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.”
I consider myself non religious or agnostic, and although it is a concept that is still evolving, I find possible the existence of a creator. Science theories satisfy my fundamental answers, for me such event of unimaginably scale and precision such as the big bang that brought everything into existence 14.7 billions of years ago simply cannot just happen, by chance, or without intent. My believe system did not change overnight, it took some time, but one day I realized religion did not made any sense and since then in my mind I am not concerned about the afterlife, I concentrate on what I have to do now and I feel free. I think it takes courage to stand up and admit you no longer believe. It is not easy particularly when you have family close by. Religion is a central part of the society and tradition as a whole; and as such, is hard to break away especially without hurting the people we love.
I am completely ok with Atheism, as long as those who adhere to this position realize that it is a faith commitment without any empirical support.
I also don't believe in unicorns and have no evidence to support my nonbelief other than I've never seen, heard, smelled or touched one. Wait, that kind of qualifies as evidence, right?
Not believing in something is a faith commitment? Ridiculous. Is your belief that azaleas don't grow out of your kitten's butt a "faith commitment", or is it based on the fact that you have never observed it and it would be absurd to expect to?
im glad to see the Westboro Baptist church is going to be there to protest lol they are worse than atheists,My God is a loving god and yes if you want to be an atheist you have that god given right,he even told you that.but for the Westboro people dont claim your doing evil in the name of the lord cause you will surely pay a high price for your deception come judgment day..
I'm sure if you asked the members of the westboro baptist church they would say the exact same thing about their god. Just watch the next breaking news story that comes up on cnn, then you can tell me how loving your god is.
Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.
Currently reading "The Greatest Show on Earth". Incredible book, I am coming out of the closet. Strength in numbers.
I'm an atheist- always have been. I've never judged anyone for believing whatever they want to believe, so long as they don't push it on me. Do I think religion is silly? Sometimes, much like many things people do. Has it done good? You bet. Has it done horrible things? Absolutely. No different than political ideologies in how they have affected their fellow man, but unlike politicians at least I don't go around trying to legislate social order or force people to live a certain way. I just want to be left alone. Many times I feel like a man without a country despite having served it (US Army Intelligence, trained at Ft. Huachuca, AZ).
You are not alone! I'm coming out because there is strength in numbers. Now . . . am I brave enough to put the bummer sticker on my car? :?
nice to hear from you.
I posted some comments before because of the Non-believers "coming out". I am 63 yrs. old, and for many of the price to be paid by us and our children was just too high for us to dare to allow anyone to know that we didn't believe, in spite of that I actually have always felt that many people who just went along with "it" to avoid unpleasantness, never believed, as I never have. I have been put down and attacked by many "good religious people". On the other hand I will read things that some of the atheists write against the believers that is equally mean spirited.
I think that it would be good if we non-believers could "come out", but not allow ourselves to be brought "down" to the level that some of the religious people seem to function on. I think that it helps us to come across as more intelligent and possibly classier. Let them go ahead and say whatever cruel and awful things they want about us, and if we consider it to all be nonsense, then simply don't respond at all. Good Luck and Love to you, Linda
It is great to hear from other Atheists who aren't all about hating on religion.
And Linda. You specifically are awesome.
I'm only 35, but like you (and I'm sure others) there have been plenty of times I kept my beliefs to myself.
It is easier to go along, but at some point we need to let others know that we're out here.
It's a lot like when I went to Seattle and let people know I was a Republican. It was all shock and horror, because I didn't fit their ideas of what a Republican is supposed to look and sound like.
I guess what I'm saying is that its on us, if we want to break the stereotypes.
LOL bunch of psychos.. Live and let live. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD.
I'm glad to see this happened. I'm also glad to see the anger and hostility from theists...it means they heard it. I am, however, disappointed at some of the comments of the nonreligious here. There is no point in arguing faith. Doing so, challenging faith-based belief, will get you nowhere. Letting people know you're atheist/secularist/agnostic while being polite and curteous will get you much farther.
I am agnostic. Not the "I just don't know" type, but the "the truth is unknowable" kind. I personally don't care about religious symbolism. Denying the freedom of someone to celebrate their faith is as bad as denying rights of gays based on religious ideology. There is no reason groups cannot coexist other than one group wanting to tell the other what it can and can't do.
To the religious, get over yourselves. Quit trying to influence law. Understand that in a free country, there are going to be things you disagree with, and you should simply deal with it.
To the nonreligious, quit being petty about it. Fanning the flames of religion is pointless. Fighting for your rights while avoiding the frustration is the only way you will gain ground in a positive way.
Both groups need to show a little more respect to the other.
Are you agnostic about unicorns, dragons, goblins and Zeus as well, then? I was a Deist the longest time, but it was that question there that broke me. The fact is that a blanket statement of "the truth is unknowable" invites thousands of other things to be "agnostic" about...ridiculous things.
your take is too simplistic. You assume a specific definition of "god" meaning a magic sky-daddy. As far as organized religions go, I would qualify as atheist. However, I don't discount the possibility of a higher life form, sentient energy, or something along those lines possibly having a hand in our coming about. If there is some self-aware driving force leading to or existence, I highly doubt it watches us and demands homage.
