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November 30th, 2010
08:24 PM ET

Dueling billboards face off in Christmas controversy

From Laura Dolan, CNN

'Tis the season to be jolly? Not entirely.

An atheist billboard that calls Christmas "a myth" has sparked a growing controversy near the Lincoln Tunnel, a 1.5-mile-long twin tube that connects New Jersey to New York.

The full message, which appears with a nativity scene, reads: "You know it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason."

Its $20,000 price tag was paid for by American Atheists, a New Jersey-based atheist advocacy group, David Silverman, the group's president, told CNN.

"We are addressing the 50 million atheists in this nation," Silverman said.

He said the group erected the sign in a high-traffic area in an effort to challenge drivers to "think hard about whether or not they actually believe in what is, in reality, an invisible magic man in the sky."

Silverman said he is uncertain if it will stay through Christmas or come down on December 21.

The sign, located near the tunnel's New Jersey entrance, has stirred controversy among Christian organizations, prompting one group to erect its own pro-Christmas billboard.

"We decided to counterpunch after a donor came forward seeking to challenge the anti-Christmas statement," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a New York-based Catholic advocacy group.

The League's billboard reads: "You Know It's Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus."

It was erected at the tunnel's Manhattan entrance at a cost of $18,500, according to Donohue.

This is not the first time atheist billboards have called religion into question.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist advocacy group, has placed comparable billboards in some 45 cities and 30 states since October 2007, according to the group's co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor.

In 2008, the British Humanist Association paid for buses in London, England, to be adorned with the slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

But Donahue says such signs are antagonistic.

"I'm not Hindu, I'm not Buddhist, I'm not Jewish but I wouldn't go around denigrating other people's religions and their gods," he said. "[Silverman] ought to respect our religion. He doesn't have to join it."

Silverman says the holiday season has been co-opted by newer traditions.

"There is no flying reindeer in the Bible," he said. "This is not just about Jesus."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas • Holidays • New Jersey • New York • Unitarian Universalism

soundoff (2,418 Responses)
  1. Robert Landbeck

    This bottom of the barrel, level of debate, as an exchange of the billboards between religious and atheist only serves to highlight a profound ignorance on both side of the argument. Religion which claims to speak in the name of a God has no means to demonstrate the source of their licence and atheists, responding to intellectual and spiritual vacuousness of religious myth, has concluded, in the absence of any direct evidence, how can there be a God?

    Into this seemingly unresolvable debate come a new player. What science, religion, philosophy or theology, Hawkins or Dawkins thought impossible has happened. History now has it's first fully demonstrable proof for faith. And coming from outside all existing theologies, clearly has 'tradition' in the cross hairs. Quoting from an online review:

    "The first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged is now a reality. A teaching that delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable, direct cause and effect, evidence based truth embodied in experience. For the first time in history, however unexpected or unwelcome, the world must contend with a claim to new revealed truth, a moral wisdom not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rational and justifiable belief! "

    If confirmed and there appears a growing concerted effort to test and authenticate this material, of which I am taking part, this will represent a paradigm change in the nature of faith and in the moral and intellectual potential of human nature itself;  untangling the greatest  questions of human existence: sustainability, consciousness, meaning, suffering, free will and evil. And at the same time addressing the most profound problems of our age.

    While the religious will find this news most difficult, those who have claimed to be of an Enlightenment mind should find it of particular interest. But if they are unable to appreciate this change in the historical faith paradigm, to one that conforms precisely to a criteria subject to test and confirmation, then their own 'claim' to rationality is no more than pretension nor better then those theological illusions they find so abhorrent.

    A unexpected revolution appears to be under way. More info at http://www.energon.org.uk

    December 1, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • emily o

      I am a believer but not a fanatic. i have been reading these blogs and laughing at both sides of the argument. then i read your blog and it all made sense. funny neither group has responded.

      December 3, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  2. Margie Taylor

    midgerin

    "I dont put up signs to make you believe"–Are you serious? Then why do I see billboards that say nothing but "JESUS" on them everywhere I drive? Why is there a pair of pro-life billboards where I live that say "When you are at the pearly gates and God asks you 'did you protect unborn children' what will your answer be?" You personally may not have put up signs but Christian advocacy groups certainly have. I am happy that we atheists finally have been able to stick it to Christians a little bit.

    Why stick it to Christians? The signs you are quoting are referenced at Christians. Why would they be aimed at athiests, as referenced in"when you are at the pearly gates and Gods asks you", when athiests don't believe in God anyway, the message it sends would be null, to that group. Since you won't be going to the pearly Gates, do to your beliefs, how could it be aimed at you? Why would it even "strike" a chord within you?

    December 1, 2010 at 9:13 am |
    • Todd Zmina

      Margie:

      Really, "stick it to Christians"? I think you misunderstand the teachings of Christ in that YOU too are offered the "pearly gates". What I don't understand is this: you are angry that the "pearly gates" are not equally being offered to you, yet you don't believe in heaven or God...so what are you angry about?!

      December 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  3. Margie Taylor

    Seems that since Satan even addresses and admits God, he knows the real God is the Christian God. Therefore, no need to address the Gods that don't count. Satan will not waste his time, toiling with Gods that don't have any power to send him where he is headed, along with all his followers.,

    December 1, 2010 at 8:44 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Margie Taylor

      OMG Margie! Here's a news flash for you: There is no Satan. Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes? You believe god is all powerful. Yes? You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes? You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes? You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god? Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      Thinking is not baaaaad. It will set you free.

      Love and Prayers!

      December 1, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  4. Question Mark

    OR* correction above

    December 1, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  5. Question Mark

    Ok, why a billborad that attacks Christianity? This billboard is aimed at the Christian God.
    If you as athiests want a billboard, why not one that just simply says something like this:

    Celebrate the Season without a God...enjoy your Winter Soltice! Or something that puts out the thought that you can celebrate with out a God involved, yet does not "offend" anothers religious belief.

    What would happen if your sign said this:

    Celebrate the Season, Forego the Myths of Muslims! You know they bieve a Lie
    of
    Celebrate the Season, Even the Jews Know there is No living God!

    What do you think would happen as a result of that kind of billboard?

    December 1, 2010 at 8:30 am |
    • Maybe

      One myth at a time.

      If you wanted to put up a single sign to lessen fatal auto accidents, "Don't Drink and Drive" would be more effective than, "Don't Drive Fatigued".

      December 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • Alverant

      @Question Mark, why is it OK for church to have anti-Atheist signs? Why do christians start whining when they get a dose of their own medicine?

      December 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • Howard Markowitz

      As said before, christianity is the dominate religion in America. And it is the only religion that proselytizes. Everywhere you look, it is jesus this and jesus that. WWJD – Probably have a good laugh.

