her than some of the "godless" people on the left.

"What does it say that Fox News are nicer to me than the lefties are? What does it say that the conservatives are nicer to me? It's such a bizarre world. You know, I'm a serious lefty. But I understand why people on the right call them godless. I mean, I didn't think the left was as mean as the right. They are," she said.

Here's the video:

What Does It Mean to Be "Godless"?

Politics seems to be infused in everything these days, and increasing polarization seemingly splits political dialogue into two separate universes. For the purposes of this discussion, let's leave partisanship out of the equation. Instead, let's explore the accusation of "godlessness." What does it mean to be "godless"? Is it a description, an insult, or something else entirely?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines godless as either a person "without a god; not recognizing or worshipping God; irreligious, ungodly" or an action "done without regard to God; impious, wicked."

The fact that the word wicked is thrown in there, even if later editions now qualify that description with the word archaic, is crucial to placing Williamson's comments into some kind of historical context. In centuries past, lacking god was akin to some acute moral failure, a person that ought to be avoided at all costs. "That a godless person or atheist could be as kind, decent, and moral as everyone else simply wasn't accepted by most people," explains Austin Cline, a former regional director for the Council for Secular Humanism.

Is Godlessness Bad? Depends Who You Ask

On its face, the term certainly appears to be an insult. And if you directed it toward a sincere believer, it certainly would be. But as with most things in life, perspective is key. When examined from another point of view, the word godless takes on a far less moral and divisive tone.

An atheist who is adamant that God doesn't exist, for example, might readily embrace the term "godless" as an accurate description of their world view. After all, if God doesn't exist, then how can being "without god" be a negative thing?

To the German philosopher Karl Marx the so-called father of Communism who famously labeled religion as "the opium of the Masses" a godless person was simply somebody that had been freed from the shackles of the prevailing herd mentality which constrains one's ability to properly view the world.

And he's not the only famous philosopher to question the existence of God. Some scholars argue that the likes of Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche would take intellectual pride in being labeled godless by the ruling moral classes, much in the same way that many modern atheists do.

So, where does that leave the term? Up for interpretation, it seems.  

What do you think? Is it an objectively bad thing to be godless, or is it possible to wear that badge with pride?

38 comments

  1. Rev Marti's Avatar Rev Marti

    This is judgment not discernment. Marianne knows better.

    1. Rev Michael Swallow's Avatar Rev Michael Swallow

      Political debate has turned into gladiatorial abuse both sides and the middle are like 3 year olds that don't get there way In the UK Brexit is deviding the country and the Westminster baby need to be put on the naughty step

  1. Russ Hjelm's Avatar Russ Hjelm

    Okay, I'm confused. If your on the left, and you're "mean" to her, that makes you godless? What then, does that make those on the right who are "mean" to her? God fearing?

  1. Mark Hannon's Avatar Mark Hannon

    I remember my conservative Christian friends accusing me of going to a Godless church when I went to Church of Today while she was the minister. At the time I liked the blur of the lines between organized religions - still do.

    I just think the evangelicals don't know anything of her past and only see the public display of prayer. The ones I knew would have had nothing nice to say about her.

    She was a good speaker.

  1. jameson's Avatar jameson

    "...show us yer tits..." cleavage is clearly not beneath her dignity.

    1. Kisa's Avatar Kisa

      Your comment shows you have no dignity.

      1. CrystalPrizm's Avatar CrystalPrizm

        Agreed. Well said.

        1. CrystalPrizm's Avatar CrystalPrizm

          And I meant that as a reply to Kisa

  1. DrF350's Avatar DrF350

    Don't have a clue who this person is or what she stands for, but based on this alone, she sounds like a fake liberal who will eventually "switch" to conservatism & write a book about it to trick gullible republicans.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    We are all godless at birth, babies don’t have, or even know about, religion. It’s often only family indoctrination that slowly infiltrates young minds that changes/corrupts the way we all think about religion. So, even Marianne Williamson was godless once, as was the Pope.

    ?❤️

    1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

      “ We are all godless at birth,... “ You really have no clue do you.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        Thank you Norma for your response, though it does tend to smack of rudeness, which often is typical of a religionist, but my apologies if I am incorrect.

        As a secular humanist I will do my best to reply in a courteous manner.