It is possible we are here by random chance...and I think the "human lottery" odds are pretty good if you consider the entire universe in the equation. It is also possible there was some level of direction to lead to human existence. Our lives are a blip compared to all of human existence, and human existence is a blip compared to the existence of earth....and it goes on and on. There's no way for us to actually know origins and ends of universal concepts, or even what goes on beyond our little sphere. All we have is speculation. Some atheists and theists both jump to conclusions. For me, "We can't know" is a good enough answer.
sigh, another ingrate.
"most respected figure in atheism"... :) that's an oxymoron.
presumably you worship a deity whose plan it is to torture some segment of humanity for eternity...and whose bright idea was that ?...that would be your boy jc who was the primary preacher of that particular evil...worse yet, i presume you also love him...what does that say about you ?
And you sir, are simply a moron.
I pity you, The Afterlife. Fortunately, you will never have to suffer the defeat of discovering at your death that there is no heaven for you to go to (or feel relief that there is no fiery inferno for you to be tormented in for eternity).
Your consciousness will simply seize to exist and you will experience nothing. (At least we have no reason to believe otherwise.) I wish you could experience the disappointment of realizing you were wrong. It must be nice to be a part of a religion that requires no proof or thought, but merely willful ignorance and blind obedience.
By the way, willful ignorance and blind obedience to religion is insulting to the evolved brain you have the privilege of having. It is also insulting to those of us who have some regard for truth, logic, and reason.
There's a reason your kind is known as a 'flock.' You'll believe anything your told.
Everyone here should just shut up. Why does it matter what other people believe? Both sides should stop being aggressive and trying to shove their beliefs down other people's throats. Believe is a God? Fine. Don't. Fine. Just leave me alone.
Then stay away from the rally. We'll have a nicer party without you.
Don't worry my brothers and sisters. It will happen soon.
One day, the plagues of ignorance perpetuated by religion will be little more than memory.
One day, it will be the enlightened, and not the charlatans of the world, who will guide humanity into an era of peace and prosperity.
One day, we will evolve. And through our evolution will come a peaceful, yet steadfast and stern, intolerance for bigotry.
Religion will fade into history. It will be remembered as a crutch for the weak. Our children will be taught that it was a path to power for snake oil salesmen. The countless humans who fell victim to religion's false promises and immoral teachings will be pitied. And the victims of those victims will be mourned.
In remembering religion's former prevalence, our children will feel embarrassed, ashamed, and angered. They will be angered at the injustice of so much hindered progress.
So, fear not! my brothers and sisters. We shall prevail! Everyday we gain more knowledge. And no matter how many children religion's victims turn out (despite the warnings of over-population, famine, and pollution), we will educate them. The children of religion's victims will learn to honor the reason and logic their brains are capable of performing. They will naturally, although slowly, conclude that their parents were misled and misled them in turn. And they will refuse what their parents could not; to indoctrinate their own children. And they will refuse to indoctrinate the poor and hungry in third world nations. Instead, they will join us in promoting secular values worldwide. Together, we will lift all people out of poverty and despair and ignorance.
Through advances in science we will minimize the pain and suffering of all living things and prosecute those who mean harm to our world.
It will not be easy. It will not come quickly.
But the beginning is coming.
One day, it will happen soon...
". . .we will educate them. The children of religion's victims will learn to honor the reason and logic their brains are capable of performing." Translation: "Although there have been many human attempts to achieve utopia, and they have all failed, we can achieve utopia (using the same ideas that have failed before. We know better than anyone else what people should believe and we will indoctrinate them in it."
If you are going to replace bigotry with tolerance, a good place to start is this bigotry against religion,
Bob – You're trotting out the old chestnut, "what about Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot?"
Sorry, Bob. They didn't kill because they were atheists. Atheism isn't an ideology. It doesn't tell anyone to do anything. Atheists don't believe in invisible beings. Period. That's it.
Hitler, Stalin, Mao & Pol Pot killed because of their POLITICAL ideologies (fascism, communism). They waged war on POLITICAL foes (capitalists, communists, "racial inferiors," landowners, etc.)
"Bigotry" is the mud slung by those with weak arguments. Show us proof of invisible beings. Till then, we'll respect the arguments of those with proof over those without it.
They most assuredly murdered without remorse due to their atheism. When there are no consequences to actions and no higher moral authority, there is no restraint. Any atheist reaching that level of leadership will become as they were, self adoring,self made, atheistic gods with no regard for anyone else. Do not be fooled, within the core being of every atheist is a vicious liar and murderer seeking fulfillment.
just sayin – Absolute rubbish. If you read the books of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc, you find minds twisted with political ideologies, for which, in their opinion, the ends justified the means.
Atheism, to repeat, IS NOT AN IDEOLOGY. There's no program, founder, set of rules, or consequences for not being one. It's merely a disbelief in invisible beings. Full Stop. Nothing more.
