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June 29th, 2010
04:34 PM ET

Denounce the secular billboard–or its defacing?

Two comments about the defacing of a billboard that excludes the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, coming from seemingly opposite ideological ends. Denouncing the defacer:

Perhaps the believers of the ten commandments and America's first amendment should start following them by not committing a crime.

Denouncing the billboard itself:

Posting a billboard like that is more offensive then posting the original pledge of allegiance.

This board is anti-God and anti-American. Why does everything have to be changed? Because 5% of the population wants it to be? Atheists are the most religious people i know. When you care this much about something this is how you know that your non-belief is your religion.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Culture wars • Politics

soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. jesussaurus_rex

    Also, secularists are the fastest growing minority in the United States of America.

    June 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Yeah, a jump from one thousand to two thousand is HUGE...statistically.

      June 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • Luke

      Thorrsman – actually, more like 10% to 12% of Americans in the last 12 months. That, statically, is a huge number.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Luke, you do understand that I doubt such figures. I've seen the sort of questions asked to get the numbers, and they are hardly scientific OR unbiased.

      June 30, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
    • Luke

      Thorrsman – Too funny! You have doubts about something that you cannot see, know little about and disagree with. Well that's just novel, isn't it? Does that rationale sound familiar? In any event, the figures have been examined by many pollsters and all of them come up with a range of 10-14%; and in each poll, the group was in deed the fastest growing. It is obvious, however, that it is easy to grow when you are small.

      July 1, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  2. jesussaurus_rex

    5% is far from correct. 14-16% of Americans are secularists (You know... Like the founders of our country. Like the first amendment.) If we brought back Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin they would cry.

    June 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Rather a large difference between a Deist and a secularist, you know.

      June 30, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      No, there isn't. Christians can be secularists. ANYONE can be a secularist. The GOVERNMENT is supposed to be secular – the people can be whatever they want.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  3. Thorrsman

    Now, a lot of churchs and relgious orginizations put up billboards. Near to every one that I've ever seen has been defaced–usually by Atheistic graffiti–yet that never seems to attract more than the most minor of local attention.

    June 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Luke

      Not only do I find this utterly hard to believe, what is atheistic graffiti? What would that look like? We don't have symbols. We don't have idols. I would enjoy you proving to me that "near to every single church has been defaced." If so, perpetrators in no way represent my beliefs.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Luke What, you can't figure that out? Just look at some of the comments here. I'm sure it will come to you eventually.

      June 30, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Of, and Luke, since you seem to suffer from an inability to comprehend, I said the church BILLBOARDS not the churches themselves.

      June 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • cat

      You know when you're using bad logic, you're using Thorrsman™ Brand logic

      June 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
    • Luke

      Thorrsman – what are atheistic symbols of graffiti? Using rational argument and reason does not substantiate graffiti. If I were to defile a church, what would I write? Please tell me. I haven't the clue. Instead of being cerebral and hoping to confuse the vile atheist, tell me what I would do? I honestly have no idea what symbol or phrasing I would use in order to terrorize your church.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  4. Erik

    I'm just happy that so many more people are using reason and science to make decisions. I'm 22 years old and most of my friends and a large majority of people younger than me do not believe in God. It is so refreshing to think about the future of our world without religious intolerance. For example, what are the two main dividers among humans. Religion and race. Humans need to join together, not fight each other. We need secular humanism, not religion.

    June 30, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  5. Holly

    Divison...unity...blah blah. This should NOT be the issue. There are MILLIONS of things in the country that divide us everyday. There isn't ONE single issue on which we all agree. There isn't ONE single issue on which we all stand together in blessed "unity". The fact of the matter is, much like everything else in our society, MAJORITY RULES! You can't take that away from local elections, congress or anyother piece of a DEMOCRACY. And even if it were more like 15% agnostic/athiest we'd still have a MASSIVE 85% majority for which more than justifies leaving our pledge, money, schools and churches ALONE!!

