home
RSS
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. Heywood Jablowme

    The nerve :-)

    March 23, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  2. Voice of Reason

    I asked this simple question and they blocked me!

    "Does anyone know of any scientific studies comparing the intelligence quotients between believers and non-believers?"

    March 23, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Why would it matter?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Definitely Real

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

      March 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Crad

      There are no studies that can conclusively say one is more intelligent than the other. Im sure people from either side will argue but theres nothing..

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • CW

      Do you really a test to show the difference? I'm guessing most of these believers are Republicans. Politics aside look at the red states vs blue states....I would guess the blue ones would have a higher IQ

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Logic quiz:

      Evaluate the following statements:

      Believers have higher IQ's, therefore God exists.
      Non-believers have higher IQ's, therefore there is no God.

      Are either of these statements logically valid?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Pip

      There have been studies that show the lower the IQ the deeper a faith in a religion, and the opposite the higher the iq the less likely to believe in a religion. Know any true smart people that are religious that didn't have some kinda childhood trama ?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Daniel Jackson

      @Lunchbreaker, nope, it's all on the individual.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • DownSouth

      I don't know that "intelligence" is the controlling factor.

      But if we look at atheist fundamentalists (also known as "New Atheists") and relgious fundamentalists, it's fairly obvious that they're cut from the same cloth.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • anonz

      Must be low on everyone since you all have to believe in something!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @anonz Why do you have to believe in something?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • anonz

      @Voice of reason.

      Because a claim to Atheism is a claim to non-religion. A claim to non-religion cannot be confirmed or denied since the veracity of religious claims cannot be verified. That is why Atheism is a belief, just like any other religion, personal preference or taste.

      Basically, just because you say no God exists doesn't mean you're right. It's what you believe and you cannot say otherwise. That is why religions have been preeminent since the dawn of time. Atheism is not a viable alternative on a philosophical plane. On a sociological level, perhaps it is appealing after you talk down about religion, but on a universal level, it is not better or worse than religion for reason of lack of truth. The only certainty relevant to us is death. Hopefully you all don't want to try that.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. TAK

    Here's why these kinds of events aren't bigger than they are, despite the large number of Americans that don't believe in any religion. What you have to understand is that we atheists consider atheism the default state of the human mind. Everyone is born an atheist. It is normal. Only after people have been deluded and corrupted do they fall into religious groups. So many of us just don't feel the urge to join a rally that celebrates normalcy. All we can hope for is that over time the corrupting forces of religion will start losing their credibility and authority (as has been the trend) and they will ensnare fewer and fewer people.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Jason

      One day, Christianity and other religions will be talked about like that of mythology. Nobody believes in Zeus anymore, the same will happen to modern ones.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Ran

      Preach it brother!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Pip

      best post all day

      March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Definitely Real

      At least Zeus acted human (except for all that shape-shifting). He seems more plausible than an all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing god who is nowhere to be seen.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • BBoy

      Well said.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Carl

      Good luck but I don't see that happening

      March 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • DownSouth

      But atheism is just another dogma, just like Islam or Christianity.

      Atheism is the New Puritanism.

      What ever happened to skepticism?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Hmmm

      @DownSouth
      – that is absolutely retarded...pick up a book dammit!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • anonz

      There is no "default state of the human mind" silly for the simple reason everyone's mind is different and we're free to think what we want–depending on genes and environment.

      For some, the world is full of fairy tales. For others, it's empty and bleak. Personally, I'd prefer to keep mine at least seemingly illustrious so I can cherish whatever happiness I feel.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ anonz – no child is born a theist. Otherwise we would see infants being born to Christian parents in Oklahoma City, who were spontaneous Muslims. We would see infants born to Jewish parents in Tel Aviv, who were Baptists..

      We don't. Overwhelmingly, your religious beliefs are a construct of how, when, and where you were born and raised.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • anonz

      @ Primewonk.

      True. But, no child is born an atheist, either. And, thank God religion is partly a social construct or else society would be a true hack job. There's nothing wrong with Iowan Christians getting up and moving to Dawkins' school of thought, but it should be on their free will initiative not on something that prematurely erodes their abilities to make decisions about their faith even before they are given the choice to "opt-out" so to speak. There's nothing wrong with adults making adult choices. Just because someone was taught something as a child, by a perfectly content and localized society, doesn't necessarily imply their adult decision making abilities will be forever hindered.

