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Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance
June 30th, 2011
06:41 PM ET

Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

(CNN)–It's a battle of belief - and the right not to believe - in a country founded on freedom.

"I'm a patriotic American. I served my country. I get out there and celebrate the Fourth, too," Blair Scott, who calls himself a proud atheist, proclaimed.

"This America belongs to everyone."

Blair, the communications director for the New Jersey-based American Atheists, said atheists in the United States often feel alienated and face accusations of being anti-American because of their lack of belief in God.

To combat those notions, his group is using Independence Day to say atheists love their country, too.

But the way they're spreading their message might have Americans looking to the sky this Fourth of July and finding something besides fireworks to stir emotion.

Planes with banners that read "God-LESS America" or "Atheism is Patriotic" will be flying over 27 states on Monday. While people might be leery to see the messages overhead, the $23,000 campaign has had a struggle with those who are supposed to bring it to life.

Justin Jaye of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, who is orchestrating the flights for American Atheists, said out of the 85 people in the country who fly these sign-pulling planes only about 17 have agreed to fly the messages.

"I've been in this business for 20 years and I've never run into so much resistance on people flying," Jaye said. "I've had pilots who are actual atheists who said, 'Justin, I am an atheist and I won't fly it because I can't wear a bulletproof vest.'"

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, says the reaction to the organization's campaign before it takes off shows how much work the group still needs to do. "This is a clear reminder of why we need to keep fighting because the bigotry against us is so thick that a lot of the pilots are afraid to fly our banners," he said.

Jaye said while some feared for their lives, others feared for their marriages. He had one pilot say his wife would divorce him if he made the flight.

Red Calvert, a pilot and president of Pro-Air Enterprises in Indianapolis, said his reasons to decline the flight were based on his personal beliefs.

"I respect our country and I respect our churches and we've got enough problems in our country without stirring up some more," he said. "If those people want to do something they believe in, fine, just don't include me."

The American Atheists hope to draw attention and spur public discussion through their campaign on Monday.

"It's going to remind people that atheism is at that ballgame and at that beach and at that parade. We are patriotic people," Silverman said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • New Jersey • Religious liberty • United States

soundoff (2,835 Responses)
  1. elgeevz

    It happened during the summer of 1937 when I was five. I can't recall the boy's name, but he was about a year older than I and lived around the corner on Holman Street. We were standing at the back steps of my home, engaged in a casual converstion when, for some unknown reason, he suddenly shattered one of my most beloved childhood illusions.

    "You know, there ain't no Santa Claus," he suddenly volunteered. "It's really your folks that bring the presents. They buy 'em, hide 'em, and then put them under the tree after you go to sleep on Christmas Eve."

    Though distressing, his explanation sounded a lot more reasonable than my parents' tale about a jolly old elf in a red suit who climbed down chimneys, and I never for a moment doubted it. Still, for years I despised him for having told me the truth.

    Being disabused of our childhood fantasies - indeed, of cherished beliefs of any sort - can be an extremely traumatic experience, and we tend to resent rather then respect those who dispel our fallacies. But painful though their revelations may be, they are preferable to living in a land of make-believe all of our lives.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Writer's Weekly Talent Scout

      Suddenly, a wild snorlax appears!

      July 2, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Writer's Weekly Talent Scout

      Sorry, not a snorlax, a budding writer! Good post is what I should have said.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • JohnR

      Well written and very insightful!

      July 2, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Peace2All

      @elgeevz

      Excellent post !

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 2, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  2. Reality

    Third place and gaining as we type:

    o http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    oReligion >>Adherents

    Christianity 2.1 billion

    Islam 1.5 billion

    Irreligious/agnostic/atheism 1.1 billion

    Hinduism 900 million

    Chinese traditional religion 394 million

    Buddhism 376 million
    Animist religions 300 million
    African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
    Sikhism 23 million
    Juche 19 million
    Spiritism 15 million
    Judaism 14 million
    Baha'i 7 million
    Jainism 4.2 million
    Shinto 4 million
    Cao Dai 4 million
    Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
    Tenrikyo 2 million
    Neo-Paganism 1 million
    Unitarian Universalism 800,000
    Rastafari Movement 600,000

    1.5 million Conservative Jews and there rabbis have concluded that Abraham, based on lack of written attestations and architectural evidence, probably did not exist. Therefore Christianity, Islam and Judaism have no foundation and fail as religions moving irreligious, atheists and agnostics to the top of the list.

