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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. Someone

    Burn in hell atheist.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • amy

      LOL! You are FILLED with Christ's love.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • derp

      Islam, religion of peace....

      ....oh wait

      July 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • fam

      Spoken, or in this case, written as a true believer. This proves my point; “your” God has not affected your thought process. Have you not completely “accepted “your” God’s teachings and allow his and your abundant “love” to flow over all of us that don’t believe? Shouldn’t you be beseeching “your” God to steer us in the “right” direction instead of proclaiming we should perish?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Shimpainai

      Its your hell...you burn in it.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  2. ProudYoBeAnAmerican2011

    Okay, I have no problem with athiest. You deciding not to believe in God is your problem not mine. All I want to know is why can you freely and publicly talk about your disbelief in God when I do not have the same ability to pray to God publicly. If we have to sit back and hear you speak of your disbelief, why can't you have the same respect to sit back and let me and my friends pray a school. Praying is true freedom of speech. God Bless America and everyone who has, is, and will fight for her.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • amy

      You can sit in school and pray all day if you like. What you can't do, in a public taxpayer funded school, is force others to also pray.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Daniel

      You can't pray to your God in public? When did this happen?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Me

      Where are these rampant atheists proclaiming their disbelief that you are so clearly struggling with? And when was the last time you got yelled at for praying?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Void

      You do have the right to pray publicly. What you're not allowed to do is coerce others into prayer with you, that's why mandated group prayer was kicked out of the school system (which it rightfully should be). But you won't find a court in America that will punish someone for praying on their own and of their own free will. Stop acting like you've been discriminated against. If you want to feel discrimination, say that you don't believe in god during a conversation with a large group. The stares and the whispers should be a nice dose of the real thing.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • ProudToBeAnAmerican2011

      I guess I am truthfully just a little young because I have never seen anyone forced to or coerced to pray. Everyone has the right to sit there and listen or not and believe in the prayer or not. If you are not a believer, why do nonoffensive words bother you? And I never said I was discriminated against, I simply said I would like to publically pray with my team before a sporting event without worrying if someone is going to get our school in trouble. If you don't believe and don't want to pray with us that is your right and you are still our teammate and we will still pray for you.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Frogist

      It's no wonder confusion and prejudice exists about atheists when people are still very unclear about the rights and rules about religion in the public sphere.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  3. Draz

    In this country, we are promised freedom OF faith, not freedom FROM faith. If an atheist wants to share his or her beliefs, and try to convince others that there is no God, and campaign for atheism... well, I don't agree with the sentiment, but such action is protected by our laws. I freely exercise my right to teach and preach Christ, and I couldn't reasonably expect to be able to do so without affording those of opposing beliefs the same right, regardless of my personal feelings on the matter. What is not protected by law, not acceptable, and what appears to be an alarming and growing trend, is the attempt of atheists to utterly stamp out the practice and expression of faith in America. They want to throw their rights around in an effort to strip those same rights away from those who oppose their beliefs. I use "they" in a loose sense, not implying that all atheists are this way. As with Christianity, it's only the loud-mouth radicals who make the headlines, so the public in general has a severely skewed concept of what biblical Christianity actually is, and - to be fair - I'm sure the same applies to to the general atheist populace. No, not every Bible-believer is a wealthy, Quran-burning doomsday prophet, and I'm sure that Joe average atheist up the street doesn't feel threatened by my family going to church three times per week, or feel a need to have the church shut down to protect his rights.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: "What is not protected by law, not acceptable, and what appears to be an alarming and growing trend, is the attempt of atheists to utterly stamp out the practice and expression of faith in America. They want to throw their rights around in an effort to strip those same rights away from those who oppose their beliefs."

      Please provide examples of atheists attempting to stamp out freedom of expression and rights that have been stripped. I don't think you can. You will find examples of atheists asking various levels of government to operate within the relavent const!tutions and laws. Practices that are illegal are not rights, they are just social conventions that have gotten a "free pass" because current society is still largely dominated by religion based practices from centuries ago. You have lost nothing that you were legally ent!tled to, or have a right to. On the other hand, you will also find many many examples of atheists (even as trivial as statements by this atheists and other atheists in here) supporting everyone's right to freedom of expression and religion, provided that it is within the const!tution and law. I await a factual education on the evils perpetrated by atheists...

      July 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • salvatore

      Over 70% of Americans are Christians and less than 2% are atheists. You are not under persecution.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • uncle fester

      "we are promised freedom OF faith, not freedom FROM faith"....

      That statement is as meaningless, absurd, and sinister as the statement "all men are created equal, but some are more equal than others." You are basically saying – "sure, you have freedom of belief – MY belief."

      July 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • derp

      Exactly how many churches have atheists shut down?

      I seemed to have lost count after zero.

      Freaking religiot dooshbags. You are not being persecuted.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Draz

      Re: HotAirAce –

      Very well. Here are just a couple of the bigger ones, with widespread effects:

      Abington School District vs. Schempp, 1963
      Lynch vs. Donnelly, 1984
      Everson vs. Board of Education, 1947
      Engel vs. Vitale, 1962
      Stone vs. Graham, 1980

      July 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • djl

      First, it's freedom of religion, not faith. Secondly, freedom of religion implicitly grants freedom from religion, because the choice to choose a religion (any religion) means that a person can choose none at all.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • derp

      Funny how all of the fundies call atheism a religion and then declare that there is no freedom from religion, only freedom of religion. Well ok, my religion does not believe in religion. I'll chose that one. Same end game dummies.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • djl

      Regarding: Abington School District vs. Schempp, 1963
      Lynch vs. Donnelly, 1984
      Everson vs. Board of Education, 1947
      Engel vs. Vitale, 1962
      Stone vs. Graham, 1980

      In each case, the Supreme Court held that local/state government was violating either the 1st or 14th Amendment. The cases were not about 'stamping out religious freedom,' but rather government sponsorship of religion (mounting the 10 commandments in a government building, school prayer in a public school, etc.). Therefore, you have failed to prove your point.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Draz

      So, though my post clearly supports and respects the rights of atheists to campaign for their beliefs despite the fact that they are opposed to my own, and though my post clearly indicates that the general majority of atheists are not radical extremists who are "out to get" us crazy, backwards Christians, I still managed to quickly earn venomous insults and obscenities from the atheist community. Thank you HotAirAce for at least providing an intelligent, polite rebuttal instead of going on the war path the moment I mentioned the name of Christ.

      HotAirAce said, "Please provide examples of atheists attempting to stamp out freedom of expression." In citing several Supreme Court examples regarding the suppression of religious beliefs, djl stated that I failed to prove my point because those cases were specifically about government sponsorship of religious activities, not "stamping them out." Okay, fair enough.

      In that case, I bring up Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, and the His Dark Materials trilogy. After the release of the movie for The Golden Compass, he plainly and publicly stated, "My books are about killing God... and trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief." I believe that clearly illustrates my original point beyond dispute.

      Pardon me, I stand corrected in that I used the wrong term regarding the law. I fully stand by the right of any atheist to live free of RELIGION, no questions asked, no problem whatsoever. But, when an atheist's freedom from religion attempts to impede or impair my own freedom to practice and express my FAITH (there is a difference), that is when a problem arises. Again, my comments are not aimed against the rights or beliefs of the general atheist community, rather specifically against the efforts of the Pullmans, O'Hairs, and Dawkins of the world who "express" their beliefs by trashing mine.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Draz

      Everyone has the right to express their opinion, at least up to the point where they are spreading hatred or advocating violence.