      I hope you're not saying every religious person is brainwashed from a young age, because there are many non-religious people who openly convert to religion later in life.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  4. Aaron Brown

    Its really quite sad how so many are opposed towards religion nowadays, when all that churches do are centered on a common goal: Treating One another with Kindness, Love, and Respect..

    I find it quite appalling that such people could take a negative stance on religion.. Perhaps its just America, If it is, I want out, I don't think I can live much longer in a country so poised against religion and morality..

    March 23, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Jason

      Churches only want your money.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • BRC

      @Aaron,
      Religion is not causally linked to morality. ANd what you expressed is the common goal of the good men and women who have faith, but it is not the goal of religions at large (at least it's not teh goal they've shown).

      March 23, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Definitely Real

      If that was all the people did in the name of religion, people might not be so opposed to it. Still, even if every religious individual was kind and loving to all that wouldn't make me believe in god, nor would it make atheists have any less right to stage a rally.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • gager

      Religion and ethics are not related.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Zaphod

      Morality exists without religion, and without faith.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Jamie

      Seriously? Tell that to the religious groups fighting to prevent gays from ever being able to marry. Where's that goal of love and peace from your churches now?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      Atheists and agnostics are not against kindness, Aaron. It mainly breaks that burden of "am I living up to the supreme beings wishes?" Because, if you ask me, I can't see how anyone can say they have the "The Complete Guide to Righteous Exsistence on Earth". And then tell me, I got this from a being I cannot see. Because my reaction will be, "...............Oh, ya don't say..." (then I'll go the opposite direction)

      March 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • MoralAtheist

      I find this funny, Some of the most morally sound people I know are atheist. We don't get to just ask god for forgiveness. We are typically peaceful people. Why is it that so many religious people are ready to go to war at the drop of a hat, when atheists are asking why precious lives need to be lost. Of all of my religious friends, none of them have admitted to reading the entire holy bible or new testemant. I have read both, and did so with a rational mind. Maybe that is why I was able to see through them. If you want to discuss morals......tell me some of the things in the old and new testament are moral. If they are, you should head over to my house and stone my 7 year old daughter to death because the bible says you should do that to the children of non-believers. In fact, if we followed the bible to a tee, we would have nothing but bloody stones and no humans left to inhabit the earth.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Aaron Brown
      If churches were only interested in spreading a message of love, acceptance and charity then there would be no problem.
      The issue at hand is that religious inst/itutions try to legislate morality – ie: reproductive rights et al.
      Some of them are quite vicious and antagonistic, like the Westoboro Baptists.
      Politicians use religious rhetoric to try and drive voters into a frenzy at the immorality of the "other team".
      Most atheists don't hate believers – but we consider shamans guilty until proven innocent.

      Any organization that demands obsequious submission and the willing cessation of rational inquiry should be viewed with mistrust.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Stratmaster

      Respectfully, I believe you have missed the point of the article. No one is attacking religion, or people who believe in God. Atheists simply want that kept out of politics and decision making for our country.

      Also, i take exception to your description of the religious communities in our country, and while I find it wholesome and optimistic, I also find it naive. some churches fit your description. Other churches spew vitriol and look down on anyone who believes differently from them. In addition, some of the most violent, racist, uncaring people I have met also talk about their born again status and even find ways of using the bible to support their exclusionary beliefs.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • TAK

      Really?! You equate treating each other well with a belief in the supernatural? Atheists are the most tolerant and least bigoted group on the face of the Earth. We don't fly planes into buildings. We don't lynch blacks or gays. But we have no tolerance for the intolerant. So if you perceive intolerance and disrespect from an atheist it is only because you belong to a bigoted group (and most any religious sect fits that definition).

      March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Carl

      well said

      March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • BRC

      @MoralAtheist,
      That's why they're against contraception. If you're stoning children on a regular basis you need a pretty high birth rate to keep the population up.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Hmmm

      Aaron Brown, you must the most important point in your quasi-rant. Religion does NOT equal morality in anyway, shape, or form. IF you actually understood things, you'd see that less than 0.02% of the prison population in the US is "atheist" – while 99.98% believe some form of religion. If 10-15% of Americans are atheists, then being religious actually increases your odds of going to prison. Something to think about real long and hard (that's what the catholic priest said too).

