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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. Brian

    If We are to "Go G-dless" as the graphic suggests just because a few Fools abuse religion, then by the same logic We should also abstain from alcohol just because a few Fools drive drunk, abstain from communicating just because a few Fools put forth unsound argument, and abstain from eating just because a few Fools eat too much. How about this, instead of worrying /why/ Someone wants a particular law or set of laws, why not worry about the *effects* of said proposed law(s)? To attack a proposal as supposedly being wrong simply because it is spoken by Someone the Speaker does not like is argumentum ad hominem, is logically invalid, and strongly suggests said Speaker has no real way discrediting the *ideas* put forth in said proposal.

    March 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Brian, you need to look up the term "argumentum ad hominem", it doesn't mean what you obviously think it does.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • tony

      If was just a few, and not those who seek or hold power over the rest of us, I wouldn't worry either.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You should "go godless" because it's the wise, right thing to do, not because of a billboard or other morons.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      No... suggesting that people stop believing in invisible men is not the same as telling them to not drink alcohol. But if it makes you feel better about your magical beliefs to pretend that they are similar, then go ahead with your analogy. The ad isn't for people like you. It's for people ready to leave their magical thinking behind.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      ...psst arguments about god are discredited from the get go until gods can be properly defined and demonstrated to exist. This is even more true for arguments about what "god" supposedly wants. The hijackers truly believed that god wanted them to drive airplanes into buildings. You can't prove them wrong, and your god didn't use his omnipotence to stop them despite the prayers of passengers; in fact, if he exists, he seemed to be going by the name "Allah" on that day.

      There is no way to tell a real god from a voice in the head. This is why arguments about what god wants are as discredited as arguments about who people were in their last life or what Xenu wants amongst the rational. You have to demonstrate that a being exists before you can claim to know what it's thinking. I think that we can all trust that real gos are capable of communicating their intentions without people like you or Sarah Palin. Now scurry along before Thor throws a lightening bolt your way for being goofy in the name of your faith.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  2. ahmedhaider

    The atheists will never be able to withstand what God has planned for them,when they enter hell,they will be dragged on their faces,they will be chained like animals,hot boiling water will be poured on all their bodies,every time their skin gets burned,God replaces their skin with new skin so they can get burned again,they will drink hot boiling water and the puss that comes out of their burning skin and body,they will eat from a tree that when eaten causes their stomach to burn in flame,their will be tough strong huge angles that will have no mercy and they will torrcher them without feeling sorry for them,i ask you,do you want to go to a place like this that the atheist will end up in

    March 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Gadflie

      YAWN! Silence of the Lambs was a better story. More believable.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • tony

      Oh you devil, you.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're an idiot who can't spell "torture," "angels," or "pus," and you don't know the difference between "there" and "their." I'm not terribly impressed by what you think, since it's obvious you rarely engage in such an activity.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Yep, that's the sort of god you worship and call "good." Congratulations on worshiping the greatest azzhole ever imagined.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I didn't know that God is such a hands-on sort of guy. Does he actually run hell?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • CommonSenseSam

      ahmedhaider has just described his own serial-killer wet dream scenario for atheists. Facing that kind of hate from the religious community, it's no wonder atheists can't be quiet and just take it.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      ahmed: your god sounds like a vindictive pr1ck. enjoy eternity on your knees

      March 4, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  3. John Jay

    I'm an atheist and this is a complete waste of money. They'd be better off donating this money to charity.

    March 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Brian

      Excellent point, John Jay, like the George Takei photo I saw on Facebook says, "Great Leaders don't tell You what to do ... They show You how it's done." If an Atheist wants to show a Believer how to have a more constructive Life, the Atheist should lead by example.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  4. Ron

    "Bill T. – LOL. What powerful organization American Atheists must be. The billboard looks like it was designed by my 7 year old daughter."

    I agree! The billboard message is intended for those with the mind of a 7 year old.