You can't link atheism to murder any more than you can link milk or mustaches (which Hitler & Stalin both had) to murder. It takes ideology to murder, such as, capitalists are evil, therefore, kill them. (Insert your least-liked group _____ here.)
Atheism says no such thing. It can't. IT'S NOT AN IDEOLOGY.
You don't need religion for ethics. Fear of invisible beings' punishment is a poor reason to do good. Atheists do good because it's how they wish to be treated. No invisible beings required.
I am afraid you are sadly mistaken. The logical conclusion of atheism is a sort of self destructive nihilism. Eat drink and be merry my friend. Tomorrow you die.
I can't speak for people of other religions, but one central idea of Christianity is suffering for the Gospel.
I feel like we are at a tipping point in history where atheists will eventually overtake people of faith, and then set out to either intellectually or maybe even physically eradicate them. I think I'm beginning to accept this fact.
In that case, we will just be led out like a lamb to the slaughter, just like our savior, proclaiming and affirming what we believe all the way.
Seriously, arguing is pretty much useless now. Christians should prepare to suffer for the sake of the gospel.
D Dimas - There are all kinds of reasons for self-destructive nihilism: Death of a loved one. Loss of a job. Despair over the direction of society, etc. None are unique to atheism. They're merely the pitfalls of life. Evangelists are often self-destructive. Few are atheists.
Religion offers this advantage: Cheer up, losers of this world. Next world, you'll do better! And you'll get to laugh at those who taunted you as they burn in agony in hell, which they deserve for mocking you.
Doesn't that sound a lot like a spoiled kid calling those who won't play with him names? We think so. Since we don't believe in invisible beings, we don't believe in "holy" books. We say all books were written by humans. And the "burn in hell" parts were written by people angry at those who don't believe what they do.
Atheism says: don't waste your life dreaming about rewards after death. Make the most of what you have now. Whether you turn into a substance abuser is up to you. I choose to spend my life learning, loving and trying to make myself better.
yello - You have nothing to fear from the 20,000+ atheists at the Reason Rally. Or any others I've met or seen on TV. You won't find a more peace-loving crowd. Aggressive debaters? Sure! Why not? We've been ignored for centuries. All we're asking for is an end to discrimination and equal time in the media.
The more you talk to and get to know atheists, the more you'll see they're creatures of reason. Reasonable people don't slaughter. They discuss. Like we're doing here. We don't expect to convert many believers.
We just want you to see who we are. Not boogy men. People who enjoy life like you. We try to make the real world better. We see people killing each other over which invisible being is best. We think that's nuts. It threatens not only us, but everyone. We think ending the belief in invisible beings would make the world safer.
"One day, it will be the enlightened, and not the charlatans of the world, who will guide humanity into an era of peace and prosperity."
Would that be the same "enlightened" group that led the French Revoloution?
"Bob – You're trotting out the old chestnut, "what about Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot?""
You misunderstand my argument. I did not mention any of these.
My point was that if you propose that, as a society, we teach children that there is no God, then you are doing what you claim to oppose: indoctrinating children with what is your personal belief. I also found it ironic that a statement that we need tolerance was coupled with a distinct lack of tolerance for beliefs other than one's own.
My second point was that there was the implication, or even the statement, that we could have an ideal society if we could just get rid of the evil of religion. The evidence is against this. for no attempt to produce a society without religion has produced an ideal society. For a present-day example, consider North Korea.
"You can't link atheism to murder any more than you can link milk. . . ." That's not really true. Whether or not I like milk, that doesn't affect my behavior, except as to whether I drink milk. But if I don't believe in God, then I don't see any reason to follow God's law. Believing that God did not say "thou shalt not kill" doesn't lead directly to murder, but it makes it easier to murder.
"Atheists do good because it's how they wish to be treated." There are millions of ethical atheists. Some are my friends. But isn't it true that we could broaden the statement to "Atheists do good because it's how they've decided they should act?" If this is a true statement, then what atheism lacks is a consistent basis to brand an action is unethical. Or could we not say that "Atheists do good because it's best for society?" Suppose a Stalin decides that it is best for society that he be dictator for life, and that to ensure that he remains dictator for life, he must kill masses of people. If he is an atheist, he is being consistent with his deepest philosophy in a way the theist (in general) is not.
Intresting and confident written arrangement of the unknown dark matter that surrounds us .
I find it amazing when when a small group of people can control the entire country and remove things that have existed for decades
atheists sue the government over everything even our money
get over it
Like the First Amendment, Don? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
In 1954, theists got Congress to add "Under God" to our pledge, which used to say "one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all." If theists can get Congress to violate the First Amendment, non-theists (atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists) can get Congress to live up to it.
"In God we trust" on money and starting Congress with prayer also violate the First Amendment. Just because something's existed for decades doesn't make it right. Slavery existed for centuries.
We're not a "small group of people," Don. 16% of the US don't belong to any major religion. That's 48,000,000. And our numbers are growing.
