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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. Jefferson

    This is what happens when atheism becomes your religion. As an atheist I don't care what you believe as long as you are not killing in the name of said belief and you are obeying our laws. And why would anyone want to take a god away from someone who really needs that?

    July 3, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  2. Timothy

    So, the real truth isn't that Atheists are not patriotic, but that they are very selfish.
    I mean every holiday these people come out and advertise their beliefs and make sure that everyone knows about them.

    Very few people care and there are bigger issues on this planet than your little advertisements of saying "Don't forget about us, we are here too", great now lets get on to the real issue, like stuff that matters.

    July 3, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • News Flash

      Did you mean "some" atheists are selfish ? Or "a few" atheists are whatever ?
      The world is complicated, and you are not still in kinnygarden. I would hope.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  3. Agnostic

    Did you know that recent scientific evidence has found that the higher the IQ the more likely you are an atheist. Also most religions agree that if you don't believe in God (AKA if you are an atheist) you are going to hell. Therefor God despises intelligence as intelligence will make it more likely that you will go to hell. To all the religious people out there you should not engage in debate or even consider the numerous logical fallacies of religion because by exposing yourselves to debate and learning you are in danger of becoming smart and going to hell. Also even if you're right god existing the odds of you being right about your chosen religion are less than 50% because almost all religions agree that if you don't believe in their religion you are going to hell and there is no majority religion. Seriously people God made man in his image, that how come we all look different, and how come we keep finding all these fossils everywhere of primitive humans. Of course you will say that god is doing this to test our faith, or science is lying to us... Once again God hates smart people so if you're IQ is greater than 110 you've already been born with a disadvantage and are playing in the devils basketball court. Good luck y'all primitive creationist believing common-sense denying religious fanatics. I'll be using my time on earth to enjoy it as much as possible, while you will be attending boring church ceremonies, and eating terrible church food. I on the other hand will be using my short time here to the maximum benefit. ciao

    July 3, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • tested

      You need to ask the question "Are there smart people who have faith?" You will find the answer to this question is an emphatic yes. Throughout history the most brilliant minds have most often been people of faith. It is also not true that "most" religions require that you believe or go to Hell. Certainly this is not true of Buddhism, Judiasm, Hinduism, and some Christian sects. The question as to whether or not there is a "God" is a matter of faith. Whether you choose to believe yes or no requires faith in either some "creator" which we can't understand or the lack thereof. But if you choose not to believe in God, there are no facts or science to support you. All you will find are doubts about details in old books written by men which were meant more as metaphors than absolutes. If you look at this planet, the life on it, the Universe and all the unexplained phenomenon...educated and reasonable people will conclude there may be intelligent forces we can't understand.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • John Richardson

      @tested The further back you go in history, the more stifling the religious culture was and the more likely that the most brilliant minds were at least nominal religious adherents and possibly actually devoutly religious. And that's true of all religions. Much of ancient mathematics was developed by Hindus and Muslims and pagan, mystical Greeks. So even Christians must admit that you CAN be brilliant and committed to the truth of religious ideas incompatible with Christianity. So brilliant Christians don't prove Christianity any more than brilliant Hindus, Muslims or whatever prove those other religions.

      Fast forward to a much more secular world in which it is both physically and socially vastly safer (if not yet completely safe) to eschew ALL religion and you see more and more of the brightest minds doing exactly that. The tendency is clear and can't be denied.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  4. Dorian

    I honestly don't see the problem with this, besides the fact that it's a huge waste of money. The highway I take to school every day has huge billboards promoting Christianity. There are even a few on abortion I find slightly offensive. So, let the Atheists say what they want to see then. Freedom of speech to everyone.

    July 3, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  5. justathought

    I can not believe this! Grant, I came in late, and there was no way that I was going to read 1650 posts, but I did read enough. And you people who call yorselves Christian, I'm ashamed of you. Have you not read Matt 7:6? where Christ told us not to throw our pearls before swine, lest they trample them and turn and rend us? This is just what Christ meant! Arguing with atiest is folly. You are not going to convert them, they don't want to believe and that is their God given right. Leave them alone! This is a stupid war. Nobody is going to win. If the atiests want to promote their beliefs that is their national and God given right; just as it is your right to promote the word of God, is not only your right, but the command of Christ, but use common sence, if a person dosen't want to believe in God, let him/her alone, don't push it, it is a waste of your time and God will judge you for that.