    March 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Eric

      Probably because we don't have giant coffers like a megachurch. The "power" of an organization doesn't reflect the correctness/incorrectness of its positions.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  5. Robert Brown

    I listened to the word of God preached for several years, nothing happened, and then one day he began to deal with my heart and mind.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Yep, brainwashing generally involves wearing a subject down like that.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • frank

      What was he dealing – Texas hold 'em?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      Or (and this is far more probable), you confirmed your biases. Millions of Mormons truly believe that they god a sign from god letting them personally know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

      I don't think any real gods would need people excuses about working in mysterious ways.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Gadflie,

      Brainwashing or even mild indoctrination can be effective, temporarily. The subject can be motivated to do things, but away from the reinforcement it wears off pretty quick. I have experienced some, but not in church, how about you?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Frank,
      The truth.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      SisterChromatid,

      More like the holy spirit of God revealed to me that I was a sinner, in need of a savior.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Robert, so you moved away from a culture where Christianity is the predominant belief system? If not, then you are just deluding yourself if you think your brainwashing isn't being reinforced constantly. And, in reality, unless an effort is made to remove the effects of brainwashing (which obviously hasn't happened in your case), then the effects can actually last indefinitely. I learned that in SERE Level C training.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      Or maybe it was an alien? Or Vishnu? Or a Thetan? Or an impish super smart alien who didn't want you to know he existed. Or an invisible fairy trying to get you to believe it was god? Or an Incubus? How does one tell real invisible beings from the imaginary ones anyhow.

      I'm sure you believe in whatever it is that "feels" right– just like I know that people truly believe that they've seen chupacabras or been probed by aliens. But, I don't believe in these things. In my experience, real things are distinguishable form illusions, misperceptions, imaginary things and the like– they leave evidence. When told a fantastical tale, human misperceptions is a far more likely answer than anything like the above being real. People who don't believe in witches... don't see witches. People who don't believe in magic, don't give magical explanations to phenomena they don't understand. You can see how people who have had misfortune might truly believe that their neighbor put a curse on them without believing such a thing yourself. That's how I feel about your experience.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Gadflie,

      Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

      That is kind of the point I was trying to make, although I was never as motivated as you. Military training at most levels involves some indoctrination or motivation, sleep and rest deprivation, physical stress, mental stress, and training day in and day out. It works, but away from it, what you were motivated to do loses its intensity. I just don’t think going to church for an hour every once and a while, and even living in a Christian country, quite measures up to brainwashing. The pressure is just not the same.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      SisterChromatid,

      I guess it could be any of those things but I know him as Jesus and I know you can’t logically accept my experience, but suppose you had one for yourself, then another, then another, and so on, could you accept your own experiences?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Robert, really? You don't think that people can be brainwashed into a belief system with the more subtle indoctrination techniques used by religious organizations and have it stick? Then how do you explain the inarguable undeniable fact that the easiest way to determine which belief system you adhere to is to see which is the most common belief system around you? If you grow up around Muslims, you believe in Allah. If you grow up in most of India, you are almost certainly Hindu. If you grew up in ancient Greece, you thought that Zeus was the baddest God on the block. Yes, there are exceptions. But, they tend to be pretty damned rare. And, there is NO WAY to explain this other than indoctrination (brainwashing by another name).

      March 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Gadflie,

      I guess we’ll just have to disagree then. The easy answer is that the predominate belief system is almost literally the only one available. Also, if Christianity is so effective at brainwashing, why are there unbelievers?

      Here is one that I will agree with you on, Madrasah.

      Peace.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Robert, that's simple, not everyone is indoctrinated to the same extent. And, some are more susceptible. So, I can answer your questions but, well, you can't answer mine since obviously belief doesn't in any way require Jesus. And, you have to remember, throughout most of the history of Christianity in Europe, the only way to an education, especially a higher education, was through the Christian (usually Catholic) church. It's not like the Muslims invented that approach. And, as soon as the Christians allowed public education, their hold started weakening because the indoctrination wasn't as effective...