What religion does "under God" establish? None. Same with in "God we trust." If you look at the 'establishment' clause, it was meant to prohibit a national church. Thomas Jefferson is a hero, as it were, to many atheists, for his statements on the separation of church and state. I wonder how many know that he - including, if I remember right, on the day after he wrote the letter containing the famous "wall of separation" phrase - attended church services at the US Capitol. Today, church services in the Capitol would drive atheists to the supreme court.
Athiesm is the odd belief that something comes from nothing. It is the height of arrogance to suggest that there is no possibility of a Supreme Being. Also, I don't see a big difference between them and fundaMENTAList Christians. Both groups claim to have all the answers and that theirs is the only truly and objectively correct philosophy; everyone who does not believe as they do, in their minds, is wrong – what hubris.
You've got the definition of atheism wrong. As an atheist, I do not say "there is no possibility that a Supreme Being exists". I simply do not *believe* it does. There's a pretty big difference there.
Veritas – Atheists don't say something comes from nothing. We say only what we see: Galaxies seem to be moving farther apart. Suggesting they were once closer together. Suggesting that, eons earlier, all matter could have come from an infinitely small and super-dense point which exploded, yielding the universe we see.
Where atheists differ from theists: We admit it's just a theory. A guess, based on what we see. We don't burn, hang or threaten people who disagree, as theists have done for centuries.
We have no clue what started the Big Bang, what preceded it, if it happened more than once or if it's still happening. Many theories exist, but they're all just guesses. Science seeks evidence to answer these questions. The search has given us Hubble's astonishing pictures of nebula and exploding stars. What evidence has religion given for the existence of an invisible being?
you've confused spiritual with agnostic and athiest! Stop making stuff up! That's how religion was started in the first place. Athiests do not believe in any god, period!
I am always amused by the notion not believing is a belief! I don't play tennis so am I needing a label for that? I have nothing in common with another atheist other than we both don't believe what those that do believe, believe in. Should all people that don't play tennis be grouped, given a label and assumed to think the same way?
Meanwhile on a senisble note, I look forwrd to the day, as happened with the founding fathers, that you can run for a political office without believing in myths. This county has gone backwards. Today, you couldn't run for town dog catcher if you admitted you don't believe in angels and devils.
I don't know why anyone posts anything on religion on the internet any more. It's like establishing a feeding station for trolls and advertising in mile-tall neon letters. And then everyone who falls for it feeds the trolls more by acting outraged that they've been attacked by the trolls.
What is your def of a Troll. Someone who doesnt beleive what you do?
And yet here you are... posting.
A troll is someone who wants to provoke a reaction. It has nothing to do with whether or not people agree with their ideas; they just enjoy fanning the flames of both sides.
Not sure why it's bad for me to post. It'd be nice to see such a discussion without constant trolls. But as long as trolls can provoke visceral reactions with over-the-top statements, internet religious discussions turn into flame wars while the trolls laugh. And they're very good at getting people to take the bait. Myself included, sometimes. I'm just trying to remind everyone that the trolls are there. Might help them avoid them and get a productive discussion going on.
TL;DR Trolls are bad, don't feed them.
Religion is a cancer on the human race. It holds us back as a species.
I would argue that it is more like a virus than a cancer. It spreads from one host to another. The ubiquitous crosses, the fish symbols, and the (staggeringly arrogant) NTW stickers are the visible lesions associated with the virus.
I agree with mandrax, it is a virus that is eating the fiber of humanity away. It needs to be quarentiened and removed so that humanity can once again grow. 2000 years of stagnation is enough.
Why do crosses and fish symbols bother you? Should something be removed from society and quarantined just because you disagree with it?
I am NOT an atheist. I am an ANTI-THEIST and proud of it. I don't just deny a belief in a God(s), but oppose those that do and vigorously oppose those that seek to impose their religious dogma on our political decision making. The First Amendment states that our government shall NOT RESPECT the establishment of a religion. Impliedly that means NOT RESPECT the establishment of any religion in whole or in part, including positions based on religious beliefs (e.g. anti-abortion, marriage between a man and a woman etc.).
I, for one, am glad that there is a term emerging for people whose main focus is hating religion.
You guys should totally run with that.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
1. Why rally against the belief in a deity if atheism is true then we are all just dust in the wind anyways.
2. The Logical conclusion of Atheism is a comparably short life ending in a nothing death. If there is no afterlife then no matter what your impact on the world; you will never be around to see it.
Why do anything? apart from the belief in God there is no rational.
Some atheists seem really angry at God
I am an atheist, and I know I can't speak for all of us out there, but here are my thoughts.
I try to be as good of a person for several reasons.
1) Because it makes living in a community easier, and smoother, and fosters good relations between others that could be of benefit to either myself or the community at large.
2) Since this life, conceivably, is the only one that I will have, it makes sense to me to try and contribute something lasting to the world, no matter what it is, so that my name and thoughts might live on in future generations.
There are other reasons, but I'm also to lazy to type them right now. Their all generally along the same line though.
Atheists don't believe in invisible beings ("god"). Why be angry at something that doesn't exist?