    July 3, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Agnostic

      Yes in the Quaran they call this Jihad, in Christianity they call it Crusading. Atheist call it "trying to convince people with logic."

      July 3, 2011 at 6:00 am |
  6. Rob K.

    The problem isn't a disbelief in God. The problem is going around with banners that change "God bless America" to "God-Less America". I mean, come on. You're not going to make any friends by turning a well known patriotic phrase on its head, God or no God.
    If you're going to take a phrase about a god and then purposely change it to be anti-god, you should know full well that it isn't going to go over with the public.
    Come up with your own catchy phrase. It's not that hard, guys. Don't try to own one you don't even believe in.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • steve88

      As an atheist I tend to agree. If you are going to spend $20k on an advertisement, it should be pretty catchy, and like-able. Though I think they are probably trying to push peoples buttons on purpose, being especially edgy for the notoriety, so people take interest or talk about the subject, in general.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • John Richardson

      Lppk, all movements tend to have tensions between the pragmatists who want to work as far as possible within the mainstream and the radicals who want to shake up the mainstream. I myself tend to be pragmatic, but there is such a thing as a pragmatic use of radicalism. If non-believers started picketing churches or defacing religious signs, I'd have a huge problem with that. But this campaign might, just might, stir up the mainstream just enough to provoke the sort of discussion in which calmer, friendlier and frankly more rational appeals might find a few more awakened and receptive minds. Not saying it WILL happen, but I am seriously considering the possibility that it might.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  7. ella

    Nothing worse than a religious bigot.

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

      ella...except, of course, a nonreligious bigot, right? Reap what you sow.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • steve88

      bigots in general are pretty bad. Intolerance in general is bad, mmkay.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Tunk

      Being a bigot against the criminally insane is a thousand times better than being a criminally insane religious bigot.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • mist

      the more devout are the bigger bigots in religion

      July 3, 2011 at 5:04 am |
    • tijeffe

      As a natural atheist, the only kind of bigotry I've seen among the god-free community is a bigotry against anyone of any religion who is endeavoring to make certain that their particular dogma becomes fundamentally embedded into our laws and national character. They cannot understand the idea of keeping our federal government free of religious bias. It's a form of stupidity. Atheists don't want an atheist government per se, they just think that we should all keep our private dogmas and mythologies from dominating others thru the power of the legislature. Fundamentalist comes from the root word Fundament which means, according to the dictionary, the ass hole. Fundamentalism has been aptly named. Churches exist primarily as a source of income for their clergy. Most of them are smarmy liars and crooked con-artists. They prey on weak and stupid people as they scold and yell and threaten them thru mythological stories from a book of fairy tales. Their influence creeps into our government in subtle ways. I just heard that the american taxpayers are paying about $15 million to support the Jerry Falwell College in Virginia. Where's our separation of church and state? Falwell was a well-known bigot, and I don't want public tax money going to support the teaching of his bigoted garbage.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  8. Tom Paine

    If someone doesn't believe there are lots of atheists in this country, then have them read any posting on CNN's "Beliefnet" blog.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • steve88

      We (atheists) often don't like to be perceived as cold, alien, or mean -especially in person or among friends, ect. . The internet has an interesting effect on discussions adding higher degree of openness, directness, or forwardness,, which would not otherwise be found. (for better or for worse) lol.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  9. Mikey2

    There is no god. It's all a nice little story though.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Mike H.

      A nice little story? Speaking as one who at one time also believed that God was no different than any of the mythical Roman or Greek or Mayan gods...I have come to be convinced differently. God does exist and He is all powerful and someday perhaps you, too, will come to know Him as I have.

      Getting to the article itself, I am baffled as to why athiests feel threatened and are motivated to deliberately set out to attack Christian beliefs. (For some reason it appears Muslims and Jews get a free pass....) Offending a huge block of the population is probably not the wisest way to get your message across. Furthermore, being plain wrong is probably not a good way to advance your message, either....

      July 3, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • steve88

      well mike h. I would guess as an atheist, that they are probably pushing the edgier messages on important holidays so people take notice. The edgier, interesting, or more controversial the message or connotation is, the more people take notice, and talk about it. Kinda smart I suppose, but seems kinda cold on the whole, imho.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Magic

      Mike H."[in] the article itself... atheists ...deliberately set out to attack Christian beliefs. (For some reason it appears Muslims and Jews get a free pass....)