      March 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  6. Richard Dawkins in a moment of "Gotcha Journalism"

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8&w=640&h=360]

    March 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  7. Sechevich

    Do you wonder why atheists spend so much time worrying about the beliefs of others? Why do they care if I believe in god or not? The reason why is that humans are hard wired to seek out God. It’s built into us just like the urge to sleep each night and eat when we are hungry. The atheists are seeking out arguments about God because this is their way of getting closer to destination that they are denying themselves. The will fight the urge, but in the end will always end up talking about the very God to which they claim no belief.
    Incidentally, those billboards will help the GOP win elections here in America. Especially in Texas.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Gadflie

      "(H)umans are hard wired to seek out God". This reveals an amazing ignorance of history. In reality, it's clear that instead we humans are hard wired to invent different gods. After all, we have invented over 2500 of them so far. Face it, we humans like to find answers. And, "god did it" is a great placeholder until we have enough knowledge to get the real answer.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      Why should we have to know which magical things you believe in? If you were as private with your supernatural beliefs as you wanted those with conflicting faiths to be, you'd never have to hear how silly, wrong, and potentially harmful others find your beliefs. Remember, to those outside your faith, you are not the fabulous person you imagine yourself to be– you are as wacky and wrong and unable to reason as you think the Mormons and Muslims and Scientologists are. I prefer to think of people as rational until they open up their mind and let me know of the goofy magical things they feel proud to "believe in". I don't think ignorance or magical beliefs are things that people should be proud of. I think it's harmful to imagine such beliefs make you moral. Treating others well makes you moral– not convincing yourself that your religion is "the truth".

      I tell you what, when the faithful stop manipulating people into belief with promises of heaven, threats of hell, and other cultish techniques, we atheists will keep our opinions of your crazy to ourselves.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • tony

      They worry that nutters like you may get to groom their innocent, and definitely not-wired, children

      March 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • WMinWI

      As an atheist myself, I can tell you first hand I do not spend very much time thinking or caring about the mythological beliefs of others. Frankly I could care less if you want to worship in the flying purple spaghetti monster. The only times I really start to think about your myth when a someone at work or I’m out doing something and one of YOU feels the need to inject your faith into my life or worse, when one of our nations policy makers feels the need to govern from the bible. This nation was founded on its diversity and acceptance of other faiths and other beliefs (even the lack thereof), yet you so called Christians feel the need to attack any way of life that is not yours. THAT’S when I start thinking of your flying purple spaghetti monster.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • MarkInPDX

      Your belief in a god or gods isn't the issue with atheists. It's your use of a god as a means to promote your own bigotry and hate that's the problem.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Well for me, I care because of the effect of religion on politics. The Republicans have positioned themselves so that religious people vote for them on social issues, while they pursue an economic agenda that disadvantages me, and probably you, and leads to a nation in which prosperity is reserved for the very few. Religious people are so concerned about the so-called "culture war" that they're out there voting for the greatest enemies of the well-being and opportunity of the working- and middle-classes. The broad-based economic prosperity of that "golden age" the conservatives all pine for was created by the New Deal, by liberal economics. We ran into one cyclical recession in the '70's, and the Republicans seized on it as an excuse to rig government and society for the benefit of people who are already rich, while taking away opportunities from everyone else...then they crushed the unions so that workers would never be able to get back better pay and better job security, while investors make more and more and pay less and less in taxes. Now the richest 400 families in America control more wealth than half of the entire population. From my point of view, religious people were manipulated by the rich to make sure that my life is harder than my parents' was. Religion blinds people in politics, and even they end up suffering...but when they do, the GOP tells them it's the Democrats' fault.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
  8. SoldierOfConscience

    darwin and his ilk, fellow atheists, decided to play God.

    look up the connection between eu-genics and darwinists. they talked about a 'superior ra–ce'. This is what happens when you deny your creator.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      Does your hypothesis explain why the KKK is a Christian organization?

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

      Your spelling grammar and logic lead me to believe you are a home-schooled Christian.

      Darwin was a scientist. It's not his fault that reality conflicts with your indoctrinator's magical beliefs. What was he supposed to do– pretend it wasn't true? Darwin never even knew about DNA– and DNA proves that he was more right than he could ever imagine. I hope one day you overcome your faith-created ignorance. There really is no use denying common descent.Our 2nd chromosome is the fusion of two ape chromosomes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8FfMBYCkk There is no doubt in the scientific community. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=universal-common-ancestor Your children will know you are liars by the growing mountain of evidence and won't be able to trust anything you say.