    ----------------------------------------------------–

    July 2, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • SB

      I wonder how many of those 2.1 Billion are CINO (Christian In Name Only)? In my experience the vast majority of Christians really do not consider god very important in their daily lives. I get this sense through directly talking with people at work (when it's consensual and appropriate, I don't proselytize). I do have one friend who is going to seminary. And I managed to offend a very nice young lady, whom I'm still very good friends with, when I said "you have a choice between the Bible and reality" which to me is a truism. But even she wasn't too uppity about defending god. I sincerely have yet to come across the reported preponderance of Christian piety in America. Maybe I'm just not living in the right places.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Tim A

      SB
      Trust me, you don't want to live anywhere with a majority of religious busybodies! They will try to run every breath you take.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  3. WonderSpring

    America belongs to Christians. Atheists are mere parasites and the pre-war Germany had too many of those. History repeats its tragedies. The whole world mourns over Amerca's moral deterioration. Beautiful America going down by the inner corrosion. Who could have imagined such sadness?

    July 2, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Matt

      No one could have imagined it- but we were warned:
      About the march of World Empires, up till our day- Daniel Chapter 2
      That our love toward one another would cool of, and an increase of violent behavior- Matthew 24:12; 2 Timothy 3:1-5
      Who controls the world today? The UN- Revelation Chapter 13

      In a short while all things will be made new. Revelation 21:1-5
      Peace

      July 2, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • Kibbutz

      Melodrama? Is that you?

      July 2, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • So much for melting pot

      Yeah, people with a belief different than yours are the cause of all the problems.

      I find it ironic how you mentioned "pre-war Germany" while spitting the same dehumanizing rhetoric that started the holocaust. You wrote like a paragraph or so, but all I saw was "fascism is bad, but Christian fascism will save us all!"

      Also, food for thought: If all the atheists left the country, we'd lose 93% of our national academy of sciences, 1% of our prison population, and about 10% of our population in total.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • SB

      Wherever the peace loving and freedom loving Christians are, they're not on this board.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Kibbutz

      Where would we go? England? I say, that doesn't sound very healthy. They've got a lot of bloody nasty old rot over there.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • George

      Why don't you tell Pat Tillmans family that he was a parasite. You sound like a very bitter, miseducated person that is closed minded to others. I truly do hope your life gets better. It must suck being you.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  4. Matt

    @SB
    Please explain what you mean by "post hoc rationalization."

    Very true. I agree with you there that the Bible " is not a source of empirical knowledge of the universe."

    But, IT is a source of empirical knowledge of what makes man tick, why we die, grow old and get sick.
    It also contains information how God has made an arrangement to help get us back into perfection. Starting with the formation of his Government that began in the Fall of the year 1914.

    Peace

    July 2, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • SB

      test

      July 2, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • SB

      I'm not sure what the problem is but I've got three comments waiting moderation. The filter will not let me pass. I'll try this again... attempt #4... here goes...

      On post hoc rationalization. You're capable of looking it up yourself. You should become more familiar with logical fallacies anyway so you can avoid using them in the future.

      Concerning your other attempt to lift the Bible to empirical status. I don't recall the Bible speaking of caloric intake, mitosis, telomeres, or the germ theory of disease, do you?

      July 2, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • SB

      Hazah!!!! Stupid CNN filter. It goes after the dumbest words.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Curious in NY

      What word tripped the filter?

      July 2, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Tim A

      And another deluded rant by Matt! This time he thinks the Bible is evidence of what is written!
      Wow.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  5. hoof arted

    send one of those planes over memphis TN!!!

    July 2, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  6. Matt

    @SB
    Actually we believe that also. Please, let me explain:

    Suppose they could capture all that fiery energy and convert it into a few pounds of uranium and hydrogen. What an achievement that would be! Yet, God did something similar to that but on a vastly greater scale when “in the beginning [he] created the heavens and the earth.”—Genesis 1:1.

    God has vast reserves of dynamic energy. (Isaiah 40:26) In the creation, He must have harnessed some of this energy when he formed all the matter that makes up the universe. What did he use in this creative activity? Holy spirit. We read: “By the word of Jehovah the heavens themselves were made, and by the spirit of his mouth all their army.” (Psalm 33:6) And the Genesis account of creation reads: “God’s active force [holy spirit] was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) What a mighty force (ie. the atheist's "what" factor) – the holy spirit is!

