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March 22nd, 2012
06:36 PM ET

Atheist rally billed as 'coming out' moment for nonbelievers

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – A coalition of atheist and secular organizations are coming together on Saturday to hold what is being billed at the largest gathering of atheists in history.

David Silverman, chairman of the event committee and president of the American Atheists, said the rally is aimed at uniting atheist organizations and letting the religious know that there are nonbelievers among them.

“We need to stress to the theists that we are here,” Silverman said. “Atheism is growing in all 50 states. What people don’t seem to understand is all we demand at American Atheists is equality.”

Silverman initially told CNN that the rally would draw anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people to the National Mall, and the National Park Service has planned for 30,000 people. With thunderstorms forecast for Saturday, however, Silverman told CNN on Thursday that he expects somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people.

The cost of the event is around $300,000, Silverman said, but philanthropist Todd Stiefel, Founder of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, is supplying half the money.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

The rally has been a catalyst for protests by the Westboro Baptist Church, a group well known for its picketing of funerals of American servicemen and servicewomen. Westboro Baptist has been granted a permit for the “grassy area between 14th and 15th” streets, according to Carol Johnson, a communications officer for the National Park Service.

Though a press release for the reason rally touts 17 groups planning to protest, only the Westboro Baptist Church has applied and obtained a permit. Johnson said rally organizers have notified the Park Service of other possible protest groups, but none of those have applied for a permit.

The rally's long list of speakers and presenters runs the gamut from intellectuals to celebrities to comedians. The event is headlined by Oxford professor and author Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins, who is widely regarded as the most respected figure in atheism, is lending his voice to this event because he says freedom for atheists is “constantly under threat from people who would like to turn this country into some sort of a theocracy.”

“The Reason Rally is part of an effort to combat the attack of the theocrats,” Dawkins told CNN. “There is in this country at the moment a great revival of atheism, and the number of atheists in the country is much larger than people realize.”

Atheist organizer takes ‘movement’ to nation’s capital

At a press conference for the event, Silverman was adamant that the rally won't be the last. He didn't say whether it will be become an annual tradition, but he intends a higher profile for atheists in the future.

“The next step after the rally is all eyes on the election,” Silverman said. “We want to post hard questions to the candidates.”

Dawkins, too, related the rally to politics.

“The nonbelieving constituency has not been vocal enough, and it therefore has been politic for them to be ignored by their congressmen, by their senators,” Dawkins said.

Directing his comments at Congress, Dawkins said, “You have been neglecting them, overlooking them and riding roughshod over them as though they didn’t exist. Well, they do exist and they outnumber some of the other lobbies that you have been so assiduously sucking up to all these years.”

The America Atheists also are holding their annual convention in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Secular Coalition for America has scheduled its “Lobby Day for Reason” on Friday.

The weekend is part of a larger blitz by a coalition of atheists to “win” equality in American culture, Silverman said.

“We are the last group against whom it is politically correct to be bigoted,” he said. “That is something that needs to change and I am very confident that we will within 20 years.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

soundoff (3,073 Responses)
  1. Fufu

    puff, puff, pass......

    March 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • FinallyFree

      Why thank you...

      March 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  2. Pipe-Dreamer

    God equates to kindness and loving and yet Bible-scripture shows God's anger and loathing around sinfulness of subjectedness. I am yet a believer in Godliness' conditioning. Atheism(s) are but the footprints in the sands of prudence's Timelands. The two polar opposing elements are deistical omni-variations from where and whence the human conditiong is made a relevancy. God is a pigmented orafice within the framed workings of communally latteralized Theisms where in Atheists find unionizational solitudes in bargaining chips.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Seriously

      (you're a looney)

      March 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • rstlne

      Are you Speaking in Tongues?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  3. St8sman

    Religionists would have us believe that their book (Torah, Bible, Quran, etc.) are historically correct. I'm thinking that they'e all hysterically inaccurate, flawed and no more true than your average pulp fiction. All products of fertile imaginations constructed by intelligent minds to systematically control and subjugate the uneducated and ignorant masses. That's real honest to goodness history.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  4. Marc Parella

    As an Atheist I do defend the faithful. They are misguided but some of what they preach has merit. If they only concentrated on the good aspects of their teachings and stop telling everyone they are going to hell because we are not all alike, then the messages of community and brotherly love are worthy messages. Atheism is not an religion or anti-religion; it is absence of faith in a mystical explanation of our origin. There is really very little else to it. Everything else is found in other disciplines.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • St8sman

      Excellent point although all of that hope, charity and benevolence can be readily found in secular morality tales from Shakespeare to Mark Twain and beyond. People just need to use their library and their brain.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Marc Parella wrote, "Atheism is not an religion or anti-religion; it is absence of faith in a mystical explanation of our origin. There is really very little else to it. Everything else is found in other disciplines."