      It's not the fault of scientists, rationalists, and honest people that there is zero evidence for gods, souls, demons, etc. and a huge and growing body of evidence for evolution. If you faith hinges on evolution not being true, then you better remove all media sources from your home right now. Never visit a library, museum, or university. Never learn about DNA. Don't talk to smart people. Become Amish if you must.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • lol??

      inc'd ER??

      March 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • lol??

      ".......It's not the fault of scientists, rationalists, and honest people that there is zero evidence for gods....." Tryin' to weasel out, sistah??

      March 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • == o ==

      HunchbackHelperOfaConMan's grammar and logic lead me to believe it was dropped on it's head a few times.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • roadwalker

      And what of the slaveowners and segregationists who used to latch onto Genesis 9:25 to justify slavery?

      It's silly, honestly to define an entire group of people (be it relgious people or atheists) because of what a few of them may have thought.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • adh1729

      "zero evidence for ... souls" i.e. you think we are just matter. There is zero evidence that we are just matter, i.e. atoms and molecules and nothing else. You may say there is zero evidence for gods or souls; there is also zero evidence against.

      If we are just matter, then murd er or rap e or child abuse shouldn't make any more difference than tossing a rock into the ocean.

      Science has no tools to detect soul or spirit or god, so science ASSumes that they must not exist. If there is any superintelligence called "God" or "Allah" or whatever, then he could mess up the results of your scientific inquiries (e.g. into the distant past of the earth). That might explain why the fossil record is much more consistent with progressive creation than it is with neo-Darwinian evolution, or why fossils and fossil fuels have detectable carbon 14 when they should have absolutely none. So, your brand of science needs to ASSume that there is no God. It is a fundamental postulate of your science. Hence, if your reasoning starts by assuming that there is no God, then it cannot prove that there is no God, because that would be circular reasoning.

      Coming back to your "zero evidence for souls": explain why we consciously experience the world around us? Because our brains have electric circuits? Do computer hard drives possess consciousness? Powerlines? Cardiac or skeletal muscle tissues (they also pass electrical impulses from cell to cell)? Do neurons grown in tissue culture possess consciousness?

      Cut out the arrogant so-called science. There is so much that we don't understand.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      None of which indicates that there must be some invisible being running the show.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Adh, zero evidence against? That's a logical fallacy known as "Negative Proof", look it up and educate yourself.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • adh1729

      "Adh, zero evidence against? That's a logical fallacy known as "Negative Proof", look it up and educate yourself." The laws of logic prove that we are just matter and that there is nothing else to the human being? Screw your so-called logic. You clearly have no education and can't think, if you believe that the laws of logic prove that a human being is matter and only matter.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where's your evidence that humans are not just matter, adh? Got any? Love to see it.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • adh1729

      "None of which indicates that there must be some invisible being running the show." Why are you such a true-believer in blind chance running the show? You aware that even the big bang wound up needing "God" to run it, so life as we know it could come into being? If your scientists can't make the simplest form of life, and your neo-Darwinian evolution theory is seriously flawed, it would seem that your faith in blind chance should be much weaker than it is.

      Your belief system is based on wishful thinking. You want it to be so, so you assume it must be so.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • adh1729

      "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: Where's your evidence that humans are not just matter, adh? Got any? Love to see it."

      You met any rocks yet who loved each other? Any carrots? Glasses of milk?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do you believe some invisible being is running it? And why, if this creature is omnipotent, omniscient, and loving, is he silent and inactive?

      Just because you can't wrap your mind around the idea that there doesn't "have to be" some puppet-master controlling all doesn't mean everyone is so lacking in imagination.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you think that consciousness means we have souls? Why? Do you think animals have souls? Why not?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where's your evidence that "god was needed to start the Big Bang"? There isn't any evidence of that at all, adh. What does being unable to create life in a lab have to do it? Just because we do not have every answer yet doesn't mean that it must have been a god. You choose to believe there's one, but that doesn't make it a fact.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Edit: "have to do with it."