      March 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Jack

      Telling people who they can or cannot marry is not kind, loving, or respectful. Telling people they are going to burn for eternity is not much better.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • showtime

      I call BS. If religion is only about love and kindness and respect, why does every religion include some kind of penalty or punishment for not believing. Everlasting damnation doesn't sound too loving. Give up ten percent of my income? sure, why not because I want to make sure that a bunch of fat child molesters get to live a nice cushy existence. If religion was only about love, every church in this country should spend 2 hours every sunday helping the less fortunate, not singing together and talking about their imaginary friends

      March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Joy A

      And there you have it in a nutshell. Religious people are convinced that atheists have no morals and are out to trample religious freedom. How about showing a little fairness here? I am not an immoral person. I don't sleep around, I don't smoke or drink. I pay my bills and my taxes and keep a clean house. I have no problem with people attending the church/synagogue/mosque of their choice. I try to show consideration and courtesy to my fellow humans, and contribute generously to various charitable foundations. I do not try to shove my beliefs on other people, but I do ask that I be treated with respect. Now please explain to me why you feel that I am immoral.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  5. Interesting, isn't it. I love generalizations

    So, Gay people are all sick because of their choice? And are other bad things too.
    Let's see, there's the other one where all atheists are Satan worshipers.
    And then there's the one where all Christians are the only ones who will be "saved."
    And how about the one where all Muslims want death to Republicans and Rednecks?
    And then there's the one where shaved-headed anglo southern men carry guns and threaten reporters in a stereotypical way (oh. wait.)

    March 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • anonz

      It's what you make of it and think of how people think of you. If you really feel the need to be Atheist as a backlash at people hurting your feelings, you need to grow up. If you really think we're a speck of dust in an infinite universe, that's your belief, religion, or what have you.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • hillbilleter

      Then there's the one where scathingly sarcastic people try to hurt others in order to keep contact with others to a minimum. Their hurtful statements surround them like a moat, protecting them from having to deal with the world as it really is.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  6. AverageJoe76

    I am agnostic for SO many reasons... but here's one. Fear. I hated the whole 'fear God" thing. Couldn't understand why a supreme being will hold my mistakes over my head. Why I had to worship. Why do I even have to believe in magic. The whole 'free will' thing is a crock. God cant see what I'll do in the future? That doesn't sound like the creator of the known universe to me.... So since a 'all powerful being' should be able to see my beginning and end..... there is no 'free will', but only a story God watches unfold. God should know my every choice before I make it. So why do I have to live in fear? Story's already written, right? (Rhetorical – don't answer)

    March 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Crad

      Thats not wha living in fear means. Shame after all these years you had it wrong. And just because god knows your every move doesnt mean you arent the one who made the move. You surely dont understand freewill. And if you think being free from believing in god mean being free from fear, well...

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Ross

      I pray that one day you see God's grace, forgiveness and love. The "fear" of God you speak of is actually a peace that we as humans cannot understand. My prayer is that you will one day experience that peace. God is not a puppet master, if he decided everything for you we would all be followers of Christ. God will guide you, if you ask Him to and are obidient. You can choose not to, which it appears to be what you have chosen at the time being. Make no mistake, no matter where you have been or what you have done, God will forgive you through his son Jesus Christ and He has the power to restore and redeem you. I was right where you are once. Thought I could do it all on my own. I was wrong. Some people, myself included, have to hit rock bottom to find the rock in their life. God is my rock. I praise him because despite all my mistakes he still loves me and forgives me and gave up his Son so that I could have eternal life. Bless you.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • hillbilleter

      If you believe in free will, you don't believe your future is set in stone. You believe your future is a result of a long chain of choices that you, personally, have/will make. All the evil that men do is done of their own free will. You don't fear God, but ask His guidance in making choices that cause the least harm. Most Chrisitans don't have their views published in the media. Sadly, Christians are like politicians in that the crazies get the air time, and that makes atheism more palatable to many people who don't realize that the kind old gentleman next door is kind because he was raised to be a loving Christian.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Crad, that wasn't my intention.... being free of fear. I fear real things. Real events. Violent crime, tidal waves, tornados, drowning, animal attacks, etc.... Real stuff I can put a finger on. I had no room for fear of what I can't prove exsists. Took up too much processing power. Had to purge those records and start over. With my own observations, and those of sources more credible. I know my mortality, and I don't cringe at my end. It is what it is.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Bob

      One of your problems, Ross, is that you actually do implicitly act as if you have such understanding, while saying that you specifically can not have it. That is a form of hypocrisy, and seems fairly typical of Christians.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Ross

