home
RSS
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. sharky

    Bigotry begets bigotry. Atheists want to accused Theists of bigotry when Atheists themselves also exhibit bigotry and then turn around and scream victim. Atheists and Theists provoke each other over this idiocy.

    July 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Righteo

      And you are superior to us all. I am so very impressed, your highness.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • mist

      look a squirmy shark. way to go squirmy shark. no one will ever see that you are a squirmy eel and not a shark

      July 3, 2011 at 5:41 am |
  2. agnostic

    So I see a lot of atheists here and having been one myself I would like to point out that your disbelief is no more logical than belief, they are equivocal. first an example a greek philosopher (i forget which one) says all things have a smallest particle... the atom, others say you are wrong because you have no proof. The more appropriate answer is I cannot make a decision as of yet as there might be proof but I don't have it. Atheism falls into the same trap and theism since its takes a definite stance when logic dictates keeping an open mind. The question of god, interestingly, if phrased correctly is impossible to answer. If i asked you' is there a being which influences events which can not be perceived or measured?' then the burden of proof can not lie on me since our method for proving things relies on measurement and perception and the burden of proof can not lie on you since you cannot prove somethings nonexistence. The most logical answer is its possible and i can not say with any degree of certainty one way or the other.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Ben

      Actually, atheist is a-theist, or without a God. As an Atheist, I simply do not believe in a God or "have a God".

      In actuality all I'm saying is that nothing has presented itself to me thus far to convince me of a God; so I'm not really making any statement other than "your explanation of a God makes no sense". I don't believe the burden of proof lay in my court.

      I see my need for explanations to make sense as logical, definitely more logical than pure faith alone.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      @Ben.....I have no problem with that what-so-ever....do you feel the need, personally, to go fly a banner to promote a God-less America?

      July 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • i wonder

      agnostic,

      The labels 'agnostic' and 'atheist' are tricky. Here's one description that I found:

      "Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.

      Thus, it is clear that agnosticism is compatible with both theism and atheism. A person can believe in a god (theism) without claiming to know for sure if that god exists; the result is agnostic theism. On the other hand, a person can disbelieve in gods (atheism) without claiming to know for sure that no gods can or do exist; the result is agnostic atheism."

      Some make the distinction of "hard atheism" (gods do not exist) and "soft atheism" (there is no evidence for gods).

      As an agnostic, do you pray to a supernatural being? Do you pray one day and not the next? Any other rituals, just in case? If not, you are most likely an 'atheistic agnostic'.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • DB

      Larry, I am not sure if you are defining science as it is. Science systematically and organizes knowledge to produce a result. Meta-physics is science, hence the name sir, because it using testable explanations to help produce a result. The results my dear friend are far more reaching than the average man can see. You are still using the physical to prove the point of the non-physical my dear friend. Proving it is no different than in the realization that the world was not flat. I don't think you made that break through yet, nor have I. But the building blocks are worth exploring. Physical science is constantly making break through for more science to be explored. Aristotle in his book of Metaphysics Metaphysics, he says that "wisdom is knowledge of principles and causes."

      July 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @agnostic

      An agnostic. Really?

      You said: "The question of god, interestingly, if phrased correctly is impossible to answer. If i asked you' is there a being which influences events which can not be perceived or measured?'

      My answer would be: "No. In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary, until evidence is provided. Simple. Yes?

      You said: "then the burden of proof can not lie on me since our method for proving things relies on measurement and perception and the burden of proof can not lie on you since you cannot prove somethings nonexistence. The most logical answer is its possible and i can not say with any degree of certainty one way or the other."

      Actually, since it is the believers that are positing a god, it would be their burden to supply evidence that god does indeed exist. This is true if you are declaring a god or a unicorn or a satyr or a fiery serpent or Santa. No difference. All are imaginary, until evidence is produced.

      You are correct, no one can prove a negative. I can't prove that god does not exist. I also can't prove Santa Claus does not exist. But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we feel is probable.

      I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature. I can't prove vampires or werewolves or fairies don't exist. But, I bet you would agree, that they are not real. They just don't fit in with the reality we see all around us.

      So, we can look for attributes of god, that should provide evidence that He exists.
      If positive evidence is found, we should conclude that god probably exists.

      If positive evidence is not found, then we should conclude that the Christian God, beyond a reasonable doubt, does not exist. Just like Santa. Just like fairies. Just like vampires.

      I will give you one. You can look for other posts where I give more.

      Christians claim their god is Omnipotent ( all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnibenevolent (all good).

      1.If god is Omnibenevolent, He would WANT every human to believe in Him.
      The bible says He does:

      2 Peter 3:9
      9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. King James Version (KJV)

      1 Timothy 2:4
      4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. King James Version (KJV)

      2. If god is Omniscient, then He would KNOW exactly how to convince anyone and everyone that He exists.

      3. If god is Omnipotent, then He would be ABLE to convince anybody and everybody that He exists.

      Yet, ~ 68% of the world's population are not Christians.

      Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      No more likely than Santa and you don't believe in Santa. Right?

      Cheers!