    I don't believe in the boogy man, so you won't see me outside the courthouse everyday w/ a picket sign saying "the boogy man doesn't exist, children are stupid". Some people want to believe he exists, fine, let them. I may think they're stupid but it's their choice! And YES, if they want to put up billboards or signs or anything else advocating for their precous boogy man, let them! Hince "Alien lovers." If you truely don't believe in it then STOP making it a big deal and just IGNORE IT!!!!

    By the way, you don't have to believe in Hell to end up there much like you don't have to believe in gravity. But not believing in gravity doesn't mean you can jump off a building a fly. Yes, gravity is a proven fact, Hell will be too one day. I'd rather die and find out I believed this whole time and was wrong then die and find out I didn't believe in God or hell and was wrong!

    June 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • joe

      There is no such thing as gravity, it's "intelligent falling" Gravity is far too complicated to just happen. So some big bearded robe toting superman in the sky directs all of the falling. Gravity is a a lie perpetuated by those who don't believe in the fall director and his ability to direct all things that fall.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Luke2

      The majority of humans on the planet are members of a religion where there is no hell. So, that basically blows up your entire argument. Majority rules, right?

      June 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bill M

      I'll put the fear of hell into the same category as my deep seated fear of being sucked dry by Dracula, stomped flat by Godzilla or being gang probed by little green men... although the gang probing seems more likely.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • bostonjim

      Actually, Holly, majority does not rule in this country- nor is it designed to. If that were the case, Al Gore would have been president (not trying to drag politics in here, it just serves as a good example of how our system can work against majority opinion). The founding fathers were well aware of the dangers of the rule of the mob, and so they inserted safeguards into our system to keep the mob from getting their way all the time. The primary purpose of the bill of rights is to ensure that the rights of the monority are not superceded by the whims of tme majority.

      June 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • She

      You display such tolerance, Holly! I love it when someone representing the majority tells the minority to, essentially, suck it. How lovely and tolerant.

      And then, to make it even better, you couldn't help ending your post with an inane attempt to lure others into joining your majority with the threat of your idea of hell. Way to be stereotypical!

      July 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  6. Eric G

    Maybe we should just put up a billboard with a different slogan.......A few suggestions....
    "People Who Don't Want Their Beliefs Laughed at Shouldn't Have Such Funny Beliefs"
    "Threatening Children With Hell Is FUN!"
    "God Doesn't Exist. So, I Guess That Means No One Loves You."
    "The Spanish Inquisition: The Original Faith-based Initiative"

    Any other ideas?

    June 30, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • Bill M

      Or...
      "One man's belief is another man's belly laugh."
      "Christianity: The belief that one must tell an invisible guy (who is his own father) telepathically that you love him so he won't punish you for what an ancestor (a woman made from a rib) did, to wit, taking culinary advice from a talking snake."
      "A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle..."

      June 30, 2010 at 9:34 am |
    • matthew

      Here is an idea, "Tolerance!" I'm sure some christians have forced religion down your throat sometime, but mocking their beliefs only encourages that behavior. And for the record i am agnostic

      June 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      No, sorry, I will not tolerate insipid, ridiculous beliefs. I have no respect for them. There's a difference between respecting a person and respecting their beliefs.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  7. Joe Bftsplk

    Tolerance.
    1 billboard, that makes no mention of religion whatsoever, is immediately defaced because it is sponsored by people who are not Christian.
    Hundreds of billboards in my home state of NC all loudly proclaiming Christianity and encouraging me to join this church or believe this or fight against that, left undefiled and in fact largely un-commented-upon.
    WHO's tolerating whom, here?

    June 30, 2010 at 9:05 am |
    • Thorrsman

      ARE they left undefiled? Most I've seen in my long life suffer graffiti rather quickly, usually of a nasty, insulting, Atheistic sort.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
    • Kate

      You must live on another planet. I've driven all over this country, seen those theistic billboards everywhere. Besides those you have signs at every church.