    July 2, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • SB

      Matt, you're engaging in post hoc rationalization. The bible is not a source of empirical knowledge of the universe. It's popularity relies largely on its ambiguity, which you're taking full advantage of in order to make sense of its phrases.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • aaaa

      All of that energy came from the Hammer of Thor. You'd have to be blind not to realize that. Thor is the son of Odin (who art in Asgard), protector of man, and maker of storms. Thor is the way, the truth, and the lightning. Also oak trees. Peace be upon him.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Tim A

      Wow, Matt, you sure have no clue about cosmology!

      July 2, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  7. Say What?

    You can also say 2+2=5. In the beginning, What created the heavens and the earth. Good luck with that, my brother. And may your What have mercy on your soul.

    July 2, 2011 at 6:51 am |
    • honk

      If there are no Leprechauns, then how come there are rainbows and gold?

      July 2, 2011 at 7:08 am |
  8. Endowed By Their Creator

    Fortunately for the atheists, they have rights in this great country endowed by a Creator that they believe doesn't exist. God Bless America.

    July 2, 2011 at 6:30 am |
    • SB

      You say the creator has to be a "who". We say the creator can also be a "what".

      July 2, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • well,,

      What, are you assuming "creator" refers specifically to the Judao-Christian god of the Abrahamic bible? Seeing as many of our founders distanced themselves from Christianity, I have to doubt that. Might be talking about Allah though, he's pretty cool.

      But in reality, our Creator is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I know this because I was touched by His noodly appendage. Accept FSM or face an eternity in Davy Jones' Locker! One nation under Pastafarianism!

      July 2, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Electric Larry

      Interestingly enough, the "Creator" did not bother to endow these inalienable rights on earlier people and other places, even when they were his subjects. He still doesn't.

      People endowed these rights upon America. It sounds for dramatic if you say "Creator" and "inalienable," but neither are ture.

      July 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  9. jessie

    I believe in Christianity/God. If you are aware of our beliefs, and choose not to accept them, that's your business. Please reconsider. There is such a thing as the supernatural that defies the physical world.

    July 2, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • SB

      There are a lot of things we take on faith regarding science for the simple fact that no one person can know everything. So we have to trust scientists with the knowledge they give us. Yet the possibility exists that you or I, given the time and money, can confirm the claims given because a claim must be based on empirical evidence in order for it to be considered scientific. But supernatural claims don't provide the possibility of evidence. And thus the faith that we put into supernatural claims is blind. And that's stupid. It's false knowledge. It's pseudo-intellectualism. Or to be more blunt, it's make believe. You believe in fairies and ghosts. I believe in what we can prove to exist.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • Chuck

      @SB
      So if something doesn't make sense scientifically, it's just because we haven't asked the right questions or made the right discoveries yet. In other words, you have faith in science.
      Just because people have faith in God doesn't make them stupid. Calling people stupid doesn't make you smart, either.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • nah

      Faith in a god doesn't make someone stupid. Fully functioning and sometimes very intelligent people hold such belief.

      However, it does hint that the person is gullible. If not, they are in some kind of denial. Usually the denial comes after what they had accepted through gullibility proves false. Gullibility is (for example) believing in a god because a "holy book" said so, where denial is pretending that there is such an environment where a god can and may even be likely to exist (the supernatural) even though there is no reason to come to such a conclusion, other than to make room for ones faltering notion of a god.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  10. leftover

    "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature." Thomas Jefferson
    "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." James Madison
    "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." John Adams
    "The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." Abraham Lincoln

    "I don't think atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots." George H. W. Bush

    "A man full of faith is simply one who has lost, (or never had), the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass: he is actually ill." H. L. Mencken

    July 2, 2011 at 6:10 am |
    • Lynn Kolenich

      It's funny that the Tea Partiers never seem to remember this part of our history. But then, they think evolution is still a theory. . .thanks for the quotes!

      July 2, 2011 at 6:25 am |
    • Chuck

      @Lynn Kolenich
      The theory of evolution is called the "Theory of Evolution" probably because it's still a theory. I'm going out on a limb here and saying it's not just a catchy marketing thing. It's a theory.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Kibbutz

      The beauty of a scientific theory is that it can be improved. Evolution, like every branch of science, has scraggly roots.
      As we gain more reliable data and discard the unreliable data wherever it is found, theories resolve into firmer and firmer theories. Evolution has "evolved" into a very comprehensive and technical explanation for all the data that has been added over these years.
      Intelligent design is a hoax created by religious people. Not really the first time, is it?