      December 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  6. Mike, not me

    I am confused by the contradiction in the article
    "We are addressing the 50 million atheists in this nation," Silverman said.
    But then he goes on to say
    “He said the group erected the sign in a high-traffic area in an effort to challenge drivers to "think hard about whether or not they actually believe in what is, in reality, an invisible magic man in the sky."
    But if atheists who already conclude that God is an invisible magic man in the sky, then how are you addressing the 50 million atheists

    December 1, 2010 at 8:26 am |
    • Patricia

      .... that's exactly right Mike; they did not address the atheists at all. All they did was address the Christians.... if they wanted to address the atheists it would have been a message more supportive for non-believers rather than crushing for believers.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • Freeman3000

      Word.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  7. Reality

    "Atheist billboard: Christmas is a myth"

    Said co-nclusion is supported by the studies of many NT and historic Jesus exegetes.

    e.g.

    Professor Crossan with great tho-ro-ughness examined all the existing scr-iptural writings from the first and second ce-nturies AD/CE. If you do not have his 505 page book, The Historical Jesus, see -.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf.

    Using these doc-uments plus the co-nclusions of the major NT exegetes in the past two hundred years, he compared Jesus' reported acts and sayings to when they were reported and how many reports were made. Those acts and sayings with single or later att-estations along with the current biblical scholarship negativity, were judged not to be done or said by the historical Jesus. Approximately 67% of the NT was judged to be in that category, i.e. embellishments of the facts typically made to compete with the "Caesar", "Al-exander" and Egyptian gods. See faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf

    Use this latter site to analyze your NT references for "Crossan" acceptance, e.g. Matt 1:23
    26±. Jesus Vi-r-g-inally Conceived: (1) Gos. Heb. 1; (2) Matt 1:18-25; (3) Luke 1:26-38; (4a) Ign. Eph. 7:2; (4b) Ign. Eph. 18:2a; (4c) Ign. Eph. 19:1; (4d) Ign. Smyrn. 1:1b., was judged to be not from the historical Jesus but of th-eolo-gical importance.

    These same passages also are in direct conflict with
    (!5a) John 6:42
    (!5b) John 7:40-44
    (!5c) John 8:39-41

    (!6) Luke 2:27,33,41,48

    where Joseph is reported to be the father of Jesus.

    "In Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (2000), Bruce Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a ma-mzer; someone whose irre-gular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the co-mm-unity. He argues for the natural pat-er-nity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous co-nception. In his subsequent reco-nstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-identi-ty, his concept of God and his spiritual quest."

    "John P,Meier [Marginal Jew I,220-22] discusses the vi-rginal conception as part of his larger chapter on Jesus' origins. He earlier notes that both infancy narratives "seem to be largely the product of Christian reflection on the salvific meaning of Jesus Christ in the light of OT prophecies (p. 213). At the end of his examination, Meier concludes:

    "The ends result of this survey must remain meager and disappointing to both defenders and opponents of the doctrine of the vir-ginal conception. Taken by itself, historical-critical research simply does not have the sources and tools available to reach a final decision on the historicity of the vi-rginal conception as narrated by Matthew and Luke. One's acceptance or rejection of the doctrine will be largely influenced by one's own philosophical and theological presu-ppositions, as well as the weight one gives to Church teaching."

    You might also say that here was a man whose simple teachings were embellished to compete with the gods of Rome, Greece, Ba-bylon, Pe-rsia and Eg-ypt to the point that only about 30% of the NT is historical.

    With respect to the Three Kings noted on the billboard:

    The Three Kings/Wise Men myth was developed from all types of analogous legends and OT passages pre-Jesus. See faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=369_Star_of_Revelation for a lenthly review.

    An excerpt:

    Gerd Luedemann

    "Commenting on the infancy narratives overall, Luedemann [Jesus, 124-29] concludes that Luke and Matthew represent "two equally unhistorical narratives." He cites the occurrence of a miraculous heavenly sign at key points in the life of Mithridates VI in a history written by Justinus (active in the reign of Augustus, 2 BCE to 14 CE). "

    John P. Meier (Notre Dame professor)

    "Meier [Marginal Jew I,211ff and 376] considers these traditions to be "largely products of early Christian reflection on the salvific meaning of Jesus in the light of OT prophecies" and concludes that their historicity is "highly questionable."

    December 1, 2010 at 7:48 am |
    • USN Atheist

      Interesting info...though I think you lost most christians at "Atheist billboard: Christmas is a myth".

      December 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  8. Henk Yserman

    "All faiths do harm" (Bertrand Russell), "because their figments defy intellectual self-consciousness" (Henk Yserman)
    If prayer is another word for meditation, than that is a worthy step in self esteem.

    December 1, 2010 at 4:19 am |
    • NL

      "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish." – Author Unknown

      December 1, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      Light a fire for a man, keep him warm for a night. Light a man on fire, keep him warm for a lifetime.

      December 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  9. Kloi

    "go around denigrating other people's religions and their gods' Yes you wouldn't but you'd make it perfectly clear that if they do not except Jesus they'd burn in hell. I live in Wisconsin, and I have seen 6 signs with that message or a similar one, but I just saw my first billboard promoting free thinking.

    December 1, 2010 at 12:38 am |
    • Geez

      I find both sides of this pretty annoying... And after years of being the underdog Aethists are making a surge to be number one.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • Geez

      P.S. this sign does not promote free thinking. Telling me what I know and telling me what to celebrate is not free thinking. If it wanted to promote free thinking it would be fact based.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  10. @thorrsman

    You are proof that all beliefs are not equal. Thank You.

    December 1, 2010 at 12:16 am |
    • HotAirAce

      In the spirit of the finest believer word twisters:

      You are correct! Atheism is a far superior belief than any supernatural diety based one.

      December 1, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  11. thorrsman

    @Truth and Facts
    Ah, and you can PROVE that? Please, lay out that proof for us all.

    November 30, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
    • Truth and Facts

      Go to a hospital and ask a doctor. He can explain it to you.

      And yes, the process of how babies are created has been scientifically proven. LMAO.

      Now where is YOUR proof of Virgins pooping out kids?

      December 1, 2010 at 12:01 am |
    • Truth and Facts

      Go to a hospital and ask a doctor. He can explain it to you.

      And yes, the process of how babies are created has been scientifically proven. LMAO.

      Now where is YOUR proof of Virgins popping out kids?

      December 1, 2010 at 12:01 am |
    • thorrsman

      @Truth and Facts
      In other words, you can not back up your claim, so you will ignore the question in favor of a smart-a$$ remark in a feeble attempt to brush it off.

      December 1, 2010 at 12:10 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @thorssman
      The virgin birth is only referenced in two of the gospels – Matthew and Luke – not the letters of Paul, which are considered the oldest. That such an important biographical point is absent from the others should give pause...
      The author of Matthew tried to pass off the virgin birth as fulfillment of old testament prophecy, specifically Isiah 7:14 in which the work "almah" is used, hebrew for "young woman", not "betulah" which is the word for "virgin".
      There are also discrepancies between the two accounts.
      For example, in Matthew, Jesus' parents learn of the pregnancy through a talking fish, whereas Luke says the angel Gabriel was the news bearer.

      If your neighbour came up to you and said that a sea bass told him that his wife's pregnancy was divine, would you accept that as truth or would you suspect that the milk-man is a more likely paternity?