      I, P-D, foresee and saw the sectioning of secularized Atheisms, as being a hodge-podge of dictatorial repetativisms in lateralized thought processes giving rise to yes a religious-like totem pole of embolisms' plethera in united symbolisms of consice servitude. If not Atheism as a religion, then what would one call it, anti-theological discoursings on non-unitarialism?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    Atheists don't use their reason, but they cannot require anybody to follow their example.

    St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 1, Verses 18-23:

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (atheists), 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image (the mammon or God of capitalism and materialism) made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    Beside the creation God gave us a second revelation of his divine love: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    If for you the creation isn't enough evidence of God's love for you and the mankind, then regard the gospel: God gave his Son for you. This is the clear proof for his love. If you believe that and get baptized (infant baptism is valid, just refer to it) you return into the confident community of the loving God.

    MAN CREATES, GOD CREATES

    If you see a simple car, you immediately know that it was assembled by workers and designed by engineers.

    If you would claim any car emerged just by evolution, people would send you to nuthouse.

    Nearly nobody sends you to nuthouse, if you claim creation emerged by evolution, whereby the works of creation are much more ingenious, than a simple car.

    Isn't that a discrepancy?

    Don't float with the current, but just use your reason.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Atheist

      Ah, the old "tornado in a junkyard" canard.

      Evolution doesn't work that way, twit.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Mike D

      My reason tells me you are so tightly chained in false logic which you think of as good sense that you'll never see your way clear of it. Your analogy of the car and the engineer shows a basic ignorance of evolutionary theory. It's a little dancing strawman for the Kent Hovinds of the world to joust with and nothing more.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Wayne

      If you see a simple car, you immediately know that it was assembled by workers and designed by engineers."

      If you would claim any car emerged just by evolution, people would send you to nuthouse."

      Car parts can't reproduce, living things can. That is the difference, your comparision is laughable, stupid and invalid. Get an education.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • rstlne

      My reason tells me to question a 2,000 + year-old tale that begins with the same "virgin birth" as that of Hercules and Zoroaster. My reason also tells me to question any God that would create something as heinous as Original Sin. How is that possible from a so-called "loving God?"

      March 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Wayne

      Yes, living things can reproduce, but who programed their DNA?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Bert

      Ah, the old Intelligent Design argument. You convinced me, evolution never happened and the millions of fossils are just left overs from the flood. Whoa, had a small stroke there for a moment and after giving it two seconds of critical thought I'm back to being agnostic.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • WASP

      @rainer: to save everyone time, from page 3 of this blog.

      WASP

      @rainer: ok i'll bite. without using scripture prove god did anything. can't be done because nothing outside of that book backs up even the idea of god. so without scripture god doesn't exist so your whole philisophy crumbles.

      March 23, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |

      Primewonk

      Thank you for posting your random meaningless bible verses. In the spirit of fairness, here are some random verses from the Primewonk Bible. I happen to think that my verses make a lot more sense than yours -

      ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That, Through a Process Know as "Tunneling," This Post May Spontaneously Disappear from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Random Place in the Universe, Including Your Neighbor's Domicile. God Will Not Be Responsible for Any Damages or Inconvenience That May Result.

      PUBLIC NOTICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW: Any Use of This Post, in Any Manner Whatsoever, Will Increase the Amount of Disorder in the Universe. Although No Liability Is Implied Herein, the Believer Is Warned That This Process Will Ultimately Lead to the Heat Death of the Universe.

      Einstein 16:24 Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

      Gould 1:15-16 Human consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in its long history. Let us hope that we are still in the early morning of our April day.

      Bohr 2:11 Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.

      Szilard 88:16 I'm all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius.