        As I see it, religion is geographic. Infants, toddlers, and children get taught the religion of their family/culture. They “learn” to believe in the deity, or deities, from those around them, no matter which country they are in, possibly much like yourself.

        Then they become totally indoctrinated to the point that no one can educate them to think differently, possibly like yourself.

        Then, with no real understanding of logic and reason, they insist that they know best, even though they have no evidence to back up their claims, and then they deride others for not having their beliefs, possibly like yourself.

        So please educate me using logic and reason, how you got to your mythical belief structure.

        Peace ✌?

        ?❤️

  1. Mary Katherine PMMJLPS Heimberg's Avatar Mary Katherine PMMJLPS Heimberg

    Hi,

    I did a research project several years ago on atheism. I wanted to find out if I could find a true pure one. I could not. The research concluded after 8 1/2 years.

    What people call atheism, in that research, turned out to be just a form of Agnosticism. She on her part, thus failed to represent people as they truly are.

    Can you or anyone logically or otherwise say: “There is no possibility that a God exists out there that is responsible for all if this.”? If you can, fine, but never yet, could I find one.

    What I found instead, was degrees of atheism. Each, could not say that, but each also had another idea of a potential God, rather than the Gods or god presented to them.

    Another curiosity. When I was able to find a staunch atheist(really an agnostic), I found out that each of them, were more moral and ethical, than even the best Christians that I have ever met. So much so, was this true of staunch (so called) atheists, that what Christians aspire to be, They already were.

    Godless? I have never ever found a Godless person yet. If that research done over 20 years ago still holds, and it has so far, she or anyone saying that, Is In Error.

    LOVE, (a special Kind)

    1. The Doctor's Avatar The Doctor

      An atheist is not defined by as you say " There is no possibility that a God exists out there that is responsible for all creation"

      The difference between an agnostic and atheist is that the agnostic is open to the possibility. An Atheist sees no need to acknowledge it as a possibility, because its based on man made fairy tales. To an atheist there is no validity to a religion that one can study the history of and see when it was created and study the society and politics of the time and recognize the how and why of the given religions success with the masses that allowed it to flourish over other cults.

      Now its true many agnostics, and atheists have a foot in each others camps because unlike a given religion that demands absolute devotion, Ideas are flexible, and as such not required to be as line in the sand as beliefs are.

      Its also true most atheists are former followers of given faiths, and see themselves as survivors of a cult no less then any other cult survivor. Hence why they tend to be more humane and moral then those still driven by blind faith to an invisible leader and directed by mere men who deign to speak in such a beings name.

      Then you have people like me. I honestly do suspect that every entity through myth and legend does have some actual real physical basis in fact. Be they sentient energy, spirits of the dead, whatever. I just dont think for a moment any being directs the entirety of the Multi-Verse. No faith ever written by man in ancient times even said such. The abrahamic faiths for example did not originally say that their god created anything other then this world and its sun and stars. It didnt even specify the other planets in the solar system. Proving it wasnt the words of some cosmic entity aware of anything beyond this little speck of dust we all float upon in a beam of light.

      1. Cgeer's Avatar Cgeer

        You are just as wrong as the first guy. I AM an atheist. I do not believe that there is a personal “god.” I simply don’t see any rational evidence for it. I am not an agnostic! I don’t say “I don’t know.” I say ‘I don’t have a belief in.’ That is a valid distinction. Of course there is the possibility that I could be wrong. I could not believe that I can hop on King Kong’s back and fly to the moon and be wrong. So what?

        Of course there may be value in studying religion in an historical context. Why would someone, simply because they are an atheist, not be interested in or find historical value in studying the roots and spreading of religion. Where do you get these ideas?

        You say atheists are actually agnostics? I could just as easily, if not more so, say agnostics are atheists that just haven’t realized it yet or are in the “closet” on the issue.

        And most atheists are “survivors” of religion? I can’t wait to tell all my atheist friends. A lot of them have have no memory of that part of their background!

        Yes, it may be true that some or even most atheists are more humane than religionists, that is also a function of focusing on one’s personal GPS system, that is internally vs externally, for guidance.

        I understand that you have seriously explored these things but -Please- quit generalizing. I am sick of being told what I am and what I believe.

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          You are so right! I’m a recovering Christian, and totally agree with everything you say.

