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First on CNN: Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians
March 3rd, 2013
05:00 AM ET

First on CNN: Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – An atheist organization known for being provocative plans to take that reputation to the next level this week by putting up seven billboards that call out prominent politicians and religious leaders.

American Atheists plans to target three Republican politicians: former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former House Speak Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

The seven signs will go up around Dallas and Austin, Texas.

In one billboard, a picture of Palin is featured on the left, with a quote attributed to her. "We should create law based on the God of the Bible," the quote reads. Underneath the graphic is a tag line "GO GODLESS INSTEAD."

The billboard, however, misquotes Palin. In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O'Reilly, Palin addressed the growth in American secularism by saying America's founding fathers "would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments," not "should."

Each of the billboards has a similar format and includes a pitch for the group’s 50th anniversary convention in Austin.

Santorum is condemned for when he told an Iowa crowd last November that, "our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God's law," while Gingrich is criticized for a remark he made at a CNN debate on October 18, 2011, in Las Vegas. "How can I trust you with power if you don't pray," Gingrich posited.

Virginia Davis, spokeswoman for Santorum, thanked American Atheists for the publicity.

"At a time when many are trying to remove God from the public square, the senator is appreciative of someone helping him very publicly express his strong belief that we are one nation under God," Davis wrote in an e-mail to CNN.

American Atheists President David Silverman, however, sees the billboards as a way to shame the targets.

"We at American Atheists are shaming these leaders for their bigoted and backwards remarks and attitudes, and conveying a message to today's atheists that we need not take it anymore," Silverman wrote in an e-mail to CNN.

Two religious leaders, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor at the First Baptist Dallas, and Benedict XVI, now the pope emeritus, also are featured on billboards.

Jeffress' billboard includes a quote the pastor said during a 2008 sermon titled, "Gay Is Not OK." "What they [homosexuals] do is filthy," reads the billboard. Under the quote is the phrase "Go Godless Instead" and a rainbow flag, a symbol of gay rights.

This will be the only ad placed in Dallas, featured in a busy stretch of Interstate 30 and only a few miles from Jeffress' large church.

The First Baptist Church of Dallas is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. Jeffress, who has been in its pulpit since 2007, is no stranger to controversy, including comments about Judiasm and Catholicism. After introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington in October 2011, Jeffress told reporters he believed Mormonism was a cult, expressing a personal position and one held by his denomination. The move was seen as a particular slight to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a lifelong Mormon.

The billboard featuring Benedict XVI, who stepped down Thursday, cites a New York Times article entitled, "Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys." "The Church Protected Priests Who Abused Children," reads the billboard.

Silverman says the group plans to spend $25,000 on the billboards, which will go up on Monday and remain up for the rest of March.

"Everyone should be allowed to profess their faith, of course, but that does not shield them from criticism," Silverman wrote. "Everyone has the responsibility to lead moral lives, and 'It's my religion' is not an excuse for bigotry or immorality."

Silverman continued: "Some Americans seem to think that bigotry in the name of religion is somehow permissible. It is not. We hope that the believers of Austin place anti-atheist bigotry in the same category as anti-Semitism or racism - a relic of the past that needs to be jettisoned for all the right reasons."

Six of the billboards will be dispersed around the Austin area, with four placed on high traffic freeways.

This is not the first time American Atheists has used billboards to get its message out.

Last March, the group targeted Muslims and Jews with billboards that called God a "myth" in both Arabic and Hebrew.

In November 2010, the same group posted a billboard around the holiday season that read, "You KNOW it's a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON."

Silverman, who has been criticized for this in-your-face atheism, has long defended the tactic, saying that the confrontation is meant to "grow the cause and benefit the country."

"That's why companies buy billboards - to get attention," Silverman wrote.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Catholic Church • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Pope • Rick Santorum • Sarah Palin

soundoff (3,513 Responses)
  1. Uncle Albert

    My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
    –Albert Einstein

    March 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  2. Scott

    Ah yes, the atheists haven't been making any headlines lately and started suffering from rejection syndrome. Therefore, their collective аnuѕ (mouth) dilates, their hemorrhoids (a.k.a. lips) start to flutter in the breeze as they out gas their latest moronic sewage.

    Scott

    March 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Scott's ex-wife

      Scott, I left you for an atheist because your penis was so tiny.