      You do realize that just about any public expression of belief is likely to trash someone else's beliefs, don't you? Any time a believer says something like "the law should be this or people should behave like this ... because my book of superst!tion says so!" they are likely to be trashing someone else's beliefs, and they are wrong.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Draz – you make perfect sense, so brace yourself! I love you quick comeback with the dates and cases, great job. @Salvatore, you too made a relevant comment, thanks. I'm just wondering if the Atheist [which is not a religion] representatives would have the bottle to fly banners denouncing Allah? Nope, thought not.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Draz

      @HotAirAce

      Respectfully, I don't think your statement is necessarily true. If I say "I believe in God," and you say "I don't believe in God," then we have expressed opposing beliefs without trashing each other. We can even get into a debate about the how's and the why's and the implications, and still stick to supporting our own beliefs without a problem (ideally!). But, if I say "I believe in God," and you say "Well then you're an absurd, fundy, religidiot dooshbag" (terms I've been called within the past 45 minutes in this very thread)... that's a different story. There is a profound difference between not believing in God, and being anti-God. One is a belief. The other is a trashing of someone else's beliefs. It is the latter mindset that I oppose. I don't think you're an idiot, a bad person, or a danger to society for being an atheist. I simply think you're wrong.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Draz

      But it is a two way street. And I am not claiming that I am not guilty of "name calling"...

      July 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Voice of Reason

      Why do you assume "God" in the article above does not refer to all god(s)? Isn't the god of islam the same god that christians, muslims and jews worship?

      July 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Draz

      @HotAirAce re: two way street

      Agreed. And, that is why it is unfortunate that - at least in the public's eyes - Christianity and atheism alike are represented by the "loud mouth radicals" who create turmoil and make the headlines. There are unheard millions on both sides just living our lives, and for the most part leaving each other alone.

      Time to go home. I hope everyone has a safe and peaceful holiday weekend, if you are so inclined to celebrate it.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  4. Jimmy Cracorn

    . I see things like this from time to time and it seems that both sides feel a personal atack if someone doesn't believe the same way as them. To the Athiests I would say stop making rude signs and flying them over citys on a day you know will provoke people. God-Less-America. Really, that's rude and if you don't see it you need to step down at your Atheist propaganda post. America is full of people who believe in God. As for the Christians it seems to me the most common thing I run into is that they feel I can not be a moral person without biblical guidance. I don't think this is true. I don't intentionally insult people. I help the needy and I am polite to others in public. I believe in the teachings of ten commandments. I just don't think God is needed to act on them and I don't believe god told Moses to wright them down.
    I am Atheist, My brother is strongly religious. We don't ever argue about it. I fully respect his beliefs, and he respects mine. It has been this way our entire life's. My parents brought us to church as kids. Everyone in my family is a believer in God. I am the only one who is not. We all get along just fine. I wish more people had it this way

    July 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • amy

      How is God-less America rude? What about the Real Men Love Jesus, Jesus is the Reason for the Season, I Pray and I Vote, and God Bless America stickers that are everywhere?? Are they rude? If not, why not?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Cathy W

      Why is it Ok to say "God bless America", but rude to say "God-less America"?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Jimmy Cracorn

      Context. Also you have to realize that if you want to sway public opinion you need to tread lightly in this area. Religion is a highly charged area. Flying banners that say God-less-America is commonly perceived as an insult. Yes I get the double standard. I just think Atheist's need to find a better way to try and sway public support.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Jimmy Cracorn

      Real Men Love Jesus, Jesus is the Reason for the Season, I Pray and I Vote, and God Bless America. All are positive messages or stickers meant to sway opinion, except Real men love Jesus. Jesus is the Reason for the Season is just some person's belief. It isn't a derogatory statement. If someone were to say God bless you I would take it as a positive because for someone who believe's that's a big deal.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • salvatore

      How is it rude? Somewhere right now someone is playing "God Bless America" in a baseball stadium, but that's not considered rude to anyone who isn't religious.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  5. Ron

    Getting ready to hunt some duck this fourth of july!!!! Why does a minority in this country think that they should rule over free people...thats like a plate full of frozen peas covering a small piece of steak....Come on ppl, seriously??? Majority rules!!! sorry that your feelings get hurt, and you are so mistreated, and you Have no Savior to give you hope and Love for others..But Thank GOD we Christians still love you and will work hard on your behalf to plead to GOD that He overlook your ignorance...But keep in mind GOD doesn't know you until you know HIM...Good luck with your Goals but you might need some magic or mybe some VooDoo, or crystal Ball....or some higher power to Win your point of view...

    July 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • amy

      Ummm-how are your little beliefs different than magic or voodoo?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • amy

      Also, Epic Fail in not understanding that basic premise of America-protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Perhaps if I Randomly capitalize Certain words you might understand Better?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • sherrie

      Amen..why change it..you were born into it..lived it..?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • F

      Majority rules, so Christians should be able to rule over everyone in America? And in what way were Atheists try to "rule over free people"?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Megan

      amy said:

      "Also, Epic Fail in not understanding that basic premise of America-protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Perhaps if I Randomly capitalize Certain words you might understand Better?"

      Hear, hear!! I've been both a Christian and an Atheist. I have not changed as a person because of either one. I have always wanted to be a good person just because I believe it is the right thing to do and not because some magical being in the sky says I should. And I totally agree that our government was set up to protect the majority from oppressing the minority.

      Additionally, there was a time when the "majority" thought slavery was okay. There was a time when the "majority" thought women should not have rights. There was a time when the "majority" thought blacks should not have rights. We are currently in a time where the "majority" thinks gays should not have the right to marry, but we are seeing that is not really true and that thought is shifting. Wonder how long it will be before a "majority" of us are Atheists. So I would ask Ron....when Atheists become the majority (if they already aren't) then will you be okay with Atheists making all the decisions? And I guess I will say to Ron to suck it up and get over it because that's what he wants Atheists to do right now.

      Christians can't seem to decide if they are the moral majority or an oppressed minority.......which is it? You can't have it both ways, but they still try.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Linda

      Dude. I am a Christian as well. And I have no problem with others choosing not to believe in God or Jesus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I truly do not care. It doesn't lessen my own faith to come across atheists or people of different religions. Why does it concern you so much?? Why do you perceive it as an attack on YOUR so-called freedom if someone wants to get THEIR message across? Is your own faith on such shaky ground? No? Then why do you feel so offended? Things are tough enough in this country and this world without people fighting over what deity they feel like believing in. Or NOT. People of all faiths or NO faith could perhaps all learn from each other if we all weren't so bathed in our own dogma!!

      July 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • salvatore

      You're making Christians look real good right now.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Jimmy Cracorn

      See what I mean. Religious people seem to think without god I can't live a moral life or be nice to others. If I were to tell my heavily religious friends I am Atheist I think they would be shocked. Oh well Life goes on.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • DJL

      @F: the majority cannot keep rights from any minority (Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment) nor can the government endorse any religion (1st Admendment).

      @Jimmy Cracorn: I agree completely. You can have morality without religion and religion without morality, much in the same way that you can tell the truth and be wrong. One is not dependent on the other.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  6. derp

    "if pilots feel safe from atheists when flying a religious banner versus pilots feeling endangered from being shot at by religious people while flying an atheist banner doesn't say it all, I don't know what could make a bolder statement."

    Kind of ironic isn't that. I wonder if an atheist has ever hijacked a plane, or set off a suicide bomb, or protested a funeral.

    Scary atheists, with all of their wanting to be left alone and such.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • LogicSaysSo

      As if in all of history, some serial killers, rapists, thieves, and so on, were NOT atheist? That doesn't make sense, does it?