Why do anything? Because life can be full of love, laughs and adventure if you live each day to the fullest. We don't waste time wondering what happens after death. We're confident all books on earth were written by humans. And no human knows more about what happens after death than any other. None of us are god. We're all made of the same stuff.
There's no proof of invisible beings. Biblical tales of atheists burning in hell were written by humans mad at us for not believing what they do.
So we're not worried. We hope to leave this world better for our being here. When talented atheists die (like Christopher Hitchens), millions of us touched by his wit and intellect remember him warmly. What better epitaph could there be?
We wish, for your sake, you'd stop believing in invisible beings and spend 100% of your time on the real world we live in, but we know most of you won't change.
So we wish you peace and love. Just wanted you to know we're your neighbors, in every town and job.
There is nothing to be angry at...how could I be angry at something that clearly doesn't exist (it kills me how you always have to use that capital g)..what makes me angry is your childish mentality that continues to desperately believe in what is quite obviously false because you are so desperate to have your piddly consciousness continue forever...it is like having an 18 year old child who still believes in the Easter Bunny...and we have to listen to your nonsense and have respect for it it ..forget it...grow up
Your childish reasoning is likely the reason religion was created in the first place. Unfortunately, there are folks in this world who would turn into total monsters and murderers if they didn't believe they would someday be scolded by that nasty man in the sky.
Last I checked, Jesus didn't say "be good cause otherwise God will be mad." I suspect instead he wanted you to be good for your fellow man.
athiests are angry at those who follow god, because we pay the same taxes, but your orginazations take a tax exempt status, commit illigal acts, but telling the followers how and who to vote for (violation of NPO status), then you b**ch and moan when seculars want you taxed. It is flat against the 1st amendment to let religon be NPO. The evil thiests have stolen this nation, which was setup spesfically to get away from the thiestic monsters of europe. Once I know someone is a thiest, I cannot treat them as an equal, more like a 6 year old trying to converse with adults. They lack the brain power to make logical arguments, and thus, I ignore them.
Sataniuv: If people that believe in God make you angry, then you are basically saying that you are angry that people don't believe as you do. You have every right not to believe in God, but there are no facts that make it obvious that God doesn't exist. That is only your assumption. As I said, you have every right to make that assumption, and I would not deny that to you, but that it is all it is
You said, "You have every right not to believe in God, but there are no facts that make it obvious that God doesn't exist. That is only your assumption. As I said, you have every right to make that assumption, and I would not deny that to you, but that it is all it is"
Which god would that be? You capitalized the word, so I'm guessing you have a particular one in mind. It is Ra? Zeus? Thor? Mithra? Allah? Bob the Magical Blue Sock? The Tooth Fairy? Any one of the millions of others? All?
There is equal evidence for the existence of each one of those creatures. They are therefor equally likely to exist. I doubt very many believers believe in more than one of them. Why pick one and disregard the rest? What make that one imaginary friend so special?
The agnostic atheistic position is really the only logical one. We can't know for sure that there are any gods, but without a single solitary shred of evidence in support of any, there is no reason to believe they exist. And a belief in one is no different than a belief in the Tooth Fairy.
LinCA: You said:
"Which god would that be? You capitalized the word, so I'm guessing you have a particular one in mind." I believe in God as described/revealed in the Bible. "It is Ra? Zeus. . . All? There is equal evidence for the existence of each one of those creatures. They are therefor equally likely to exist." Again, this is a statement of your position, not a statement of objective fact. Your conclusion follows from your premise, but I don't agree with your premise. Since I believe in the God of the Bible and not in Thor, I believe that there is more evidence for the former than for the latter. (To give all my reasoning would take more space than available here. Basically, the Bible says that God acts in certain ways. And when we see those actions occurring, both in history and today, we can conclude that God exists. Then we can look at the supposed resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see a group of people that would certainly have known if Jesus was alive or dead. They insisted at the cost of their lives that He was alive - something that would have made no sense if they knew He was dead. Not only that - they convinced others that also knew the facts to join them.)
I doubt very many believers believe in more than one of them. Why pick one and disregard the rest?
"What make that one imaginary friend so special?" I can tell you why I believe in God, but I cannot answer the question as you have posed it, since I don't have a special imaginary friend. I believe in a God who exists and who created the universe, You would undoubtedly feel it would be unfair to use that belief as a starting point for discussion. It would be equally unfair to use your belief that God is imaginary,
"The agnostic atheistic position is really the only logical one. We can't know for sure that there are any gods, but without a single solitary shred of evidence in support of any, there is no reason to believe they exist."
I agree with your last statement. Where we disagree is on whether evidence exists. I believe in God because I see evidence that He exists On the other hand, your statement that yours is the only logical position rests on your view that there is no evidence. It is based on belief, rather than on neutral, objective fact. You may reject my evidence as inadequate, but you cannot point to any observation that shows it to be so.
You said, "Again, this is a statement of your position, not a statement of objective fact."
Do you claim to have some valid evidence that even suggests that any of these creatures exist? Please do share.
You said, "Your conclusion follows from your premise, but I don't agree with your premise."
I already figured you didn't agree.