      Sagan 22:1 For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

      Feynman 110:55 …it doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are – if it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

      Hawking 41:61 A machine that was powerful enough to accelerate particles to the grand unification energy would have to be as big as the Solar System-and would be unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.

      Hippocrates 14:5 Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.

      Galileo 12:16 It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved

      Carlyle 2:2 It is a mathematical fact that the casting of this pebble from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the universe.

      Fermi 1:1 The weak nuclear force does not change over time.

      Oliver Heaviside 62:3 Shall I refuse my dinner because I do not fully understand the process of digestion?

      C. P. Snow 5:3 Innocence about Science is the worst crime today.

      Paul Valéry 3:6 One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall.

      A.C. Doyle 14:8 It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.

      Clark 19:17 Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

      Roddenberry 68:12 We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |

      Rainer Braendlein

      @WASP

      If you see a simple car, you immediately know that it was assembled by workers and designed by engineers.

      If you would claim any car emerged just by evolution, people would send you to nuthouse.

      Nearly nobody sends you to nuthouse, if you claim creation emerged by evolution, whereby the works of creation are much more ingenious, than a simple car.

      Isn't that a discrepancy?

      Don't float with the current, but just use your reason.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |

      scoobypoo

      Rainer, your response to WASP is the classic, illogical theist statement that because the universe is so complex there must have been a creator.
      The problem with that is the creator must inherently be even more complex than the creation, and so the creator must also have been created, and the creator-creator must have been created, ad infinitum.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |

      TooClose2DC

      @WASP While Ranier can't prove the existence of God, no atheist has ever been able to disprove the existence of God.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |

      Chazbo

      Have you considered medication for your delusions or does your tautalogical reasoning reject even the simplest versions of reality.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |

      Morbus

      You know, atheists are silly and self-important, but this kind of thing really does not help. Quoting scripture at people who don't consider it to have any authority just isn't persuasive.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |

      Al

      Rainer Braendlein
      When you can show us the herds of Chevys breeding the new 2013 models then your argument will begin to be applicable. Machines do not manufacture themselves, but living things mate, swap genes, and create new combinations with every generation. Anyone who falls for an argument like yours is a fool, pure and simple.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |

      Invaid

      Sorry, but a car is an inorganic object. Argument invalid. NEXT!

      March 23, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |

      J.C.

      Ranier, you car analogy is intellectually bankrupt, as is creationism. The problem is people get stuff like that hammered into their heads at an early age and they desperately cling to it because it is simple and is appealing. What is easier, trying to make sense of a complex system like evolution or believing some powerful, psychotic being made you?
      Whatever. You'll never change anyone's mind, just as we won't change yours.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |

      BRC

      @Rainer,
      Your comparison is ill founded. YEs, for somehting to be BUILT, there must be an initiating and completing act by a knowledgeble party. BUT, for something to be GROWN, natural occurance is more than capable of running the show without any outside influence. Unlike people building cars or a beaver constructing a dam, the growth of plants, the gestation of animals (and people), the spread of microbes, all happen without outside influence or intelligent intervention, prof that no actor is required.

      What's more, everyone likes to point out how "complex" life is as proof of an intelligent creator. This is strange claim, as INTELLIGENT designs are not complex, they are very very simple. IF an all powerful, all knowing, infalable being capable of snapping the universe into existence had "designed" life, we wouldn't need or have vestigial organs or overly complex/obscure biological processes. The sign of good engineering is function through simplicity. I can't prove that a godlike being didn't kick start the universe, but if they had any hand in controlling after the initial push I can prove they are a crappy engineer.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |

      Gaunt

      Quote: "While Ranier can't prove the existence of God, no atheist has ever been able to disprove the existence of God."

      Actually, providing evidence against god, at least the god as defined by Christianity, is easy.

      Juvenile leukemia. A horrific, agionising disease that causes indescribable suffering and pain only in children.
      There is actually a LOT of evidence against the concept of an all-good, all powerful god. Such a being is in fact a logical impossibility. Theists dont LIKE the evidence, so they ignore it, or use meaningless escape clauses (eg: 'you cant understand god') to avoid this evidence.

      Proof? No. Evidence? Plenty.

      Could someone please tell me where that fitrs in 'god's plan'?