      July 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • amy

      No one kills in the name of atheism.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Artist

      Nearly all serial killers are very devout men who were raised by members of Pentecostal sects, fundamentalist Catholics or were 'hard-shell' Baptists and Methodists."
      .
      Hitler was a Roman Catholic alter Boy and wrote of wanting to be a Catholic priest. He and his men in charge of killing six million Jews were Catholic religious fanatics until death.
      .
      Stalin went to college to be a Protestant Christian minister. He became president of Russia and time after time had millions murdered.
      .
      David Berkowitz (Corbis) called the SON OF SAM, murdered more than 10 women. The newspaper said "He called himself a born again Christian"
      .
      Berwid The article in the Flint Journal quotes him "I was searching the bible and soul searching and I decided God wanted me to do that."
      The Yorkshire Rapier "was on a divine mission and felt he had been chosen to hear the word of GOD (JESUS)." Reported the Flint Journal. He murdered 11 girls.
      .
      Miller a serial killer had that thing called faith, believed in Jesus. The Flint Journal article says he was always carrying the Bible.
      Sampson Kanderayi, a mass murderer called The Ax Killer, killed more than 30 people. The newspaper reported "he did it to appease evil spirits." He was a Christian
      .
      Watts, The Sunday Morning Slasher killed 11 women. This article says he did it "to eliminate evil spirits".
      .
      Jeffery Dahmer is a typical serial killer. He killed more than 23 young men and eat many of them. Jeffery Dahmer was a son of a fundamentalist.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • derp

      When was the last time you heard a terrorist yell.....Atheism Akbar!!!!!

      July 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Nearly all serial killers are very devout men who were raised by members of Pentecostal sects, fundamentalist Catholics or were 'hard-shell' Baptists and Methodists."

      That is an unfounded statement. 1) No one knows how many serial killers there have ever been. 2) You are citing European oriented killers that only a European oriented person would recognize. Where is the mentioning of:
      Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova
      Harpe brothers
      Napoleon Bonaparte
      Than Shwe
      Kim Jong Il
      Jeffrey Dahmer
      Mao Zedong
      Pol Pot
      Joseph Stalin

      July 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Artist

      durka durka

      July 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  7. Mark from Middle River

    >> Electric Larry: “Mark, your rebuttal is quite perverse. Air Force provided a source that supported what he said, and all you did was pervert the results then childishly claim victory. I could easily show that his/her statistics support the original point, but why? You'll just come up with another digressive, puerile rant. You even assert, again childishly, that this is "the big leagues." You really believe that? You actually think you are in the "big leagues" of intellectuals? That's very very funny. Thanks for the laugh.”

    It works for Jon Stewart, Larry. 🙂

    Ok, another person that feels that seriousness should be the only thing posted on a internet religious blog.

    Ok, Larry... I will put on my grownup pants then and be serious.

    ADNAAF. You stated that Christians "hate" Atheist. You then failed to use terms such as "some Christians" or even "Many Christians". This invalidated your comment because over the past year, here on the Belief Blog alone, there have been Christians that have had mutual respectful exchanges with Atheist and those of other Faiths. Also within the year, you have had posted articles, here on the Belief Blog, of Christopher Hutchins who is a noted Atheist, speaking of his friends, who are Christians who have been praying for his Cancer to go into remission. That he called those Christians his friends also invalidates your argument that Christians "hate" Atheist.

    The problem is that folks, such as myself, who try to bridge a gap.. try to talk and have a dialouge with Atheist, are always running into folks that want to say that all Christians are this or all Christians believe that. If you are a white person I would not lump you into all the whites throughout history and say ..." all white people hate black folks". That is wrong and I was not raised that way. You did that to Christians in your first post and I felt that I needed to address that.

    Lastly, your proof to back up your claim that Christians hate Athiest showed two flaws in its application. First, the article did not state anything about it being a gauge on the views of polled "Christians". What your poll states is what Americans thought of Atheism. That was your first fail on using that link. I choose to use this error by reasoning that since there are Americans who are Atheist, your reasoning would have Atheist hating Gay, Hispanic..etc. at a shown percentage.

    Secondly, and this is a small one. In the article it states "This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society..." Is this the same as hate? I do not agree with Al Gore on all of his views on the environment but does that mean I hate him?

    Last failure of your link if the article was, as you wished to be, a poll of Christians says that 39.5% hate Atheist. If that is the case then that would mean that 60.5% of Christians do not hate Atheist. So I challenge your proof of 39.5 with 60.5 and again ADNAAF your argument falls flat.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      whoops ... sorry guys... stupid page refreshed and this was supposed to appear on page one.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • mist

      try not to squirm around so much squirmy mark

      July 2, 2011 at 5:50 am |
  8. LogicSaysSo

    OKAY atheist. I got the point a long time ago. You can be an american (with patriotism) without believing in a god...

    July 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • L

      Right?!? Can't we all just leave each other alone? I think both sides want to be respected but it seems like nobody has the ability to be nice! Yes both atheists and Christians claim the other group is so horrible and mean and yet they go and say bad things about the other side and attack people. I don't agree with atheism but I'm not going to go out there and talk smack to someone who is atheist. What you believe is up to you! I don't know why being atheist would be "unpatriotic" so whoever is saying so is just being rude and dumb. Regardless of whether America was founded on Christian principles, you can still show support for your country and being a good citizen without believing in God. Why can't people play nice with each other??

      July 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • GodPot

      @L – The problem with the two sides getting along is this. Atheists know that they can live by the law and be good patriotic American's just as well as any of faith. Those of faith however, cannot fathom how someone that doesn't have the almighty peeper looking over their shoulder would ever be a law abiding citizen. They have been raised since childhood believing in one form or another of invisible watcher (Santa, God) that keeps them in line so to them acting lawful for no other reason than to be a good person doesn't make sense. When I left my church, now 10 years ago, my brother said to me "Well, if you don't believe in God anymore, then why don't you go do some drugs, get a prost itute and live it up?" The ignorance of my own brother astounded me and confirmed what I guess I already knew, Christians believe they have a monopoly on morality and a ssume that anyone who is not one of them is a Satan worshiping miscreant wanting to do harm to society. They could not be more wrong.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Kyle

      This is playing nice. There's nothing inherently insulting about these banners. You need to accept the fact that an atheist has the right to respectfully inform Christians they are wrong as much a Christian has the right to tell atheists their beliefs are false. Christians have been preaching to atheist of their transgressions against God for millennia. Why is it not acceptable that atheist preach to theist of their transgressions against rationality?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • salvatore

      Ironic that the religion of missionaries is upset by a banner.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Frogist

      @GodPot: I had a similar experience with a very close friend of mine I knew for something like 20 yrs. She basically believed that I was an enemy of hers even though nothing else changed in our relationship except that she now knew I was agnostic. She is evangelical. And for some time after that made it a point to send religious spam and make sarcastic remarks referring to me when I specifically asked her not to send those types of emails. It was a shock to the system that someone I cared about so deeply would turn on me because of not sharing her religious belief. Funny thing is we have friends from all different religious backgrounds. Her friendliness with them and acrimony to me makes me wonder if she feels the same way about them or does her prejudice really just extend to atheists and agnostics. There is so much fear and confusion that I can't help but be grateful for campaigns like this one even if their methods are a little clumsy. At least it gets conversations going.
      My friend and I still talk (not about religion) and she has returned to being friendly, but I will always be wary of her, esp knowing what I do about her now.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  9. Brooklyn

    "I DON'T KNOW"

    Is the only correct answer with regards to the existence of a God. That being said, does God take the form of a big man in the sky who damns you to eternal punishment for touching yourself at night? Probably not.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Robert Blanahanrosannrosannadanna

      That's also the only correct answer to the question of whether leprechauns exist.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • amy

      He does kill a kitten though.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • give your head a shake

      Santa Claus. Easter bunny. Tooth fairy. Flying spaghetti monster. Casper the friendly ghost. The boogie man. Shall I go on?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  10. airwx

    @ Daivid Johnson

    "If god is all loving, all good and all just as Christians profess, how do you reconcile this with the fact, that there is a place called hell?" Because hell is reserved for Lucifer and the fallen angels....not humans...actually mentioned in Gen 1:2 if you can do a basic translation of Rabbinical Hebrew

    'How could an all good, all merciful, all just god, spend His time constructing such a place?" God is just, as you say, thus there are consequences.