      I'm not seeing in the article where solely Christian beliefs are the issue here. Atheists have no belief in any of the gods... Muslim, Hebrew or whatever.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  10. Kat

    People will believe what they want as far as a "god" is concerned. This will never be resolved. But why is someone less patriotic (and should hide) if they are an atheist...or gay, or non-white or a woman? Only white, Christian men are patriotic and can show it? We are all in this together. Plenty of citizens from all walks of life have suffered for us. No one should be afraid to disclose their religious beliefs (or lack of) for fear of being persecuted verbally, physically, etc. The fact that these comments have turned into a defense of the presence of a "god" or not is ridiculous. No one will change their mind, so just accept the lovely possibility that we can still disagree yet accept that we on some level have to care about each other and the future of this country and the freedoms we enjoy.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • Tunk

      People change their minds all the time. It's called "getting a clue" when you change your mind for the better.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  11. Rugged Individual

    I am... Therefore, there is a Creator.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Spiffy

      I am...Therefor I can make up whatever I want to believe.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Rugged Individual

      That is a very fallacious leap there my friend. Attempting to equate 'being' 'proves' that there is a 'creator', is not necessarily so.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 3, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Tunk

      I have no doubt this "rugged" individual is surrounded by all sorts of comforts as they write these stupid posts.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:46 am |
  12. Matt

    I simply don't have enough faith to be an atheist. To believe that the universe in all it's complexity along with the Earth is a random accident is foolishness.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Spiffy

      And why is that? So you would rather believe a magical man in the sky made everything? So you would rather disbelieve all the facts that are presented to you because you don't like the odds? Well there is a one in 364 chance that when you enter a room it is someone's birthday. Just because the chances of it being someone's birthday is low doesn't mean it isn't someone's birthday.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • Magic

      Matt,

      It was a lot easier simply thinking that an angry god was hovering up there in the sky throwing lightning bolts down at the Earth too. ""God" did/does it"... end of investigation.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Matt

      You Said: "To believe that the universe in all it's complexity along with the Earth is a random accident is foolishness."

      In... 'your' -opinion-

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 3, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • steve88

      the universe isn't a cherry perfect place for life ya know. However is not so terrible that life could not form, obviously. Don't see how that would prove any number or need for supernatural deities though. Interesting thoughts are interesting though. Still seems more likely that such deities are a man made thing however.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • LinCA

      @Matt

      You said "I simply don't have enough faith to be an atheist. To believe that the universe in all it's complexity along with the Earth is a random accident is foolishness."

      Have you ever considered that it is impossible for you to exist in a universe that isn't exactly right? The gravitational constant needs to be exactly perfect and in balance with the amount of matter. All other parameters need to be exactly right.

      It may have taken a googolplex or more iterations to get the conditions just perfect. Any of the other universes just misfired and fizzled. Nobody would be the wiser, at least not in this universe.

      Saying "god did it" is a cop-out. It just means that you give up trying to understand.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Foolishness ? Nah, it's just laziness. It's hard to read all that physics, chemistry, mathematics, quantum mechanics, cosmology, logic, archeology, and cultural anthropology.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  13. Tom Bryant

    I have no doubt that atheists can and are patriotic. The notion that they aren't is mistaken.

    But here in this article we should separate the "average" atheist from those like the group "American Atheists", whose incessant need to shout at everyone they are smarter than the rest of humanity because they don't see evidence for God amounts to narcissism coupled with social autism – not only are they simply wanting everyone to acknowledge their "superior intellect" but they seem clueless as to why that would $*@% a large segment of the population off.

    The "fact" that YOU, Mr. Atheist, cannot find evidence for the existance of God IS NOT proof that you are more intelligent than your fellow men, nor that you are more logical than the rest of the world. And it certainly doesn't give you the right to force others to practice their religion the way you want them to by legal fiat.

    And besides, which is more likely to be true – that the 94% of humanity that believes in some form of deity have something wrong with them because they believe in something that you say has no evidence, or that you and your small minority of malcontents, for whatever reason, fail to see the evidence for a God that 94% of humanity says is blinkingly obvious all around us?

    July 3, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Tom Bryant

      Hey -Tom... I can certainly appreciate and respect some of what you are attempting to convey here.