      March 23, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |

      Rainer Braendlein

      OMG!

      The verses of the Bible, which I quoted, state that it is possible to know of God's existence without any scripture. Yet alone the creation would be enough revelation to believe in God, the Lord, the eternal God, who has made heaven and earth (this is his eternal name).

      The Scripture merely reports of God's second revelation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |

      TooClose2DC

      @Gaunt You are basing you argument that God doesn't exists because a disease does? Well, using that logic, God does exists because of marijuana and other herbal plants that have proven to have medicinal properties.

      Once again, atehists CANNOT disprove the existence of God. It is impossible. The same way believers CANNOT prove the existence of God as it is also impossible. Believers have faith that God exists. Do atheists hope that God does not exist?

      BTW, no religion can prove they are the correct religion either. We, as humans, do not know. We will have to wait until the end of our time to find out. No person knows God's plan. Why we have pain and suffering while at the same time have happiness and beauty is beyond our comprehension.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |

      BRC

      @TooClose2DC,
      Noone can prove the existence/lack of existence of gods, but it is frequently pretty easy to prove religions wrong.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |

      justme

      mr.primework, i enjoyed your list tho you really should have eliminated sagan, it just ruined your credit. try again since all you quote are just humans who love to spout off their profound thoughts that they would not be able to do without the love of their creator.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |

      Oh Yeah

      Rainer Braendlein
      Scriptures were written before science could effectively explain nature. It would have been right to call someone a "fool" back then if they didn't believe in some god, or gods, because they didn't have the scientific explanation to offer up instead. Today, it's a completely different ball game and it's not foolish at all to see no reason to believe that gods are real.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |

      Real Deal

      TooClose2DC
      " While Ranier can't prove the existence of God, no atheist has ever been able to disprove the existence of God."

      When something cannot be proven one way or the other, the fall-back / default position is NOT that it IS true.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |

      March 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Atheists should repent and use their reason again. They sin against their human nature, when they don't use their human reason.

      St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 1, Verses 18-23:

      18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (atheists), 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image (the mammon or God of capitalism and materialism) made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

      Beside the creation God gave us a second revelation of his divine love: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

      If for you the creation isn't enough evidence of God's love for you and the mankind, then regard the gospel: God gave his Son for you. This is the clear proof for his love. If you believe that and get baptized (infant baptism is valid, just refer to it) you return into the confident community of the loving God.

      MAN CREATES, GOD CREATES

      If you see a simple car, you immediately know that it was assembled by workers and designed by engineers.

      If you would claim any car emerged just by evolution, people would send you to nuthouse.

      Nearly nobody sends you to nuthouse, if you claim creation emerged by evolution, whereby the works of creation are much more ingenious, than a simple car.

      Isn't that a discrepancy?

      Don't float with the current, but just use your reason.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Wayne

      nobody programmed dna, it existed before any intelligence did.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Rainer Braendlein"

      There is no proof your god exists but there is proof it's all in your head.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  6. Atheist

    You're so sure your god and belief are the One True Way? Think again.

    http://www.cosmicsnark.com/2012/03/and-yours-is-right-god-why-exactly.html

    Religions, and gods, are a dime a dozen.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • rstlne

      Awesome web page. Thanks for the link!

      March 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  7. Mencius7

    I also believe that there are millions of "closet" atheists. I know two in my own family. Both of my 20 something kids! My wife (who we all love dearly) holds on to the believe that just because the kids went to church and have gone through the motions of being a Christian, they are Christians. Like me, both have been able to make up their own minds and see through the fable that is Christian teaching. Why are Christians so caught up over a book that is over 2k years old, written by men, edited by more men and passed off as something that came down from the heavens? If you just think it through logically like Dawkins without all of the peer pressure and filters that society forces on us, then your answer to the big question should be self evident....

    March 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  8. FinallyFree

    Recently had my blinders, of self loathing religion removed. I feel fresh, free and happy for the first time in my life! I'm no longer delusional.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • mandarax

      It's like when your ears finally unpop, huh?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Atheist

      Congratulations! Welcome to the world of reason.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Seriously

      It's like putting on glasses for the first time, and realizing how poor your vision was.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • FinallyFree

      Oh yes....my ears def popped! I feel like I have a new lease on life...it's very liberating.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • FinallyFree

      ABSOLUTELY!!! You all get it!