    "If god is all loving, all good, all merciful and all just...how do you reconcile this with the fact that god would burn humans for all eternity? What crime could justify such a punishment?" Again...bad theology. The non-believer is not sent to hell, but excluded from heaven...eternally separated from God. The knashing of teeth inplication comes from the people outside of heaven realizing what they missed.

    "Man lives a finite number of years. Only a finite number of "sins" could be committed in this finite time. How is it just to punish a finite number of sins with eternal agony?" The "agony" is spiritual....and you have the same misconception of eternity as most Christians, which I will explain by answering your next question...

    "Christians also claim their god is all knowing (omniscient). If this is true, then He would know who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, god lets them be born knowing their ultimate fate is eternal punishment. Seems wrong somehow. Maybe its just that I am sane..." Time only applies to this universe. God exits outside the rules of this universe, thus time does not affect His ability to see what happened at the beginning of time in our universe and the "cafe at the end of the universe" and everything in between all at once. Yes God knows the decisions you will make, but you can still exercise your free will to make these decisions. A common misconception is that eternity is infinite time. Incorrect. Eternity contains no time or a lack of reference to time. Your sanity is intact, your understanding needs an upgrade.

    "Christians often prattle on about having a choice of accepting Christ or spending eternity in hell. This is not a choice. This is Vito Corleone making an offer that cannot be refused. Pfui!" ...as you can see, you do have a choice. And Vito's offer has a penalty...Gods offer has a blessing.....which would you chosse?

    "If a puppy peed on the floor, would you hold it over a burner, even for a second? I couldn't. Not a puppy and certainly not a human. I am more moral than your vile god. " As shown above, The fires of hell are a Dante invention. The Bible does not support such an outcome.

    "Like many of your fellow Christians, you seem to like the idea that people who do not agree with you, will be horribly punished. You draw it like a gun. It is the better part of any argument you make. If I am wrong, and there is a god and there is a Jesus...you and I may be roomies. "...actually.. I agree with you.

    "Cheers!".....

    July 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Get it right

      Better read your own Bible. Hell is indeed for humans. "But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell." Matthew 5:22 Not a Dante invention.

      The dictionary definition of "eternity" is "infinite time." The misconception is yours. And can you provide any sources for your notions of time in Godland?

      July 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • airwx

      Matt. 5:22....research the word hell....it isn't the same as where Satan is going...cf: the outer courts in Revelation.

      Gen 1:1 God invented time....thus no corelation to God's time frame. The dictionary version of eternity is not the scriptural equivalant. Have to take care of something... be back in 30 mins

      July 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Laughing

      There is 0 reference to hell in genesis, what you are doing is implying or inferring there is.

      secondly your definition of hell is the jewish version, NOT the christian version of hell, as well it should be considering it sounds like you adhere to the OT more than the NT. In any event I will grant you that you gave some theologically sound answers to David's questions, however, most of the stuff you said about god not being bound to time and space, where in the bible does it say that? If no one specifically mentions it then you are just implying that this is the case and all your arguments turn into just inference and opinions. I have a question for you though, why would god create time, space, hell (the kind found in Matthew) or really any law of nature if not to be subject to it?

      July 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • derp

      "Matt. 5:22....research the word hell....it isn't the same as where Satan is going...cf: the outer courts in Revelation."

      Great, now there is two hells. Do I get to chose? I am an atheist sinner, which hell do I go to?

      "Gen 1:1 God invented time....thus no corelation to God's time frame. The dictionary version of eternity is not the scriptural equivalant. Have to take care of something... be back in 30 mins"

      Back in 30 minutes? How do you know? Is that in "god time" or regular people time? What is the ratio? Is it like 46 years of human time to one years of god time?

      More importantly, do you people really believe this shzit?

      July 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Laughing.... When was the last time you created a natural law? I'm not being silly...you seem to mistake creating with finding. Humans find natural law...not create. If you use a natural law to make an omlet...are you subject to it?
      Genesis 1:1....the word created....cf: Psalm 33 6-9....means spoken into being, not made with hands, thus God spoke the laws of time into being. Since He already existed....time did not impose any limits on Him.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Laughing.... sorry I meant to answer your other question as well....

      Gen 2:2 "And darkness was on the face of the deep"
      Take time to reasearch this passage. Using to primative roots of the Hebrew it reads " Death, Misery at the edge (or surface) of the Abyss"...Sounds like hell to me!

      July 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Laughing...sorry..fat fingers... Gen 1:2

      July 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Laughing

      Lets try this agian, where does it say that god is not subject to time and space?
      Here's what you said " Genesis 1:1....the word created....cf: Psalm 33 6-9....means spoken into being, not made with hands, thus God spoke the laws of time into being. Since He already existed....time did not impose any limits on Him."

      I'm not terribly sure I understand but it looks like you spliced a couple of quotes together, even so all we know is what your book tells us, namely, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth" – No mention of hell, only heaven, secondly he created earth, but he did not create time, in fact time is implied to have already existed when god started doing the creation. Now, did god exist before the beginning? Well that doesn't really make sense does it? What exists before existance? It seems to me that if god were really all powerful, why make people who would only want to kill and murder his chosen people, why in the exodus did he need 10 plagues when 1 probably should have sufficed?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • derp

      "Using to primative roots of the Hebrew it reads " Death, Misery at the edge (or surface) of the Abyss"...Sounds like hell to me!"

      How do you figure? First, you cannot be at the edge and surface of the abyss at the same time. You are either at the edge, or you go down into the abyss and are on the surface. An abyss is certainly not hell.

      Secondly, there is no mention of fire in your translation. Are you now going to claim that bible does not include fire in hell. How the heck can I "burn in hell" if there is no fire.

      Nice try.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • GodPot

      @airwx – "When was the last time you created a natural law? I'm not being silly...you seem to mistake creating with finding. Humans find natural law...not create. If you use a natural law to make an omlet...are you subject to it?
      Genesis 1:1....the word created....cf: Psalm 33 6-9....means spoken into being, not made with hands, thus God spoke the laws of time into being."

      And when was the last time you read a Dr. Seuss book and thought to yourself "Amazing, Horton's son Morton is an Elephant-Bird, I hope I get to see one someday." I mean, it's written right there in a book so it has to be true...right? So much for not being silly.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Laughing

      I'm starting to detect the problem in our discussion. You quote the King James translation of Gen 1:1. Let me give you mine...

      " God breathed into being the concepts (nothing is "made", see later verses in Gen 1)of time, the lofty places (also translatable as spacial relationships or distance) and agricultural land (also translatable as dirt).

      Sorry if this doesn't agree with your pre-conceived notiion of what "YOUR" book says.

      I'm not "splicing" anything..just showing multiple statements that comport with each other.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • airwx

      @ GodPot....

      If you wish to bring the good Dr. into the conversation... May I suggest "Horton hears a Who" and pose this question...

      Are you Horton or a Who.... and why?

      And the old its only a book ruse... If I give up my book, will you give up all the other books of the same time frame???