      And... a couple of basic things I noticed that kind of messed up some of your as-sertions here:

      You Said: "And besides, which is more likely to be true – that the 94% of humanity that believes in some form of deity have something wrong with them because they believe in something that you say has no evidence, or that you and your small minority of malcontents, for whatever reason, fail to see the evidence for a God that 94% of humanity says is blinkingly obvious all around us?"

      You seem to be a very bright guy, and claim that believers are and can be just as logical and smart as atheists. I would imagine you are accurate to some extent there too.

      However, your argument that I marked out above is pure 'Argumentum ad Populum'... and I would imagine 'even' 'you' know that... that is a logical fallacy at an attempt to prove your point. The old it must be true or which is more likely to be true based on popularity. Also, by using the words 'minority of (malcontents) you even got in an 'Ad Hominem' (attack) on a group as a whole. Now 'that' wasn't very smooth. Just a pure over-generalized 'attack.'

      However, I get it. A lot of believers attempt to use these failures and fallacy's of logic coupled with an ad hominem or 2 to try and make their points. It is often because they have nothing to base their arguments on... or at the very most... their arguments are often typically very weak.

      I hope that you are having a great 4th of July weekend, -Tom.

      Regards,

      Peace...

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

      Over 94% of humanity believed in a flat world, too. Commonly held beliefs are not necessarily a sure path to actuality. Atheists are not so different than those who believe in their "one true" theistic view and dismiss the others - they just postulate "one less."

      July 3, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • News Flash

      100% believed the world was flat.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Tom Bryant

      @peace2all -– I'll cop to the ad hominum, but the ad populum..... Sorry, but that doesn't apply here, especially when you are dealing with a group that is as factually challenged as the "Brights". At that point we're using inductive logic, and there the argumentum ad populum most certainly can be valid. Since you are speaking to someone with a BA in Philosophy (Clemson) and an MA in Religious Studies (South Florida) specializing in textual criticism, we can critique the argument here. So please, step into my parlor.....

      Since I make the claim that this subset of atheists make huge, gaping factual and logical error in the arguments they make the burden of proof is upon me. I will beg the indulgence that space and time requirements prevent me from listing EVERY factual or logical error, but I will provide for our purposes here two short examples that illustrate both types of errors. My argument then is 'if the group is error prone on two arguments, is it likely is it likely they will be in error on the third argument, especially if they use their previous errors as basis of their decision."

      Lets begin with the factual error. Atheists often argue that religion is a major historical cause of warfare. Sam Harris writes: "A glance at history, or at the pages of any newspaper, reveals that ideas which divide one group of human beings from another, only to unite them in slaughter, generally have their roots in religion. It seems that if our species ever eradicates itself through war, it will not be because it was written in the stars but because it was written in our books; it is what we do with words like "God" and "paradise" and "sin" in the present that will determine our future."

      Well, to start, William F. Buckley and the staff of National Review refuted this "religion is the cause of war and violence" argument when it appeared in the 1960's by listing the 500+ wars, battles, campaigns, etc. listed in the Encyclopedia Britannica and seeing whether they had a religious component to them. Over 90% of the wars listed had NO religious component to them.

      Then Vox Day repeated the experiment using the wars, jihads, police actions, skirmishes, crusades, etc. found in the Encyclopedia of Warfare, a peer-reviewed set of books used by professional historians. All but 7% of those wars had no religious component. Further more, if any action that involved Islam were factored out, the number of wars with religious components dropped to 3.

      Add to this fact that none of the major war philosopher/tacticians that are required reading at the U.S. Army War College – Sun Tzu, Vegetius, Marcus Aurelius, Erwin Rommel and the letters of Nathan Bedford Forrest, mention religion as a major factor in the art of warfare (only Forrest mentions religion at all, and then as an admonition that if people were more Christ-like there would be FEWER wars), the myth of Religion being the source of world suffering is effectively rebutted.

      But there a third leg to kick our from under this argument; all five of the major religions set forth conduct codes and standards of behavior governing conduct of war, and they all state that innocents are not to be harmed if it can be helped. Judaism and Christianity go even further and restrict war to matters of defense, and even then there must be clearly justified reasons and every attempt to avoid war must be sought first. The fact that numerous Christian leaders have attempted to pervert or ignore the tennants of the 'Just War' theory so that they could have their military adventures is not a dark spot on Christianity or religion in general, but on the leaders who want to ignore what their religion teaches. Hell, even Islam, the most violent religion on Earth, participant in HALF of all the religious wars ever fought, has Qur’anic passages that talk of sparing the innocent and giving the enemy a chance to convert to 'God’s side' before they could be attacked – to INCLUDE those Harris says are the "other" that religion is trying to destroy for their "otherness".