      Bob, we are not able to fully describe God's love. You are correct. But that does not mean we cannot feel it and know that is in fact what we are feeling. I am not arrogant enough to think that we are the supreme being and anything that goes beyond what we can comprehend or see is a myth. Sorry. I hope one day you see and feel God's love as well.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  7. Steve

    Are atheists really the target of bigotry? And unequal? I live in CT, so maybe I just don't see it here, but is this really a thing? I have seen and heard much more bigotry towards say Scientology than against atheists or agnostics.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • crazypete

      Well, yeah, but you've picked the worst case religion out there. Everyone hates scientology. Scientology is to religion what Nazis are to dictatorships.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • AGuest9

      I wouldn't know. Few know around me. It's why I don't use my real name here. I work in a potentially hostile environment.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • closet atheist

      Next time somebody is having a religious conversation, mention that you don't believe in god. Reactions vary (pity, disbelief, shock, anger)... but rarely are they in any way positive. There is NO way an atheist could ever be president. Why is this?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • tevii

      Scientology is sneered upon for sure. But as the current believers begin having families it to will grow. The entire Mormon religion was created by a known AND convicted con man. When Mormonism was created it too was sneered upon. Its still looked down on by many but it is getting bigger everyday. The same can be said when a con man "discovered" krishnamurti. (Fortunately nurture won over nature and krishnamurti became a great man) The trick to any religion is conning at least ONE generation. Time and having offspring does the rest. Unfortunately 100 years from now Scientology will be widely accepted too

      March 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  8. 1221

    “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.”

    Uh? Atheist demand equality? How is it their rights are being infringed upon? Since when has an atheist been asked to sit at the back of the bus or drink from the atheist only water fountain? Let me guess, they were born this way and it is not a choice, thus their rights have been violated? Get real! Here is a clue for you bone heads. No one cares if you believe or not, so stop this hypocritical proselytizing.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • majorsdad

      well, that sums my point exactly....although i would ad these comment sections should be relativley quiet for the weekend....

      March 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Jason

      When you have GOP's that want to turn this country into a Christian Theocracy, it is time we atheists spoke up. We live in reality, not some fairytale Christians want to believe. Stop pushing your Christian laws on the rest of us. You will NOT brainwash my child.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Ghost of Esther

      It may not be on a par with racism, but why do feel that a person has to believe in God to hold high office in this country. Then there's the science-denial based on a fundamentalist reading of the current version of their bible. Then there's the courts aligning themselves with Christianity. A non-believer is marginalized.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Um, what?

      Everyone is born an Atheist.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • matt

      Brilliant! I love your response. A bunch of people with a common belief banding together and demanding rights! The same people who have a problem with every religion in the world doing the same thing. The born this way argument is wonderful too. A pedophile should certainly argue that they were born that way, as should a serial killer... why can't we just let them be who they want to be??

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • AGuest9

      Why be told what to "believe"? I will echo the others' comment about being elected to high office, but add that no one should fear having to home school children so that they can be free of the threat of fantasy being taught as science in schools?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • jgthinker

      Do even Christians think God will save our currency from devaluation? Why "In God we Trust" on our money?
      Why Ten Commandments in courthouses?
      Why "under God" in the pledge of allegiance?
      Virginia's personal rights violation quest to force sonograms before abortions? That's the religious right at work.
      Utah's waiting period for abortions? The religious right at work.
      Blue laws? The religious right.
      there's plenty more if you need it....

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Crad

      Um what. I hate to tell you this but people arent born anything. And if left alone they will naturally evolve to believe in god. Athiesm is un natural (Meaning people dont in normal environments, come to atheistic views) its the only religion that is learned from peers once we get older

      March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Jenn

      "Uh? Atheist demand equality? How is it their rights are being infringed upon?"

      Atheist’s rights are constantly infringed upon by Christian organizations. Atheist are forced to watch Christian principles be implemented in Congress (where they have no representation) because those (and not religious freedom) are what this country is apparently built on. I am not an atheist but even I can see that while no, their civil liberties (such as sitting at the back of the bus, RACIST much!) they have no say in the political process and constantly have to deal with religious dogma being shoved down their throats. Why not have a little tolerance for a group of people who are doing nothing other than trying to be part of the system and show they do have a voice (from the comments on this page you would think they are killing babies and not simply holding a peaceful rally).