      July 2, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • claus

      @Chuck

      Please do go and verify what "theory" means in science. You'd be surprised....

      July 2, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • World Traveler

      Do these quotes have references or are they something you just made up? Since I've never heard of them before I am unable to take your word on faith.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • JohnR

      @Chuck You are totally ignorant. Evolution is the guiding principle of modern biology. It is taken as fact.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Stevie7

      @Chuck,

      Gravity is a theory as well. I bet if you drop something, though, it doesn't fall up.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Electric Larry

      They have this thing called Google, world traveller, and you can use it to check on things like the quotes above. Just highlight a quote, paste it in the google search box, and seee what happens.

      I am always astounded that the people who make claims about the Founding Fathers and the founding of the nation almost always are completely clueless about what people believed and what they were doing.

      Can you imagine if a modern president took his Bible and cut out everything supernatural, cut out every perceived misinterpretation (including everything by Paul – "the first corruptor of Christianity"), and as a result had a 50-page book of Jesus' non-supernatural philosophy? The media circus and the religious outrage would be massive. Fox News would go into an apoplectic frenzy, and Sarah Palin's head would explode.

      Odd that people like Palin and Fox champion Thomas Jefferson, the Bible mutillator.

      July 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  11. Matt

    @proud athiest
    I appreciate your viewpoint in that there are Fairy tales. Just because fairy tales exist does not mean that God does not exist, or that God is just another 'fairy tale. Also, to suggest that 'one jump of a bridge to see if God' is real or not- Is not a good suggestion. The Bible says we are not to put God to the test in that way. God will never bless foolish, irrational behavior that may result in harm to that individual and/ or others.

    In comparison-Your suggestion is similar to what the Devil used on Jesus found at Matthew 4:6,7 and Jesus didn't follow through on the Devil's idea. Similarly, today it is wisdom on our part not to 'jump of a bridge' to see if God exists or not. There are many other less harmful ways do discover God's existence. (Please, do not think I am calling you a Devil, that is not my intent. I think you are a good person who has good questions.

    Peace

    July 2, 2011 at 5:34 am |
  12. WonderSpring

    USA = United Soviets of America. Actually Soviets were better; they were not chaotic hedonistic like secular Americans. USA lost the Cold War, after all.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:28 am |
  13. Proud Atheist

    My personal belief concerning religion is that it is essentially Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and of course the Tooth Fairy all rolled into one. As children we are told that the tooth fairy collects our teeth if we put them under our pillow and pays us for it. We are also told that there is a man who lives at the north pole with a factory staffed by midgets who somehow delivers presents to every house in the entire world in one night. Those houses whose parents have money, of course. At the same time, we are told that there is a man who lives in the sky who knows everything about you and everyone else and everything that is going on in the entire universe at the same time. As we get older, we are of course told that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy do not exist, but that God does and he loves and cares about us. For anyone that truely believes this, go jump off a bridge and see if God catches you.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • Tom

      You've begun to question the "accepted" world around you. Now don't stop where you are now. Continue to question the world and your own questioning until the day you die.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:40 am |
  14. 2bits

    Discrimination takes many forms but the discrimination done by religious people against atheist knows no bounds. That is why I hate religion and they can all go to hell because they TRY to forcibly make people who don't believe feel like lesser citizens, lesser people, etc. It's illegal and they know it but they get away with it in the name of God.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      2bits – "That is why I hate religion and they can all go to hell because they TRY to forcibly make people who don't believe feel like lesser citizens, lesser people, etc. "

      Ahh ... so all the negative comments from Atheist towards people that do not believe the same as them... is that the same?

      July 2, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • mist

      squirmy mark doesnt know what discrimination means
      way to go squirmy mark

      July 2, 2011 at 4:41 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >> 2bits said "Discrimination takes many forms"

      So chances the form you believe it is and the form I believe it to be might be different.

      Cute though 🙂

      l'chaim

      July 2, 2011 at 4:58 am |
    • mist

      way to go squirmy mark. keep on squirmin

      July 2, 2011 at 5:02 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ecch, Mist ... sun is coming up in a few hours and many have gone to sleep.