      Never defaced, never defiled. I think Thorrsman, you are a liar.

      July 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  8. DJ Skronk

    "When you care this much about something this is how you know that your non-belief is your religion."
    And baldness is a hair color. Help, help! We're being repressed! If that pledge was good enough for Jesus then it's good enough for me, until a huge minority of the population decldes to talk about God on our money, because that's what they did in The Bible which was written in English.

    June 30, 2010 at 8:38 am |
    • Eric G

      Huh? I think you need more coffee. Besides, everyone knows that Jesus was white and Moses lookes like Charleton Heston.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  9. Sevinthseal

    The author of this article is a propagandist and a liar.
    Francis Bellamy, the Baptist freaking minister who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance did not put "under God" in the Pledge. The author knows this and chooses not to mention it in order for people to think that it was originally there. Those two words were added during the McCarthy terror as an answer to communism. Who are you, Dan Gilgoff, to question the author and a Baptist Minister of the meaning and intention of our Pledge of Allegiance? I hope your mother knows what you're doing.

    June 30, 2010 at 6:35 am |
    • Luke

      You ought to go back a few links on the main page and read the full article.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  10. JoBob

    Thank you Luke for your wonderful posts. Very well played.

    Aaron, everyone has the right to believe, and BELIEVE me, christians do not do ALL the tolerating. One of my fears is that a wonderful country as ours here in America might fall prey to the religious fundamentlism that seems to be growing every day. Have you read about some other countries, in the 21st century, that are lead by religious laws? Have you heard about many of the traditions that are still followed in those religious states? There is no freedom of religious worship in those states because they believe they have the one and only true belief system. There is no choicee in those states. Here in America we believe in those choices. Being an atheist is not strictly about a disbelief in a supernatural being. It is about the opportunity of choice. There is no choice if we continually bombard society with the belief system of one 'belief system'. Atheism is about choice and believing what you wish, without tossing your belief willy-Nilly about society.

    The harm in aspiring to be a christian nation is the same harm that would lead one to by practicing a differing belief in some of those states that have religious law. Aspiring to be a christian nation...a muslim nation...a judaic nation...and so on, means to be aspiring to a one sided and dangerous format for the belief in One, and the degradation and subjugation of the Rest.

    Finally, you feel that you are the only one having to tolerate because you are the one trying to shove your icons and symbols and beliefs down everyone elses throat, and we don't care for that. So get used to it.

    Have a pleasent day.

    June 30, 2010 at 6:20 am |
    • Luke

      Thank you, I suppose. The troubling part of this entire idiotic debate is that this isn't a game nor is it difficult to follow. Take for example my refutation of Matthew's stance on evolution not being a science. I didn't get esoteric or deep in order to prove him wrong – I copied the definition out of a science book. Anyone with a 10th grade education should be able to understand this. He wants to argue the evolution isn't science because it doesn't say anything about the origin of life when Charles Darwin's theory has absolutely nothing to do with that. It's irrational, but for some reason, millions continue to argue his point or something similar to it. Worse of all, this meme has bled into the minds of important decision makers, administrators, parents and children alike so much so that the state of Kansas has a warning label on their science books! Basically, it's like having a debate about whether or not baseball should use instant replay where one side is arguing about medical marijuana. And here I sit on the sidelines smashing my head against a wall.

      June 30, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  11. AaronS

    Tolerance is a two-way street. The atheists want us to tolerate them, but where is there tolerance of us? Really, what child is damaged by saying "under God"? Are we that small-minded? Isn't that about like some wacko Christian being upset about the evil message of children's cartoons?

    Let us assume for a moment (and this might even be a correct assumption) that America was not founded as a Christian nation. Even then, what would be the harm in ASPIRING to be a Christian nation? I'm not talking about some rigid, harsh, stereotype of Puritanism. I'm talking about a nation where integrity, decency, fairness, righteousness, and the such prevailed? Where "loving your neighbor as yourself" was at the bottom of our laws governing human behavior?