      March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Carl

      again well said

      March 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Hmmm

      @Crad

      You win the award for the MOST rediculious statement of the day! Congratulations, your imaginery friend will be stopping by with your prize...

      March 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    Atheists are fools, St. Paul tells us.

    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 11:04 am |
    • Jason

      People that talk to imaginary friends need to seek mental help.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Ghost of Esther

      Did you forget to take your medications?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • brian

      You are the real fool. Basing your life on a fairy tale. Good luck with that.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Joshua

      Athiests are fools? Okay...answer me this. How did Noah feed all those animals? How about cleaned up after them? In the world today there are over two million known species of animals in the world. There is believed to have been more back "then." So not only does he have to find the food for all of them (let alone the boat has to be able to hold all of these animals and have the capacity to store the materials for said animals) Noah and his family (which I do not think would be alot...I have to remind you were not that much being that "god" wanted to kill off 99.9% of the population) now has to clean the poop of all the animals or else faces disease and sickness. Yet people whom share this belief are not fools? Ask questions...it is fulfilling.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • BRC

      @Rainer,
      Your comparison was wrong before and is wrong now. 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 11:17 am |
    • closet atheist

      Isn't referencing a religious text while trying to support your belief in said religion some sort of circular reference? It's making my head hurt, but i'm sure there are smarter peole here who could rip you to shreds in the debate arena....

      March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Definitely Real

      Wow, by quoting the Bible to me, you've made me believe in the bible! That's how that works!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Paul

      A car is a thing. Things do not evolve. Living organisms evolve. If you're going to pose an intellectual challenge to the theory of evolution, you should probably strive to educate yourself past the first grade level. Clearly you are not too bright.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • jgthinker

      All your quotes from the Bible are grand, but atheists don't believe a word of it, so it's pointless to quote them. Using the Bible to prove the existence of your God is like me showing you a picture I drew of the spaghetti god to prove He exists.

      your argument breaks down in your car analogy. Cars have evolved! no one woke up on morning and out of the blue came up with the idea of a car. The wheel was invented. The internal combustion engine, lights, electricity, oil refined as fuel, lubricants, metallurgy, seating, glass, paint. A car is a combination of thousands of smaller developments in technology. A "simple" car evolved from centuries of scientific advancement.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Jack

      Reading the "Blind Watchmaker" by Dawkin's would shed light on your error in logic.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  10. us1776

    Atheist Proud !!

    It is long past due that people recognize the huge number of atheists in this country.

    Religion is a stone age system of creating mythical invisible beings for the purpose of controlling populations at a distance. Something which ancient rulers found necessary to keep their subjects in line.

    Religion in modern world has been the source of and excuse for more human suffering and death than any other single cause.

    .

    March 23, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • DownSouth

      Duh! I think the most pernicious and dangerous ideologies of the 20th century were secular, not religious.

      Have you ever heard of communism? Fascism?

      Earth to the atheist true believers: Communism and Fascism were not religious ideologies, but secular ideologies.

      A doctrine being religious in nature is not what makes it pernicious.

      You atheist true believers are barking up the wrong tree, blaming religion where you ought to be blaming authoritarianism.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Giancarlo Taliente

      Religion is pretty much responsible for everything you hold near and dear. There has been bad coming from religion, but the good Outways the bad 1000 to 1. Modern University education... Religion. Scientific Method...Religion. Modern Morality (to kill is bad)...religion. The Golden Rule...Religion. Face it without religion you would have nothing to live for.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Crad

      Really? Its so important for people to know how many atheists there are in this country? Why... Is it really important that the coutnry knows just how many people really like the color blue? This is stupid..

      March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • anon

      First off, without any religion, you wouldn't have a modern world.

      Secondly, I don't see how any religion really benefits though this "controlling of populations at a distance." If they did even, is that any different that off shore accounts coming into jurisdiction by the IRS? Seriously.

      So, I suppose you don't "believe" in Harry Potter, either. I mean, yeah. Great story... just too mythical. You can never prove fairy tales anyway, so it must be wrong to even like it.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • jgthinker

      DownSouth;
      The communist and fascism where NOT Atheist ideals. Many people continue to point out that Hitler was a Catholic. Most of these leaders would be lumped in the psychopathic category. If anything, the Hitler's Germany was monotheistic.