      December 1, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • Dorothy

      @Doc –

      What on earth are you talking about? Where, pray tell, did you see in Matthew or Luke that they found out through a fish? In Matthew, Joseph has a dream where an angel appears and tells him that his wife is not pregnant through infidelity, and in Luke an angel appears to Mary and really asks that she become the mother of Jesus. No fish are even mentioned. In Mark and John, Jesus is already an adult when we meet him.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You're right – talking fish are ridiculous!
      Talking snakes, however...

      December 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      What proof do you need? That a miracle baby was born or that a jewish tart told a lie?

      December 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  12. David Johnson

    I am really pleased that there are so many freethinkers commenting.

    May the baby Jesus and His 8 tiny reindeer bring you presents aplenty!

    Cheers!

    November 30, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  13. thorrsman

    "We are addressing the 50 million atheists in this nation," Silverman said.

    I wonder why he feels the need to lie about something like that. This was obviously designed as a slap to Christian believers, not some inane outreach to other militant Atheists.

    November 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
    • Truth and Facts

      Truth and facts should never be a "slap" to anyone unless one’s beliefs are based on denying those truths and facts.

      November 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • thorrsman

      @Truth and Facts
      There are no trues in the Atheist billboard, merely an attack on Christian beliefs.

      November 30, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
    • Truth and Facts

      @thorrsman

      The virgin birth story is mythology...That is the truth and a fact....or do some of us still not fully understand how babies are made yet?

      November 30, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Truth and Facts

      Maybe this could explain who Jesus's real daddy was:

      Was the father of Jesus a Roman archer named Tiberius Abdes Pantera?

      A picture of his tombstone in Germany is in the book THE JESUS DYNASTY by James Tabor. The dates in which he lived would coincide in fathering Jesus combined with the fact he was stationed in Palestine. Also, Jewish critics of Jesus wrote in the Talmud his father was a Roman soldier named "Pantera."

      Back in the 1980s, Jane Schaberg wrote a scholarly book called THE ILLEGITIMACY OF JESUS which also touched on these controversial subjects.

      Hmmm... Okay, what is more likely? A Roman Archer is the father or that an all powerful God, got him some?

      Curious in Arizona

      December 1, 2010 at 8:12 am |
    • SmartPeople

      I believe in Silverman's statistics. 50 million atheists is about 15% of the nation's population. I go to Christian church every week but don't believe in God and I suspect many millions who attend fake it just like me. During weekly lectures, preachers and ministers talk about the same brain-washing statements which is very annoying. Preachers and ministers use everything in the psychological warfare manual to put fear into your hearts through the use of hell and satan. Then they sprinkle a little sugar with love, peace, beauty, and health the lord can bring to you. Then they'll work you up to tell you about the great rewards that god is teasing us with if we do a good job in doing everything men wrote in a book 2000 years ago.

      Religion is terrible, it's a big scam and should be banned from our nation. And in this day and age, you've gotta be a fool to believe in everything preachers and ministers try to shove down your throat and in your thoughts. Religion is very harmful to our children and our future nation unless we all believe we can just put are hands together and pray so that all of our troubles and problems will magically disappear. Sorry christians, but god doesn't care if he does exist...9/11 is a perfect example of what god permitted to occur on the history of this nation. Most importantly, god plans to destroy you, everyone, and everything in this world on judgement day – just go ask your preacher or minister on gods future plans, they'll tell you the same thing. basically, god is evil and god is our enemy.

      December 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  14. *Facepalm*

    No one ever said Christmas was a myth.

    November 30, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
    • MagickMan

      Well, yes, kinda. The precept that Jesus was born anywhere this date is a myth. The conflicting nativity scenarios, all of which are somehow exactly true? Yeah, myth. That Christmas had anything to do with Christ before it was used to smother the Roman holiday named Saturnalia? Well, yeah, that one too. But the part about a big feast and giving presents? At least they kept that part of Saturnalia. What, you thought it was a Christian tradition?

      December 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  15. Gary

    As agnostic I totally enjoy Christmas. Santa reindeer fun carols. beautiful decorations. Christmas can be very joyful with family and friends. Its fine for religious folks to enjoy this time. Thats their business. Christmas is not a myth. Christmas is a great American tradition whether you are religious or not.

    November 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • huh

      So Christmas is only 200 years old?

      December 1, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • xactomundo

      Agreed... The winter holiday was co-opted long ago by the christians. I celebrate with my (mostly christian) family and experience the traditions with my daughter and let the parts with the nativity and all that nonsense just fall by the wayside. Christmas is a secular holiday for many of us, and stripping the jesus stuff away makes it no less important as a celebration of family and goodwill and reflection... The christians don't own our winter holiday just because of the name...

      December 1, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • Evan

      @huh

      I would say the current form of Christmas in the US is much less than 200 years old. A lot of the transformation has come from consumerism in our society, but there is also the aspect of family and giving. There are many things in life that make people happy, and it is a time to take a break from a hectic life and reflect on the good things in the world. That's my Christmas, and I enjoy it immensely. I am not, however, Christian. So the piece about celebrating Jesus Christ is not a part of my Christmas. I don't need it for Christmas to exist for me. And if you want to get real technical, the celebration on this particular day doesn't really have to do with Jesus either, it was a day the Pagans celebrated and the Christians changed what the celebration was about, so it's not 2000 years old either.

      December 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • donna

      The billboard is not saying that Christmas is a myth, but that the story of Jesus's birth is.

      December 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  16. Ashley

    If a magic man in the sky is all that's keeping believers from going bats**t crazy, I say let him stay there. I don't think the idea of an atheist billboard is a bad one, but these are definitely bad billboards that perpetuate the idea of nonbelievers as rude, derisive, or (rather ironically) "holier than thou". I agree that the tone of their language is unnecessarily snide. A better billboard could have said something like "Whether you believe or not, focus on the REASON for the season". That would show that despite not ascribing to a religion, many atheists appreciate the fact that many times it is the sole reason that people draw together and are kind to one another. I certainly like the feelings and moral behaviors that holidays such as Christmas bring out in believers. Such a billboard would show that although we are not celebrating the birth of Christ we are still using this time to remember how important it is to go out and spread happiness, appreciate our families and be benevolent to others.

    On another note I think its interesting they decided to pick on Christianity specifically. If they'd done the same thing with Ramadan or Hanukkah they probably would have gotten in trouble for racism/ anti semitism. It speaks to how many atheists have too many hang ups about their past bad experiences in the church...

    November 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • cag

      Atheists in the USA "pick on" christianity not because it is more inane than other religions (they're all inane), but because religions other than christianity are of no significance in North America. As I have never been a christian or an adherent of any religion, past experience is not an issue with me. That there are people who actually believe the lies their parents told them makes me despair for humanity. There should have been a clue when you figured out that there is no Santa Claus, or did I spill the beans?