      So, i will check back after a few hours of sleep. Peace kid

      L'Chaim 🙂

      July 2, 2011 at 5:05 am |
    • mist

      i bet you squirm in your sleep squirmy mark

      July 2, 2011 at 5:07 am |
  15. Thomas

    First off, I personally don't get drawn into religion on any level. Is there a god? I don't know and I don't really care. I've seen enough stupidity out of people to be convinced that a human being couldn't even come close to understanding how we got here. That being said, these atheists running PR campaigns get on my nerves. The same way I would tell a Christian, Jew, or Muslim to keep the rhetoric to themselves goes for the atheists. The way I see it if believing in some sort of higher power makes you as an individual feel better then good for you! If you don't believe that's fine with me as well, but why try to influence another person with your groups beliefs? IMO that makes you just as bad as the fundamentalists you're so quick to speak out against. Independence day is just that: a day of INDEPENDENCE. Atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Etc. grill some hamburgers, have a beer, light off some fireworks, and leave the religion at the door.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • synp

      But the Christian, and in some places also the Muslim or the Jew don't keep the rhetoric to themselves, do they?

      July 2, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wow Synp ... Thomas said "The same way I would tell a Christian, Jew, or Muslim to keep the rhetoric to themselves"

      I mean what more does he need to say .... or are you just upset that he pretty much said all of us are annoying? 🙂

      July 2, 2011 at 4:08 am |
    • mist

      squirmy mark does not say anything again and again

      July 2, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • mary

      Its because of DISCRIMINATION Thomas. Ever try to sit on a jury when you've had to ask for the secular oath in front of your fellow jurors? Discrimination of atheists is so rampant there is a forgone conclusion that if you are not religious you are not moral. Its a big hurdle to overcome and banners like those that will fly on July 4th bring out the discussion that needs to happen in this country.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:26 am |
  16. heathered

    I am a married mother of 2. My husband was a Marine, my father served during Vietnam, my uncles all served in various branches of the military, my grandfathers served in WWII (etc. back to the Revolutionary War). My father’s family was on one of the first ships after the Mayflower, my husband’s family was on the Mayflower. I’m even related to George Washington (by marriage) before the Washingtons left England. I am a lifelong patriot and a proud atheist. I was raised to believe that America is the land of opportunity, the shining light on the hill where everyone was welcome, no matter race, religion or creed. I am seriously shocked (but really not surprised) by the hate I’ve read in some of these comments. How dare you people even *think* you have the right to discriminate against others just because you don’t like that they don’t believe in your religion. Reality check: Religions have come and gone over the millennia. Christianity was by far not the first and definitely not the last. If you seriously choose to live your life in such a closed-minded state of being, a bubble that you only let others just like you into, you are severely depriving yourself. Expand your horizons. There’s a whole world out here… come join it.

    July 2, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Gaven

      Right on, sister! With ya 100%.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • john

      the christians i hung out back in the day let everyone in their group. anyone. their minds were as open as ones mind could be. telling one group to not be a certain way like you are is very closed minded, and very religious

      July 2, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Russell

      You probably already know your ancestors were quite the opposite of an athiest. You should read some of Washington's journals of battlefield accounts. You would see why he was a devout christian. And if that don't sell you, you just close your eyes and keep saying you don't believe in God on judgement day and see if that helps.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • john

      and by the way, did you miss the hundreds of posts by athiest filled with hatred for people who dont believe like they do? the things you despise about religion are within your own heart and mind. your post could replace "religion" with "athiesm" and it would read the same. jesus hated religion for a reason. and atheism is just another religion

      July 2, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Rafael

      Cool, my ancestors killed people for fun before mixing with spaniards and making us hybrids.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Heathered.

      Good post, at the same time the amount of hate flying both ways on this … I kind of feel you are taking aim at one side. I have been following this blog for a while now and I notice that Atheist can be just as mean and spiteful as those Radical Christians.

      Reality Check: For the most parts all of us are as closed minded to change, alternative beliefs or opposing views and philosophies. That's just the reality of this belief blog Heather... There ain't too many that come here with a open mind and ready to drop their views. Most of us … Atheist and Christians ...and Muneef … and whatever the poster Reality is... have our beliefs and views cobbled in stone.

      If you are looking for a place for people to expand their “horizons” then work towards toning down the hate and the rhetoric and moving towards tolerance and co-existence. 🙂

      In that “whole world” you speak of you will meet some pretty negative Christians and some pretty positive ones. Just like we will meet very negative Atheist and many positive ones.