      Communist regimes try to break all ties with religions in order to take complete control over the freedom and minds of the oppressed. Almost all Atheists could care less what if any religious a person holds dear. What they fight for is to keep religious dogma out of the laws of society. If your God tells you that bagels will rot your sole, then don't eat them. Just don't tell me I can't enjoy a bagel.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  11. John 3:16

    Share

    Comments (443 comments)
    Permalink

    Share

    Comments (443 comments)
    Permalink

    I respect the rights of atheists to believe whatever they want to believe. God will still be God. Everyone is free to break laws but the law is there for a purpose.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  12. Brian

    Atheism is a religion.... it is centered upon an unprovable believe no different than Christianity.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Jason

      LOL? Atheism is the lack of religion. We live in reality, not lala land.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • OldSchool

      "Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color." –Don Hirschberg

      March 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • crazypete

      No, it is not a religion. It is however, a belief as disproving the existence of something is extremely difficult. Atheism does require faith in unverified beliefs. That is why agnosticism is the logical view.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Chris

      Not so. Atheism is a faith based system same as any other reliigion. To believe in something you can neither prove nor disprove requires faith. Agnostics on the other hand believe that man is incapable of knowing the truth. So take your pick.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • AGuest9

      So, what is this "Atheism" that believers need to speak of?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • anon

      On a philosophical level, I agree with Brian since having a belief in Atheism is just that a belief–like any other religion. Just since you claim "no religion exists" does not mean that it true since you cannot prove the existence or non-existence of the veracity of any religion's claims to start with. Everything is a belief–including Atheism. And, to attack someone's belief is irrational in itself, since beliefs are not required to be rational, since they are a belief and no true form of them exists to be followed.

      C'mon people.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Atheism is a negative statement that says only what one does NOT believe.
      It does not imply any behaviours, morals, or characteristics whatsoever.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Crad

      Atheism is the ost agressive religion out there right now..

      March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • think about it

      I agree, Brian. @OldSchool, let's take a closer look at the elements that are in play here. We have a belief system, in this case, atheists' unfortunate belief that there is no God. We also have them congregating together to celebrate and elevate their belief system, similar to church worship and fellowship based on the shared belief system. Then we have them organizing rallies and such to spread awareness and participation in their belief system, evangelizing and spreading the word, if you will. Sounds like religion to me. Unfortunately, these souls are pursuing the wrong belief system. I truly wish nonbelievers would wake up and realize that they're being misled and instead come to worship God their creator and savior!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • AGuest9

      Crad, I didn't pass a group of people who are atheist with boards and placards this morning in front of Planned Parenthood. They were believers.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  13. anon

    So, this explosive "coming out"... 2012? Or, are doomsday people going to say we have to wait longer?

    Ridiculous to imagine his agenda can make this place a land of milk and honey.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • AGuest9

      No, just a bunch of people who are so fed up with dogma, as well as hucksters who think they can make a buck who spend typical weekends selling bibles and medals in the back of churches.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  14. eph521

    I am a believer in Jesus Christ and believe the bible is absolute truth. I completely believe in the virgin birth, that Jesus was God in the flesh, that He was crucified and three days later was raised from the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit.

    However, I do not expect the majority of people to agree with me. I also do not hate people who disagree with me.

    I loathe how most Christians behave (are they really Christians?) and loathe how people like Santorum, Pat Robertson, etc. give Christianity a bad name. But... they are just men like me, who make mistakes and are flawed people. Like me, if not for our belief in Jesus Christ which in God's eyes makes us righteous, I'd be doomed for hell.

    Chrisians need to live like Jesus said to live. Love our neighbor, Love God, be kind, peaceful, gentle, non-judgmental. Do all things for His glory, realize we are nothing, absolutely nothing without Him. We are no better than anyone else, it's only God's grace that saves us.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • jgthinker

      To eph521;
      Thanks for being one of the few believers that has the audacity to practice what is actually written in the Bible!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • GaryGuitar

      You are an athiest in other parts of the world where you would disavow their god, and they are athiests because they would disavow your christian god. So there you have it. Everyone is an athiest, depending on where in the world you live, and what you have been told to believe.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      In the end, the definition of Christian is to live your life in the image of Jesus Christ. Faith in miracles, divinity, resurrections, and other fantastical flourishes isn't required to live a life of pacifism, charity and humility.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • eph521

      GaryGuitar, you make a good point. It's something I'm definitely aware of, that only Christians believe what I believe. I obviously believe what Jesus said, that He's the only way to get to the Father. I realize other religions completely disagree with this. Although I think they're wrong, I'm not mad at them and don't hate them. I wouldn't argue with them... Jesus taught through the writings of His apostles that when disagreeing with others, especially those who don't believe, that the discussion should be gentle and kind, realizing how fortunate we are to be saved by His grace. It's always possible that God will open their eyes to the truth – that's what Jesus taught, those are not my words or thoughts, not my wisdom, but His wisdom.