      November 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • midgerin

      I disagree that they are specifically picking on Christianity. It just happens to be a fact that Christianity is the only religion that advertises like a business. You don't see billboards touting Jewish beliefs. You don't see billboards that say "MOHAMMED" on them. You don't see commercials from an Imam or Rabbi telling you to receive their savior. You do, however, see all of these things from Christians. I would say that by having a billboard, atheists are promoting Christmas the way it should be–a time of family, giving, etc. The problem is Christians have pushed the slogan of "Jesus is the reason for the season", trying to force the religious aspect of Christmas on everyone. Christmas is more than a religious holiday–it is a time for everyone, not just Christians, and I am happy that atheist group had the balls to put that up.

      November 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @midgerin

      Well Said...

      Peace...

      December 1, 2010 at 2:17 am |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ midgerin

      Ah.. you might want to do a little research before making any presumptions.

      http://www.icna.org/2009/09/2195/
      There's lots more.

      You'll find that the Jewish boards tend to be political in nature (imagine), some organizations are even critical of the US.

      December 1, 2010 at 8:02 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Let Us Prey
      These 'Islam' billboards appear to be recent... perhaps these are appearing for a similar reason as the atheist ones, to say... "Hey, Christians... There are other beliefs and non-beliefs out there. You're not the only people in the U.S., let alone the world."

      December 1, 2010 at 9:31 am |
    • Greg

      @ midgerin

      I would like to point out that Jesus is pretty much the reason for the season. I know that it was originally an ancient pagan ritual, and their was a St. Nicholas, and Jesus was really thought to be born in some other seasaon(don't remember which) yada yada yada, but it was incorported here as a Christian holiday. To something else you said..."Christmas is more than a religious holiday–it is a time for everyone, not just Christians..." I don't think that any Christian would disagree with you.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • John-Henry Beck

      @Greg – Actually, there seem to be millions of Christians who would disagree. Haven't you heard all the hubub about the 'war on Christmas' and the boycotts of businesses that dare to be inclusive with 'Happy Holidays' or 'Seasons Greetings' rather than Merry Christmas?

      December 1, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  17. Marie Gonzalez

    This billboard is a joke! If you don't believe, you don't believe. Theres no need to try and make people feel bad for our beliefs. I know I could care less if you believe or not. I dont put up signs to make your believe. You should not put them up to try and make me not believe. Everyone has the right to there own beliefs. Please people keep it civil. BTW...MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    November 30, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
    • riverrunner

      We assure you its no joke. Your day in the sun is gone and atheism is on the rise and will overcome theism. the billboard is actually quite civil – unlike christians who threaten us with hell. merry christmas and happy new atheism.

      November 30, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • Righteous Dude

      It has nothing to do with making you feel bad about your beliefs. It is about making atheists feel good about theirs. No one is trying to make you not believe. This billboard isn't for you, it is for atheists.

      November 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • midgerin

      "I dont put up signs to make you believe"–Are you serious? Then why do I see billboards that say nothing but "JESUS" on them everywhere I drive? Why is there a pair of pro-life billboards where I live that say "When you are at the pearly gates and God asks you 'did you protect unborn children' what will your answer be?" You personally may not have put up signs but Christian advocacy groups certainly have. I am happy that we atheists finally have been able to stick it to Christians a little bit.

      November 30, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Marie Gonzalez

      You Said: "This billboard is a joke!"

      Why is it that the 'atheists' billboard is a joke...? They are expressing themselves, just like 'believers' do. Your statements appear to me to be a form of bigotry and prejudice on your part.

      You Said: " If you don't believe, you don't believe. Theres no need to try and make people feel bad for our beliefs.

      I could be wrong, but it seems that you are making a-ssumptions about the 'intentions' of the atheists' billboard. I did not read anywhere that they were attempting to make 'believers' feel bad about their beliefs.

      You Said: " I dont put up signs to make your believe. You should not put them up to try and make me not believe. Everyone has the right to there own beliefs."

      Well, 'you' personally may not be putting up signs, however, all one has to do is look around within a couple mile radius, pretty-much anywhere within the U.S., and you will find a Church, a billboard, an advertisement, a Cross, bumper stickers, let alone Christians wearing their crosses, and crucifixes, plus t-shirt and other clothing. Turn on your t.v. much lately...?

      And yet some atheists' have put a billboard and a lot of the Christians seem to be up-in-arms about the whole thing.

      Also, it seems that sentence you, quote..."shoot yourself in the foot" as you basically say..."Everyone has the right to their own beliefs"–however, the *inference* seems to be, as long as you don't put up a billboard that I don't agree with or don't like...yes...?

      Anyways, -Marie... hope that you are well, and Happy Holiday's and Merry Christmas to you too.

      Peace...

      December 1, 2010 at 2:11 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: "all one has to do is look around within a couple mile radius, pretty-much anywhere within the U.S., and you will find a Church...", you don't even have to do that! All you have to do is look at the main and other pages of this blog and you will see that there are several examples of signs promoting religion, and more examples are requested. I don't know if the blog owners only post believer signs – perhaps I'll locate a non-believer one and submit it.

      December 1, 2010 at 3:04 am |
    • Todd Zmina

      "righteous dude": do you REALLY believe that this was not aimed at Christians? Then why the Christian symbolism? Whey then don't we see these billboards during the celebrations of other religions with symbols of THEIR faith?

      December 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Doug

      ATTN: midgerin
      I can see your so full of anger at Christians by your reply. Its ok to be angry, but have you ever dove deep to why it makes you mad? I think what makes you made is your not in control of your life when you die and its makes you mad, also its beyond your understand how Christians prey no matter if its good times or bad and have faith the supersedes all understand. I sent your userid in here to 8 churches to be put on a prayer list. Jesus is there no matter what you done or what you think, he is there for you. He is the lover of your soul. He never promised us Christians from physical harm but spiritual harm which is far worse. Until you realize our life is a test nothing more. Its PASS/FAIL and no redos. How do I know Jesus is real? Its something deep inside that words struggles to describe at the freedom of issues I feel when I pray. Ever got into problem and you was scared? Then the problem was over and you felt good? Multiple that by 1,000,000 and sort of what you will feel about Jesus freeing you from what bothers you. Life is to short to not know what Jesus offers.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Freeman3000

      Militant Atheists never have anything positive to say.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
    • Freeman3000

      If this sign was a reasonable call to fellow Atheists, or had any positive message, it wouldn't be controversial (except maybe to militant religoids). But its pretty obvious to any honestly reasonable person that its not for fellow Atheists, but specifically a jab at Christians. Like a sign that had a big Crescent on it and said 'Mohammad is a myth' would be a jab at Muslims.

      Militant Atheists telling everyone who believes differently they're ignorant, are just as bad as Militant Religoids telling everyone they're going to burn in hell because they believe differently.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • Really?

      Which billboard is a joke? The one that says the Jesus story is a myth, or the one that says the Jesus story is real?

      The Atheist one tends to generates rational thought and debate, the Christian one plays on emotions, and thousands of years of tradition, obedience, and fears.