          ?❤️

        2. CEF0315's Avatar CEF0315

          "Of course there is the possibility that I could be wrong." This is what makes you Agnostic. You are open to the chance. Any logical person can't rule it out because there's no evidence for or against, just speculation.

  1. Dark Gray's Avatar Dark Gray

    Well, I certainly wouldn't want to run for or hold any kind of nationally-visible public office. It's vicious out there, even if one is purely altruistic and really, truly wants to help people. There are news people (and others) out there who won't care anything about what you say, and who would be happy to pounce on any misstep, no matter how slight, just to get themselves a byline. Demagogues abound, and I suspect Ms. Williamson has not developed the rhino-thick hide required to shrug that kind of thing off.

    That said, I find it interesting that she seems to identify more with the religious than the non-religious. A Course in Miracles makes it clear that having the wrong kind of religion is just as erroneous as having no religion. Here's a quote from the Thetford Edition of the Student Workbook:

    No mind can believe that its will is stronger than God's. If, then, a mind believes that its will is different from His, it can only decide either that there is no God or that God's Will is fearful. The former accounts for the atheist and the latter for the martyr. Martyrdom takes many forms, the category including all doctrines which hold that God demands sacrifices of any kind. Either basic type of insane decision will induce panic, because the atheist believes he is alone, and the martyr believes that God is crucifying him. Both really fear abandonment and retaliation, but the atheist is more reactive against abandonment and the martyr against retaliation.

    (For those who aren't aware, A Course in Miracle is what would today be called a channeled work, delivered to Dr. Helen Shucman in the late sixties. Marianne Williamson was a major figure in the early days of ACIM.)

    1. Monica's Avatar Monica

      This answers to the heart of the matter. Politics is a dirty business because even though it attracts beautiful caring people with a passion to help, it attracts opportunists and people so fixated on power that they don't care to be vulnerable but choose to treat authenticity and vulnerability as fodder for simantics based criticism.

  1. Ray G's Avatar Ray G

    I became a disciple of George Carlin when he said " I am a recovering Catholic"

    Over the years I have developed a belief that every religion was created to put women in their place and keep the powerful in charge.

  1. Messenger of the way's Avatar Messenger of the way

    There are true terms in words. We the people need to stop and analyze what the scriptures teach first of all the word god is spelled gad there's no vowel points in Hebrew which is how the scriptures was written pictorial Hebrew paleo Hebrew modern Hebrew there's just an understanding we need to come to and it's called the truth and Psalm 68 verse 4 it says by his name and then it shows you YAH which is SHORT for YAHUWAH OR YHWH gad is a one of the tribes of Israel which is scattered all over the face of the Earth and will be gathered back. So it's not just what people say it's what people don't know they're saying that's the most important part.

  1. john shephard's Avatar john shephard

    I thought everyone knew that left-wingers were hateful. That's why leftwinghatemonger is one word. Their motto should be: " Be a good liberal - Hate somebody". Forgive them. They know not what they do. That keeps us in a state of love and peace. Eventually they'll come around, this lifetime or another. There's nowhere else to go but love. In the meantime, live your life as though their hate doesn't matter. It doesn't.

    1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

      “ Be a good liberal – Hate somebody”. Yaa, I can feel all your conservative love and peace, Mr. Shephard. /s/

  1. Geraldine "Gerrie" Walker's Avatar Geraldine "Gerrie" Walker

    I have always found this person to be over the top and now with this comment she truly is. Bless her for she knows not what she says. Blessings

  1. Secretary3rd's Avatar Secretary3rd

    When it is listed by the IRS that there are over 7,000 Christian denominations in the US which each one being the only right one to speak to God and only God will speak to that church. Also all the other so called religious are not going to Heaven, but the doors are open in Hell. Silly is it not that living in the 20th century that intelligent humans need to still believe in Gods my Mother thinks they are a little off to start with.

  1. TK's Avatar TK

    She is so dizzy...I’ll be glad when she goes away. The country doesn’t need more of this nonsensical divisiveness.

  1. TK's Avatar TK

    Also...isn’t it Evangelicals and Right-wingers locking babies and kids in cages, separating families, being racist, killing people because they disagree with their racist views and generally doing the same things they did during slavery?