      March 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  9. WASP

    @C: " I am a lot more happy with Him than I was without Him." here is the question, how can you know how happy you would be without him, if you are too scared to try living without searching for him? just a thought.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  10. HeHasRizen

    God is real God is great. Repent and believe in him because time is getting short. This summer you will see the Antichrist rise and you all will think he is God when infact he is the Devils right hand man. Project blue beam , harrp, chemtrials are all done by the Rothschild family. They own the world. Their will be a great deception and Christians will fall for the illusion as well. This year the gov't will say there are Aliens as well. You ask how do I know this?
    Because the Lord Jesus Christ has shown me the way. He can show you the way as well if you repent and believe in him. I will pray for you all. Why would you want to be in Torture for eternity in hell? You want proof go to utube and type in Girl is dead for 23 hours visits heaven and hell. Most of you people believe anything a gov't official or scientist says. Guess what they all lie to you. CNN follows a script why do u think breaking news is celebrity focused? Why do all the news sources report non important information that what is really going on? Most of you are blind and now is the time to wake up before its too late. USA stands for "Under Satans Authority" most of you are brainwashed. You are more concerned with the jersey shore cast then things that are important. Like helping others in need and spreading the truth of God to the world. The bible is the only source of Food you need in your life.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Koji

      Err... but I'm an atheist. I'm not going to consider the anti-christ as God. Unless that anti-christ can show irreputable evidence that he is indeed God, but if he did then he WOULD be God and not the anti-christ... which would then leave the option that the real "God" who doesn't show any proof of his existence (if he does indeed exist at all) being the false god... IE the Anti-Christ. See how that works?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Get back on the Lithium.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Atheist

      "Repent and believe because time is getting short".

      Yawn. 2,000 years of "any day now..."

      March 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Marc Parella

      @Atheist: By the time the rapture comes, humans will have evolved into who knows what.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • What Now

      This is an example of why we have problems with religious beliefs in the public.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Better to have the likes of HeHasRizen here on a forum where we can quickly scroll on by than in the park on his/her soapbox, ruining an otherwise pleasant outing, or knocking on your front door, frothing at the mouth...

      March 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  11. Walden

    Science CAN be disproved. God CANNOT be disproved. That is why atheism is fundamentally different from a faith-based religion.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Leprechauns and fairies can't be disproven either as its impossible to prove a negative.

      Great claims need great evidence, and you have none.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Walden

      Err. I don't accept anything without evidence. And when I "accept" something, I realize that it still can theoretically be disproved later on. I don't understand your point.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Kenneth

      On what evidence did you base the existence of Yahweh and his son, Jesus as deities?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Walden

      I don't believe in God. I'm trying to point out why it's inaccurate to compare atheism with faith-based religions (as so many posters want to do). At the most fundamental level, atheism is a rejection of taking things on "faith"... topics in science that I "accept" or "believe" CAN be disproved. That's such an important difference that doesn't seem to matter to the people who are lumping atheism in with other religions.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  12. Adam

    I used to call myself an atheist, but then I realized that atheists are also claiming to be certain that there is not a god. I dont think there is a god, but I also am not certain that there isn't one, so I have to call myself agnostic. Anyone who claims to know anything about how/why humans are here, either through a god or not, is full of themselves.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Atheist

      Not all atheists claim to be certain there is no god. Most atheists just realize that there has never been the slightest shred of evidence for the existence of gods, and therefore feel no need to believe in them or respect the ridiculousness of religion. Even Richard Dawkins said recently that no one can be absolutely sure that gods do not exist.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Koji

      You imply it's necessary to do so to be one or the other. By definitoin, atheism is just the lack of a belief.. not an assumption that there is none.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • What Now

      Adam, I respect your right to believe as you wish. Yet, do not understand the critique. I don't believe because I don't believe. Just like I don't believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy. I feel no need to believe, nor do I understand the need to believe in something that can never be proven. Science, on the other hand proves something new everyday. Today, another species was identified. Today, an new medicine was discovered.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  13. Kenneth

    Perfrid
    No Christian defines Christianity the way that you did. Your straw man argument shows how unreasonable some atheists are.
    Areas of evidence for God:
    Cosmological argument
    Anthropic argument
    Ontological argument
    Moral argument
    Historical argument
    Personal experience
    To say that there is no evidence is just plain silly. You may not agree with the evidence, but to say that there is none is simply incorrect.