      The problem is do we treat every Atheist or Christian as if they are all from the negative and radical sections of their groups?

      l'chaim

      July 2, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • LinCA

      @Russell

      You said "You probably already know your ancestors were quite the opposite of an athiest. You should read some of Washington's journals of battlefield accounts. You would see why he was a devout christian. And if that don't sell you, you just close your eyes and keep saying you don't believe in God on judgement day and see if that helps."

      You've touched on a big part of religion. It's whatever your ancestors believed.

      How about you think for yourself? How about you look at that rag of yours critically? How about you look at "all that evidence" for your god? You may be surprised to find that there is more evidence for the existence of Santa than for your god.

      Cheers.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Russell

      I can understand why some hesitate to believe. Jesus is the son of God. He died for your sins too. That is a fact. I don't understand it but I believe it. I've seen too many things that defy logic.
      The church created this problem. You may have heard the term so easy a child could understand. Well, the original text, that is likely true. The Gospel has been edited and translated into so many different interpretations, all by man, that it has lost a huge piece of it's meaning. When I was a kid, the term "holy Ghost" was instead of Holy Spirit. I remember hearing that kids were associating it with Casper, so it had to be changed. Whatever.
      My personal philosophy is to try to abide the 10 commandments and treat others the way I would like etc. and hope I'm close enough. God didn't create the problems in this world. We did. He didnt tell Obama to bomb libya. He isnt telling the gov to kick the crap out of mideast. This is all man's ideas for a better world. This is what happens when you don't look to the Father for guidance. If you ask with from heart, he will answer.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>Lin- "How about you think for yourself? How about you look at that rag of yours critically?"

      And if Russel did and still held his beliefs would you still feel that he was not thinking for himself?

      July 2, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • jimtanker

      @ Russell

      It is not a "fact" that there ever was a Jesus or that he died and then came back to life. No matter how much you want it to be true it is still just fiction. Until you can present some proof that it happend it is still just a myth.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • John Richardson

      @heatered Excellent post

      @Russell Trying to elbow his way into an adult conversation, eh, boy? OF COURSE, she knows that her ancestors weren't atheists, just as she knows that her Protestant ancestors' ancestors weren't Protestant and her earliest Christian ancestors' ancestors weren't Christian. We all go back to people who appear to have worshipped a female primary deity in paleolithic times. Without THEIR heroic struggles in environments far more trying than anything we will ever have to endure, there would never have been a Christianity. Now go give thanks to the earth goddess who sustained our most stalwart of stalwart ancestors through those many thousands of years, you miserable apostate.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • Reality

      Mark from MR,

      At the moment, I am an agnostic but I am open to any proofs of any god's existence.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Tim A

      Reality
      That sure shuts them up, doesn't it? No proof but plenty of hot air is all you'll get from them.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  17. dntn

    Wow, I am surprised to see so much unhappiness and hatred displayed here. I really do feel truly sorry for the people who don't know the truth: that Christ Jesus IS the one and only Savior. You may not want my prayers, and you may not take any notice of what I have said here, but I will indeed pray for you. Regarding the comments that only "uneducated" people are believers, there are many, many college-educated citizens, myself included, who are Christians.

    July 2, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • LinCA

      @dntn

      No unhappiness or hatred. Just amazement at the boundless ignorance.

      How about we save each other some work. How about you don't pray for me, and I won't think for you? If you recycle one sheet of paper instead, you will have done more good for society than all prayers combined.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Artfulskeptic

      @dntn

      And a lot of people find your words, "I really do feel truly sorry for the people who don't know the truth: that Christ Jesus IS the one and only Savior," to be utterly condescending and sanctimonious.