      July 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @agnostic

      Is the possibility of there being a god (or a few hundred+ of them) significant enough to use some cult's book of "my god says" as a basis for creating laws and discriminating against non-cult members? I think that once all the theory and micro-inspection of the meaning of the words "theist", "agnostic" and "atheist" is complete, and you (not "you" personally) look at the available evidence objectively (not influenced by cultural upbringing), the anwer is a resounding "No!"

      July 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @DB

      I could be wrong here, as maybe I don't have all of the information as to where you are coming from, and... as far as I am aware, 'meta-physics' is and has been always a branch of Philosophy.

      Philosophy is not science, again, as far as I am aware.

      Maybe you know differently...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 3, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • mist

      agnostic is a squirmy eel. way to go squirmy eel. look up words once in a while, like equivocal. squirmy agnostic is an idiot.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:43 am |
    • There's really nothing big about atheist except their bloated egos

      I'm not a lawyer but the "burden of proof" (and it's) principle(s) applies in the court of law, right? And sas far as I know, there are (at least) two proof or evidence which is acceptable in the court of law. Namely, physical and c-i-rc-u-m-sta-ncial evidence, am I (still) right?

      That's what the great challenge of most (if not all) atheist, they confined their brains only on the former and are trying hard to disregard the latter, in which "t-e-s-timo-nial evidence or t-e-s-ti-mony" is included.

      Physical evidence might prevail over cir-c-u-m-s-tan-cial. But Do atheists know that in the court of law, a t-e-s-timony of three (if not countered by any harder evidence) "can be" substantial to prove something beyond reasonable doubt?

      I think believers have already presented their evidence. It's the Bible, Koran or any other religious texts that its truth are believed and accepted by billions likewise cemented by the t-e-s-t-i-mo-nies of billions all around the globe.

      If a testimony of three would be substanial with the absence any harder refuting it, how much more with the te-s-tim-ony of billions? When atheists have nothing to refute it except from using name calling, hate (like troll like mist is spewing here) insults, m-oc-kery etc. as valid argument.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  3. An Atheist’s Perspective

    As much as I like the idea of a campaign addressing the "atheists are anti-American" stereotype, the moment I saw how they're going about it I knew the reaction was going to be overwhelmingly negative (and not just because atheists are speaking up). It is too blunt, over the top, and frankly ineffective. This campaign is in no way going to achieve the goal of "show the country we're just like them".

    In my opinion, if you want to show the country that us atheists are normal people and not traitorous puppy-kicking monsters, then do just that. Show pictures or clips of atheists from everyday people to celebrities and if you want to show patriotism, then show that there are atheists in the military. You'd get much less of a knee-jerk reaction to the campaign and it's a hell of a lot less tacky than a "God-LESS America" banner dragged behind a plane.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Ishov

      Absolutely agree with this! It is not their fault that they are atheists, but that they are the jerks...

      July 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >> “In my opinion, if you want to show the country that us atheists are normal people and not traitorous puppy-kicking monsters, then do just that. Show pictures or clips of atheists from everyday people to celebrities “

      Greetings my friend and respectfully welcome to the club. I love this Blog but the realization is that the news, be it CNN, FoxNews and MsNBC will not show that kind of story. It will not sell or get folks to click on a link that will put a ad banner in front of them. Stories of positive images do not cause opinionated post flowing into the 3 and 4 thousand range. If it is another thing that Athiest and the Faithful have in common is that we allow ourselves to be entertainment for those who would give a rats tail on either subject.

      Just go back and look at the articles here on the blog and you will see the trend. If it is positive it gets little or no movement, give something inflammatory and they will not only push the article, they will give us a sequel thread that is crazily called “Your Take”...

      Think about it... we just read through 20+ pages of 4k posts.. and they want to tell us “Our Take” Good grief … we just said it, why make another article .. unless it is just to see if folks will get riled up again.

      Sigh … How did it go … You will stand, face the emperor and speak loudly, and do not turn your back at him …

      WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE SALUTE YOU... cnn, foxnes,msnbc, time magazine..etc etc ..

      July 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • An Atheist’s Perspective

      @Mark,

      Thank you for the kind welcome. I have to hand it to you though, you have a point about the "Your Take". It's rather uh... redundantly redundant.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • mist

      hey squirmy mark i see u have been busy typing nothing again. way to go squirmy mark.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:44 am |
  4. Ishov

    I am just curious. How does a typical religious person reacts to a statement that "Sun will grow into a Red Giant and vaporize the Earth and all life on it." This is a statement based on astrophysics... (Never mind that it is expected to happen about 5 billion years from now...)

    July 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Ishov
      You said: "I am just curious. How does a typical religious person reacts to a statement that "Sun will grow into a Red Giant and vaporize the Earth and all life on it." This is a statement based on astrophysics... (Never mind that it is expected to happen about 5 billion years from now...)"

      When I first learned this, I could not sleep at night. That will really screw up my weekend.

      Cheers!

      July 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  5. Heythere

    Tim & Dan Brown
    Using the illustration of Gravity and Air. God can be studied. For example, Does God exist? If so, which God is true, is God is false? Does God really care? When will God act? If it is easy to believe in AIR why the world is it so hard and difficult to believe in a God? Perhaps, one chooses not to do so?

    Why not awaken an interest to study in God as would a Scientist love to study about the material universe, etc. It can be Fun. perhaps not for all. No one likes vegetables until they try them.