      July 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • fam

      Here is where thinking and following get separated. I always ask this of believers. Is "your" God perfect, answer, yes. Did "your" God create everything you see, again answer, yes. Does "your" God have a plan for all things and creatures, once more answer, yes. Then my question is this, why do you pray to "your" God to change things that are already set in stone. Wouldn't it mean that "your" God's plan was somehow defective if it changes its plan for a creature such as yourself? I rarely get a satisfactory response

      July 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Chris

      Ok, here's kind of a breakdown. God creates the Heavens, the sun and the Earth. The Earth rotates and we have night, which to us, looks like the sun setting. God seperated them by calling them "Day" and "Night." Now, we chose to quantify that time in hours, minutes, seconds, because we are mortal. We have a finite amount of time, so it is necessary to keep an accurate recording of it.

      As for God's perspective, mortal time is irrelevant. He is immortal. He will live forever. However, God does have His own timing, which is something different. Now, if you ask me to explain God's timing, I will have to humbly say, I don't understand it. Sometimes, I really wish I did understand it, but that's what faith is about. Trusting that His timing is perfect and believing that He will do good.

      Does that help at all?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • derp

      May I suggest "Horton hears a Who"

      Well, both are old works of fiction. Seems like a very good comparison for the bible.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ airwx

      You just pointed out the biggest problem of all and yet still fell prey to it. So we're using two different books of the SAME bible, so tell me, why is your translation anymore right than mine? Sorry, but with so many translations, versions and what not out there, who's to say that I can't start adding in some of my own ideas and say, "well this is from the original hebrew". I could you know, I had to learn hebrew for my bar mitzvah so I have some background, if we're going to argue over translations then at the end of the day we're still left with me using a book that a lot of christians use and you using a different version of the SAME book and yet coming to a completely different answer.... thus why christianity (and most religions too) don't make sense to me. How does using the same exact book with the same rules, regulations, myths and all that yield such different results and who is right?!

      July 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Chris

      @ Laughing

      It's called faith. That's what it all boils down to. It's all God ever wanted. Believe in HIm. He talks about confounding the intelligent, because God does not make logical (human logic) sense. But that's because He resides outside of the realm of human logic. And I'm happy He does, because human logic, based on a lot of the humans I've run into, is -really- faulty and not worth trusting implicitely.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Laughing... We do agree on the premise that each of us has to figure it out for ourselves.....

      and yes that implies that there will be billions of interpretations of the various portions of the Bible or Torah. Rabbis still debate the Torah...is that wrong in your mind?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Derp... sorry to take so long to respond....

      The Horton question is based on perspective.....
      Are you Horton.....discovering things smaller than you or are you aWho....looking at things so big you can" conceive of their enormity......

      The follow to that question was are you willing to give up the books written in that time frame.....

      July 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Chris

      I agree with you on the difference between clock time and God's timing....very different things.

      You might want to study the words Light and darkness....Look at how Jesus refered to Himself in terms of Light....

      If you insert Jesus into Gen 1:4 ( based on John 1:4-9, 3:19-21:8:21 just as an example)... then look up darkness and use the metaphorical definitions from a good lexicon (such as Gensenius).

      From that you will see the following... Gen 1:... God Gen 1:2 The spirit of God Gen 1:4 The SON (not sun)

      Peace

      July 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Fam

      I apologise for the delay

      Your concept implies that history is fixed from the outset....I disagree. Do not confuse the abilty to see the future with a set in stone mentality. We have free will, period.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  11. civiloutside

    It may be that the absolute most UNpatriotic thing one American can say to another is "stop saying things I don't like or I'll kill you."

    July 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Achmed the Dead Terrorist

      i keel yoo!

      July 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  12. Bill

    I'll join the list of atheists who posted "I could have said it better than these plane ads".

    But then, none of us *paid* for the ads. So personally, I'm just glad *someone* said *something*. I'm tired of the unchallenged assumptions so many Americans make about atheism.

    The rest of us are free to put our money where our mouths are and make our own public statements. If you've got an idea let me know, I may pitch in.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  13. SGT Michael Bell

    I don't understand why anyone would think is a "surprise". We don't live in a Theocracy and we need to keep it that way, no matter "who" our elected officials are!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  14. TheLastBrainLeft

    Atheists are generally hated because they are arrogant, smug little twerps. Give this agnostic a devout Christian to argue with over a typical atheist any day. At least they remain calm and engaging.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Laughing

      I'm sorry, I don't think I read your post right, did you say that christians wer calm and engaging? Other than that guy William, I would say you should probably reverse that statement

      July 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • TheLastBrainLeft

      Christians are generally more calm and engaging than your typical atheist. They are smug, but they don't feel superior. Not sure where you live, but if it's anywhere on planet Earth, you know I am right.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Laughing

      You made a comment below but I thought I'd address it here.

      "Atheists are generally incapable of such respect for those who believe in God. They are, by far (outside Muslim fanatics) the most extremist religious people out there.

      Now we wait for the atheist idiots to claim atheism isn't a religious belief ......"

      So other than your obvious antagonism of atheism (which by the way, if you want to have a clam and rational discussion with someone, I wouldn't start off by insulting them, just a thought) Instead of telling you that atheism isn't a religion, I want to hear your thoughts on how atheism IS actually a religion of any kind. At least how I understand it now, the only uniting factor for atheists is that they don't believe there is a god or gods, and even that is a tenuous definition that not everyone fits in, so please, how does that make self-professed atheists into a religion?

      July 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Laughing

      Now I know your crazy, chrsitians aren't smug and superior? I live on planet earth, it's in the milky way galaxy, where might you live? If you've ever stepped foot on earth you might find that christians are probably the most smug and superior people around. Unlike most atheists, these are the guys who think they know everything because of a single solitary book.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • civiloutside

      There's either a tremendous lack of self-awareness implied by someone giving themselves the handle "TheLastBrainLeft" as they complain about other people being smug and arrogant, or a minuscule amount of humor.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • JW

      I think it is a matter of two groups of people who disagree with each other. I think of myself as calm and engaging but not all Christians are like that. There are some atheists on here who are rude and others just trying to explain their belief. It depends more on the person than the group

      July 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @TheLastBrainLeft

      You said: 'Atheists are generally hated because they are arrogant, smug little twerps. Give this agnostic a devout Christian to argue with over a typical atheist any day. At least they remain calm and engaging."

      I'm calm and totally engaging. Argue with me. But, I have to wonder if you are an agnostic, what we could argue about.

      In actuality, there are no atheists. Many non-believers call themselves atheists, because we have examined the evidence and truly see no evidence for a god. But...we also know that a negative cannot be proven. Can't absolutely prove god does not exist. Can't absolutely prove goblins and fairies and leprechauns don't exist. So, all atheists are agnostic in reality. Atheism is just a more pronounced way of describing our non-belief.

      Cheers!

      July 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • derp

      "In actuality, there are no atheists. Many non-believers call themselves atheists, because we have examined the evidence and truly see no evidence for a god. But...we also know that a negative cannot be proven. Can't absolutely prove god does not exist"

      Not true. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god. As you said, Atheists cannot be certain that there is no god, but we do not believe in one. An agnostic is not sure. They believe that their may or may not be a god. They are undecided in what they "believe" because they believe either could be true. With some supporting evidence, they could be swayed either way. Theists believe there is a god.