      March 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "You met any rocks yet who loved each other? Any carrots? Glasses of milk?"

      That's your evidence that humans are more than matter?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Your belief system is based on wishful thinking. You want it to be so, so you assume it must be so"

      Oh, the irony.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Austin

      End religion, Remember hitler is in hell? What's with your kkk defamation desperation of Christianity? Does it talk about race in the new testament? Where is the verse that says attack other ethnicities? Can you tie together the kkk to the bible? Show me the kkk doctrine from the bible?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • adh1729

      It seems that the last time I met you in this setting, I was declared to be an "azz"; makes me think you don't have a very open mind.

      If "God" chooses to remain distant, that is his own choice. The Bible and other holy books have plenty to say about it, but I won't quote them to you because you hate all such books.

      I don't pretend to have all the answers (i.e. do animals have souls? dogs? worms? ad infinitum). I get tired of militant atheists who pretend to have all the answers and despise anyone who thinks differently. I have an atheist for a brother; I don't hate him for what he believes.

      I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest God, but I would definitely not stridently come out and say I could prove his existence using science or math or logic.

      I have to go to work in the morning and will therefore not check on this for quite a few hours.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Damocles

      I've seen some rocks in some compromising posistions. Not to mention that I once came upon a whole pile of rocks, who knows what was going on there.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • adh1729

      "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: Your belief system is based on wishful thinking. You want it to be so, so you assume it must be so Oh, the irony."

      Ironical, yes, and also true.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "I don't pretend to have all the answers"

      That's just it, adh: you DO pretend to have all the answers. You pretend to know that god dun it. You don't like it when someone doesn't just believe it. You claim there's evidence. What is it? Because you have yet to produce any at all.

      I'm fine with someone believing in god, as long as he acknowledges that that is what it is: belief. It's when people insist that they "know" or "can prove" there's a god who created all that I object.

      And it's when these same folks try to use their beliefs to discriminate against others, slow scientific progress, and dictate how others run their lives that I have every right to refuse to allow it.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • adh1729

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "You met any rocks yet who loved each other? Any carrots? Glasses of milk?"

      That's your evidence that humans are more than matter?

      My reply: if you lack intuition, so be it. If you can't see that you differ in a huge way from inanimate matter, I would be a fool to keep trying to enlighten you. It seems that the whole human race used to know things that you rocket scientists are now forgetting.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't think you catch the irony. Your belief system is nothing more than wishful thinking. You want there to be a god, so you believe there is one.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It doesn't take a rocket scientist to distinguish between inanimate objects and sentient beings, adh, but apparently you aren't able to do so. People are conscious. So are animals. Do they have souls? How do you know?

      You're the one who seems annoyed that I ask these questions. Why?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • adh1729

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "I don't pretend to have all the answers" That's just it, adh: you DO pretend to have all the answers. You pretend to know that god dun it. You don't like it when someone doesn't just believe it. You claim there's evidence. What is it? Because you have yet to produce any at all. I'm fine with someone believing in god, as long as he acknowledges that that is what it is: belief. It's when people insist that they "know" or "can prove" there's a god who created all that I object. And it's when these same folks try to use their beliefs to discriminate against others, slow scientific progress, and dictate how others run their lives that I have every right to refuse to allow it.

      My reply: I think you confuse me with others that you have met. Of course I think that belief in God is belief, and not proof. I repeat, I don't pretend to know everything.

      It just seems ironic that you think that belief in a creator is just so horrendous a stretch, but you (or at least your club) will gladly allow blind chance to do all sorts of things that fly in the face of science or reason. You would never credit an explosion or an earthquake with CREATING a house.

      I am a well educated person, and happen to know that the principles of biochemistry totally militate against even a simple cell arising by blind chance. (It is so laughable as to be unimaginable; like me jumping over the nearest galaxy).

      Regarding the Big Bang, it was found that the parameters of the Big Bang, and the governing constants of physics, had to be perfectly and exquisitely tuned to allow life as we know it to exists. Read on it. I have no training in astrophysics and that is all I can tell you.

      As I said, good night.