    Or you could submit to the fate of the universe and think that our Sun will grow into a Red Giant and vaporize the Earth and all life on it. =) You are under no obligation to study or think anything otherwise. Just offering something to ponder about.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • i wonder

      Studying voodoo spirits can be fun too... so is science fiction. Enjoy, but try not to take the fantasy dreamworld too seriously.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • mist

      hey there heythere, you squirm around like an eel. you should teach squirmy mark how its done.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  6. Tom

    I have a hard time understanding proselytizing atheists. What are they trying to save people from (or for)? What cosmic ledger will register a +1 for them if they convert another to atheism?

    July 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • footnotegirl

      I wouldn't call it proselytizing so much. In this case, it's simply a reminder that hey, atheists exist and they aren't unAmerican. They aren't horrible moral-less people. They're your friends, and neighbors, coworkers and employees. In a country where a person probably can't get elected if they don't claim faith in an invisible supernatural being, that's a pretty important thing to remind people of.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Tunk

      There is no cosmic ledger. The positive results are immediate and real. A person throws away the insanity and becomes sane.
      That is worth fighting for. That is giving the person freedom from insanity. Have a good Independence Day.

      July 3, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  7. ummyeah

    Patriotism in a broad sense just means devotion to ones country. Now this can have many meanings and wide variety of opinions on what it means to actually be a patriot. One could make it just as simple as being a law abiding citizen who proclaims his devotion. Some even are critical of patriotism. But it is NOT about GOD. That can be a secondary part for some people, as patriotism as stated before can have many meanings, but one meaning that is clear in its definition, is COUNTRY. That is the primary part of it. If country is not first in your heart and mind, when proclaiming to be a patriot, then you are not one. And lets remember these atheists are not attacking christians or religion, they are saying "we are patriots TO" or "belongs to EVERYONE", or just "atheism is patriotic". That is NOT the same as saying "atheism IS patriotism" or saying one must be atheist to be patriotic. It is them who are being attacked and excluded. They are not wanting or asking for religions to get what they get, but for them to be equal with the religions. Just like the gays. its the opponents who attack and take, and lose nothing. And not to say one should favored over another, but just saying, who do you think a enlightened nation that believes in freedom and progress should favor more: a side looking to be equal, or one looking to oppress with no logic or no compromise (except when eschewing certain doctrines of their own beliefs for the sake of fitting comfortably with their own lives and not gods)? I like to think a being of pure benevolence that can create the sun and crabs at the bottom of the ocean that can thrive near volcanic vents, would favor someone who tries to be honest with self and see things how they are and actually follow it, wheater it believes in him or not, than someone that says they believe in him but only for their own gain. Sorry all, if god is good, then he is not a omnipotent, hypocritical, tyrant puppetmaster. Because that sheet aint good......

    July 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  8. Justsayin

    The blind faith that I have in God is all I need; not trying to convert anyone but if you want peace in your life it comes from within and for me that's Jesus Christ. Again, just saying.

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

      you dont say, justsayin. you just said nothing. irony is you sayin nothing. way to go justsayin.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:50 am |
  9. Heythere

    Dan Brown
    Very interesting your comment: Atheists see no valid proof of god and therefore no logical reason to accept the existence of one.

    Yet, what about AIR- There is no logical reason to believe in air since we can not see it. However, we see the effects of the wind on the branches of a tree. We use it to dive under water. We automatically use it to fill our lungs so we can live and breath. Yet, using your "logic" since we can not see it(air) or (God) we have no logical reason to believe in valid proof of God's existence. Is that is what your are saying?

    July 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • TIm

      Yet, unlike God, air can be studied, sampled, surveyed and shown to be exactly what it is: a bunch of inter-connecting molecules of varying type. A better analogy, for you, would have been gravity (even though it's a long way off from what you're still going for).

      July 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      Air is not visible to the naked eye, but it can be sensed and measured in quite a range of other ways. God cannot be sensed or measured in any way. That's a terrible analogy.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • My 2 cents

      The comment was: "Atheists see no valid PROOF of god ", not "Atheists cannot see god ". Huge difference there. Also, "seeing a proof" should be taken in the sense "a valid proof being presented". "Seeing no valid proof" means "No valid proof has been presented in any way, shape or form".

      July 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • mist

      air is in your head heythere.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:51 am |
  10. Blue Templar

    I love how Aethiests are always screaming about anyone who has faith calling them Bigots. Yet they themselves are the biggest Bigots of them all. They shout "prove god exists", well. Prove God Doesn't Exist. Untill then.... Bigot: "stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own. " Go figure.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • TommyTT

      Well, they're not "the biggest bigots of them all." That's just troll hot air. But if they insult believers, then they are bigots. However, the article is about atheists who (correctly) want public to realize that atheism/theism have no connection to patriotism. That's a false and selfish connection established by certain religious groups who want to keep Old Glory for themselves.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Chris

      Would you rather atheists called you "ignoramus"? Because an ignoramus would make the kind of request you are making.