      The only thing I take expection to that you said is you imply that I believe what I've been "told to believe". That's not true Gary. God has revealed Himself to me, like His word says He will. I can't explain it Gary, I just know it's true. I know it in my soul. I know it for the countless number of prayers that He has answered. I'm not offended that you disagree with me and honestly, I can understand why you doubt. But that doesn't change my belief. And please take not that I'm not mocking you or calling you names. I've noticed many of these posts resort to name calling, by Christians and Atheists alike. That's sad and means no group has the higher ground in this discussion, at least not when the name calling and mocking is involved.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • eph521

      Doc, I completely agree that Christians are supposed to live like Jesus. The bible says that and also teaches the ultimate goal is for us to be conformed to His image. In terms of believing in the other things, like the virgin birth, the resurrection, etc... the bible also teaches those things to be true. You can't believe in Jesus and not believe in those things. In fact, if Jesus wasn't resurrected from the dead, then my faith is in vain. Are you a Christian?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I am a naturalist who believes that there is no existence save that which we experience directly (ie: no spiritual realm). I am also a rational anarchist who knows that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.
      I hold that it is impossible to shift, share, or distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility etc. are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. Therefore, we should be rational and realize that not everyone will share the same evaluations of good and evil. We must try to live perfectly in an imperfect world, aware that our efforts will be less than perfect while trying to remain undismayed by self knowledge of failure.
      To me, that concept is central to Christianity. Jesus taught that we are all imperfect and must struggle all our lives to better ourselves. He gave His life to rid humanity of poisonous guilt for our sins and the sins of our fathers. He erased old enmities for us. In Christianity, mankind was given a clean slate with which to move forward in peace, charity and love.
      I believe that the vast majority of Christians lose sight of this core principle and get lost in sectarian dogma, arguing mythological minutiae.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • think about it

      @ GaryGuitar, if belief is relative based on a person's location in the world, please explain Christian converts, martyrs, and victims of persecution in some of the cruelest parts of the world. I would politely recommend reading Tim Keller's "The Reason for God." It contains an excellent discourse on this notion of geographically relative belief, as well as a number of other topics in apologetics.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • eph521

      @Doc, that's a great reply post to my question. I like the way you think generally speaking. Actually, you sound like a Christian and are obviously aware of what Jesus said and did... and what His purpose was to some extent. Thanks for being so cordial.

      @think about it .... great point, I've also heard really good things about Keller's book, but haven't read it personally.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  15. Jason

    Religious people that have kids should be arrested for child abuse by brainwashing their children into believing in sky wizards.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • DownSouth

      This sort of authoritarianism is the perfect example of why the brand of atheism promoted by Richard Dawkins is so dangerous.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • GaryGuitar

      Sky wizard. I like that.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Ghost of Esther

      @DownSouth
      So religious education by your definition is dangerous authoritarianism.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Crad

      So you want to arrest parents and put children into homes and indoctrinate them into a belief that they dont hold on their own? You are scary...

      March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • anonz

      uh huh. And just because there are sunspots means the stock market will do great tomorrow. Correlation doesn't imply causation. Atheism is all still just a belief.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Joy A

      Jason, your comment only demonstrates that there are wacked lunatics in both camps. Fortunately, most atheists do NOT agree with your opinion - but you certainly confirmed the hysterical fears of the religious folks. Nice going.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  16. Jim McDonald

    It is sad that so many atheists can't see their obsession is a doppelganger akin to the worst of religious zelots. So many proudly wear a mantle of reason, but betray a visceral, seething hate for any other belief system.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Jason

      Atheists are the only ones that live in reality, and we are sick of zealots pushing their beliefs on our society.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • jgthinker

      Not all atheists are against you. Most of them just want you to keep your religion out of their lives and out of the the laws.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • William Demuth

      Jim

      If a belief system is irrational, we have an OBLIGATION to point it out.

      The assorted irrational beliefs that are currently in vougue right now are dragging us all to our deaths.