You said, "Since I believe in the God of the Bible and not in Thor, I believe that there is more evidence for the former than for the latter. (To give all my reasoning would take more space than available here."
Just one tiny little bit would be good, for starters.
You said, "Basically, the Bible says that God acts in certain ways. And when we see those actions occurring, both in history and today [...]"
No, you don't. You only assume that what you see is an action of a god. Random chance is an equally valid explanation. Random chance doesn't require magic.
You said, "[...] we can conclude that God exists."
An entirely unfounded conclusion. You haven't established anything. These events, even if they were the result of some mythical being, don't in any way establish this being as the one that you worship.
You said, "Then we can look at the supposed resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see a group of people that would certainly have known if Jesus was alive or dead. They insisted at the cost of their lives that He was alive – something that would have made no sense if they knew He was dead. Not only that – they convinced others that also knew the facts to join them.)"
It would make even more sense that some tribal fable was written down, and that your Jesus didn't even exist. Outside of the bible you have no reliable account of the dude. Odds are he's a figment.
You said, "I can tell you why I believe in God, but I cannot answer the question as you have posed it, since I don't have a special imaginary friend. I believe in a God who exists and who created the universe, You would undoubtedly feel it would be unfair to use that belief as a starting point for discussion. It would be equally unfair to use your belief that God is imaginary,"
Using your god as the starting point makes your argument circular, hence worthless. You've got nothing (except for your imaginary friend, of course).
You said, "I agree with your last statement. Where we disagree is on whether evidence exists. I believe in God because I see evidence that He exists On the other hand, your statement that yours is the only logical position rests on your view that there is no evidence. It is based on belief, rather than on neutral, objective fact. You may reject my evidence as inadequate, but you cannot point to any observation that shows it to be so."
I reject your evidence because it isn't in any way based on "neutral, objective fact". The complete absence of evidence is sufficient to reject the entire claim.
'You said, "Basically, the Bible says that God acts in certain ways. And when we see those actions occurring, both in history and today [...]"
No, you don't.'
Yes, we do. I am not saying that we know these actions are caused by God. But we do see things consistent with the Bible, To take a concrete example, the Bible states that Israel wold be destroyed as a nation, but after a long period of time would become a nation again, It's a matter of belief whether the Bible made a God-inspired prophecy or a lucky guess, But it's a matter of objective fact that Israel was destroyed by the Romans and became a nation again in 1948.
"You only assume that what you see is an action of a god."
Of the possible explanations, I chose this existence of God as best (as I see it) fitting the facts,
"Random chance is an equally valid explanation."
Random chance is an explanation, as it is for most things, as few things are completely impossible. But whether it is an equally valid explanation is a personal viewpoint. Assume I flip a coin, which you can't see, and tell you the result, which is always 'heads.' At what point does random chance cease to be an equally valid explanation as the alternative explanations that it is a two-headed coin or that I am lying? 1 flip? Almost certainly not. 2 flips? Probably not. 3? 4? Well, , , , There is no point that proves that random chance is involved. You could say that 1000 heads in a row was the result of random chance
Random chance doesn't require magic.
Random chance is an explanation, as it is for most things, as few things are completely impossible. But whether it is an equally valid explanation is a personal viewpoint. Assume I flip a coin, which you can't see, and tell you the result, which is always 'heads.' At what point does random chance cease to be an equally valid explanation as the alternative explanations that it is a two-headed coin or that I am lying? 1 flip? Almost certainly not. 2 flips? Probably not. 3? 4? Well, , , , You could say that 1000 heads in a row was the result of random chance and I could not prove you wrong.
"Random chance doesn't require magic." And therefore it is a better existence explanation that the existence of God, which supposedly requires magic? But if God does exist, then His actions don't require magic, any more than do the actions of anyone else. So you seem to be saying that "Random chance is a better explanation that the existence of God if God doesn't exist." This is true, put proves nothing.
"You said, "[...] we can conclude that God exists."
An entirely unfounded conclusion. You haven't established anything."
I was stating my conclusion. You have every right to reject my conclusion, but you can't show that your conclusion is any more objective than mine.
"You said, "Then we can look at the supposed resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see a group of people that would certainly have known if Jesus was alive or dead. They insisted at the cost of their lives that He was alive – something that would have made no sense if they knew He was dead. Not only that – they convinced others that also knew the facts to join them.)"
It would make even more sense that some tribal fable was written down, and that your Jesus didn't even exist."
My conclusion is that it wouldn't, and here's why: we know of many tribal fables that have been written down. None have had anything approaching the impact of the story of Jesus.
"Outside of the bible you have no reliable account of the dude." We have mentions by Josephus and others.
"Odds are he's a figment." Odds are He's not. Historian Will Durant, who was an atheist or at least an agnostic, wrote that for the life of Jesus to have been invented if He didn't exist would be a bigger miracle than any attributed to him. Here is what we know - and I claim that these are objective facts;
1. A group of people, a little over 2000 years ago, said that a man called Jesus was the Son of God, based on what he was said to have done, including rising from the dead.