      Belief is not the same as proof. Atheists don't believe there is a god, theists believe there is a god, agnostics aren't sure. None of these can be proven.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • F

      How about all atheists, agnostics, and Christians are capable of being calm and engaging because your religion doesn't define who you are?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  15. civiloutside

    As an atheist myself, I kind of think the chosen slogans aren't terribly great. If the goal is to show that atheist can be patriotic too, I think they could have chosen better ways to say it. AN ATHEIST can be patriotic. ATHEISM has no stance on national loyalty whatsoever. I think these slogan only serve to feed confusion about what atheism actually is.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  16. bhigh

    Religion is a shackle on humankind. Atheism is freedom.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • TheLastBrainLeft

      Thank you for making my point. You're as bad as any Jesus freak demanding I accept him or burn in hell.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  17. Tian F.

    I rather doubt this will happen. Any pilot that would take any plane up with this message on this particular weekend is looking to antagonize period but ya know what? If any pilot is dumb enough to do this on July 4th then they’re dumb enough to become a grease spot. This is nothing more than unneeded provocation from the left in the face of folks that are out with their families, BBQ’ing, letting off steam and having few beers. This is nothing more than an event to poke the majority in the eye and we’ve had just about enough. We all know if this country doesn’t begin veering to the right some type of event is inevitable so why wait? I’d tell the pilots to try flying this over a suburb of Dallas or at this point really anyplace……….

    July 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • civiloutside

      That reads suspi-ciously like a threat.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Tian F,

      Are you suggesting that the christian majority won't shun violence to silence a minority? Are you suggesting that you'll trample on the rights of people that you don't agree with? Are you willing to deny others the same right that allows you to believe the way you see fit?

      July 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Artist

      Let me help translate for Tian. Because the majority are ignorant they will kill the pilot.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • civiloutside

      It just may be that the absolute most UNpatriotic thing one American can say to another is "stop saying things I don't like or I'll kill you."

      July 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • derp

      "This is nothing more than unneeded provocation from the left"

      How do you figure atheism, is on the left. My wife and I are fiscally conservative, high wage earning, college educated, tax paying, law abiding, strongly patriotic Americans.

      If you are telling me that I am a liberal just because I do not believe in the god myth, than the GOP has just lost two votes. Four if you include my two voting age children.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • salvatore

      If you're dumb enough to say something the majority disagrees with (or even feels insulted by) you deserve to get killed. Gotcha.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  18. CW

    The the Atheist crowd,

    I see some of you that honestly don't like the campagn and I agree with you on that. I do see a lot of you making fun as always but, since neither you or I have died and came back to life to say what the other side holds we will just have to disagree. Let me explain two things though....Please see below Mr or Ms. Laughing

    @ Laughing

    First off....it does say in the Bible that you WILL go to H-E-LL if you go to your death and don't confess God as your savior and receive...and I mean receive the grace, mercy, and enternal life that Jesus already paid for on the cross. Secondly, The reason that we are supposed to "pray for you" is that in the Bible it is COMMANDED that we pray for this lost and non-believing world. You can chalk it up to whatever you want....but one day we ALL will also see....either "dirt and stuff" as you say or "enternal life in Heaven...or h-ell"...personally rolling the dice "dirt or h-ell" don't sound as great as going to heaven where there is no pain suffering or troubles. Now...you can disagree but its your dice roll.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • jim

      So you're taking the word of a piece of fiction that I'll burn in hell for not sharing your beliefs. How trite.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Artist

      So have no faith and play it safe...hmmm that will get you into heaven. Shall I run out and believe in current days gods in different religions to play it safe. Get membership to all? How about this....I will live my life and what happens...happens

      July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Peace2All

      @CW

      So... more of the old "believe or burn" tactic. Also, I would suggest that you believers stop with the Pascal's Wager argument, as it has been shown to have any number of possibilities. Don't know Pascal's Wager...? Look it up.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 1, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @ CW

      Well meant (your Christian message), but the stuff, commenting on this blog, is probably totally impenitent.

      It is high time to ponder how to avoid that the impenitent atheistic stuff will take over rule. If they would take over rule, they would catapult us back to the Middle Ages.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • JohnR

      You either never bothered to read or are incapable of comprehending the many, many replies to prior Pascal's wager posts. You have not guaranteed anything having placed the bet the way you have.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • JohnR

      @Rainer Secular humanism and associated philosophies and the truly scientific mentality they brought about is precisely what pulled us out of the Middle Ages.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Laughing

      Got to love the shoutout

      As the others have already commented on this topic there is little else I can say that won't be repeti.tion. Artist is right, which religion should I choose to play it safe and "roll my dice" as it were. Why is your book any different from any other holy book and why does one HAVE to be right. Should I pray to allah, god, zeus, ra, shiva, ect... because that would REALLY cover bases instead of throwing all my eggs in one basket and believing in one small sect of christianity like you did. Also, why is it so terrible to end up as dirt? Circle of life buddy, we live we eat we die and then we help other stuff to grow and get eaten and all that. Seriously, become a logical and thinking adult for a moment and think about the concept of heaven, hel.l and an afterlife. What is the POINT of it?

      (I'm a mr. by the way)

      July 1, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • David Johnson

      @CW

      I have tried to have this conversation with you before. You did not respond. I try again.

      If god is all loving, all good and all just as Christians profess, how do you reconcile this with the fact, that there is a place called hell?

      How could an all good, all merciful, all just god, spend His time constructing such a place? Did he whistle while He worked?
      If god is all loving, all good, all merciful and all just...how do you reconcile this with the fact that god would burn humans for all eternity? What crime could justify such a punishment?

      Man lives a finite number of years. Only a finite number of "sins" could be committed in this finite time. How is it just to punish a finite number of sins with eternal agony?

      Christians also claim their god is all knowing (omniscient). If this is true, then He would know who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, god lets them be born knowing their ultimate fate is eternal punishment. Seems wrong somehow. Maybe its just that I am sane...

      Christians often prattle on about having a choice of accepting Christ or spending eternity in hell. This is not a choice. This is Vito Corleone making an offer that cannot be refused. Pfui!

      If a puppy peed on the floor, would you hold it over a burner, even for a second? I couldn't. Not a puppy and certainly not a human. I am more moral than your vile god.

      Like many of your fellow Christians, you seem to like the idea that people who do not agree with you, will be horribly punished. You draw it like a gun. It is the better part of any argument you make. If I am wrong, and there is a god and there is a Jesus...you and I may be roomies.

      Cheers!

      July 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @JohnR

      Hi!

      The Middle Ages were characterized by the rule of the wicked papacy. No atheist and no pagan was able to resist papacy. First the Christian Martin Luther gave him (the pope) a dolorous kick.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Artist

      CW has no faith, this is why CW is playing it safe...not rolling the dice. CW riding the fence? I believe god has addressed those that ride the fence.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Artist

      CW, perhaps a fellow chrisitan on here can assist you and building your faith so you don't look at it as not "rolling the dice"

      July 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ David

      Good and thought provoking questions. It's a shame that no believer is actually going to engage you though because whatever answer they come up with won't really hold. Get ready for a lot of "lalalalala I'm right and your stupid lalalalala" with their hands over their ears.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • LinCA

      @David Johnson

      You said: "@CW
      I have tried to have this conversation with you before. You did not respond. I try again.
      "

      Don't hold your breath.....

      July 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Artist

      LinCA

      @David Johnson

      You said: "@CW
      I have tried to have this conversation with you before. You did not respond. I try again."

      Don't hold your breath.....

      -----
      No kidding.... CW does not directly address anything and if you get a response it is in circles. lol CW is a broken recored with "I play it safe and do not roll the dice". What is quite funny is CW is an example of a person who thinks they believe and is a christian....when in fact they ride the fence and don't truly believe. I have more respect for those that stand by their faith than those "playing it safe". Applying their own god's view, the "playing it safe crowd" will burn in their delusional hell. CW doesn't realize what a fool they make of themselves by posting the childish play it safe posts. CW makes christians look quite pathetic.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • JW

      Rolling the dice? You should pick a side and go with it. Either you believe or you dont.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • derp

      "The Middle Ages were characterized by the rule of the wicked papacy. No atheist and no pagan was able to resist papacy. First the Christian Martin Luther gave him (the pope) a dolorous kick."