      You can't prove the nonexistence of something for, if it doesn't exist, then their is no evidence left behind of its nonexistence. I could scour the entire planet and never find any purple unicorns, but you could just make the claim they are probably on Mars. Then I could scour Mars to prove they aren't their, and you could say that they are actually a bajillion light years away in a far-off galaxy. In 200 years when we have the ability to travel to other galaxies, my progeny might be able to prove they are not in that galaxy, and your progeny could state that the purple unicorns are actually between dimensions.

      In short, can't prove nonexistence. From that notion, it does not then follow that the thing whose nonexistence cannot be proved must therefore exist.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Chris

      their = there (stupid fast typing)

      July 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Magic

      Blue Templar:

      "Prove God Doesn't Exist."

      So, what if I say that I have an invisible blue squirrel sitting on my head. Prove that it doesn't exist. You cannot. It must be true then?!

      July 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Tim

      The rules of logic dictate that the burden of proof falls upon the affirmative position: that a god does exist. Atheists have no obligation to prove or disprove anything. Otherwise—if you demand belief in all Beings for which there is no absolute disproof—then you are forced by your own twisted "logic" to believe in mile-long pink elephants on Pluto, since, at present, we haven't explored Pluto and shown them to be nonexistent.

      lrn2logic

      July 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • agnostic

      So I see a lot of atheists here and having been one myself I would like to point out that your disbelief is no more logical than belief, they are equivocal. first an example a greek philosopher (i forget which one) says all things have a smallest particle... the atom, others say you are wrong because you have no proof. The more appropriate answer is I cannot make a decision as of yet as there might be proof but I don't have it. Atheism falls into the same trap and theism since its takes a definite stance when logic dictates keeping an open mind. The question of god, interestingly, if phrased correctly is impossible to answer. If i asked you' is there a being which influences events which can not be perceived or measured?' then the burden of proof can not lie on me since our method for proving things relies on measurement and perception and the burden of proof can not lie on you since you cannot prove somethings nonexistence. The most logical answer is its possible and i can not say with any degree of certainty one way or the other.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      Proof does exist....the atheist do not want to believe the proof...and I am not here to try and proof it to you....the laws in the Universe explain very well what matter is, how it will behave etc...but then we have the quantum world...it is not easily understood etc...again, this argument is getting boring....In my life God is not a question...it is not an assumption, proofable fable nor a belief....In my life I KNOW...like Hendrix asked....'Have you ever been experienced???.....Well, I have!"

      July 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • apostate

      It doesn't work that way. We can't disprove your big imaginary nothing.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Chris

      "So I see a lot of atheists here and having been one myself I would like to point out that your disbelief is no more logical than belief"

      Incorrect. What you, like most people, fail to understand is that atheism and agnosticism are not disjoint (mutually exclusive) states of being. Most atheists are "weak atheists"; this is a way of saying that they are agnostic atheists. I fall into this category, as well. My not believing in the existence of a deity is not the same as if I were to make the claim that no deities exist. I cannot make that claim; I just don't think it is likely. I can say that the deity described in the Judeo-Christian "holy" books cannot possible exist as described, but I haven't bothered to read more than a few pages from books from other religions for enlightenment because, frankly, I find their plot outlines offensive and oh, how they drag on.

      "Proof does exist....the atheist do not want to believe the proof"

      ............or?

      July 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  11. BoDacious01

    Without God atheism is 1) boring; and 2) does not exist...thin about it..

    July 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      Ooops...'think'

      July 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Chris

      Actually, atheism is pretty great. I get to use my brain to consider possibilities that your religious upbringing will never let you consider out of fear of retribution from a supposedly "loving" god. And atheism certainly does exist. As long as there are people who do not believe in the existence of a deity, atheism will exist. Think about it. Ooooooh.....sorry about that. (forgot who I was talking to)

      July 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Ishov

      This is as unsubstantiated as this "Without bogeyman, religion is 1) boring; and 2) does not exist..."

      July 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      I should clarify...."this article does not exist witout God"....Do not take what I said here too seriously or make quick judgement....I just find religious dogmatist and the creationist much more enjoyable to debate....

      I haven't heard many people speak of Nitzche yet as to some arguments for atheism and against the christian god...I would say say he and Dawkins are the leading the atheist thinkers (can I call it that since it is not a believe?) in the past 150 years.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Without god atheism doesn't exist? And you want US to think about???

      July 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Chris

      "Without leprechauns, aleprechaunism doesn't exist."

      I am an aleprechaunist. I don't believe leprechauns exist. According to your dizzying intellect, leprechauns must, therefore, exist.

      Well done.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @BoDacious01

      *(sighs)... What terrible logic on so many levels -Bo.

      However, given the many responses above here that have suggested strongly that your argument has -0- merit, I would love to see if you can come back and answer the previous posters with a counter-argument.

      You never know... maybe we have missed something here...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 3, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • mist

      bodacious0, your words are very squirmy. you are not bodacious. u r ironical and squirmy. keep on squirmin

      July 3, 2011 at 5:54 am |
  12. Ishov

    Dear friends on both sides, do you hear yourselves? I think that everyone of you, or at least those who honestly claim to live by moral standards, should open your eyes and see how hypocritical you sound. Some atheists seems to try changing religious people into not believers, and vice versa! Why? You can express and practice your beliefs as much as you want. There are so many different ways how you can do that without offending other people. Yet, you believers find it necessary to attack atheists because they have other types of beliefs... Same applies to atheists (I may add that I am one of them...). Why do you need to stop religious people to believe? Do you try to show that you are above them, or what? This whole thing with the banners is also kind of crazy. If you need to show your patriotic spirit, use that money to do something truly patriotic. For example, donate that to some veteran fund. You prove your patriotic spirit with your deeds, not with your unsupported claims.