    I'm sick and tired of doing all the tolerating! At some point we begin to realize that despite all their claims of sophistication, atheists are really not nearly so open-minded as they would have us think. They don't want to tolerate American Christianity. If it takes places at all, they want it safely out of sight of the public–kind of like a creepy uncle. But at the bitter root of it all, it's just plain ol' intolerance. And it's every bit as repugnant as bigotry and racism.

    June 30, 2010 at 5:27 am |
    • Luke

      Aaron – It is good that you have an opinion on the matter, but your opinion is putting words in my (and very likely my side's) mouth. We do not want Christianity tucked out of sight. We want it out of public domain. Your example of children reciting the pledge where no one is harmed – it isn't about being harmed! Your argument doesn't touch upon where we come from and is irrelevant to our point of view. No, a child isn't harmed. But a child, such as I was, is divided out. By the time I reached the age of reason, I had long rejected the claims of the bible and organized religion, but I still had to stand, forcibly, by teachers and recite something that I didn't believe. The words god didn't harm me. Being forced, by my very Christian teacher, to do something everyday did harm me. And what of my Buddhist classmate? And my Sheik classmate? Shall we assimilate them?The argument is that inserting god into the pledge divides us instead of unites us, and you cannot argue against that claim, no matter what you say. What disgusts me about your post is that you drew your conclusions is that you more than likely haven't researched, reach books about atheism or spoken to very many of us. In other words, I, as someone that is very well informed on the needs and wants of atheists in American, completely disagrees with what you said. It is nothing even remotely close to what we think.

      June 30, 2010 at 7:02 am |
    • Chisos

      " Even then, what would be the harm in ASPIRING to be a Christian nation? I'm not talking about some rigid, harsh, stereotype of Puritanism. I'm talking about a nation where integrity, decency, fairness, righteousness, and the such prevailed? Where "loving your neighbor as yourself" was at the bottom of our laws governing human behavior? "

      Why are those assumed to be only Christian qualities? I feel that I am honest, kind, and fair but I am an atheist. We need only look at the middle east or the aptly named Dark Ages to see the dangers of religious regimes and "Christian nations". When you can appeal the the Absolute Word of the One and Only Almighty God, it can be difficult not to be harsh and puritanical. And why would you be otherwise? God is on YOUR side, right?

      June 30, 2010 at 9:00 am |
    • Luke

      The harm of aspiring to be a Christian nation? What's the harm you say? How about the Inquisition? I could rattle off a few dozen more reasons, but I'll stop there. And to echo the previous person's comments, you as a Christian do not own being nice to others, etc. Given enough time, I could boil down Christianity to the Golden Rule, which is inherent in the teachings of Buddhism and Jainism, which ironically enough, have no deities and are completely peaceful.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • Bill M

      If we changed the words to "under Allah" or "under Vishnu" or even "under Satan" would you object? After all, no child would be harmed by just saying the words...
      Aaron, are you saying that christians own the patent on ethics and morality? No one ever brings up the other christian tenents of faith, such as human sacrifice, (jesus), ritual canibalism and vampirism, or that whole longing for the destruction of the world with the subsequent death of 3/4 of the human race...

      June 30, 2010 at 9:26 am |
    • Kate

      The harm of a child in school saying or even hearing 'under god' in the pledge is about where it is and who says it. Where – a school, which is run by the government, who? a Teacher, paid by our government and the authority figure.

      How do I tell a child to trust and obey the teacher, but ignore her when she announces that America is for people under God and our family is not under God. How do I as an atheist teacher not teach children a lie and not get fired?

      Paste up your god where ever you want, as long as it's your dime and your property you do it on, but don't come pasting it on property and procedures paid for by me and ruling over me and mine.

      July 2, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  12. TheRationale

    Whether you like the message or not, this is de facto vandalism.