      I'm so much happier and more satisfied now, and I don't have to waste time in church on Sundays any more with you and your stupid friends.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • peppe

      Wow, thanks Scott, How does that contribute to the discussion?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • peppe

      Scott, just did a quick search of the believers headlines. They seem to be mostly about priest abusing little boys, Westboro Baptists saying God hates the families of fallen soldiers, politicians deciding that women now need two (not just one) unnecessary medical procedure before they can be allowed to make decisions about their bodies, and Christians telling couples who want to legally commit their lives to each other that they aren't allowed to do that. A little longer ago there was the murder of the abortion provider in Topeka, and who could forget that little war in Iraq (that we all know was about religion and oil, not weapons of mass destruction)

      March 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  3. Wytchfinder

    Ben Franklin was a wise old cuss, and said "Lighthouses have saved more souls than churches!", Then went on to say, " Religion has killed more people than smallpox!" Something for all the believers, and non believers to think about....Sounds pretty much true today, doesn't it?

    March 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Scott

      According to Wikiquote the "lighthouse" "quote" is misattributed. See: en.wikiquote.ORG/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin Please try finding a reputable source for your religion hating quotes.

      Scott

      March 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  4. Boffer Bierce

    The Death of God has been met with sadness by some. It kindles in me the spirit of opportunity. God and the associated baggage of his “moral order” were impediments to progress. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sphere of commerce. Some years ago, I developed a most useful medicine. Taken internally it is a cure for disorders of all kinds and acts as a general tonic. Applied topically, it is a remedy for gout and psoriasis and posses an SPF of 15. The precise recipe is, of course, a trade secret and is protected under US Patent. While God lived, the oppressive machinery of society stood in the way of the production and release of my curative to a needy world. The Death of God, I hope, will occasion its availability on the free market.

    I speak of Oil of Man.

    Oil of Man really is one of the most useful medicines ever discovered. Its production has been somewhat limited by the natural reticence of society to make sacrifices for the afflicted. During research and development for Oil of Man, I was, in fact, forced to requisition donations of certain vital ingredients for my vats. The destruction of the logically inconsistent but simple moral system of the theists will, I hope increase availability of the necessary raw material. A godless society is perfect for the production of Oil of Man. The attempts of the Godless to construct a logically consistent system of ethics sans theos are a failure and are easily discarded by the pragmatic and enterprising among us. Some free thinking rural physicians in my area have been utilizing my tonic for years now-sending patients to me (the only dispensing pharmacy) with a prescription they are pleased to designate as __OL. Hom__.

    Thank heavens for the progress of free thought. The elimination of society’s detritus (unwanted children, the elderly, the poor, opposing political parties, etc.) and their incorporation into Oil of Man will be of great general weal to mankind as it hurtles into a future free of outmoded concepts like good and evil.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
  5. I Am God.

    Bet you ten bucks the same troll talking about totalitarian regimes are the same as Atheism will show up under another profile name in another 20 minutes.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  6. Uncle Albert

    I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.
    –Albert Einstein

    March 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • peppe

      Are you suggesting Einstein was religious? He wasn't (although he rejected the term "atheist") He though anyone who was sure lacked any degree of humility. But, he clearly, clearly did not believe in God. (Except 'the God of Spinoza") He usually referred to himself as agnostic or non-believer.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • AC

      Hey delusional Albert, stop slandering Einstein. Stop misquoting him. Stop lying. You may not be capable of it, but try, if for nothing else than your own (if you have any) integrity. Einstein was an atheist and would laugh and sneer at you. He did muse, that the ultimate underlying laws of physics (which drive all reality) could be metaphorically referred too as 'god'. In that sense he was using the word 'god' in a completely and obviously 180 degrees different meaning than any of you lying faithiests try to ascribe to him. LOL. Delude on.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  7. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    =================================================
    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  8. Sue

    I am a Christian. With that said, I do not believe in the brand of Christianity of Santorum, Palin and Jeffers. A Christian has tolerance for everyone. These politicians want you to believe there is no room for anyone different than they are. And the minister should be ashamed.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      Christians don't agree on what a Christian is. If these people imagine that they exemplify Christianity, who am I to argue? I consider everyone who tells me they're a Christian to be a Christian. It's obvious to me that every believer thinks that their brand of belief is the truest and rightest and most moral of all– otherwise, they'd believe some other thing. I'm fine with people believing whatever they please, so long as they do not ask for privileges they'd deny to others.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  9. Nietodarwin