    Wasn’t it the same religious zealots who were raping slaves, lynching African-Americans, murdering and stealing the Native Americans land and killing off the animals and earth both then and now?

    I’ll disagree with this woman any day of the week, so long as I’m not going along with her logic of who’s nice.

    1. Anjani's Avatar Anjani

      For goodness sake. Shame on you for misconstruing her words. She didn’t say it was HER feeling. She said she understands why the Conservatives feel that way. I’m a Democrat and I agree with her. Thank God she is in the running as the only candidate with a platform of peace, love, reconciliation and reformation. She is brave to do it and speak the truth. May every citizen rise up and take action to change the world for the better.

  1. Tom Wilson's Avatar Tom Wilson

    The truth is I don't know if I qualify as godless myself. I'm not an atheist or even an agnostic, but I prefer the term Other over the word God. I'm simply not convinced that the definition of the word God fits. I personally believe that spirituality and religion are two completely opposing things. I am convinced religion was created to control and exploit people but the we are actually spiritual beings having a human experience. I do not call myself a Christian because I genuinely believe the every form of Christianity completely misrepresents Jesus and other. I am however a follower of Jesus. However in my experience includes 30 years Ordained by and extremely conservative and the second largest Christian Denomination the vast majority of "Christians" don't even believe in Jesus otherwise they wouldn't be completely unlike him. What people actually believe is consistently demonstrated in how they live, how they relate to their fellow humans, and how they conduct themselves in every area of life. I know atheists who are far more like Jesus than 99% of people who claim to be Christians.

  1. Michael Cope Cope's Avatar Michael Cope Cope

    Ponder this..... Why do people think the left wing is better than the right wing and that they are so different? Doesn't it take both wings to allow the Eagle to Fly ?? OR... If ones words are no better than silence... Isn't it better to remain silent?? OR... Speak of what you know... Not what you think.?

    1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

      “ Speak of what you know… Not what you think.? “

      What if what you know and what do you think are both wings of the same bird?

    2. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

      “ But For her Sin of Faith and Advising others in such a way that Could put them at Risk;... “

      I’ve read and reread her(a) tweet and cannot find where she implies for people to stay in place and pray. I sense those that stayed and prayed had previous intentions not to leave in the first place. I believe in faith and trust. They are not the same and without both in place nothing moves least of all a howling hurricane.

      1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

        1st draft

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    This Poor Woman's recent Problems Began with her advising Prayer To Those Threatened By a Hurricane.. That it Could Could Cause Greater Loss of Life and Harm To those that Stood Their Ground; Than Those that Packed up and Evacuated. is an Unfortunate Product of Blindly Following Faith without accepting Science and Reality...Prayer is Fine Focusing one's intentions Lending Your Good Energy To The Cosmic Powers.... Quantum Science is opening doors to the understanding of Such influences.. But For her Sin of Faith and Advising others in such a way that Could put them at Risk; She Was Mocked and Condemned. Then her Reactions Fuel the Fox Fire and the Battle of Faith versus Faithless Grows From the Right to the Left.. My Personal Take is Basic To Most Magical Belief systems: Any Prayer/Spell Should Take into account ALL Possible outcomes; ( For Example Where does the Hurricane Go if You Pray it away from Your Home???)
    How Many Xtians Can Say They Think of All that might be adversely affected By Their Prayers; and Temper their Demands accordingly??

                                                                                     Do What Thou Wilt an it HARM NONE!
    
    1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

      September 30, 2019 at 10:29 pm “ But For her Sin of Faith and Advising others in such a way that Could put them at Risk;… “

      I’ve read and reread her(a) tweet and cannot find where she implies for people to stay in place and pray. I sense those that stayed and prayed had previous intentions not to leave in the first place. I believe in faith and trust. They are not the same and without both in place nothing moves least of all a howling hurricane.

  1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

    September 30, 2019 at 10:29 pm “ But For her Sin of Faith and Advising others in such a way that Could put them at Risk;… “

    I’ve read and reread her(a) tweet and cannot find where she implies for people to stay in place and pray. I sense those that stayed and prayed had previous intentions not to leave in the first place. I believe in faith and trust. They are not the same and without both in place nothing moves least of all a howling hurricane.

  1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

    2nd draft

  1. angel's Avatar angel

    It's a figure of speech that people really should place into context!

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