    And whoever did this is not making a good case for his or her cause. This is essentially saying that you fear the other side's argument's power such that you must break down to petty crime in order to make your point.

    June 30, 2010 at 12:01 am |
  13. Dave

    I meant to comment on another article on the defacement topic. Had to reboot and clicked the wrong link. Oops.

    June 29, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  14. Dave

    I strongly disapprove of the defacement for the same reasons I disapproved of a recent church defacement. In this country, all have a right to express their views.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • Luke

      Well that's just insightful, Dave. Did you have any thoughts on how inserting god into the pledge divides us or the hypocrisy of defacing the billboard by Christians plays into the secular humanists' hands?

      June 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
    • Dave

      Yes, I do. My words stand as written.

      June 29, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
    • Luke

      Dave – But no one...ya know...disagrees with you and it has nothing to do with the topic. Glad your on board with the whole free speech thing though.

      June 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  15. Marie

    "In God we trust"

    I am an outsider who loves reading American history (as I try to understand why US does what it does). And in almost all the major battles, whether during the American Revolution or the American Civil War, letters and correspondences from the founding founders and even from the generals always made mention of "God". Accordingly, the US motto of "In God we trust". A reminder that the USA was founded and prospered on Christian principles.

    (Note that this motto is actually codified in United States Code at 36 U.S.C. § 302. This just emphasizes and reaffirms that America as a nation is a Christian country and trying to make it otherwise, seems like trying to rock its very own foundation)

    June 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
    • Marie

      But I do agree that science rocks, and that the Church should leave science to do its job to discover, to learn and to teach how our children how the world works. I don't think there is a conflict between the two (Church and Science).

      June 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • Luke

      Marie – Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli declared in part that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." Words of John Adams, a founder and president of the country. What's your argument again? Speculate and fill in blanks all you want, it's just not the case.

      June 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
    • Luke

      Marie – it took me a while to formulate a reply because I didn't know how I wanted to approach this. I'll keep it short and simple. There is an inherent conflict not between rational religion and science because religion makes scientific claims. Furthermore, its followers smear the lines between rational science and nonsense and attempt (very dearly indeed) to inflict it upon our children. It would take me a long time to draw my rationale, but I do believe that the USA's unusually high religiosity levels are one of the main reasons why we have lagging scores in math and science on a global scale. Don't believe me? Check the numbers for yourself. Should take 3 minutes on google. Enjoy.

      June 29, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
    • mark

      Marie – how do you make the jump from mentioning "God" to being a "Christian nation"? Many of the founding fathers were indeed Christians, many were not, most notably Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

      June 30, 2010 at 6:32 am |
    • Scott

      "In God We Trust" did not become the official motto of the USA until 1956. It didn't appear on currency until 1860 something.

      It is not a basis for the "founding" of our country

      June 30, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • Chris

      One of the few people with actual sense on here.

      July 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
    • Chris

      Luke, Mark and Scott. How can you deny what is so clear? Almost all nations are formed on the basis of religion and this is purely undeniable, not matter what quotes you choose to throw, the United States are christian, as is Australia and the United Kingdom.

      Luke you are a pseudo intellectual, you are actually trying to say that religion has anything at all do do with education. Perhaps the Unites States is lagging behind because of a poor education system, rather than a strong religious belief.

      Religion and Science are two different things that hardly, if at all, cross paths. Science gives people clarity, while religion gives people focus. Both are important.

      July 1, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
    • Kenny

      Luke, going with your argument regarding the treaty of tripoli...
      George Washington's First Proclamation as President stated "Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. "

      July 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • Kenny

      I agree with Chris and Marie...Science cannot disprove/prove religion

      July 6, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  16. NickB5

    A brief history of The Pledge of Allegiance.