2. This group of people knew whether Jesus existed, and if He did, if He did the things they claimed.
3. This group of people received no benefits on the earth from what they claimed. Rather, they were harassed, beaten and killed.
4, This group of people tried, and is some cases succeeded, in making converts among people in the area, who knew if Jesus existed and, if he did, the basic details of his life.
5. The converts would have received no benefits if Jesus had not done the thins attributed to Him, but were. like the original followers, harassed, beaten, and killed.
Based on this, I (like a number of others who approached the issue with initial unbelief) conclude that the most likely explanation is that Jesus existed and did what was attributed to Him. I then conclude that His actions indicate that He was the Son of God.
"You said, "I can tell you why I believe in God, but I cannot answer the question as you have posed it, since I don't have a special imaginary friend. I believe in a God who exists and who created the universe, You would undoubtedly feel it would be unfair to use that belief as a starting point for discussion. It would be equally unfair to use your belief that God is imaginary,"
Using your god as the starting point makes your argument circular, hence worthless. You've got nothing (except for your imaginary friend, of course)."
That is why I did not and do not use God as as starting point. My point was that in referring to God as an imaginary friend, you are assuming God doesn't exist. You essentially asked, "Why do you believe in a God that doesn't exist?" This is as circular as you claimed my argument to be. The only way I can answer is "I don't."
"I reject your evidence because it isn't in any way based on "neutral, objective fact"."
You may reject my conclusions. However, I have given fats on which my conclusions are based.
"The complete absence of evidence is sufficient to reject the entire claim."
That there is a complete absence of evidence is your viewpoint, not objective fact. Thus, it is sufficient for you to not believe in God. It is not sufficient to show objectively that God does not exist,
You can't have it both ways. You said, "Basically, the Bible says that God acts in certain ways [...]", and "I am not saying that we know these actions are caused by God.".
You really have got to make up your mind.
You said, "Of the possible explanations, I chose this existence of God as best (as I see it) fitting the facts,"
Why not the Tooth Fairy? Fits all the "facts" just as well.
You said, "Assume I flip a coin, which you can't see, and tell you the result, which is always 'heads.' At what point does random chance cease to be an equally valid explanation as the alternative explanations that it is a two-headed coin or that I am lying? 1 flip? Almost certainly not. 2 flips? Probably not. 3? 4? Well, , , , You could say that 1000 heads in a row was the result of random chance and I could not prove you wrong."
Two headed coins and liars are pretty common occurrences. As the odds for the continued streak of randomly occurring "heads" diminish, the odds for other explanations increase.
You said, "But if God does exist, then His actions don't require magic, any more than do the actions of anyone else."
The actions of any god fall squarely within the realm of magic as these gods are typically said to operate outside the natural world. Their interaction with the natural world is therefor indistinguishable from magic.
You said, "So you seem to be saying that "Random chance is a better explanation that the existence of God if God doesn't exist."
No, I say that random chance is a better explanation because it doesn't require magic. It doesn't require the action of an agent for which there is no evidence.
You said, "You have every right to reject my conclusion, but you can't show that your conclusion is any more objective than mine."
You claim the existence of a being for which there isn't a single shred of scientifically valid evidence. You conclude this being to exist on the basis of highly suspect correlation of events to some ancient writing. Your conclusion is based on nothing other than your belief. You bet your ass that I reject your conclusion.
You said, "None have had anything approaching the impact of the story of Jesus."
That borders on the Ad Populum Fallacy. Just because a lot of people believe the nonsense, doesn't mean it's true.
You said, ""Outside of the bible you have no reliable account of the dude." We have mentions by Josephus and others."
Like I said, no reliable accounts.
You said, ""Odds are he's a figment." Odds are He's not.", and "Based on this, I (like a number of others who approached the issue with initial unbelief) conclude that the most likely explanation is that Jesus existed and did what was attributed to Him. I then conclude that His actions indicate that He was the Son of God."
Whether he is or isn't is largely irrelevant. There may very well have been a dude around that time that resembled him. Who gives a shit?
Even if he existed, the odds that he was "special" in any way are virtually zero, as there is virtually no chance that he was divinely fathered as his alleged father is highly unlikely to exist.
If Joseph wasn't his biological father, odds are that his mother was either raped or cheating on her husband. Maybe she was so ashamed that she felt the need to make up a cockamamie story about divine impregnation.
You said, "That is why I did not and do not use God as as starting point."
You should. Because your entire religion hinges exclusively on faith in the existence of that god. Without that god, you've got nothing but a fable. For the fable to be of any value, you first have to establish that your god is real. You can't.
You said, "My point was that in referring to God as an imaginary friend, you are assuming God doesn't exist."
Without evidence for his/her existence, that's the only reasonable assumption. Until there is some, there is no merit to the claim that there are any gods (including yours).
Even among christians, there don't appear more than a few that agree on what exactly you god is. There are, by some count, over 38,000 different christian denominations, sects and cults. They can't all be right, but they can very well all be wrong. Your odds aren't very good.
Even if there is a god, the odds that he/she/it is anything like you think, are pretty slim, hence he/she/it is most likely imaginary.