      It does not take much digging to find that the Jesus story was created from older stories and astrology. But fear and denial keep many from even looking. If thou gets a chance, and thou is not to afraid, try to discover what the SUN does every year on Dec. 25th. Here's a hint.... It's the sun's birth day. Here's another, there are 3 stars (Kings they used to call them.) from the east (orion's belt to be specific.), that line up with the brightest star on the horizon, which points to the very spot where the sun will be born on that day... and then begin it's journey to defeat darkness... and on easter the sun finally dominates the northern hemisphere... and nights become shorter... for now, the sun takes its place as the true ruler of the heavens.... well, until around Halloween, when darkness again dominates the earth, (in the north anyway) and we again cower in fear of the dark, and pray and wait for our savior to be born... again.

      Merry Winter Solstice Everyone! Happy 4.5 billionth Birthday Sun!

      (those in the southern hemisphere, please reverse the dates of the Jesus story to fit your seasons.)

      December 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • No Name

      @Freeman3000 Me thinks you and I should chat about the definition of the word 'militant'.

      December 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Doug

      ATT: Freeman3000
      The atheist will not toss harshness at Islam for fear of being murdered and being hunted down and killed all in the name of their god. What the atheist are doing is being selective religion racist and nothing more. If they really wanted to everyone to know there is no GOD what so ever they would be hacking on all religions and just not Christians.

      December 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Freeman3000

      Sorry, neither side is probably armed (most of the time). How about Rabid? Or Fundamentalist?
      Either way, people that claim they have the only truth for all, and I'd better listen up, are ones I dismiss out of hand.

      December 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Josh

      You tell them, Marie 🙂

      December 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  18. Peace2All

    In the article, is says... "We decided to counterpunch." I guess, I am concerned with the 'believers' seeming need to 'fight' about this. There have always been Christian signs, symbols, billboards, commercials,..advertisements, etc...

    Why, when an 'atheist' organization puts up a billboard, do some/a lot of Christians freak out...?

    For those of you that know me and my postings, I am truly an 'agnostic,' so I'm not choosing sides here. It's just my opinion that the Christians, are continually in fight and over-reaction mode, not only about this topic, but... on the rest of the religious blogs/articles in general.

    I am sincerely interested in any cogent and rational opinions by 'believers' on this ...?

    Peace...

    November 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
    • Todd Zmina

      My objection is not that a billboard was put up by aetheists. My objection is that aeteism denies the existence of ANY god...not just the God of Christianity...yet the only mention here is a direct attack on a Christian belief and celebration. I find it odd that aetheists feel so directly personally offended by Christian symbols...they are not offered as an "attack", unless you see the sharing of beliefs as an attack upon your own beliefs, in which case I think there is a deeper problem...This billboard IS a direct attack, and as many others have pointed out there is a better way to share your belief as an aetheist.

      December 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • Greg

      As opposed to the thousands and thousands of billboards & church message boards every 50 ft with their snarky comments pushing their beliefs and quite often attacking non-(Jesus) believers and/or science directly or indirectly, all the millions of people that like to go around constantly "sharing their beliefs" about how everyone who believes differently is gonna be tortured and burned for eternity, or the countless attempts by local, state, and federal government officials to push laws based on those beliefs and to favor those beliefs all over the country. No...one billboard sponsored by an atheist organization that states the obvious, that a myth is a myth is a "direct attack." Well, cry me a river.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Margot707

      Todd – "Attacking" the Christmas holiday would not be appropriate in say – July, would it? The holiday season has long strayed from a religious observance to a commercial event. Anyone who has studied history knows that the original Christmas holiday was based on, and merged with Pagan rituals of celebrating Winter Solstice.

      To me, the sign means two things: 1) Christians have forgotten what Christmas is really all about, and 2) Non-Christians and/or atheists have the right to voice their views and not be shouted down.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Freeman3000

      The hubbub is because its such a NEGATIVE billboard. It would be analogous to local baptists putting up a billboard with a giant Crescent on it, that says "Come on, you KNOW Muhammad is a myth". That would not be a message directed at baptists, it would be a message to antagonize Muslims. Likewise, this billboard is not a shout out to Atheists to carry on, it is a message made to specifically antagonize Christians. And those with thin skins reacted just as expected.

      If they want to

      December 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
    • Phage0070

      Actually, if you are not a theist you are an atheist. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a theism (god/gods). Agnosticism is therefore an atheistic position in general; it actually indicates what you *know* rather than what you *believe* though. The vast majority of atheists do not make the positive claim that there is no god of any type, which you correctly pointed out isn't supportable. Instead they simply don't believe any of the god claims that have been put forth (this requires no proof on their part), and *may* claim that they are convinced some god concepts that have been presented to them do not exist (this requires supporting argument).

      December 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Todd Zmina

      Hi Todd...

      You Said: "My objection is not that a billboard was put up by aetheists. My objection is that aeteism denies the existence of ANY god...not just the God of Christianity."

      I'm curious, why is your objection 'not' about the billboard, really, but... "that 'atheism' denies the existence of ANY God...? Why, is that such a strong objection for you... I mean, aren't Atheists allowed the same rights as everyone else...Christians, etc... to 'not' believe, like the Christians choose to 'believe.' Why is that so offensive. THAT seems to me, more of what you are concerned or objecting about than to anything else here. Also, I might *point* you to @Greg's and @Margot707's response, for counter-examples. Just a thought.

      @Freeman3000

      Hi Freeman3000...

      You Said: "The hubbub is because its such a NEGATIVE billboard. It would be analogous to local baptists putting up a billboard with a giant Crescent on it, that says "Come on, you KNOW Muhammad is a myth". That would not be a message directed at baptists, it would be a message to antagonize Muslims. Likewise, this billboard is not a shout out to Atheists to carry on, it is a message made to specifically antagonize Christians. And those with thin skins reacted just as expected."

      Interesting... I guess i didn't take it as being a NEGATIVE attack to purposefully 'antagonize' Christians. Again, I would refer you to @Greg's comments. Seems to me, it is about how some people are perceiving it. Perception seems to = reality. I just didn't perceive it as NEGATIVE.

      @Phage0070

      Hi Phage0070...

      You Said: "Actually, if you are not a theist you are an atheist. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a theism (god/gods). Agnosticism is therefore an atheistic position in general"

      Hmmm... Well, I can see how one might think that being an 'agnostic' and being an 'atheist' are somehow the 'same,' (in general), but in all actuality, they truly are very different. At least for me, anyway... and as for the general definitions and distinctions that are out there. I, being an 'agnostic' truly claim to ... 'really not know.' It could, possibly be as you say, the Christian way, Muslim, etc... or, it could be as the 'atheists' say... there 'absolutely' is no God/life after death, etc...

      So, no -Phage, they are 'not' the same thing.

      You also Said: "The vast majority of atheists do not make the positive claim that there is no god of any type. Instead they(atheists) simply don't believe any of the god claims that have been put forth (this requires no proof on their part), and *may* claim that they are convinced some god concepts that have been presented to them do not exist (this requires supporting argument)."

      Well, if you have been on this Belief Blog long enough, rarely, if ever, have I seen 'any' Atheists, and that would include the one's I know personally, that would 'agree' with your statement...at all. Quite the contrary, they are atheists, and don't believe in 'any' God, as Science can, does and will continue to provide the answers to the mysteries of the Universe.

      Peace...