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

      I wish we could all come together with matching funds from all sides to bring a bunch of troops home in First Class.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • D'Bourgeois

      Religious people can be unpatriotic because they select candidates out of self interest (religious belief) and not national goodness.

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

      D'Bourgeois. The leap that maybe you have to arrive at is that everyone votes for Self interest. I think that it was Decartes that said that man does nothing that is not for the benefits of himself.

      If I am a American auto worker and I vote for the candidate that I feel will help my industry, while at the same time feeling that what is good for the American Auto industry is good for all Americans, then I would call myself being Patriotic. Those of Faith are no different, they believe that for the good of the country this person or that should be running things. It might not be the only reason but it would fall into one of the main reasons.

      Each person to his own has a view of how things should be and they feel it would be patriotic if that view reigned supreme.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Kristin

      Thank you. I am not atheist, but I agree with you.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • mist

      squirmy mark thinks its okay to be squirmy. way to go squirmy mark.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:56 am |
  13. D'Bourgeois

    Even the religious leaders knew the ultimate truth – its just us, no supreme being. That is why Moses came back with his commandments which were all about removal of discordant behavior in society. Do you think God would care about cheating wife, or theft? Remember in both cases there is a presumption of ownership, either of a relationship or goods.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ..and there are so many Athiest that live in fear that one day they might find out that there is a God.

      I guess while folks were making silly statements that I would join in. 😀

      July 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • gemini

      Silly is your forte, uncouth marky. You've never posted anything that wasn't silly.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Add a bit of silly and a small statement from the heart .... and it will beat the posts after post of folks going barrel to barrel screaming at each other. Many do not want peace and harmony, they just want to scream and provoke. That I add silly in, for me it works.. it might help to de-escalate and begin more communications or would you just want more of the same, proving nothing, and changing nothing.

      But, I thank you for reading and the hopes for a day with more tolerance. 🙂

      L'chaim

      July 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Tunk

      Wow, way to say absolutely nothing worth reading, Mark. Would you like a standing ovation? Semantically empty posts deserve some sort of recognition. What would you like? A little plastic whistle made in China? I think we could do that.

      July 3, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • mist

      squirmy mark is very good at saying nothing in a squirmy way. way to go squirmy mark.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:59 am |
  14. DB

    It just seems the religious folks fail to connect the dots between science and God. Also go the same way for Atheists. We are primitive in thought and understanding.Science proves something besides the physical exist. Is it what the faithful call "Godly"? Only time more discoveries of what we didn't know will resolve this. As a non-atheist AND a man not of faith, ask we need patience as Humanity evolves...

    July 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Was it required that we had to connect the dots? If you guys are making the ground rules you need to let us know we were playing a game. 🙂

      July 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      I can agree with that statement

      July 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      DB, when you say "Science proves something besides the physical exist (sic)," could you show use this proof? I have never ever heard of any scientific study that discovered anything beyond the physical world. Indeed, this is the real problem. People have been asking for proof for centuries, and it has never been found.

      There are no dots between science between God. That. in a nutshell, is the problem. Everything offered by various religions in lieu of those dots has been inadequate at best and bizarre at worst.

      If you can actually provide this scientific proof which you claim exists, I guarantee most atheists and agnostics will adjust their views.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • DB

      Is it required for you to eat food to survive? Is it required for you to procreate? Its not a matter of playing the game, its a matter of figuring out what game is being played, if there is one, so you don't turn out to be the loser.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • DB

      Electric Larry, while I come up with a few literature for you. here is a simple one. Did you have thoughts of what you were going to write before you wrote it. Do you feel love for your partner? Do you think that is physical? One dot is the physical that triggers the thoughts or feeling, the other end of the dot is the realization to you that it exist to you. No one else can touch(lack of a better word) your thoughts or feelings, but you.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      DB. Since you are not a person of Faith then the only thing that I can say is that is what is required of us of Faith. What you ask for is not anything we need to prove. I mean if the folks come knocking on your front door and ask you to join their church.... have at them. For me, and many Christians it is your lack of Faith that only you have to contend with. If you require things to connect the dots before you have Faith then that is for you.

      I guess for me I am not hear to tell you that you should have Faith but I am happy to sit here and tell you why I have Faith. Question, would me doing such still be seen by many radical Atheist as me forcing my Faith on you guys as Atheist?

      The only losers in life are those that look back and wonder what might have been. It does not make you a loser to hold on to a belief system. Be that belief system Atheism or Faith.

      Fram

      July 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      DB, your examples are not scientific. Believe it or not, love (and all the other emotions) is an electro-chemical reaction in the brain, a response to certain stimuli. Purely mechanical, nothing at all to suggest anything supernatural or deological at work. The realization of identity of which you speak is cognition, also an electro-chemical process in highly evolved brains. Again, nothing about cognition has proven supernatural.