    --------------

    I would absolutely love to hear your evidence for the existence of Yahweh.

    You actually have evidence for this bronze-age, Middle-Eastern, Jewish deity?

    March 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  14. Shan

    How in the world can you use reason and logic to decide what happens after we die? I think people just dig using the words 'reason' and 'logic'. If they are being reasonable and logical then they are super smart, man. Super smart. And religion? You have no idea if what you believe in is right or not. If I see a rainbow and you see a rainbow, we both feel the same no matter what we 'believe'. This argument is lame. But I do agree that folks should just live and let live. If you want to 'believe' in atheism, then go ahead. If you want to 'believe' in some higher power, then go ahead. Remember this: People love feeling smart and superior. Whatever can give them that little tickle inside, it's gonna be where they stand.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Koji

      Where did you see any atheists claiming to know what happens after death? Well... aside from decomposition and such. You see, that's actual fact. You can watch that happen. People and animals die all the time, you can watch as insects plant their eggs on a carcass and their children eat away the flesh and watch as bacteria helps eat away the body.

      All of that can be PHYSICALLY seen, recorded, and compared with others as verifiable facts. Atheists don't claim that there is no afterlife or God, simply that there is no evidence that such things exist. None. Ancient scrolls mentioning something do not make it factual.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Atheist

      One hand doing something constructive is better than 10,000 hands clasped in prayer. Prayer is for people who want to feel like they've done something, when in actuality they haven't done anything at all.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Jesus

      –~`You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!~`

      March 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Attempting to telepathically communicate with a deity changes things?

      Besides the mind of the gullible religitard praying, what does it change exactly?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Patrick

      Yeah. The time on the clock when you finish.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Koji

      Prayer changes things? But God has a plan! That means if praying worked, it was already predetermined to work which means the praying itself was not a factor. Odd then that medicine has been proven to be more effective than prayer too... that's okay, God had a plan and made all of those scientists and doctors come up with cures to cover the fact that praying to him doesn't actually help.... right?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  16. larvadog

    I read Mr. Dawkins' book "The God Delusion", and I found his arguments unsound, just like the argument he makes about the number of atheists in Congress in this video.

    Dawkins' primary issue in the book is not with God, it's with religion, which is not the same thing. His claim about the "inconceivable " number of atheists in Congress ("they must be lying") is ridiculous. Statistics don't determine who becomes a Congressman. Using his statistical argument I could declare it inconceivable that there are no theists in the American Atheists, that statistically speaking some of them must be lying.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • PumpNDump

      Obvioulsy you're none to sharp, or educated. Lol

      March 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Fufu

      You may disagree with him Pumpndump, but his idea seems well written and educated unlike your grammar and spelling nightmare of a response.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Fufu

      Lol

      March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      My take is that if you accept the premises that Dawkins lays out, you probably will accept his conclusions. In the case of congressmen the premise is something along the lines of intelligent people must be atheists. Of course the problem with that is that we know there are quite a few intelligent people who were not atheists.

      In other words he rarely actually takes the time to build a solid foundation for his argument (Perhaps because if he did, he would have to throw out a large percentage of his arguments).

      March 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Patrick

      Yes. That is the general state of atheists, if they are mad, they are not mad at a god as they do not think there are any. They are only mad at the thing that bothers them, the theists.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Veredictum

      In common with larvadog, I too found Dawkins' argument about the number of atheists in Congress extremely unsound. The basis for Dawkins' claim is simply that Congress is made up of intelligent, educated people and that it cannot therefore be the case that there is only one atheist in Congress. First of all, this is not a reasoned statement, it is merely speculative. Second, this is rather insulting to believers by implication, for Dawkins is clearly suggesting that they are not intelligent or educated!

      Can't Dawkins put forward a sensible, reasoned argument, i.e.; one that does not carry a veneer of disrespect, nor seek to malign others who do not follow his propositions.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  17. Mike D

    How to be a Christian in this comment section:

    1. Say "atheism is a religion."
    2. Invoke Pascal's Wager
    3. Ignore reason. logic, and critical thinking
    4. ???
    5. Profit!