    Francis Bellamy (1855 – 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897). Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex. The Pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth's Companion, the leading family magazine and the Reader's Digest of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his baptist church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. As a member of his congregation, Ford had enjoyed Francis's sermons. Ford later founded the liberal and often controversial Ford Hall Forum, located in downtown Boston. In 1892 Francis Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. As its chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools' quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute – his 'Pledge of Allegiance.' His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' He considered placing the word, 'equality,' in his Pledge, but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. [ * 'to' added in October, 1892. ]

    In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference, under the 'leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, 'my Flag,' to 'the Flag of the United States of America.' Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored. In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer. Bellamy's granddaughter said he also would have resented this second change. He had been pressured into leaving his church in 1891 because of his socialist sermons. In his retirement in Florida, he stopped attending church because he disliked the racial bigotry he found there.

    Dr. Mortimer Adler, American philosopher and last living founder of the Great Books program at Saint John's College, has analyzed these ideas in his book, The Six Great Ideas. He argues that the three great ideas of the American political tradition are 'equality, liberty and justice for all.' 'Justice' mediates between the often conflicting goals of 'liberty' and 'equality.'

    June 29, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  17. Sir Craig

    I have to applaud Dan Gilgoff's choices of comments to show not only the contrast in views but also the contrast in educational levels. Luke's brief comment was enough to convey what was necessary to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the vandals, and the other poster's comment demonstrated a measure of illiteracy and logical fallacies aplenty.

    The more convincing point was a bit easy to see with these two...way to go, Luke! (Nice reply, too.)

    June 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  18. paul j. weighell

    Non believers just 10%? Only in America maybe. Here in the UK/Europe church membership is used as the count and its membership is 10% leaving 90% agnostic or atheist. Take heart rational Americans – You are not alone, or even in a minority!

    It must be really weird living somewhere where 90% of people act on the mythical, and pre-scientific, words of long dead priests – too scary for me! How is the Evolution debate going? Still burning Darwin’s books over there?

    June 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • Luke

      Yes Paul, sad indeed. In the US, we are still having the Darwin debate while the rest of the 1st world debates more important topics. Here, we also have to debate global warming. Note that we don't actually debate the actual issue; here, we have to debate whether or not the world is actually warming, not the core debate; whether or not humans are contributing to the pace of acceleration of warming. In the US, there are tens of millions that still, regardless of scientific fact, think the earth is not warming. Again, that is why people like me are active contributors and forthright with facts and knowledge.

      June 29, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • Matthew

      I personally think the evolution debate is one of the most important issues of all time. What's scary is when people like Paul accept Darwinian evolution as science. Whilst no one argues about natural selection or variation when you start talking about changes from one kind of living animal to another you have left the realms of science and entered the world of religion. You can believe all of Darwin's writing, that's your choice but don't go trying to pass it all off as science.

      You mock the idea of acting on the "words of long dead priests", yet the writers of the bible, although diverse, were some of the most powerful, wealthiest and influential men in history, and you are prepared to act on an tautologically perpetuated idea popularised by a man some 160 years ago.

      Paul, I think the scariest thing is when people are no longer willing to debate the origin of life when it is a question central the human condition.

      June 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • Luke

      Matthew – I beg to differ. Darwin's theory of evolution is the very foundation of modern biology and very much not only science, but widely accepted fact. Again, I shake my fist at you vehimently because you, while speaking with nice words, have no clue what you are talking about. Evolution, as argued by Charles Darwin, says little or nothing about the origins of life. Evolution explains the change in the relative frequencies of inherited traits within a population of organisms through successive generations. It leaves us with a hierarchy of genetic similarities as evidenced by the Tree of Life. Evolution is applied and studied in agriculture, anthropology, conservation biology, ecology, medicine, paleontology, philosophy, and psychology. ACcording to Pereto, the origin of life is a necessary precursor for biological evolution, but understanding that evolution occurred once organisms appeared and investigating how this happens does not depend on understanding exactly how life began. The current scientific consensus is that the complex biochemistry that makes up life came from simpler chemical reactions, but it is unclear how this occurred. In other words, grab a book, read it, ask informed questions to scholars before leaping to ill-informed conclusions and posting them here and other places. Worst of all, you spread this vomit to friends, family and other even more ill-informed people think you have just won the evolution debate or smacked down all of those elitist scientists, when all you did was show everyone how wrong you are. Do yourself a favor; please do remember what I have written here. It will aid you in your quest of enlightenment and understanding of the Natural Order of Things.