      March 4, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's not "horrendous," adh, but yes, it is a stretch. I don't find it believable or likely. It makes no sense to me, and I was raised in a Christian home and attended church most of my life.

      I have no quarrel with those who believe; I do have one with those who insist that their beliefs are the only valid ones and that they have evidence of a god.

      There isn't any.

      March 4, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • adh1729

      "You want there to be a god, so you believe there is one." You know me or something? How do you know that I think that way?

      Many atheists don't want a governing moral authority. Many Christians don't want to think that they are alone in a cosmic sense and that life has no meaning. Both sides engage in wishful thinking, equally. I personally am a hard-headed rationalist and emotional arguments don't appeal to me.

      I seriously considered atheism at points in my life. One thing that majorly turned me off about atheism was the overwhelming degree of dishonesty that I encountered - atheists dripping with scorn and hatred for the Bible that prevented them from even seeing the tip of their nose. If you atheists want to be convincing, start by getting facts straight. It does not help when you attack the Bible that you can't even get basic Biblical facts straight (e.g. Moses commanded that a woman must marry her rapist as the most recent absurd accusation that I encountered). Science and religion are consistent, and the Biblical belief system is consistent and reasonable. You can argue with this all day; I will just point you to famous Western thinkers that believed the Bible. Newton wrote more about religion than he did about science. Yes, he was a closet Arian, and I actually admire him for that. You may say, Newton didn't have the benefit of the scientific advances of the last few centuries; I say, whatever. Which of those advances have disproved God, and how? Does a 200 million year old fossil disprove God? A rocket going to the moon? A gene? The theory of evolution? (That particular jalopy certainly seems to need a lot of help).

      We went round and round regarding the soul (or the lack thereof); all I was trying to point out was, THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION FOR CONSCIOUSNESS. (I am not raising my voice, just don't have an italics button).

      If there is no scientific explanation for consciousness, don't mock the idea of a soul. If science can't create life, then don't mock the idea that a higher power did it. People that live in glass houses should not throw stones.

      The whole reason that atheists and fundamentalists can't get along is, the powers that be want them to fight (the same way they want men and women fighting, racial groups fighting, etc). The government could get out of religion entirely and there wouldn't be a problem. The government doesn't need to recognize marriage (I don't give a hang if they don't recognize my relationship with my wife); the government doesn't need to run public schools (and get into the fight about whether evolution truly explains the origin of species and the origin of life). These are useless and idiotic fights that help nobody (while the country is going down the tubes). Abortion is a stickier issue, because it is a reasonable position to call a fetus a human being. I am personally a libertarian, and don't see the need to force others others to kow-tow to my beliefs. Adios. I don't have all day to argue on these forums. Treat your fellow humans with fairness and kindness, and at the end of the day, God will approve of you, even if you don't currently know him.

      March 4, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  9. I'm so Christian, I'm a Fuc.ing Hindu

    “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    March 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  10. Imagine That

    “I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.”
    ― John Lennon

    March 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • tony

      Listen tot the lyrics of "Imagine"

      March 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @Imagine That

      That quote was from one of the press conferences where Mr Lennon was trying to explain his "We [Beatles] are more popular than jesus" comments, which were taken out of context by xian zealots in 1966.

      The quote you provided has also been taken out of context. Your cherry-picking only proves that you are an ignorant and dishonest xian zealot, as well. However, if you had any rational critical-thinking skills, you would see that the quote (even taken out of context) is clearly one of Humanism. And xians hate Humanists, as they consider them Atheistic.

      Here's a thought, grow up and stop believing in fairy tales. It will do wonders for your credibility.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      March 5, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  11. Special K

    “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
    ― Søren Kierkegaard

    March 3, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      No matter what one prays for, it is equally as crazy to believe it works.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  12. David

    Yah, i'm an atheist.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  13. Bill T.

    LOL. What powerful organization American Atheists must be. The billboard looks like it was designed by my 7 year old daughter.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      When we have to communicate with religious people it is best to dumb things down. I'm surprised they didn't write the billboard in crayon just for you.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Bill S.

      Yeah, well, Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum look stupid (and are stupid) no matter how you frame them.