You said, "That there is a complete absence of evidence is your viewpoint, not objective fact."
Your standard of evidence is pretty low. That's not to say that I find that surprising. It has to be, otherwise you wouldn't believe. On the other hand, if there was any real evidence, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
You said, "It is not sufficient to show objectively that God does not exist,"
I don't claim to show that gods don't exist. Only that they are very unlikely to. The absence of evidence of any value, is sufficient to reject the claim that there are gods.
So, while I don't rule out the possibility of them existing entirely, their case is flimsy at best.
Bob pwns Lin CA
Funny how the Atheist want to promote the rights and common welfare of all, while the Christians want tax cuts, and for the poor to move farther away from their gated communities. When Jesus returns, I don't think he will automatically fall into the Conservative camp, with all his radical beliefs about shunning wealth and individual rights, Jesus just may be the biggest Liberal of them all.
agreed, unless you think jesus would care about a pre existing condition, I think that IF (and i dont think it is real) but if he was real, he would be an ultra libral, and most of his curent flock would shun him as a "socialist".
The idea that conservative/Christians are against the poor is widely held, but it is nonetheless wrong. Studies have shown, for instance, that evangelical Christians give more than average to charity. Ever hear of the Salvation Army? Another example: you may think I am a nutjob for attending church, and that my church is full of nutjobs, but that church as given hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well of many hours of time, to improve lives from the school across the street to those in Haiti and Indonesia.
I'm an atheist and I give to the Salvation Army, is that a waste of my money?
I was a member of my duaghter's High School Booster Club, and we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the athelets in our school. We did that without any religious prompting...we were doing something good in our own community.
Christians aren't the only charitable people...
Momof3: I'm glad you give to the Salvation Army. I did not intend to imply that only Christians are charitable. It seemed to be that the original post implied that Christians are not charitable. This is what I was trying to refute.
We live in the world's most tolerant nation - regardless of what the religious bigots might believe. Religious bigotry? Let's define a term. . ..
"One nation, under God." This country was not founded on the belief that non-believers could prevent others from expressing their beliefs. If you don't like the way things are here, move to Cuba. I hear that they love atheists there.
Next time spend the extra $10, and get the Bible with the parts about tolerance, forgiveness, and teaching the lost. The one you've been memorizing just has the mean parts. Not smart considering many of those defending your right to be a Conservative nutjob, are going to lay down their lives for your right to be a Conservative nutjob. Liberals are just goofy that way.
""One nation, under God." This country was not founded on the belief that non-believers could prevent others from expressing their beliefs."
You might spend another ten bucks on a history book. "One nation, under God" has nothing to do with the founding of our country. That line was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950's during Joseph McArthy's era of communist paranoia.
If ignorance breeds supersti.tion, I guess we shouldn't be surprised when supersti.tious people are ignorant.
post a sign anywhere the owner lets you, except on public property. Gov needs to stay clear of religion and vice-versa. read history, the inquistion. In those days you were a Catholic or dead. Our Forefathers made sure we kept it seperate.
....We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Yes the founders did believe in Creation and a Creator
And they wanted everyone to be HAPPY!!
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to peti.tion the Government for a redress of grievances.
Our founders also believed in keeping religion from writing our laws.
Yes, and God gave you a free will as well.....
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
The free gift of salvation as well.
That in no way has anything to do with the current conversation. Also I am an atheist, so really bible verses mean absolutely nothing to me.
You want to express your beliefs...go ahead... it is like listening to my 10 year old discuss his video game...it is so silly and out of context with real world concerns that I don't know how as an adult you can stand to go on about it...what are you even basing your "beliefs" on? What is your source, the bible? are you kidding, have you read it? It doens't have a consistent theme or message or mission statement...the musical catalogue of Bob Marley holds together better than that mishmash of contradictions and highly unlikely scenarios written by people who although they were ignorant on ALL other subjects were somehow experts on this god...what a laugh
nor was it setup so that the fools that believe is a magic sky man can dictate the rules. Sorry, but thiesm is the most prevalent form of psychosis in america. It is sad how insaine our nation is.
Are you kidding me? You clearly didn't pay attention during American history class! I'm embarrassed for YOU!! LMAO
"Many people came to America to search for religious freedom. Their hope was to escape the religious persecution they were facing in their countries. The one thing they did not want to do was to establish a church like the Church of England. The colonists wanted a chance to worship freely and have an opportunity to choose which religion they wanted to take part in. Upon arriving in America (the Pilgrims being the first to arrive in 1620), the journey began for the search of the "perfect" religion that could satisfy the needs of the people.
Many religious groups (such as the Quakers and Puritans) formed the first 13 colonies on the basis of their religious beliefs. Although the plan was to escape persecution, there was actually some amount of persecution happening in the colonies. One example of this persecution would be with the Puritans. The Puritans wanted everyone to worship in the Puritan way. In order to ensure that Puritanism dominated the colonies, nonconformists were fined, banished, whipped, and even imprisoned for not conforming to the way of the Puritans. Eventually this persecution was ended and other religions began to appear."
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.