      To help you understand that emotion and cognition are purely physical processes, damage to the physical location of them, the brain, radically alters emotion and cognition. Sorry, but both are completely within the realm of science and the physical.

      If you do provide sources for other things, please make sure they are reliable scientific sources. I find it tedious trying to explain why a distorted pseudo-scientific opinion piece on a religious website is wrong, and the people who post them here won't listen to any rebuttal anyway, no matter how iron-clad the reasoning and proof.

      But I appreciate your sincere effort to put forth support.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • DB

      Mark from Middle River, I applaud you for having faith. And fully respect that. And if that is what gets you through the day, have at it. That is what this article was saying about faith has a place in society. As for me, Its more than faith. I just don't believe God gave me an intelligent mind to reason and not have understanding. I believe faith is built through realization that something exist to you, once it has convinced you it works. You had to have some proof or experience that led you to believe that faith works. In my world, faith is tangible.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • i wonder

      A dot here and a dot there and a dot somewhere else is interesting:

      Oooh, oooh, I know... it's a daisy!
      Oooh, oooh, I know... it's a dragon!
      Oooh, oooh, I know... it's patternless, abstract art!

      We are curious creatures and want to know what, where, why, how and who; but at this time, with so few 'dots', the answer is "we don't know" (yet, if ever). Sorry if that is not satisfying. You are not justified in seeing a daisy there. The default, fall-back answer of "God did it" is not valid or acceptable.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • DB

      Larry, I subscribe to the science of metaphysics. I agree with physical stimuli that you so eloquently described, but what you fail to describe the result of the stimuli beyond the physical connections. Non-physical aspects of reality, by its very nature cannot accurately measure or collect data using the five physical senses.Everything that can be observed and measured in the physical world is a result of mind. But non-physical, is experienced, which is what it is for those who subscribe to faith.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • DB

      Larry, I just stumbled on this website that says it all. Now don't get me wrong. We are not there yet...what we do have is the proof that things exist beyond matter. How matter and non matter relate to each other is the true adventure.

      http://www.metaphysics-for-life.com/metaphysical-science.html

      July 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • DB

      i wonder: God did do it. He wants me to know how (He gave me a brain that reasons), so I can live as he intended...

      July 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • i wonder

      DB,

      While your scenario is *possible* (dang, where's that really tiny font highlighted in gray when I need it!), there is no proof that it is valid. Could it be any other way? We don't know what we don't know yet.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • DB

      I wonder: Ofcourse we don't know yet or haven' reached the level of full understanding. What I am only trying to do here is stimulate the thought that this is there, why ignore it...People, I am no way saying that I have found the answers!!!! I jsut don't choose to ignore what it is that stimulate my mind, body and soul! And if it's God, what do I need to do to make sure I tune my mind, body and soul to the right channel to receive and live with Him. I just don't think faith cuts it. please don't take this the wrong way, but I think its cheating to say just have faith. I could tell my kids to look for the answers to a problem to, but I rather them work the problem....

      July 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      That's an interesting concept, but as you can imagine, I have some difficulties with it. First of all, you call metaphysics a science. Is is not. Metaphysics is in the realm of philosophy, not science.

      Since metaphysics has no verifiability at all, anything derived from it is pure conjecture based on no verifiable foundation at all. Moreover, theology itself is an area of metaphysics. You are right back at the beginning – conclusions based on no evidence at all.

      Yes, you are right, the discussion of stimuli is quite reductive – a lot more goes on, and how a being responds to the many stimuli and environmental elements is very complicated, and thus beyond the scope of this forum. However, that hardly means that any of it is metaphysical or supernatural. I know these things feel very powerful to you, but love is at its core a group of hormones that glands secrete into your blood stream in response to stimuli.

      You said that "Everything that can be observed and measured in the physical world is a result of mind." No. Everything is there already and does not need a measurer or observer to exist. The tree that falls in the forest does make a sound, because sound is defined as a mechanical wave, not "that which can be heard." Be careful of solipsistic arguments like this.

      Going back to your assertion that "science proves something besides the physical exist", you still have not provided any science. Similarly, you keep refering to the non-physical aspect of reality – what are they, and can you give any proof they exist? You say non-physical things are experienced, but I suspect that since there is no evidence – no "there" there – that what you are calling non-physical experience is actually an abstract concept like "love" that is actually a physical process that earlier humans could not describe physically, so they created a whole abstract theory around it.

      I'm afraid your website did nothing for me. No evidence of anything. You said you would provide scientific support. There was no science there at all.

      Interesting discussion, though.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • DB

      Larry, If you damage anything it won't work as intended. Like breaking an antenna, will stop its transmission of frequency. As far love being mechanical, that would mean it can be duplicated. So that would mean you and I can have the same level of love for someone else, if we "mechanically" introduce the same balance of electro and stimuli to our brain. That would be a good science project, but would we transmit the same love to someone else...hmmm. or are their other impulses a factor that affect the connection between the two partners. I think the results would be different...from me to you. But like you said that there is electro at work here, and we all know that energy has its relation to each other...that there is not physical.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • i wonder

      DB,

      Your search is laudable. I hope it brings you peace.