    "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . We need believing people." (Adolf Hitler. April 26, 1933, from a speech made during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933.)
    “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so [Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]
    -1. “The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this_world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which,_fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its_will against all others.” [Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf" Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

    March 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Fred

      Hitler was a master at saying what he thought his audience wanted to hear.
      Sound like anybody you know currently living in the White House?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  10. Marie

    What's really funny is that in the Bible, Jesus himself said to give "Gods things to God and Caesars ( governments) things like to Caesar" aka politics and religion shouldn't mix..sooo sorry so called "Christian" politicians, you shouldn't be in office dictating law according to The Lord period. Whoops.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Fred

      So sorry, Marie, but that's not what it means.
      You misinterpreted the scripture, but thanks for trying.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  11. Condemn the Sign

    The GLBT community should immediately condemn their placing such a damaging, disrespectul and egregious sign in Dallas with the rainbow flag implying consent from the Gay community! To do any less is to be completely irresponsible to the community many of whom are practicing Christians and even clergy!

    March 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • I Am God.

      It wasn't meant as consent; it was meant as support.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      Why?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Why don't you let them decide for themselves? Or, are you afraid that they already did?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Except for possible the words "Go Godless Instead", which I dislike because of its divisive properties, there is absolutely nothing disrespectful about the sign at all.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • A Ploy

      Wouldn't doubt it if it's a ploy on their part to make Gays and Lesbians look bad during a time when the Supreme Court is taking up the Gay marriage issue! Indeed, the billboard should be rightfully condemned and Posthaste!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • cave man

      It sounds as though you think that people who don't agree with you don't have the right to express themselves. While I agree the simplistic approach of these billboards is kind of silly, what about all the signs that express religious or conservative views out there? The Dallas area actually has a very large gay poulation. Do they not have a voice in this free society? And if the clergy can't handle a bit of persecution, then they shouldn't be clergy.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • UR Spot On

      You're Spot On in asking for the removal of their trashy sign as not every member of the GLBT community goes along with atheistic beliefs, far from it. Many are good, practicing Christians, voters, and taxpayers who rightfully resent such trash being placed on our nation's highways! Off With The Sign!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Akira

      Especially when they are the forerunners of gay persecution, cave man.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Yes Remove It

      You're Spot On in asking for the removal of their disrespectful sign as not every member of the GLBT community goes along with atheistic beliefs, far from it. Many are good, practicing Christians, voters, and taxpayers who rightfully resent such trash being placed on our nation's highways! Off With The Sign!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Akira

      A ploy, you think it should be condemned...why? Because you don't think that the LGBT community is supportive of it? I am sure they asked the gay members of their association before they put the flag on the billboards...I find this as a reason to take down the billboards disingenuous. I call bs.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Wheres the LOVE

      You know the more I read the quote from that closed-minded Jeffress guy the more I see reason in removing the billboard as others have said! It's just feeding more fuel to the fire. There's no room for prejudice from the atheist side seeping over to the Gay and Lesbian side by trying to stir things up. Gay people have suffered enough without this crazy group opening up another can of worms with more hate, intolerance, and vitriolic comments. Take the Sign Down!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  12. Robert Brown

    Faith comes by Jesus Christ.

    Faith is a personal experience and a relationship with Jesus Christ. Further experiences and interactions grow faith.

    When Jesus finished giving the parable of the sower from Luke 8:8 “… he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
    The ears he is talking about are not just the ones on each side of your head.

    Then Paul said in Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
    The word of God is not just the written word, or the preached word, but Jesus himself.
    For example, John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Try this,
    Faith comes by hearing and hearing by Jesus Christ, or more simply, faith comes by Jesus Christ.

    Jesus from John 10:27,
    “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

    March 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Are you actually pretending that adherents of other religions don't have faith? Are you actually that ignorant?

      March 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      "There is no god but Allah and Mohummed is his prophet!!'

      (Religious manipulations only work on those who are indoctrinated to believe in the religion... it's kind of like when you are a kid and you look in a dark mirror and say Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary.)

      March 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Gadflie,

      I have never had the level of my intelligence measured, it could be very low.