      Now the Logical error example. Numerous atheists make the claim that religion will result in the destruction of the world, and that only science can save and unite the world. How is it possible to live in the modern world and not see how science makes life better, while religion – because of its propensity to lead to violence (which we have just refuted, remember) and its access to more powerful weapons will lead to our DOOM!

      Yes, science has produced vaccines, computers, electric power and such that improve our lives. But that same science is what also created the atomic bomb, weaponized anthrax, tanks, machine guns, chemical nerve agents, and mustard gas that would be used to destroy that life. Organized religion has been around for roughly 5000 years, and religion in general for about 7-10,000 years, without threatening to destroy all life on Earth. Modern science, which created these technical terrors, has been around for 400 years. If every religion on the planet were to disappear, those weapons would still be there and be able to be used. So.... which one is the greater threat? Which one would be the better one to get rid of, based on this metric?

      "However, I get it."

      No, I don't think you do.

      "... their arguments are often typically very weak."

      But not here. But if you think so, you're welcome to continue our discussion Mr. Fly, um err, Peace2all.

      And a Happy 4th to you as well (sincerely).

      Tom

      July 3, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Boojum

      Tom Bryant, you don't appear to have retained anything from your college days or maybe you are just a fake.
      Your arguments wander all over the place and you say "tenants". Maybe you're drunk, but I think you are a fake.
      When you'd like to make a good argument, go ahead. I read both your little rants and neither of them support your pompous assertion that you are some sort of educated fellow. You sure don't write like it.
      Perhaps if we could see your college transcripts where you kept getting D's and F's because you were busy drinking every night?
      I can recognize a bag of hot air when I see one. I don't even need to knock down your obviously ignorant rants one by one.
      Fake trolls just need to find an exhaust pipe to suck on. They don't get much fun around here.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Tom Bryant

      Hey -Tom...

      You Said: "@peace2all -– I'll cop to the ad hominum"

      Thank you for being honest. And, just a question... 'why' the need to overgeneralize atheists as (malcontents)...?

      "Factually challenged 'brights' LOL... Really...? But, the bible believers are 'not' factually challenged...?

      Now 'that' was a good one Tom ! All of the rest of your argument is a smoke screen in an attempt to try and state that you were not making an argumentum ad populum, which is just more personal opinion of yours and opportunities to attempt to paint atheists in a bad light.

      Do I really need to go into the multi-tude of unfounded assertions that the 'believers' as a group hold, and cite all of my references...?

      And again...You Said: "And besides, which is (more likely to be true) – that the 94% of humanity that believes in some form of deity have something wrong with them because they believe in something that you say has no evidence,"

      Well, I personally don't necessarily hold to your premise that there is something wrong with the believers that claim as fact some sort of deity without any kind of factual proof. I do believe they are mixing up the difference between (belief) vs. (fact).

      You Said: "or that you and your small minority of malcontents, for whatever reason, fail to see the evidence for a God that 94% of humanity says is blinkingly obvious all around us?"

      Again, after reading what you wrote... this 'is' as far as I can tell, 'still' an 'argument ad populum.' In other words, you are still saying, in essence: Who is more likely to be accurate here that there is a God? 94% of humanity or the 'small minority of malcontents'...?

      Tell me of this evidence alleged 'evidence' for a 'God' that is supposedly 'blinkingly obvious' all around us...?

      Pure 'Argumentum ad Populum'... Again, Tom...You have not proven me wrong here.

      And let me say, that I truly make -0- claims whether there is a God or isn't. So, no skin in the game one way or another for me.

      Again, Tom... I appreciate your honesty to coping to your 'ad hom's.' It kinda took away any credibility, (IMHO) that you had going for you. I did in the beginning say that I 'appreciate and respect' some of what you are trying to convey. Still do.

      Now, if you would just be honest, especially given your attempting to say out of the gate that my argument must be wrong...by a version of 'argument by authority', and 'cop' to your other fallacious argument, then I would certainly have more respect for your postings.