      June 29, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
    • Matthew

      the saddest part about living over here is the perception that education is "optional."

      July 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  19. Sebastian

    To be fair, and honest, it is always funny when America thinks by saying they believe in God, God is on their side, or that God wants for America to consider it the one below it. I find the religious who believe that their actions are in accordance with God, who are arming themselves and pointing their finger at others, then tell everyone that they believe in God, as annoying as the atheist. It seems that doing the right thing, and believing in God in America, are not always the same thing.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  20. Luke

    Well, I posted the first note, denouncing the people that defaced the billboard. But let's keep this going. The second comment, for the defacement, is riddled with errors. Firstly, the poster didn't even read the article or knows proper history. If he did, he would know that the original pledge left god out of the pledge for very obvious reasons. Secondly, the current estimates of non-believers or skeptics measures in the 10% range, not 5%. Furthermore, even if it were 1%, the pledge in its current form divides us instead of unites us. The billboard is not anti-god nor anti-American. The billboard is pro-unity within the borders of a very diverse nation, and if that isn't American, I am not sure what is. Going even further, the poster doesn't even know what atheism means if he thinks being a non-believer makes you religious. That's the most disingenuous thing I've ever read. That’s like saying someone that is an a-astronomer (made up word) is anti-astronomy. That’s just not the case. It would just mean that the person isn’t an astronomer. Lastly, I for one, care because I have to. If it were not for people such as myself, we would sit idle while the religious take over school boards, seats in government or in other positions of power that directly impact my life and well-being. If it were not for scientists that are in my boat, we would watch impotently while the religious hijack proper educations from children. That is far from making something our religion and completely disengaged from what an organized religion practices. DO not be fooled, we do not criticize Christianity and its many branches. We criticize all religions, even cargo cults (google it) and the dominant religions that make this world oh so dangerous and divided.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Bonk :3

      This is.. wow. This seriously saved me a lot of typing time. I couldn't agree more with this if I tried. Very well thought out post, wonderful!

      June 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • Colin

      very well put.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Matt

      In addition to the poster's errors regarding the facts and reasoning he also manages to neglect proper usage of then/than for sequence vs. comparison.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Amy Gilliam

      Thank you, Luke, both for your original comment in the post and for this elaboration.

      June 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Actually, the vast majority of Atheist I've talked to DO make a religion of their lack of belief. Not only do they preach their faith and promote it at every opportunity, they knock what they view as their chief religious rival–and former faith, in most cases–at every chance they can find.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Luke

      Thorrsman – I do believe that is called rational argument, not faith based religion. Arguing the merits of capitalism vs social welfare (of vice versa) does not make the economist a religious capitalist, does it?

      June 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Luke, they base their arguements not of reason but on their faith that there are no Gods. Indeed, they only resort to a tortured form reason when their attempts to refute beliefs–and they usually focus on Christianity, which the majority of them once were–fails in the face of faith.

      June 30, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
    • Rational

      Thank you Luke, very nice post. Though i actually thought athiest, in percentage, and risen to 16%? Regardless it is much more than 5% and no Atheism is not dogmatic, has to specific commendments or maxims, therefore, it is not a religion.

      July 1, 2010 at 9:49 am |
    • Scott W

      Thorrsman, you fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" – but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never confuse dissent and religious faith"!

      July 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • quainsd

      Well said... very eloquently into writing.

      July 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
    • Redladyanna

      Bravo I for one agree with you 300%.

      July 1, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Ren

      Thank you! I would like to add though, for those who call Atheism a "religion"... Atheism is a religion as much as NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

      July 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.