      This was really for those without faith. Isn’t that the important question? Why or how do you have faith?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • peppe

      Sorry, and why is this faith different from Islam, Hindu, Jewish (Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy, Zeus and Hera spirits in trees and lakes)? They are all "faith", does that make all of them true?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      SisterChromatid,

      I’m not attempting to manipulate anyone, just trying to explain.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Peppe,

      I can’t help you with your list. I believe or have faith in only one God.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Gadflie

      You seem to think that the only path to faith is the one you followed, or that perhaps it is the only legitimate one? Which is it? And, do you have any evidence to support your position?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Gadflie,

      I believe this is the only path available to me. The personal experiences are evidence to me. My personal experiences wouldn’t be very helpful to you, unless we were close friends and you would take my word for it. You will have to have your own personal experiences with God to obtain the evidence you need. I can supply you with information on how you can have your own experience. Interested?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Robert, that would be Romans 10:17 – Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

      I thought the usual understanding is that your God brings about faith:

      Ephesians 2:5 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

      March 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Gadflie

      I'm no more interested in sharing your delusions than I am in sharing those of a follower of Islam, a Mormon, a Rastafarian, a Jew, a Scientologist, or any of the other amusing delusions that some believe in so strongly. If your imaginary friend brings you comfort, you are welcome to your own personal fiction, just as the others who believe just as strongly as you do but in a different god. But, I'll pass. I prefer reality.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom, Tom, the Other One,

      Yes, very good. That is exactly what I was trying to convey, faith comes from God.

      If that wasn’t clear I apologize.

      Also, hearing or reading the word of God, the gospel, as explained in the parable of the sower is not always successful. What makes it successful is Jesus. The little w words need the big W Word, to reveal the message to the heart and mind.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Gadflie,

      Ok, Peace.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  13. ElDorado501

    Atheist agenda is comical and should be treated that way.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Akira

      Any agenda needs to be treated with the same level of scrutiny.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • I Am God.

      You are the comedy on here troll.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • tony

      The interesting situation approaching is that US religious folk are now being whipped up to being anti-muslim in order to support our warring attempts to retain dominance of the middle east. So the evangelical leaders are saying really absurd things in public to discredit, demonize and ridicule that religion, that even the average US younger generation are seeing those absurdities as equally applicable to evangelical beliefs. Evangelicals are on the verge of destroying themselves by blocking the transfer of their beliefs to their own next generation.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Nate Higgers

      I wouldn't say it's anti-muslim, more and more people are hating non-muslim blacks, as well. I'd call it anti-subhuman.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      What is the atheist agenda and how come I didn't get the memo? Is it the same as the gay agenda? Does it support equal rights for everyone?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  14. Kathy in KC

    Palin is SO irrelevant. It's hard to see why they are wasting their time on her. Same with Santorum really, he's so fringe it's not funny. Well let's see what comes of this. I'm on their side though I'm agnostic/pagan/nominally United Methodist. How's that for a paradox?

    March 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Fred

      I agree with Kathy on this one. I don't see why they are choosing to pick on marginal targets.
      If I was gonna pay the money to take potshots at politicians, I'd pick better targets.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  15. Chairman Wow

    Is it not delightful that the three most influential Atheists in history are, in no particular order:

    Lenin
    Stalin
    Nietzsche?

    Nietzsche: the philosophical godfather of Fascism.
    Lenin,: the creator of communism.
    Stalin: arch 20th century proponent of “humanistic principles”.

    The result of their “humanistic philosophies”?

    At LEAST 100 million dead.

    The time span:? 53 years between the death of Nietzsche and the death of Stalin

    March 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • I Am God.

      Do you know the difference between politics and beliefs? Do you know the difference between Communism and Atheism (as well as Fascism and the other dumb things you stated)? Do you think it is about time you got an education?

      March 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Matthew

      Let's look at a few of the most influential catholics, particularly the Pope during the Crusades.

      Let's also look at the Body count of God from the Bible.

      God is a mass murderer too ya know. Yet you worship him....

      March 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • I Am God.