      "Step into my parlor"..."Mr. Fly" -*(yawning here)

      And I do wish you a great 4th, Tom.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • tijeffe

      It seems that people who cling to the idea of a god do so out of a deep need to know that this game of make-believe, which is religion, can give them a sense of comfort in the absence of a parent figure. Many clergymen know this, though others and their followers have progressed from "make-believe" into true psychosis. This can endanger us all. Their vision of a god is the representation of a childhood fictional super hero who still cannot protect them and do miraculous things in their adult lives.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Tom Bryant

      Oh, and BTW- Congrats on your Bachelors in Philosophy, and your Masters in Religion. (Sincerely).

      And, neither one of those degrees really has anything to do with solid logic and critical thinking. Hence your obvious 'bias' against atheists...?

      And... I do sincerely appreciate the opportunity for a thoughtful, and civil discussion, Tom...Thank you !

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Tom Bryant

      Wow... Where did ya' go...?

      Hmmm....

      Peace...

      July 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  14. Heythere

    @reduct2
    Well I guess you are right there. It is okay to be skeptical of something unknowable.

    May I have your opinion on this: Today we have use of microwave technology, with it we can talk to someone on the other side of Earth; should we have their phone number. Previously, we could be say that microwave technology was unknowable at the time and subject to skepticism. But now we benefit. Does it reasonable, logical, and sensible to think anything less than that with a Creator? Using the discovery of Microwave technology as a reference point to establish that similar skeptical, unknowable evidence in the existence of a Creator. With a little effort, trial, and study. A person can be refined, changed, or enlighten also? And benefit like we do today using Microwave technology? Can one benefit from knowing about the Creator? Do you agree? But, It is okay if you don't.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Tunk

      Isn't it sad when people drop out of school?

      July 3, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  15. Heythere

    @Spiffy
    Wow, Spiffy. I am sorry.. I know there is trouble abound when you can't even believe in the words of your own Scientists. I hope you will be able to iron that out. Thanks for your time and your thoughts. =)

    July 3, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Spiffy

      I wasn't aware I said that all scientists are correct. Neither did I say that they can never be wrong. I don't have to agree with scientists that believe something without any evidence. The design theory is merely garbage that the Christian-right is trying to sell as scientific fact when it has no evidence.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  16. Ilpalazzo

    Patriotism isn't just 'supporting America' – patriotism has religious connotations as it is a desire to serve a greater power. Atheism disavows 'greater powers', and it follows 'good' and 'bad' are concepts of 'greater powers' and it deals with the reality. So come on, Atheists, don't lie just to be liked by the jocks.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Ilpalazzo

      Further, come on.. those advancements weren't made in the mind for a Greater Union – most Atheists are freelancers. Of course you'd support America – there's opportunity for you to make money! Just saying, don't spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns to re-arrange what you want people to think of you as, or pledging allegience to an ideology that goes against your basic principles. Just be who you are.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Spiffy

      Is the government a higher power? I have proof of government existing. I don't have proof of God existing.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  17. Heythere

    Truth, BoDacioius01 and SB
    So, I agree with you there. Today we can "see" via instrumentation (ie, by use of telescopes, micro-scopes, etc)
    I agree with you all there.

    What a wonderful things we are able to see with those instruments! Perhaps, I may be reaching too far from here. But, I will just throw it out there for you to get your viewpoint on...Is it possible to use the Bible as an "instrument" to "see" God.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • BoDacious01

      I think people have....I don't think that is what it is used for in most churches....I think meditation is used as well....hallucinogens have also been used (personally, I think the lack of use of these powerful compounds has been detrimental to our understanding of our subconscience mind....dreams, quite illogical altered state and people "see" God along with two headed monsters, I have recurring dreams with myself and a few women a lot....lol...

      I also think Richard Dawkins is correct when he says God is not necessary....I think science and what we have learned makes faith and God unnecessary to understand our Universe....It doesn't mean that God is not important...

      July 3, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Not having any

      Yeah, you can use a piece of SHlT to see MORE SHlT.
      Next question?

      July 3, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Humor in every corner

      It's as possible to use a Bible to see God as it is to use a twinkie to see a unicorn.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:18 am |
  18. Heythere

    Perhaps some quotes from their very own Scientist may offer assistance to this conundrum.