      I was a believer for many, many years until I discovered way too many fallacies in those teachings and philosophies. At this point I am of a mind of "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

      If there truly is a supreme being, and it is loving and just, it will accept me as I am; or it will provide evidence of its existence which is suited to me... not an ambiguous trail of breadcrumbs, which if followed unwittingly incorrectly leads right off a cliff.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      A few points – where you say "As far love being mechanical, that would mean it can be duplicated. So that would mean you and I can have the same level of love for someone else," the answer is no. You and I would have to exact duplicates of each other, raised exactly the same way so the stimuli responses developed to be identical, and then we would have to encounter and interact with the object of love in exactly the same way. As I said earlier, it is actually very complicated – but it is still subject to science in every way.

      I don't understand your comment "we all know that energy has its relation to each other...that there is not physical." I still don't see any evidence for anything "not physical."

      July 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • DB

      Larry, I am not sure if you are defining science as it is. Science systematically and organizes knowledge to produce a result. Meta-physics is science, hence the name sir, because it using testable explanations to help produce a result. The results my dear friend are far more reaching than the average man can see. You are still using the physical to prove the point of the non-physical my dear friend. Proving it is no different than in the realization that the world was not flat. I don't think you made that break through yet, nor have I. But the building blocks are worth exploring. Physical science is constantly making break through for more science to be explored. Aristotle in his book of Metaphysics Metaphysics, he says that "wisdom is knowledge of principles and causes."

      July 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • DB

      Oh, by the way Larry, Have you read the "The Secret"? Many folks have read that, and was an eye opener to another door...

      July 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      Metaphysics is not a science. Here is the dictionary definition (Merriam Webster):

      "(1): a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology (2): ontology 2 b: abstract philosophical studies : a study of what is outside objective experience"

      Philosophy, not science. Here is Wikipedia: "Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world."

      Metaphysics cannot be a science because there is nothing verifiable to study. It is a branch of philosophy, not science. Here are some definitions of "science."

      Wikipedia: "Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world." Metaphysics is not testable, and thus not a science.

      Merriam Webster: "Knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method." Metaphysics cannot be obtained and tested through scientific method.

      I am not sure how you can claim the results are more far reaching when you cannot even prove it is there.

      I know the earth is round by verification – when I sail away from a buoy, it slowly sinks over the horizon from the bottom up – there's curvature there. There are other verifications as well. Nothing metaphysical about it at all, and no breakthrough to be made. Eratosthenes of Cyrene measured the circumference of the Earth to within 2% in ca 240 BCE.

      If I am still using "the physical to prove the point of the non-physical", then how do you use the non-physical to prove the non-physical? That's using something that cannot be proven to exist to prove the existence of something that cannot exist. How do you prove it at all?

      How can you explore the building blocks when you cannot measure or test them, or even find them ?

      Or maybe we try another track: just describe some things that you think are metaphysical. We've done love already, so go for other things. I'm not trying to beat you in a debate or anything; I sincerely want to know what is there, and what is the scientific proof of it that you claimed. I'll take proof in ANY form.

      This will be my last post on this. Please do respond – I will read it. Thank you for the interesting conversation. I actually hope you do find something in your search – it would make things interesting.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • DB

      Larry, Metaphysics is basically the philosophical study of being and knowing. Metaphysics is very closely related to spirituality, but it is not religious. On the other hand, when I talk about physics I am not really talking about the old Newtonian physics that many of us were taught in school. Instead, I am talking more about the leading edge sciences that are, in my opinion, currently expanding the previous limits of science, mainly quantum physics (the science where physics and metaphysics merge). From there is where have some testable proof...quantum physics is just the physics of the incredibly small. The importance of this is, that on small scales the common laws of physics begin to deteriorate. Things become very mysterious, and ancient spiritual / metaphysical teachings begin to become scientifically proven.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      For DB:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mysticism

      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/14/science/14essa.html

      July 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  15. Allison

    I prefer the term God-free over God-less, actually.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      I prefer the term "free". The God part doesn't exist.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  16. Ron B

    I am proud to be freethinker..... To date I have yet to see any proof of the existance of any diety. I see people who have "faith" but faith is not proof!

    July 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  17. Pet Lover

    "There is no sin"

    @Blastomere..RREEAALLLYYYY!!!! If you happens to be my neighbor, PLEASE let me know so that I will not let my puppy roam around in the neigborhood and get r-a-p-ed!

    July 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • How dreary religious people are

      So you think that atheists rape puppies? Nice thunking, brainiac.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Chris

      Holy bajeezus, you are retarded. You seriously need to look into that. You obviously are not acquainted with any atheists, so why don't you get your head out of your ass.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Lurking Atheist Puppy Molester

      Pet Lover has unveiled our dark secret, Chris. We atheists prowl around the SPCA and slink around PetSmart scouting out potential victims for our puppy-rape orgies.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  18. Pet Lover

    "There is no sin"

    @Blastomere..If you happens to be my neighbor, please let me know so that I will not let my puppy roam around and get r-a-p-ed.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Ad Absurdum

      Yes, that puppy rape problem is really getting out of control.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      quit your jive talk pet lover...

      July 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  19. Dan Brown

    Atheists not not believe in god. Atheists see no valid proof of god and therefore no logical reason to accept the existence of one.