    March 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      How to be an Atheist in this comment section:

      1. Ignore the fact that your own non-belief is actually built on several positive beliefs.
      2. Equate scientific thinking with reason, logic and critical thinking.
      3. Lump all Christians into a single category.
      4. Smugly believe yourself to be superior.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Mike D

      You're really killing me with #2 on your list, Bill. You simply must expound on that gem.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      Sure. For example, more than one atheist has stated that there is no evidence for the existence of God. When you point out the fact that we have the personally testimony of lots of people who claim to have encountered God in some sense or another, they will usually claim that is not evidence at all. Now, I will accept it might not be strong evidence or even persuasive evidence, but if we were to move this into the legal realm, it would certainly be considered evidence.

      Further, more than one atheist insists on applying physical ideas and principles to what is in essence of meta-physical problem. God is not a physical being, and therefore it is silly to expect God to leave a physical footprint (as it where) to prove he exists.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Patrick

      Whoa!
      "1. Ignore the fact that your own non-belief is actually built on several positive beliefs."

      Care to back up that up? That is a very bold statement.

      "2. Equate scientific thinking with reason, logic and critical thinking."

      You say that like it is a bad thing.

      I am not prejudiced against theists. I am prejudiced against clinical morons and idiots.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Kenneth

      MarylandBill
      Sure. For example, more than one atheist has stated that there is no evidence for the existence of God. When you point out the fact that we have the personally testimony of lots of people who claim to have encountered God in some sense or another, they will usually claim that is not evidence at all. Now, I will accept it might not be strong evidence or even persuasive evidence, but if we were to move this into the legal realm, it would certainly be considered evidence.

      ------------------

      So you'd consider the testimony of Incubus and Succubus in the middle ages as evidence these two demons exist?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Patrick

      "Now, I will accept it might not be strong evidence or even persuasive evidence, but if we were to move this into the legal realm, it would certainly be considered evidence."

      I have to disagree with that. The type of hearsay you are talking about is thrown out in the legal realm because it is not strong or persuasive. If it was not hearsay or was something that would be considered evidence, it would win a Nobel Prize for what it shows of the universe.

      "Further, more than one atheist insists on applying physical ideas and principles to what is in essence of meta-physical problem."
      This is also incorrect. The issue is that metaphysical, by definition, is outside of reality. Non-theists just don't have that notion to work with any more than we have Narnia or the Gloom or whatever. Science is based on the real world and must limit itself to that which can be observed or inferred from the observed.

      "God is not a physical being, and therefore it is silly to expect God to leave a physical footprint (as it where) to prove he exists."

      Since we have no reason to think there are non-physical things in the universe, a notion of gods sits outside of scientific method.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Mike D

      Bill, we also have plenty of people who claim they have the truth behind astrology, pyramid power, UFO's, the Bermuda Triangle, the second coming of Elvis, and any number of other tinfoil hat hypotheses. This is before we get into the billions of believers in the world's other dominant religions who claim to have personal experience with Allah, Buddha, Krishna, and so forth. Testimony alone holds up in court when there's nothing else to go on, but it doesn't cut the mustard in the laboratory.

      Then we get to the heart of the matter: the physical vs. metaphysical statement. You do realize that you just acknowledged the lack of evidence of god, right?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • jgthinker

      MarylandBill

      How to be an Atheist in this comment section:

      To Maryland Bill:

      1. Ignore the fact that your own non-belief is actually built on several positive beliefs.
      Non-belief in deities does not rule out positive belief in humankind. Atheism does not equate to pessimism. (It does not rule out anyone's choice to be pessimistic, but I don't think Atheists "own" pessimism. I don't practice pessimism, that's a downer and non-productive.
      2. Equate scientific thinking with reason, logic and critical thinking.
      Scientific thinking IS reason, logic and critical thinking. Is that a problem? Any decisions based on other principles are subject to examination and ridicule.
      3. Lump all Christians into a single category.
      Actually, lump all religions into a single category. However, all religions are unique and more importantly, all people are unique. I have met many swell and non-so-swell folks from all kinds of religions and non-religions. Most comments in these posts should be predicated with a phrase like "This is representative of what I perceive to be a belief/thought/action of ....." That goes for posts by anyone.
      4. Smugly believe yourself to be superior.
      Not I. What you believe is your own business. However, your actual actions, regardless of religious belief or not can be outrageously idiotic. If you are tired of being ridiculed about your religion, maybe it's time to look to your religion as being a potential source of the problem. If you get ridiculed for looking like a spaz on the dance floor, maybe it's time to stop dancing.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      Patrick,
      Certainly I will back it up. Since belief is the default position in our culture, unbelief is for anyone but infants and very young children, something that is arrived upon (unless you are raised atheist, and I will get to that in a moment). Therefore something must have lead some an atheist to atheism. In my experience, most atheists believe that 1. Scientific evidence is the only acceptable evidence. 2. Human reason is adequate to solve all problems of belief, including meta-physical belief. 3. That the universe operates under rational laws (in this sense, laws that the human mind can understand, not necessarily rationally designed). I should point out that this applies to modern New-Atheists, not necessarily all atheists. However, pull out out any one of those basic beliefs, and then their atheistic position looses some of its strength.

      Of course, then there are those who are raised as atheists, who essentially rest their lack of belief on the testimony of those who raised them.

      Now as for equating scientific thinking with reason, logic and critical thinking. I freely grant that scientific thinking is rational, logical and critical. I do not grant or accept that it is the only rational, logical or critical thinking that exists. And yes, it is a bad thing to equate the subset of something with the thing itself. Logic can be applied to many problems that are not solvable by scientific thinking (since scientific thinking demands that something be testable).

      March 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • jgthinker

      Maryland Bill:
      Certainly I will back it up. Since belief is the default position in our culture, unbelief is for anyone but infants and very young children, something that is arrived upon (unless you are raised atheist, and I will get to that in a moment).

      Where is there any evidence behind your statement that belief is the default position? I don't remember ever believing any fair tales.

      "In my experience, most atheists believe that
      1. Scientific evidence is the only acceptable evidence."
      If by scientific evidence you mean physical evidence then yes, that is correct. Non tangible evidence has not been allowed in any court I know of. I think we can both agree that a rock exists. That does not take "belief."

      "2. Human reason is adequate to solve all problems of belief, including meta-physical belief." My human reasoning rejects all metaphysical things as non-existent. That's the point of my non-belief. My non-belief of the non-existent "things" is based on lack of physical evidence and/or the absurd notion of some of these things "existing" in violation of so many proven scientific facts or that they violate rational thought. I choose to not believe in Santa Claus in the same way that I choose not to believe in a God. Both may have plenty written and spoken about them, both have believers but neither have physical evidence, have any support via scientific "laws" and to a total stranger from anther planet, would get the same degree of confused look.

      "3. That the universe operates under rational laws (in this sense, laws that the human mind can understand, not necessarily rationally designed). I should point out that this applies to modern New-Atheists, not necessarily all atheists. However, pull out out any one of those basic beliefs, and then their atheistic position looses some of its strength."
      Gee, so what you are saying is that if you conveniently pull out all rational scientific process, Atheism – a rational lack of non-belief – falls apart. So would all scientific endeavors. And it would leave us all with the only the belief in the mystical and unexplained. Take away all facts and a lemon becomes an unknown shape with unworldly smells and a taste that is evil upon the tongue?
      I think you are confusing rational THOUGHT with BELIEF. Following your logic, anything we "think" is a belief. Therefore we are all "believers". I see a glass full of water, therefore I believe the glass of water exists.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  18. chemicalbank

    “We are the last group against whom it is politically correct to be bigoted”

    From your lips to God's ears

    March 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  19. Fufu

    Joey,

    Big Thomas Jefferson fan, are we?

    March 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  20. Paula Archer

    I think this demonstration in DC is very appropriate in this the most terrible election for president I have ever witnessed in my lilfe. I think all people of conscience (nonbelievers and believers alike) ought to demonstrate often and more loudly to balance out the always loud and religious domant candidate, voters, and lawmakers who get way more press coverage than they deserve because we nonbelievers keep quiet. The sweakly wheel gets the grease and it's about time we start sweaking!

    March 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Fufu

      II'm sweaking my sweaky wheel with you Paula!!!

      March 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
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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.