    Years ago, British mathematician, physicist, and astronomer SIR JAMES JEAN wrote that in the light of advancing scientific knowledge, “the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.” He also stated that “the universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician” and that it provides “evidence of a designing or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds.”

    Other scientists have arrived at a similar conclusion since Jeans penned those words. “The overall organization of the universe has suggested to many a modern astronomer an element of design,” wrote physicist PAUL DAVIES. One of the most famous physicists and mathematicians of all time, ALBERT EINSTEIN, wrote: “The fact that [the natural world] is comprehensible is a miracle.” In the eyes of many, that miracle includes life itself, from its fundamental building blocks to the amazing human brain.

    To many reasoning minds, the explanation simply has to be something more than mere coincidence. JOHN POLKINGHORNE, formerly a physicist at Cambridge University, concluded: “When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.”

    Australian physicist Paul Davies made another similar point: “There is no doubt that many scientists are . . . scornful of the notion that there might exist a God, or even an impersonal creative principle.” He added: “Personally I do not share their scorn. . . . I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, . . . an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.

    A scientific example- ”In 1995, scientists noticed the strange behavior of the most distant star (SN 1995K) ever observed as it exploded in its galaxy. Like supernovas in nearby galaxies, this star became very bright and then slowly faded but over a longer period than ever before detected. New Scientist magazine plotted this on a graph and explained: “The shape of the light curve . . . is stretched in time by exactly the amount expected if the galaxy was receding from us at nearly half the speed of light.” The conclusion? This is “the best evidence yet that the Universe really is expanding.”

    The inflation theory speculates as to what happened a fraction of a second after the beginning of the universe. Advocates of inflation hold that the universe was initially submicroscopic and then inflated faster than the speed of light, a claim that cannot be tested in a laboratory. Inflation remains a debated theory.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Spiffy

      You (or rather the place where you copied and pasted that from) sound like you have a large ego. Why say you are designed when evidence says otherwise? Just because something is complex doesn't make it designed. It being that this all happened at random makes it even more beautiful. Or you can prescribe to the design argument that sounds more like a selfish desire rather then something plausible.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • reduct2

      Nice job on assembling all of those quotes. If you would like, I could also gather quotes from scientists and former theologians to serve as evidence to the point that there is no god.

      It's impossible claim absolutely that a divine being doesn't exist. Atheists, which include people of many different categories and degrees of non belief, are skeptical of the "creator" claim. Most atheists (hopefully not generalizing too much) deny the existence of the current Judeo-Christian god and other man-made deities while being skeptical of the existence of an all powerful creator. Note, these are two very different claims. One is a claim against religion, and the other is skepticism towards something unknowable.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Brandon

      Ughhh, when will it all just END...

      July 3, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • weak sauce

      @Brandon: Uh... when you die?

      July 3, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • jalcide

      It's easy to see how those that find themselves in an environment well-suited for them, think it must have been designed for them. It would be like a tadpole thinking its water universe was created just for it, when in actuality it's the tadpole that resulted from its water universe; "but this water lets me swim so well. it must have known how much i love to swim." 🙂

      July 3, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • mist

      jalcide +42 points. good post.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Years ago, SIR JAMES JEAN, (actually it's Sir James Jeans), wrote that in the light of advancing scientific knowledge, “the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.” He also stated that “the universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician” and that it provides “evidence of a designing or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds.”
      -- Just because you cite a few scientists who chose to "make the leap", doesn't mean it's correct, or logical, or that most scientists make that choice.
      -- Even scientists can wax poetic. Jeans never set up a scientific experiment to verify his poetic conclusions, (and many scientists eventually prove to have been wrong in their conclusions. (See below).

      ALBERT EINSTEIN, wrote: “The fact that [the natural world] is comprehensible is a miracle.” In the eyes of many, that miracle includes life itself, from its fundamental building blocks to the amazing human brain.
      -- For a list of Einsteins other mistakes, see http://discovermagazine.com/2008/sep/01-einstein.s-23-biggest-mistakes