      And Santorum is just so, well, you know, frothy.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Bill S.

      Good point, ER.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      +1 to ER

      (You know the message has struck a nerve when they complain about the format).

      March 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • CommonSenseSam

      Are your posts inspired by your 7-year-old daughter?
      "OMG. Look @ billboard! LOL!" Add a few smiley faces to the end of your next post so we will know to take you seriously.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  14. SisterChromatid

    Non-religious is the fastest growing religious category in the US (probably the world). I think Christians are a little miffed at having to share the spotlight. People are fleeing Christianity (and other supernatural belief systems) in droves as access to information becomes more available to everyone.

    The truth will out.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  15. I am a moron because I am not an Athiest

    "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day." – Abraham Lincoln

    March 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Viper

      What does Lincoln have to do with anything? He's been dead for 150 years. How is he relevant to this discussion?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Doobs

      No, you're a moron because you can't spell atheist.

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

      Viper,
      Just as relevant (or irrelevant) as the religion hater that posted the misattributed quotes of Ben Franklin.

      Scott

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

      Scott, at least there is a written record of Franklin saying that. But, there is none at all that Lincoln ever said the quote attributed to him above.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Scott

      Totally taken out of context Gadflie. See: en.wikiquote.ORG/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin

      Scott

      March 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Scott, out of context? So you are saying that it actually existed? Because the Lincoln "quote" is something he didn't actually say.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Akira

      I found this, don't know if it helps:

      "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day." Lincoln Observed: The Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks edited by Michael Burlingame (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 210.

      http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln78.html

      March 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Gadflie

      I'm aware of that one. Noah Brooks claimed that several years after Lincoln died. His claim is the only record Lincoln said anything of the sort. And, he is the "source" of many other questionable Lincoln quotes.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  16. HenryB

    I don't like American Christians. They are a sorry bunch. If you like your God then fine but don't push it on me.

    I don't like American atheists either. They now are a sorry bunch. If you don't believe in God fine but don't push it on me.

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

      The atheists are fighting a campaign against Fundamentalist Christians who are trying to run for President of the United States and change our laws to suit their ridiculous biblical ideas.

      This is not an issue of Christians just trying to be "peaceful" and privately living their lives and pray to their God. They want to bring the entire country under their control.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      What's "pushing it on you"? You came to this website. Perhaps you should scurry along if reading this website is making you feel like people are pushing their religion or lack of religion upon you. Once you express your opinion, you can expect that people will feel free to express their opinion of your opinion.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  17. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF CATHOLIC GAY ISM

    "HOW CAN I TRUST YOU WITH POWER IF YOU DON'T PREY?" attaboy, Newt is my kind of a guy.

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

      "You have cancer? Whelp, so much for my solemn promise to god to stay with you in sickness and health, I'm going to find a better model." – Classic Newt. I can see why Christians love him so much. Just putting him under your tent makes your mistakes and cruelties seem so much less abysmal.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  18. Kris

    Why give any ad space to Palin? She's never been a political force of any kind.

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

      ...said John McCain's advisors back in 2008.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  19. Viper

    In America, you have the right to believe in any religion you like... As long as its Christianity.

    In America, you can be anything you want to be... as long as you're a Christian.

    See, try to run for president, and talk about faith and prayer in the same way that Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich do. THEN, tell everyone that you're a Jew or a Muslim.

    These fringe politicians only care about God and faith as long as you pray to the same God that they do. If you don't, then you're no better than those "filthy atheists".

    March 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Akira

      And there lies the conundrum.

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

      Bingo. And these people have been taught for so long to take their religious leaders at their word and that their religion means more than anything that they don't care whether the person is lying or not.

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

      Nate, it sucks for you when the entire quote is so easy to look up. LOL!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  20. Ralph in Orange Park FL

    Isn't targeting politicians who are out of office kind of like shooting at dead deer?

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

      For many, they are still the face of the Republican party (or at least some of the faces). Pointing out their laughable positions associated those positions with the party as a whole.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • SisterChromatid

      some of us think religion is a dead deer too.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:05 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.