      The Papacy gave us the dark ages, Calvinists gave us the Salem Witch trials.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • CW

      @ David Johnson, & all others that care,
      You say:
      --------------
      I have tried to have this conversation with you before. You did not respond. I try again.

      1) If god is all loving, all good and all just as Christians profess, how do you reconcile this with the fact, that there is a place called hell?

      2) How could an all good, all merciful, all just god, spend His time constructing such a place? Did he whistle while He worked? If god is all loving, all good, all merciful and all just...how do you reconcile this with the fact that god would burn humans for all eternity? What crime could justify such a punishment?

      3) Man lives a finite number of years. Only a finite number of "sins" could be committed in this finite time. How is it just to punish a finite number of sins with eternal agony?

      4) Christians also claim their god is all knowing (omniscient). If this is true, then He would know who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, god lets them be born knowing their ultimate fate is eternal punishment. Seems wrong somehow. Maybe its just that I am sane...

      5) Christians often prattle on about having a choice of accepting Christ or spending eternity in hell. This is not a choice. This is Vito Corleone making an offer that cannot be refused. Pfui!

      6) If a puppy peed on the floor, would you hold it over a burner, even for a second? I couldn't. Not a puppy and certainly not a human. I am more moral than your vile god.

      7) Like many of your fellow Christians, you seem to like the idea that people who do not agree with you, will be horribly punished. You draw it like a gun. It is the better part of any argument you make. If I am wrong, and there is a god and there is a Jesus...you and I may be roomies.
      ------------------------

      I say:..see numbers for your questions above to map to my answers

      1) question: I don't know why God created h-ell. That is a question that you can ask on Judgement Day.

      2) question: First I'll say its not GOD's intention for anyone to go to h-ell BUT...since he did create the universe and died for your's mine and all sins...all he ask's is for you to follow him. Considering the punishment he took I would say that is a small thing to ask. Secondly....going to h-ell is YOUR CHOICE....God gave you free will....and yes the SO CALLED crime of refusing to follow God...it should be punishable by going to h-ell.

      3) Question....okay...this is a question I can't answer...only God. Ask him on Judgment Day.

      4) Question: I go and say yes he is all knowing BUT...he gives us ALL A CHOICE to follow him or not. I think of it like this..God gives us all chance after chance after chance to make decisions in this life...yes he know's the outcome but gives us the choice on how to get there. If we make a choice to follow him then we need to live for him and hopefully go to heaven. If we choose to not follow him then he still gives us chance after chance to follow him. That is why when you die its too late if you haven't accepted him.

      5) It is a choice...I guess you don't make choices?

      6) Not sure what your getting at here but I'll say this. Here is my take: God died for you....all he ask's is that you take his book the Bible...worship him....by doing that your going to lead others to him...you'll be a better person b/c you want to please him.

      7) All I point out is that if you turn your back on God and don't accept what he did for you...then yes there is a pretty good chance that you will go to h-ell. The Bible says so....that is what I use to lead my thoughts. By the way no I don't want anyone to be punished...but the simple fact is...it is a choice.

      Peace.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "3) Man lives a finite number of years. Only a finite number of "sins" could be committed in this finite time. How is it just to punish a finite number of sins with eternal agony?"

      If I may....you are relating sin as if it is a finite thing of itself. The act of a sin might be finite but the sin itself goes on.
      Might not be the best example but imagine a beaker full of clear water that represents yourself. You take a dropper with red dye in it and put the smallest drop in the beaker. The action is your putting the drop (sin) into the beaker. The action is done. However, the sin itself continues to move and flows throughout.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Artist

      But the question is if the act of sin is adverse or beneficial/liberating?
      .
      Hey long time no talk, hope things are going good

      July 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • CW

      @ David Johnson and anyone else,

      I answered your questions now I have one that I have also posed to you before...with no answer I might add

      1) How do YOU know that God doesn't exist?...where is your proof?

      2) What was it that caused you not to want to follow God?

      3) What would it take outside of God appearing for you to follow him?

      4) Do you think that tomorrow the sun will shine?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Lycidas

      1) How do YOU know that God doesn't exist?...where is your proof?
      First hand experience.

      2) What was it that caused you not to want to follow God?
      I chose to.

      3) What would it take outside of God appearing for you to follow him?
      Don't know....like what?

      4) Do you think that tomorrow the sun will shine?
      Have no reason to think otherwise at the moment.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Lycidas

      But the question is if the act of sin is adverse or beneficial/liberating?

      Usually by calling it a sin it is adverse at some level.

      Had to go use another username for a while. Copycats and all that. Hope you have a good weekend.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • civiloutside

      CW, I'll take a crack at your questions.

      "1) How do YOU know that God doesn't exist?...where is your proof?"

      I don't need proof that he doesn't exist. Before I would even consider patterning my whole life after his wishes, I'd need proof that he *does* exist. I haven't even seen mildly compelling evidence. As people keep trying to point out to you, it is impossible to prove the nonexistence of any nonexistent thing.

      "2) What was it that caused you not to want to follow God?"

      Reaching the conclusion that he probably doesn't exist.

      "3) What would it take outside of God appearing for you to follow him?"

      Convincing evidence that he exists would be a good start.

      "4) Do you think that tomorrow the sun will shine?"

      Yes. It's possible that I'm wrong, of course, but all the evidence of my lifetime suggests that it's likely.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Lol....darn distractions. I answered the questions as if they didn't have the "not" in them.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Adam

      @CW

      The majority of your answers to David Johnson were basically "I don't know", which is ok because no one does. My issue is that it appears you are ok with stopping your thought process there and saying, "I will find out on Judgement Day"

      I don't see the harm in trying to reason through David's questions. Besides, it makes for a difficult discussion when I have to wait till i die to get a response.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  19. NoSacredCow

    As an atheist I'm not happy with the flying ad campaign. I would have been happier if the banner would simply state: American Atheists Wish a Happy Birthday to America!
    There isn't a need to appear confrontational on our nation's birthday. It is after all a time when all Americans should be coming together to celebrate America and what it is supposed to stand for. E Pluribus Unum

    Having said that, to the other atheist posters on here don't bother arguing with evangelical Christians, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons (although to be fair Mormons are less argumentative than the others), etc. They suffer from cognitive dissonance and are totally enraptured with their cults. They need the comfort of their imaginary friend and nothing you can do will get them to change that. They have a fear of the different and anything that may shake their already questionable faith.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Laughing

      Yeah, I know there's not a really a point, but its fun all the same to poke holes in their faith and see how they cover (although most of the time it's either, have fun in hel.l or I'll pray for you or some garbage like that).

      I think I agree with you though on this ad campaign. I appreciate that it's bringing atheism into a more frontal role, but this is only incendiary and can't really lead to something good. Then again, when has dramatic change come because people politely asked to be recognized and the other side politely agreed?