    That is very different from people who believe there is no god. I don't know what to call those folks. They deny the existence of god as a matter of faith. Do they get lumped in with atheists sometimes?

    The second view believes there is no god as a matter of faith.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      Do they have some sort of indoctrination facility that all Christians are required to attend? You all come here with the exact same lame "ideas" and bizarre straw-man misrepresentations of atheism and atheists. And no matter how often we prove in great detail how inaccurate and absurd those stereotypes are, out they come again.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      Hey Dan.....their are many facets to atheism...It sounds like you are describing agnostic vs atheist...Wikepedia has a lot written about the different forms of atheism...it is isn't just as simple as I believe in God and you don't.... it is a philosophical stand point....logic is not the only way our mind thinks. ie...dreams, hall-ucinations, fasting...we have a subconscience, and an unconscience mind....atheist don't speak of those parts...I don't claim to know it all but like I said Wikepedia has a lot of good info and references

      July 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Larry to be fair the same can and does apply to Atheist as well. How many come here and post as if all people of Faith are from the Westburo Baptist Church. The indoctrination is not just on one side. Many of you appear to be reading off the same script on your side. 🙂

      July 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Tunk

      Yes, Mark, they "appear" to your bigoted brain to be as bigoted as you. That's so intelligent of you. If you wanted to use that brain to think, would it explode from the shock? Oh, wait, you're going to say I'm a bigot no matter what I say. Nevermind.

      July 3, 2011 at 3:17 am |
    • mist

      wheres squirmy marks response. i think he squirmed away again. way to go squirmy mark.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:14 am |
  20. James

    So the atheists are spending $23,000 to spread the word about their belief in nothing? Do they worship at the alter of government, personal responsibility? Maybe they should look at it from a different elitist point of view. If the "low sloped" forehead, knuckle dragging, stupid religious people don't have a god to believe in then what will they believe in? Government? When times get tough will the masses pray to government to help them? Will government help them in trouble times? Will their belief in nothing be a calming presence at deaths door? Will the belief in nothing help with the death of a loved one?

    Just think if they are atheists are right and spread their message of no God. Then what is to keep a "low sloped" forehead, knuckle dragging, stupid former religious person from doing unspeakable things. Just think the two hardest things about killing another person would be getting away with it and living with the guilt. If there is no God why should there be any guilt?

    July 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • News Flash

      So Jimmy. No, they don't worship at any altar. They can chose their value systems from many available, and not just the "knee jerk" ones you suggest. When times are tough, they have family and friends to help, and they muddle through, just like the "believers" do, but without the crutch of talking to themselves about fables and fantasies. Apparently the government doesn't help much, but who expects them to anyway ? They have drugs, (if they need them), and family and friends to help them through death. Is the need for comfort/help at death a backa'ss justification to make up a fantasy system ? Religious people are not the ONLY ethical people, and if that's all that's keeping YOU from doing unspeakable things, you have a problem. Sounds like you have thought a LOT about killing someone. I never have.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • David

      James, this is one of the oldest and silliest arguments against atheism. If atheists need God to keep them from killing others then how come our jails aren't full of atheists? Also, nobody is saying all religious people are 'knuckle dragging' and 'stupid'. This seems to be your invention. Most atheists have simply figured out they don't need 2000 year old fairy stories to follow a law-abiding life that includes being sensitive to others without being threatened with an everlasting hell. Do yourself a big favor and read some Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens. Open up your mind and try to see the physical universe as it really is.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      David....believe in God began hundreds of thousands of years ago...not 2000...be wary of connecting atheism with anti christian.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @James

      You said: "religious people don't have a god to believe in then what will they believe in? Government? When times get tough will the masses pray to government to help them? Will government help them in trouble times?"

      Yes. Society does come to people's aid now. God in His infinite love, sends a tornado to destroy your "village". Whose there to help you bury your dead and rebuild your huts? Society.

      You said: "Just think if they are atheists are right and spread their message of no God. Then what is to keep a "low sloped" forehead, knuckle dragging, stupid former religious person from doing unspeakable things. Just think the two hardest things about killing another person would be getting away with it and living with the guilt. If there is no God why should there be any guilt?"

      I find it hard to believe that believers only do what is right, because they fear a god. I don't ra_pe or plunder or murder and I am non-theistic. Am I the exception? No. In society there are proportionally less crimes committed by atheists.

      Take this test: If you absolutely knew that there was no god, would you rob a bank? ra_pe? stop giving to the poor? I bet you wouldn't change at all.

      Cheers!

      July 2, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • bp

      @ James you said "Just think if they are atheists are right and spread their message of no God. Then what is to keep a "low sloped" forehead, knuckle dragging, stupid former religious person from doing unspeakable things. Just think the two hardest things about killing another person would be getting away with it and living with the guilt. If there is no God why should there be any guilt?"

      My question is whats to stop believers from committing unspeakable acts when their god will just forgive them anyways?

      I just made the same argument as you but switched the sides. Both are utterely ridiculous, obviously morailty is independent of religion though it certainly is incorporated into religion (which is not a bad thing).

      July 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • And Guess What? It's Saturday Night!

      Or on a smaller scale, repent Sunday morning what you did Saturday night . . . and will do next Saturday night too.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Advertisement
About this blog

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.