      December 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  19. Chinada

    Just a bunch of Nazis fanatics who just have to be different in order to appear smart.

    Merry Christmas all!!!!!!!

    November 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • riverrunner

      nope. we are smart. and nazis generally believed in god.

      November 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • threeballedalien

      You do realize you worship a pagan holiday right? It's not a christian holiday.

      November 30, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
    • NL

      The Nazis were Christians, and you really don't have to be above average in intelligence to become an atheist. All you need to do is be brave enough to question the basis for faith.

      December 1, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • Rick B

      NL

      Let me rebuttle your comment by saying that the Nazi's proclaimed to be Christians, however nothing in their lives reflected the nature of Christ!

      December 1, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • Colin

      @Rick B

      You can say a vast majority of christians do not even follow the messages found in their own religion's holy book. Ironic isn't it.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Observer

      Rick B,
      Hitler was brought up as a Catholic and believed in God. Pretending that people who spend their lives saying they believe in God but aren't really believers just shows the weakness of your argument.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • Greg

      Rick B, your are 100% correct. Just because people say they are Christian doesn't mean that they are perfect. I am a Christian and I manage to be a...well a whole lot of things that are not Christ like every day. It's hard even typing that, thank God for anonymity, but my point that I did a very bad job at making is that Christians are not going to be perfect. So don't run around saying "Well I know this guy who is a Christian, and he did this..." There are things that eveyone does that they shouldn't do and aren't proud of. Christians, or at least most of the ones I hang out with, try to embrace the person, and their faultsto help overcome them, be understanding and loving, and move in the right direction.

      @ NL & Observer...With all that said, Hitler was a bad dude. Not Christ like at all, but who's to say that he didn't repent and make it to heaven? Only God knows.

      December 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • louis

      So Christians were taught by Jesus to call other Nazis. Wow, what a great case you;re making for yourself.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Greg

      Not sure I completely understood your response. My intent was to convey that anyone, no matter how lost, can repent and go to heaven. That simple.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      Historically not only do we most likely have Jesus's birth day wrong but we have the year wrong too. The Christians adopted the Pagan holiday which celebrated the "birth of the Sun God" on Yule which is Dec 21-23 which is Winter Solstice which we all know is when the sun is no longer retreating from the Northern Hemispheres sky but is gaining in strength from then until Summer Solistice. The Pagans of Europe used the planets and stars and natural events to guide their beliefs these beliefs were based on natural Science. Since Christian missionaries could not disprove many of these natural sciences they adopted the holidays and enforced it by the power of the church (and the sword eventually). So today we have Easter, Christmas, Valantines Day, Ground Hogs day, all previous Pagan Holidays converted and Christianized not to mention packaged and merchandized We also celebrate Halloween which is the Death of the Sun god in Pagan belief. I don't need to mention the amount of merchandizing and Americanizing that celebration has gone through.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Sarah

      Ha! When all else fails, call the person you disagree with a Nazi! Awesome! Why are people even arguing with this poster? It's hilarious. I wish someone would call me Hitler or a Nazi because they didn't agree with me...

      December 2, 2010 at 8:40 am |
    • Wade

      Hitler was a Catholic. For example, in one speech Hitler said, "In this hour I would ask of the Lord God only this: that, as in the past, so in the years to come He would give His blessing to our work and our action, to our judgement and our resolution, that He will safeguard us from all false pride and from all cowardly servility, that He may grant us to find the straight path which His Providence has ordained for the German people, and that He may ever give us the courage to do the right, never to falter, never to yield before any violence, before any danger . . . I am convinced that men who are created by God should live in accordance with the will of the Almighty. . . If Providence had not guided us I could often never have found these dizzy paths . . . Thus it is that we National Socialists, too, have in the depths of our hearts our faith. We cannot do otherwise: no man can fashion world-history or the history of peoples unless upon his purpose and his powers there rests the blessings of this Providence." Adolf Hitler, in a speech at Wurzburg on June 27, 1937, as quoted at http://www.catholicarrogance.org/Catholic/Hitlersfaith.html

      The current pope was a Hitler youth and a nazi soldier. And that pope has the nerve to blame naziism on atheists, just as sheep like you repeat. Facts mean nothing to religionists who get by on a diet of lies. It takes an atheist to face reality.

      December 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
    • SmartPeople

      NOT even the SMARTEST scientist and philosopher in our world history believes the stories in the bible are true – Albert Einstein. He also doesn't believe in a god who rewards and punishes his own creations modeled after himself – that would be like judging himself. The bible is fake and is man-made by just regular men like me and you 2000 years ago (not god) thus any and all assumptions of god written within scriptures are not real but merely just ideas and imaginations of what man thought god may be like.

      December 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  20. Rick B

    I am not much on religion, but this sign says to celebrate reason, however there is no reason in an Atheist's argument. There is no way to have definitive proof that God does not exist. Throughout history, there is more proof that God exists than there is not. Atheism is not a true viable worldview, because to be an Atheist you would have to say "I have 100 % proof that God does not exist", therefore I think the better word for an Atheist is Agnostic. This is reason! Therefore, I say to the Atheist if you are calling people out to "celebrate reason" then don't be a hypocrite. Celebrate reason yourself!

    November 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Actually, to be an atheist you just have to not believe that god exists – a subtle distinction but one I hope you will try to grasp. On the one hand, it's really easy to be an atheist since there is not one shred of proof that god does exist. On the other, it's hard because it means coming to terms with the fears that caused men to invent gods in the first place. There are a lot of emotionally satisfying reasons to *want* there to be a god, but none that rationally support the idea that it's true.

      November 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • Reason

      I might be mistaken, but I don't believe Christians know 100% that God does exist........I guess that would make them Agnostic too. This is reason.

      November 30, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • Dogger

      100% proof that god exists....bull....if that existed then we wouldn't be having this conversation.

      I'm still waiting for any proof god exists. So far all I get are logical falicies and statement pertaining to if x exists and I can not explain why therefore god must exist.

      November 30, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Rick B

      You said: "I am not much on religion, but this sign says to celebrate reason, however there is no reason in an Atheist's argument. There is no way to have definitive proof that God does not exist. Throughout history, there is more proof that God exists than there is not.

      OMG! Rick you are wrong, buddy. Early man created the gods because they feared death, and they didn't understand most of the things around them. Why does it rain? God makes it rain. Why does the sun race across the sky? God(s) drives the sun across the sky. Why does the mountain rumble? God makes the mountain rumble. He is angry.

      God filled the gaps in man's knowledge. Over time, man's knowledge increased. As knowledge increased, supernatural happenings, were moved to the natural column. Saying, "God did / does it, has always been wrong".

      Each day, god has fewer and fewer gaps to hide in.

      I cannot prove that god does not exist. I cannot prove Santa Claus does not exist. Wouldn't you agree with me that Santa doesn't exist? What about the Easter Bunny and fairies? No one can prove these do not exist either.

      Society uses a preponderance of the evidence, to decide if something exists or not.

      There is no more evidence for god, than for Santa Claus. They are both myths.