      To many reasoning minds, the explanation simply has to be something more than mere coincidence. JOHN POLKINGHORNE, formerly a physicist at Cambridge University, concluded: “When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.”
      -- The god of the gaps argument is old, and tired. Polkinghorne is now an Episcopal priest. You know what else they buy?
      Australian physicist Paul Davies made another similar point: “There is no doubt that many scientists are . . . scornful of the notion that there might exist a God, or even an impersonal creative principle.” He added: “Personally I do not share their scorn. . . . I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, . . . an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.
      -- Einstein made the same point in his debate with Neils Bohr ("God doesn't play dice"), and was considered to have lost the argument by 1927.
      "A scientific example- ”In 1995, scientists noticed the strange behavior of the most distant star (SN 1995K) ever observed as it exploded in its galaxy. Like supernovas in nearby galaxies, this star became very bright and then slowly faded but over a longer period than ever before detected. New Scientist magazine plotted this on a graph and explained: “The shape of the light curve . . . is stretched in time by exactly the amount expected if the galaxy was receding from us at nearly half the speed of light.” The conclusion? This is “the best evidence yet that the Universe really is expanding.”
      -- Yeah, so what ? Your point is ? The expanding universe, by itself proves nothing.
      The inflation theory speculates as to what happened a fraction of a second after the beginning of the universe. Advocates of inflation hold that the universe was initially submicroscopic and then inflated faster than the speed of light, a claim that cannot be tested in a laboratory. Inflation remains a debated theory.
      -- Again, what's your point ?

      July 3, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  19. John

    Happy 4th everyone. 3 days of endless posts of hate and intolerance from all sides of this topic shows we have a long way to go. Spiritually speaking we are still in an age of using words like saws to cut through the bone of the human heart. We need to start healing and stop hurting. Stop flying banners. Stop telling people they are going to hell. Stop making fun of believers. Stop preaching intolerance in the name of god. Lets just stop. Happy 4th and be kind

    July 3, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Not having any

      FUCK YOU and your hate and intolerance. But enjoy the 4th of July. Yeah.

      Don't let our freedom hit you in the ass on your way to watch the fireworks, O John the Clueless...

      July 3, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Humor in every corner

      "Saw through the bone of the human heart?" Your heart is bone?

      You know, there are contests for worst metaphors, and that one should definitely have a chance.

      Here are some real ones from one of those contests:

      "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever."

      "The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't."

      "John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met."

      "It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools."

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

      Wow, pure anger. Seething pure anger. And yes, if there is no meat, then there would be bone. As in a hard heart. Why are you cursing at me and making fun of me for wishing good will? So bizarre, i will never understand. Happy fourth of july to both of you. You will never steal from me. No matter how much you hate me, you will never win.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Tunk

      If you'll give us your address, we'll see if anything gets stolen from you, eh? Don't worry, we'll try not to break anything. ha ha.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • John Richardson

      Hey, I feel like flying a banner! Agnostically Tinged Neo-Animism Forever!!!!!

      July 3, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  20. BoDacious01

    God is nothing more than the emergent feeling of infinite love....you don't have to be a christian to get it either....just a believer....it is your expression of love that defines it....later. Happy 4th to all my athiest and theist friends....

    July 2, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • John

      God is love. Perhaps the simplest, most profound three words ever written. God is love

      July 3, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Not having any

      God is BULL-SHlT and does not exist.
      Love exists as an emotion. Emotions are not a god unless you are too stupid to figure that out.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • BoDacious01

      angry little atheist....lol...you take this wayyy to serious.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • John

      Wow. Talk about being angry. Thats really not healthy dude. Love is a verb, not an emotion

      July 3, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Humor in every corner

      God is not bullsh-it, Mr. Not Having Any! I can prove it.

      Bullsh-it actually exists.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • John

      By the way, i have never seen a thread riddled with so much hatred and pure lust for violence as i have seen here. If we were in person, as groups, i would think i might be burned alive or beat by the lot of you. I seriously believe this. Its so scary to think that as people this is what we have become. Intolerant, hateful, spiteful and violent. Make fun of me all you want because i will not be back to read your venom. You are spinning in circles and will choke on your hate.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • John

      Humor, i can prove God exists. For you only. This week you will find out why. And when it happens you will know. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. And call someone who misses you! Bye

      July 3, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • mist

      lots of squirmy people here. they cant face the truth and squirm like eels all over the blog

      July 3, 2011 at 5:16 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      John
      Anger is in the eye of the beholder. If you are afraid of, and disturbed by, humor, irony, and vigorous debate why are YOU here? There must be an "everything-is-all-nice"/"everything-is-mellow"/"everything-is-going-to-be-just-fine" board somewhere, and they are probably sleeping over there waiting for you.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:39 am |
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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.