      No one has ever brought forth any empirical evidence of the supernatural, much less a god, much less their particular god. The evidence for Jesus Christ being lord and savior is exactly the same is that of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Gaven

      Your Christ did not die for me...no more than killing myself right now while saying, "I am dying for all of man's sins!" would be valid for anyone. Your Christ was just a normal man. He was no son of God. He was just an average guy with some nice things to say. He didn't die for you. He didn't die for anyone. He was put to death by the Romans for blasphemy. That's it...that is all there is too it. Anything beyond that is hyperbole and fairy tale penned in your holy book, which also means about as much to me as last Sunday's paper. So, save your prayers...save your Christian judgment...save your thoughts...nobody cares about your Christ.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • heathered

      How 'bout skipping the prayers for us and doing a little open-minded research into why we believe as we do; just as ALL of us have done with Christianity, if not all religions. Atheism isn't something you're born into, as in Christianity or most other religions. Atheism is something you come to when you start making the connections and realizing the true origins of religions and religious mythology.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • George Jetson

      My pet hamster Zippy died to end all sin. He thought it was a bullsh-it guilt trip foisted on us my manipulative religions, so he died to end it. No more sin. Go have fun. Live fully, with passion, strive to be the best you that you can be, without the fetters of external moralities and thou shalt nots. Create, try new things.

      Zippy died for your sins. And of old age too.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Zippy Hah !!! ... Everyone knows that George Jetson had a dog named Astro.

      ROFL 😀

      July 2, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • mist

      squirmy mark cannot even face a gerbil without squirming. way to go squirmy mark.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:04 am |
  18. Spiffy

    The pilots who refuse to fly the banner have every right not to do so. As an atheist if I was asked to do something contradictory to something I hold dear I too would refuse.

    I can't say I agree with this campaign either. Sure we atheists deserve to be treated just as equally as any other people but why do we need an entire air campaign to do say so? Can't we just show it through our natural patriotism by serving the interests of our country? Seems like way to of an intrusive way of doing so.

    This has charged up a great amount of controversy and media attention. That is what atheists will truly benefit from from this campaign.

    July 2, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Tim A

      But if you owned a business you would have to follow the law, and the law says you can't discriminate on the basis of creed.
      So even if you didn't want to, if you didn't have a good reason, you could be sued for violating someone's civil rights.
      But if you don't have a business, you don't need a reason. Businesses have to follow the law.
      That guy in the article simply expressed a convenient excuse for not following the law by saying he felt his life was in danger.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  19. whybs

    All religions = a POS!

    Human civilizations existed way before any of today's major religions. Stop the BS subjugation! 🙂

    July 2, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • john

      civilization as we know it began with mans need to worship. anyone can tell you this. be proud of who you are but dont be naive. it serves no one

      July 2, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • heathered

      Humans did indeed have the “need to worship,” but it was rooted in not understanding the world around them. As we have progressed and explored, experimented and studied, the mysteries that made humans turn to imagined gods for explanations have been solved. Atheists are just people who understand that if there is a mystery we don’t understand now, through science, eventually the answer will be found. Whybs is correct, though. Human civilizations have existed much longer than any of the monotheistic religions that dominate our world today.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • apostate

      Civilizations have existed without worshiping imaginary sky fairies. Certain tribes in the Amazon have no gods or creation myths.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  20. BlackDynamiteNYC

    This is beyond childish!
    If you want to wear a towel on your head, pray to Mecca every morning, or go to church mass 3 times a week, or not, this is an apart of being an American

    Anybody who works against those freedoms in anti-American
    BD

    July 2, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Too easy, the Atheist are going to say that you are trampling on their freedoms and then we go in a whirlwind of who's rights matter most. blah blah ...etc etc..

      July 2, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • LinCA

      @Mark.

      It's not about who's rights matter more. It's about equal rights.

      July 2, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Lin. The problem is that equal rights do not hold the same for every person.

      For example, take Abortion. One side will say that a woman has the rights over her own body. The other side will say that the child has a right to live.

      Or go back to the student saying a prayer at her graduation. One side said the complaining parents student had the right to not have to hear a religious act. The other side said that the student praying had the right to not have her speech censored.

      The examples go on and on with each opposing side declaring that their "right" is justified but .. shockingly... the opposing sides "right" is not really a right.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • LinCA

      Hi Mark,

      The issue at hand is not abortion or the valedictorian speech. The issue is freedom of speech and freedom of/from religion in a neutral setting.

      The message that these atheists are attempting to spread is equally protected under the letter of the law as any "Jesus saves" banner towed by an airplane, yet much harder to exercise in the real world. So, to quote a TV commercial for Lincoln vehicles, all things being equal, they're not.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • mist

      squirmy mark has problems understanding basic concepts because they make him feel all squirmy like he might be wrong

      July 2, 2011 at 5:00 am |
    • Atheist and former Marine (but not a citizen, according to G.H.W. Bush)

      @Mark:

      I don't know of any atheists who want to take away anyone's right to worship.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:29 am |
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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.