      There are hundreds if not thousands of ancient gods. They were loved, feared, prayed to. But people eventually lost faith in them. When men took away their belief, these gods ceased to exist.

      If people today started to pray and believe in Odin or Isis, these gods would spring to life! People"s belief animates them.

      If the gods of today were forsaken, they would be as silent as the gods of old. Belief is the animator.

      No, Rick B, there is no Santa Claus. No Easter Bunny. And No Baby Jesus.

      Love and Prayers!

      November 30, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
    • midgerin

      @David Johnson–

      You Da Man! Couldn't have said it better myself. Glad to read comments from others that share the same rational viewpoints that I have.

      November 30, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @midgerin

      We shall overcome, my friend! We will drive the silly from this great land!

      Hmmm... My beer appears to be empty, and tomorrow is a work day.... *sigh*

      November 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
    • Gsus Freek

      why are all these narrow minded ppl always needing some kind of tangible proof like an appearance on late night TV from our creator? Do you need certifiable evidence that Love or anger exist-NO, you feel them, the same way that born again christians can feel the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them. The same way that a new mother KNOWS that she will do anything for her child. Not everything has to fit into your cookie cutter "does it have proof or not" design.The Truth has set us believers free.

      November 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Treadstone

      Be careful inventing new myths. Fundies have no gag reflexes. They can swallow anything. You will have them hiding their socks from your dragon. LOL

      Cheers!

      December 1, 2010 at 8:05 am |
    • NL

      Gsus Freek-
      Atheists can feel the love of others, people who are actually real, so we know that love exists. What proof have you that the Holy Spirit exists? The idea of a Holy Spirit exists, and I suspect that you are confusing the love of an idea with the real thing.

      December 1, 2010 at 8:19 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Gsus Freek

      There are 5 major religions and something like 2000 different denominations of Christianity.

      All of these different beliefs cannot be right. Either the Muslims are right, or the followers of Judaism, or the Hindus, or one of the Christian denominations is right. Only one of these could be worshiping the one true god.

      They cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong. Maybe there is no god, or maybe man hasn't discovered the one true god yet.

      Each member of each belief, believes they can feel their one true god(s) in their heart. They believe their god loves them, and answers their prayers. Each has their sacred texts that tell them their god(s) is the true god(s).

      What proof do you have, that yours god is the one true god?

      You have only that special feeling in your heart and a book that tells you, you're god is the real McCoy.

      If you lived in Iran, and had Muslim parents, you would be crowing Allah Akbar.

      No child is born embracing any god. Children are born atheist. Parents program the silly into them.

      What god you worship is mostly dependent on where you brought up, and what religion your parents are.

      You can get those special feelings, by worshiping a can of green beans. Feelings mean nothing.

      Love and Prayers!

      December 1, 2010 at 9:53 am |
    • Bobby Fisher

      Why is it that this the only subject among human debate in which the burden of proof is on the non-believer? It's like saying that there are invisible tigers all around us, watching us. There definitely exist because we say they do, and because you cant PROVE there aren't.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • Mike Vargas

      Rick B:

      You're using the common (and incorrect) definition of "atheist"; atheism is a lack of belief in a deity, nothing more. It's what you'd probably call "agnosticism".

      December 1, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • gadzilla

      So true! If you don't like the holiday for whatever reason, don't celebrate it! What does anyone care what other people choose to believe? Are people so insecure that they have to try to force other people to believe what they themselves believe?

      December 1, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • JEFF

      David Johnson –

      You are mistaken. You state "There are 5 major religions and something like 2000 different denominations of Christianity.
      All of these different beliefs cannot be right. Either the Muslims are right, or the followers of Judaism, or the Hindus, or one of the Christian denominations is right. Only one of these could be worshiping the one true god." That is a bunch of bull.

      Atheists use this argument all the time to sort of counter pascal's wager. I believe Richard Dawkins uses it also. But it is nevertheless a flawed argument. Especially coming from an atheist. You see there's a huge probability that an average athiest is not a theologian and certainly not an expert on every religion across the globe.

      First of all, the major monothiestic religions, in general, profess to worship the same God, so why can't they all be right? it's merely a matter of theologic details and mode of worship where they differ. Furthermore, if you're not an expert on every religion out there, can you really state that each one really believes that their own way is the only acceptable way of worshipping that God?! No you can't! you'd be wrong if you tried. each of those religions have well respected scholars and leaders who argue that other modes of worship are acceptable modes (for other people) to reach the same God. So you are wrong, all the billions of people who are christian, muslim, or jewish might all be right!!

      but even if you were right, the simple fact that only one can be right, doesn't make the existence of God any more or less likely – your leap from a particular religion might be wrong to God does not exist is not maintainable. But as explained above, your argument is wrong anyway. And the reason your wrong is that you're trying to use simple logic A is not B and B is not C so all three cannot be right. But whose to say God didn't come down to the hebrews at Sinai and and say I want you to be "Jewish" and then came down to the apostles in Jerusalem and say I want you start "Christianity" and then come down to Muhammed in Arabia and say I want you to preach Islam. Why can't they all have happened?

      Why can't God want different people to worship him differently? you know God's mind? how could you if you say there is no God? And I'll go one step further... even the non-Monotheistic religions: under similar arguments perhaps those are part of the quilted tapestries that God desires from man kind. Can you really argue that I am wrong? sure you might point out that people killed one another throughout history over their beliefs and what kind of God would want that? Again can you know the mind of God? or maybe that part wasn't what God wanted but merely humans getting themselves to riled up? what people never got riled up over anything else? Hello... economics, power, territory, etc... come on! there's absolutely no proof that One God might not want multiple modes of worship!

      Heck if God only wanted only one mode of worship he could have created only one person – yes Adam! why need Eve? why do people need to procreate, if one mode of worship suffices, let one person do it. Sorry man, you're wrong.

      December 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • RbnLegnd101

      @Rick: One doesn't have to be an athiest to understand that christmas is myth. In fact, some strict christians hold that position as well. The christmas myth as told by western culture, is a jumble of faith, popular culture, earlier festivals, and it is held at a time of year that is clearly not in line with biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus.

      I think that true athiests are less common than people think, but agnostics are far more common than people think. Most of the christians I know personally would be more accurately described as agnostics with cultural christian leanings. One of the questions I would ask someone who professes to be a devaout christian, is why they follow the branch of christianity that they do. If they are baptist, for example, why baptist and not catholic, presbetaryian, or weslyan? Very very few people can answer that, beyond an occasional reference to the pope.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jesus Built My Hotrod

      @GSUS FREEK – I thought I felt the holy spirit in me once, but turns out it was just heartburn.....

      December 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Rich

      Hey people, it's atheist, not athiest! Jesus....

      December 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • J Thomas

      @David and all the naysayers.

      While I am not religious (I will call myself agnostic), and having an IQ well over genius levels, with scientific and mathematical tendencies, let me ask you a few questions, because what I see here are a bunch of people talking about 'no evidence' or 'proof' of God's existence, therefore He can't possibly exist, existential arguments, which are not arguments, but fearful, clouded alterations of a truth that cannot be seen.