      Don't forget Hitler Matthew. Hitler was a Christian as well.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • ConeyIslandBaby

      Stalin went to a seminary. Look it up.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Akira

      Thank you, I Am God. It wasn’t atheism that killed these people, it was totalitarianism. Not one person died in the name of atheism, but plenty have died in the name of God, by men.
      I do wish that people would finally get that point.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • peppe

      Would you care for a body count for Christian? Start with GW (after all we all know this was about oil and religion) Move on the the "crusades" (nice term, but really just another war, ok 5 wars in the name of religion). The vast, yes vast majority of wars are about power, money and religion, going back 4000 years. Trust me, you really don't want to compare body counts for religion vs atheists

      March 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Chairman Wow

      Satan believes in god as well. And he trembles.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Barb

      Stalin stopped churches functioning, but didn't tell people they had to be atheist. He persecuted those in the hierarchy of several churches, but his actual agenda was for communism, to which "atheism" is very nearly required for complete "equality". He reinstated the churches during the war with Hitler, though, to help boost morale. While he did run ads and such to push an atheistic agenda, he did not force any one person to convert.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • clarity

      That's dumb. Once again we see an uneducated attempt at comparison between totalitarian regimes where it is virtually impossible to know the mind of these ruthless dictators from the past, much less the populations of people that were forced to live under them. You may as well be saying that because Hitler was a devout Christian that he was representative of all Christians. Ridiculous.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • xirume

      100 million bible thumpers dead is a drop in the bucket. We need billions of them dead so we can cure humanity from this mental cancer called religion.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do tell. Why were you with him?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      Lets compare that to the number killed by non-Scientologists. (GASP– every single evil regime leader has been a non-Scientologist!– A male non-scientologist... just like YOU!) If you believe in Scientology you may be able to save yourself! By your logic, non-belief in Scientology is a recipe for disaster. Tom Cruise is clearly a much better person (and more successful) than you are– and he's a Scientologist. Quick– sign up for your free personality test. The thetans are ruining you. Get cleared now.

      Let's see... how many people did god kill in the bible? How many women, children, puppies, bunnies, and non-Scientologist men were killed in his flood, for example? And how many miscarriages is he responsible for? Oh that's right, in theist land nobody really dies– they just start their happily ever after (if they believed the right magic story, that is)– or they begin god's "loving" eternal torture plan for nebulous finite misdeeds which he knew in advance of their birth that they'd commit! Jesus didn't really die... he just temporarily died to save those who BELIEVE he died, right? Or something like that.

      Your indoctrinators may have been able to sway you into believing crazy crap goofy rhetoric, but as you can see, it doesn't really work on smart people. Secular mostly atheistic democracies are the healthiest by almost every measure. See Scandinavia and compare the statistics. Religiosity is associated with lower I.Q.s, more paranoia, less education, scientific illiteracy, greater crime rates, higher homicide rates, and more STDs. The most religious areas of the United States are the most dysfunctional by many measures. But keep trolling the statistics and let your indoctrinators continue to dump crap into your head, and you may just be able to keep your faith for life. Yeehaw!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Fred

      Atheism was a key element of communism. Deny all you want, it's still true.
      But for those of you who did a great job of bringing up the Crusades from ONE THOUSAND YEARS AGO,
      you need to get some new material.
      The 20th century saw how atheism led to the slaughter of millions.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • ticktockman0

      If you can find an atheist equivalent to any holy book, then point out where atheists are commanded to smite and kill their enemies. I'll bet you can't, as there is no such thing. However, I can point to many verses in the Bible or the Koran, which are supposedly "holy" writings. Atheism is simple: lack of belief in a deity. That's it. There is no rule book, and no commandments to follow. Stalin's purges were not motivated by atheism, but by a lust for power. You cannot argue that religion is a superior way than atheism, so you try dragging it through the same bloody mire that religion inhabits. A very immature argument method.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  16. peppe

    They invisible man in the sky believers are worried, and they should be. Four stages of social change (from Gandhi)
    First they ignore you (pre 1920)
    Then they ridicule you (1920 to 1970)
    Then they fight you (started about 1970)
    Then you win. (probably about 2040, according to some models)
    Happy to announce we are well into stage 3. Believers, you are fighting a losing battle, history is not on your side. Reason will win. You can slow it down, with ignorance and "intelligent design" courses, but you will not win.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Fred

      Actually, history IS on the side of religion. People have a spiritual side and deny all you want, it's not going away.
      By the way, neither is religion. You can cry, you can deny, you can sit and spin for all I care, don't bet the house on
      religion being gone by 2040 (or any other year for that matter).
      By the way, Gandhi was no role model. His personal life was a cesspool.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  17. tony

    And you don't have to put anything in the collection plate for atheism.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  18. SoldierOfConscience

    Atheist believe in nothing. Smart people do not believe in nothing. I believe in something having created me and the universe. Only stupid person thinks believing in nothing is better than believing in something.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • I Am God.