      Wake up man, before it is too late.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Howard

      You don't have to hate someone else's beliefs to complain about the fact that you're being discriminated against because of your own.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • DownSouth

      I agree.

      If we look at Richard Dawkins vs. the Westboro Batptist Church crowd, it's Tweedle Dee vs. Tweedle Dum.

      Dawkins, just like the Westborow Baptists, is a zealot of the worst sort. He embraces his fanatical ideology as sure truth.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • AGuest9

      I would add to jgthinker's post in that I would REALLY like that you "keep your religion out of" our schools!!!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • eph521

      @William Demuth, ironically, that's the same reason many Chrisians witness about Jesus, they believe it's their obligation to spread the gospel to a world that doesn't see the true Light. I understand you may disagree with me about Jesus, but it is ironic, the argument you're making. Always remember that men will fail, even as Christians they will fail sometimes, but Jesus doesn't fail and never will. He's still the only way to eternal life and true salvation. There are genuine Christians out there, I hope you meet some someday. I'm being sincere.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  17. Joshua

    Wasn't this country built upon freedom of religion? Shouldn't that include freedom of non-religion? Seems a lot of people forget that. What a shame that we are sopposed to be a country that embraces everything yet in all instances we still have bigotry in all areas of our lives.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • anon

      You're kidding. You can't see past the curtain, can you? This idealistic and superficial "non-bigotry" you speak of is equally insidious as any such bigotry you see under religion.

      Bigot this, bigot that. You have to take the good with the bad of religion or else the whole world will be hopeless under "Atheism." I just don't see "Atheism" riding in on a white horse and saving the day, for personal, political, or economic reasons.

      Fine by me if you want it to receive equal political treatment, but don't get fooled into thinking it's some panacea. The only panacea to all the problems is nonexistence. So, will you all try to do that now?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  18. Jeepers

    You can get married as an atheist. You don't have to go to church. Religion doesn't seem to take a place at work at many places. What is this equality sought after?

    March 23, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Howard

      Just trying running for public office and letting people know you're an atheist. You think Mitt's got Mormon problems? Hoo, boy!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • AGuest9

      Howard, it's just time that more who are atheist did run for office. The sooner this happens, the sooner the stigma falls away.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Definitely Real

      Evidently, people trust atheists as much as they trust rapists. Hooray for equality.

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/study-religious-people-trust-atheists-about-as-much-as-they-do-rapists/

      March 23, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • AGuest9

      Ironically, most of those rapists are likely "christian".

      March 23, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Primewonk

      In a recent Gallup poll -
      37% of people said they would never vote for a candidate who was gay
      38% said they would never vote for a candidate who was Muslim
      But 48 freaking percent said they would never vote for a candidate who was atheist.

      Ironically, the US Const.tution prohibits any type of religious test for any office in the nation. Seems like half the county wants to spit on the Consti.tution.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  19. Chris

    From all the comments you can see exactly what it says in the article, christians just attack and hate and can still be politically correct for being bigots to Atheist, gays, evolutionist, and just about anyone that does not fit their mold. Just look at all the support Kirk Cameron got. I wonder what they would type if their jesus was standing over their shoulders, watching? It's good thing that the dark ages are over or we see everyone not a christian burned at the stake and the government ran by a church.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Jesus

      "I wonder what they would type if their jesus was standing over their shoulders, watching? "

      They hide behind their anonymity making up lies and not following their own rule book, it just shows you can't get integrity through religion.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Joshua

      Yet when I look at the republican nominations and all, all I see is exactly that. They want to go and bring us to a time when the church ruled the land. What a shame.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • eph521

      @Chris, not all Christians behave wrongly. I see the same stuff you do and it's very disappointing. Please keep in mind that there are bad people in every group, and yes, there are Christians who are failing miserably in truly following Jesus Christ and obeying His teachings. Most importantly, Jesus Christ is still who He is... my Savior, my Lord, my best friend. He's the only way to see the Father, eternal life is impossible without him. And that doesn't change no matter how many men and/or so-called Christians act foolishly. Jesus is still perfect and His teachings are still the truth.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  20. Nick

    I'd like everyone to note the sactimonious vitriol coming from "believers" in these comments. How dare someone who disagrees with you assemble and hold a rally! HOW DARE THEY!

    It's almost as if these atheists believe they deserve the same treatement as christians... the nerve!

    March 23, 2012 at 10:56 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
Advertisement
About this blog

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