      July 1, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • NoSacredCow

      I like to point them to the gospel of Matthew since they almost always seem to skip that one. Poor Matt got short shrift.
      Especially Matthew 6:1-8 and 5:40 for the Ayn Rand christians. lol

      July 1, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Laughing

      Haha those are great. the best part about it is even when you quote their words right back at them they are already ready to say you must be the anti-christ because satan can quote scripture too. It's incredible that so many dumb people that can barely understand the stuff that they claim to ferverntly believe in have answers to a bunch of their loopholes already and create this airtight logic in their own minds. When they quote scripture, they're right and are righteous, when someone else quotes the same scripture it's blasphemy and satanic. Got to hand it to them, they're the only type of people who can actually display the idea of "doublethink" better than characters in 1984

      July 1, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • RFBJR

      Death will visit us all, my friend. Perhaps we will go quietly in the middle of the night or meet death in a less than desired fashion. Either way, it is inevitable, my friend. That day will be upon you and I soon. I want you to ponder that long and hard, for tomorrow is not promised. Off you go into the unknown. I dare you to imagine the moment life exits your body for just one minute. (Stop talking about how stupid, ignorant or pathetic I am to yourself and dare to think about it.) What will become of you? Are you so sure in your unbelief? In all of the brilliance that man has to offer this world, he continues to be a slave to death.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Laughing

      @RFBJR

      Was that at me? I'm going to answer anyways. What do I think is going to happen to me once I die? I can honestly tell you I don't know, I firmly believe that YOU don't have the answer either as by the mere fact that neither you or me has died and come back to life to tell everyone if there is another side. I personally believe that when your brain stops funtioning and your body stops working it will degenerate and eventually become dirt and stuff. Up to this point, in the entire history of mankind, what has proven that I should disregard this life in favor of having a "second life" up in the sky. Sorry RFBJR, but just because I don't know what happens after death won't convince me that someone else will have the answer, why do you think that?

      July 1, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Peace2All

      @RFBJR

      You Said: "I dare you to imagine the moment life exits your body for just one minute. What will become of you? Are you so sure in your unbelief?"

      I've had an NDE... Do I count for an opinion...? Ya' I know, I came back. And, I may at least have some experience, albeit -personal experience- to comment. But, I won't here.

      However, what I am trying to figure out is your whole posting and comment, kind of an inferred Pascal's Wager philosophical challenge to -Laughing...?

      If so, Pascal's Wager typically is used to argue for... if there is life after death, then... it most assuredly means that the non-believers are doomed, as in... it is the Christian view of life after death.

      Pascal's Wager has through time, by countless people been severely refuted as any kind of argument as there are possibly an infinite number of possibilities that could arise should one continue in some form or fashion after death.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      ------------------------------------------
      @Laughing

      I liked your answers to -RFBJR.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 1, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • JohnR

      @RFBJR Don't project your own morbid death anxieties onto others.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • TheLastBrainLeft

      Atheists are generally incapable of such respect for those who believe in God. They are, by far (outside Muslim fanatics) the most extremist religious people out there.

      Now we wait for the atheist idiots to claim atheism isn't a religious belief ......

      July 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @RFBJR

      You asked: "What will become of you? Are you so sure in your unbelief? "

      To die will be an awfully big adventure. – Peter Pan

      No one knows for sure. Not I, not you. I have looked at the evidence for there being an afterlife and could find none. Your only evidence for an afterlife, is the bible. A book, that is ambiguous and silly.

      The theists believe in an immaterial soul. They believe this soul is our ident_ity or mind. It is essentially, "who we are".
      The soul is said to leave the body when we die. God decides if our soul will go to Heaven or Hell. Apparently, our souls are given a physical body, that we might enjoy eternal bliss or torment.

      There is no evidence for a soul. Our obviously material brains contain all that we are. All that we have experienced, all that we have learned, all of our perceptions. When we die, our brains cease to function. We no longer exist. All that we were, is no more.
      Evidence to support this argument, is that disease, drugs, and injuries affect our ability to think. Our personalities to change. If our mind and personality was immaterial and separate from our physical bodies, our thinking and personalities should not be affected.

      Our brains are constantly generating thoughts. Brain chemistry determines our emotions. We can't really tell, that these thoughts and emotions originate in our brains. It's easy for Believers to perceive thoughts and feelings, generated by their brains, as coming from outside themselves. *sigh* Jesus? Is that you? LOL!

      Another problem with the soul's existence:

      If we evolved (and we most assuredly did), there is no soul –> no afterlife –> no need of a heaven or hell.

      Cheers!

      July 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • LinCA

      @NoBrainLeft

      You said "Atheists are generally incapable of such respect for those who believe in God."
      What respect are you talking about? Is it the "respect" like where you say "They are, by far (outside Muslim fanatics) the most extremist religious people out there."?

      You said "Now we wait for the atheist idiots to claim atheism isn't a religious belief ..", and with that, showing the world who the real idiot is....

      July 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @TheLastBrainLeft

      You said: "Atheists are generally incapable of such respect for those who believe in God. They are, by far (outside Muslim fanatics) the most extremist religious people out there.
      Now we wait for the atheist idiots to claim atheism isn't a religious belief ......"

      Sorry, Sparky. You believers are prone to irrational thinking. I will help your understanding:

      Definition of religion: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

      Definition of atheist: A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

      See how those two definitions don't match up?

      Also: I don't have much respect for children above the age of 6, who believe in Santa. My daughter started to question this myth when she was five. If she hadn't, I would have bought her a helmet by the time she was 7, to protect against further brain damage. I respect kids who question Santa, until Santa is left behind.

      God is just the Santa for adults. In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

      Cheers!

      July 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • LinCA

      @RFBJR

      You said: "Death will visit us all, my friend. Perhaps we will go quietly in the middle of the night or meet death in a less than desired fashion. Either way, it is inevitable, my friend. That day will be upon you and I soon."
      No argument there.

      You said: "I want you to ponder that long and hard, for tomorrow is not promised. Off you go into the unknown. I dare you to imagine the moment life exits your body for just one minute. (Stop talking about how stupid, ignorant or pathetic I am to yourself and dare to think about it.) What will become of you?"
      Done. I don't know what will become of me, but that doesn't mean that I have to go make up stories to put my mind at ease. It is highly likely that I will cease to exist. Nothing more, nothing less.

      You said: "Are you so sure in your unbelief?"
      Yes. It's the only rational position.

      You said: "In all of the brilliance that man has to offer this world, he continues to be a slave to death."
      Only those that can't seem to handle living only one life.

      Furthermore, if there is a god, and if he is remotely like the god that a lot of christians seem to think he is, then I will gladly take an eternity in hell over a day in heaven with that god and his followers.

      On the other hand, if there is a god, and if he is just, I will go to heaven.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @NoSacredCow

      You said: "Having said that, to the other atheist posters on here don't bother arguing with evangelical Christians, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons (although to be fair Mormons are less argumentative than the others), etc..."

      I, and probably most of the non-believers that comment on this blog, are not trying to persuade the true believers we respond to. We are trying to show the reader(s) of these comments, who have not yet drank the Kool Aid, that god ain't necessarily so.

      Many of the theist's comments, read as if there is no doubt that they are right. They have picked the one true god and they have correctly interpreted that god's will, from the bible.

      Non-believers point out that in reality, what the theists are saying is just their opinion. And opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one. The theists have no evidence, that what they are "preaching" has any validity whatsoever.

      Cheers!

      July 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • J Smith

      I have evidence. It's right here. Oops, where did I put those tablets that Moron-y gave me???

      July 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Hey, Wonderspring, Adelina, Justina, whatever-you-try-to-pretend-to-be-today: What the frick do you know about American patriotism? You aren't an American and you don't live here. Get lost, bozo.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Tom, how are you? I'm coming to America ~ ! Wait until how much I love you atheists in Jesus! ^^

      July 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • William Demuth

      Love Athiests in Jesus?

      Like your preachers love little boys?

      July 1, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • WonderSpring

      I love Jesus on my knees or all fours.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • HeavenSpringZeldalina

      My pastor says I'll feel better after I bend over for him. I do my best work on my knees anyway.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.