      We don't believe in deities you nut.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • tony

      You don't have parents?

      March 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • .

      LMAO!

      March 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, you don't. You're a troll. Go back under your bridge.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • peppe

      Since when is believing in science believing in nothing? Google Steven Hawking, he can explain (admitted I don't really understand it) why the laws of physics require the creation of the universe, no God required.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Barb

      Atheist believe in a great deal of things, we don't believe in any form of God(s). We believe that anything "supernatural" has a valid, and generally scientific, explanation to it. Even if the answers are not there for us now, they will be at some point in time. It takes looking deeper into things we do not fully understand to find the true answers.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • == o ==

      Once again SoldierOfStupidity demonstrates why they were fired from the Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co..

      March 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Denverdriver

      Atheists and other smart people believe in reason and science, not the rantings of stupid preachers about the big man in the sky.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • xirume

      And you think you are smart? No, you are delusional

      March 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      You believe in a god made of nothing who poofed everything from nothing as part of some bizarro plan involving him becoming his own son to save his beloved creations from the hell he poofed from nothing.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • SoldierOfConscience

      Peppe

      Using science only please answer

      how was the universe created (If you answer big bang, I ask what was there before the big bang)
      how was life started

      You cant answer. So science is deficient. I can say God created the universe and God created life. so there. You DO believe in nothing. 2 simple questions I seek answers to.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • == o ==

      SoldierOfDumbness. Just because the answers are not presently available doesn't mean your see-thru folklore is a good subst-itute.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • SoldierOfConscience

      More questions to answer

      If 'evolution' by itself explains all creation, then where are ALL the fossil between old old monkey and me?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      SOC- I'll fill you in on an important detail: very few animals are fossilized, even in fragments. No doubt many whole species are not represented in the fossil record. Even with that being so, there are quite a few fossil specimens from species related to ours. Figuring out which are our ancestors is a work in progress. There may always be missing pieces of the puzzle. You will probably decide that means your God will be able to hold on a bit longer as the Creator with humans as its special creation.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tommy

      Easy questions? Really?

      March 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  19. Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

    When you encounter someone who professes to be an Atheist, take the most personally advantageous action: eat him. Atheists are high in protein and a good source of B vitamins and amino acids. Be discreet in your endeavors until Atheists are recgonized as game animals by the state. Remember, you have nothing to fear except law enforcement as long as you have braised, roasted or broiled the Atheist to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. They are also good in casseroles and fricassees.
    Atheists are a small and weak minority who should be exploited.
    Make no mistake...I am an Atheist myself...but I will never reveal that to the world. It serves my interests to call myself a Christian in order to further my purposes.
    Do not bore me with notions of how I should obey my "inner moral sense". My moral sense is nothing but a biological construct, a primitive survival advantage I have outgrown...much as I have outgrown the need for God. I can discard them both easily...they are worthless to me...After all, God Is Dead and the only good is what is good for ME. I am the Superman. I am beyond Good and Evil.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, you did warn us with your handle.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • ticktockman0

      Uh huh.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Red Mann

      Thus spake the ghost of Dean Swift.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  20. meh

    one thing about atheists that i appreciate is that they provide a level of entertainment on a slow news day. this is good. probably why cnn posted the story today. thanks, cnn!

    March 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • .

      One thing I find entertaining about believers is that they absolutely get so bent out of shape at the thought of equality for everyone, and not only to those who goose-step to their own particular brand of "right". It's a plethora of comedic gold every day here on the old BB, and the hilarious thing is: nobody can make this kind of comedy up. So thanks, CNN, for providing one of the best sources of comedy anywhere: the Belief Blog.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • I Am God.

      When are you going to stop posting the same rhetoric on a different profile every time troll?

      March 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • tony

      entertainment without the guilt of topping up the (tax exempt) collection plate.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
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About this blog

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