      First, I am going to assume that you have never loved anyone that has since died. Parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. You didn't love them, did you? You may say that you did, or adamantly claim that you did, but I want proof. Provide me proof, otherwise, it's clear that you never did.

      Second, what do you believe in? You believe that when you die, that's it? Lights out? Game over? What's the point, then? Why play by any rules? Why not grab everything you can in this life, and damn the consequences? Why love? Why look out for anyone? Nothing you do in this life matters. So who cares? What a wonderful way to live.

      Third, Are you aware what true believers believe in when it comes to God and faith? From your posts, it is clear that you don't. True believers (and I am not one of them, but I have seen what they are) preach love and comfort, doing good deeds without looking for recognition, connecting with something because it helps them deal with their life, loss, love, and insecurity, without trying to force it upon others. Organized religion, like the Catholic Church and Christian fundamentalists, has clouded the true meaning of God.

      Religion, contrary to what many people believe, was not created to explain death and make it less frightening, but to create social order, to instill a sense of having some greater power to answer to in the end.

      Is God a real being sitting in the sky looking down at us? I highly doubt that, but for all you 'scientists' who claim proof does not exist, we are energy. That is a proven scientific fact. AND, another scientific FACT is that all energy in the universe is constant. That means, scientifically speaking, if we are energy and all energy is constant, what happens when we die? Our energy disappears?

      Prove it.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      I disagree with your asertation that history has more proof that god exists. Many of the "wonders" of god/gods have been explained by science such as earthquakes, fireballs from the sky, even the parting of the Red Sea has been shown to be scientifically possible under the right conditions. There is no proof of god only man's need of god.
      BTW way to go DAVID JOHNSON!!! That is exactly the case. I am not even an atheist and I agree.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • Sean

      While I certainly agree that atheists are taking just as much on faith as christians do, I take exception to the notion that there is any proof that god exists. There is none. Subjective opinions do not count as proof.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • A Shyti

      @J Thomas

      Yes, and by energy you must mean the one particles hold in different forms. Well, then when you die you are kinda the same energy you were, but some feet below earth, in a box. Energy is not a magic thing. You have several quadrillions of particles interacting with the environment and you, each having what you call energy. When you die, you simply take the majority of those particles with you. You don't have your soul detached or something.

      For an above than genius guy you seem to not have a solid understanding about physics, nor chemistry. The energy in the universe is constant yes, but none has ever told you that energy transforms? That what you see is a combination of different types of energy?

      In addition to that, religion might really have been developed to inject a sense of "good" order in a society and drive them to do "good". Although, I am not a believer at all. Should I be impressed that I have managed to do all the good things true believers do too? Religion is a comforting theory for those who cannot manage to start doing things by themselves. They require something to ignite their good acts. That is OK as long as they do not god-ify it.

      Thanks for reading. Have a nice day / night 🙂

      December 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    • LEB

      Do you not understand how burden of proof works? Atheists don't have to prove that a god exists, anymore than you require proof that invisible pink unicorns don't exist. It's up to YOU to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your god exists, and you have not. Perhaps you should get started working on that. And if you don't want to, then just admit to yourself that your faith is merely belief in what you think is true rather than what you can prove is true, and start keeping it to yourself.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • No Name

      Burden of proof is on you to prove god exits. If your argument was reasonable then the same could be said of anything to fall out of my mouth. The burden would be on you to prove my claims false.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • cg3001

      Rick, what a sad world you live in..where you actually have to PROVE something that doesn't exist..whats up with that screwed way of thinking, you should NEVER have to prove a negative. Then I would have to prove the Easter bunny doesn't exist, and Fred Flintstone, and bugs bunny..etc etc, when you have to set out to prove make believe things, you waste time and energy..that's not how you do things, you prove rational ideas, things that are based on the world around us, not emotions, or fleeting whims..that temporarily make you feel warm inside. Take the time to study both sides, you should study religion in all aspects, study it thoroughly not just from a christian book store written by christian authors, that's like studying politics from a Hitler youth book store, you will get a severely flawed view point. you need to be bias, and open to how the bible was written, who wrote it..when they wrote it and how life was when they wrote it, believe it or not, I have faith if you REALLY study the bible and all aspects of it, you will see its weaknesses...for those who believe are known for the lack of knowledge of there own faith, for those who are PROPERLY educated with open minds, quickly loose there faith when they are saturated with the false evidence that's abundantly around us each day..about many of the religions the masses follow. Open your mind up and step out from the common masses..step up and be proud of your own accomplishments and not give credit to all the stone age gods who we believed in the past..if we can achieve this as a whole, humanity will truly take a step towards a better world. I firmly believe in this...and work towards it each day for all of us..

      December 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • forexjam1

      i guess theres no reason to believe that when u die u bcome part of the earth and thats it.. so why not believe that when u die u live in an eternal happiness increasin everyday.. one day happier than the last... based on that why dont u kill urself since its possible based on ur argument?.. i think the point the add is tryin to send across is exactly the same one that keeps u from shootin urself believin theres eternal happines on the other side regarless of how u die ***u cant proof thats not true right?..*** so yeah.. see beyond the simple argument n try to see beyond that..

      December 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • Cory

      The default state of any proposition is non-existence. It is up to the person proposing something to provide evidence that it exists; no one bears any responsibility to prove it does not. Otherwise, I could state that I have fourteen arms and twelve eyes. Without definitive proof of that, there's no reason for you to believe it.

      Similarly, there is no reason to believe in supernatural beings unless there is definitive evidence of their existence. And since every scrap of "evidence" I've seen for gods can be explained away by other natural processes, it is reasonable to discount those extraordinary claims and go with the simpler solutions. So for now at least, there is no reason to believe in any god or gods.

      December 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • Kate

      Ahh, a typical anti-atheist argument: If you can't see it, you can't prove it's not there.Nevermind that goes both ways pretty quickly. It's the Christian equivalent of sticking your tongue out and saying "nyah nyah nyah".

      This is why I worship the Invisible Pink Unicorn. You can't prove Her Pointyness doesn't exist, either, therefore, she does exist.

      December 1, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • CJ

      First of all, as an atheist, it is not my job to prove there is no god. If a theist wants to believe there is one that if fine, but there is no evidence for one just as there is no evidence for leprechauns. However, people who believe in leprechauns generally do not attack science education and tell people who they can partner with. They day they do, I will oppose them as well. And we know the birth stories are invented by simply reading them. The narratives in Matthew and Luke are completely at odds with each other. Matthew has the birth during the reign of Herod the Great, Luke during the census when 'Quinirius was governor of Syria'. Problems arise in the bible when they get too specific and this is a classic case. We know from secular, unbiased history that Herod the Great was dead SIX YEARS before Quirinius was governor of Syria. Oh, and that Roman census where you needed to return to your ancestral home? Also appears no where in the Roman record. It is all invented.

      December 1, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Michael

      The christian right has been attacking atheists and agnostics for centuries. It's so blatantly out there that most christians don't even realize how offensive it is. Christians are constantly pushing politicians to pass laws to force everyone to comply with their moral codes. Every conservative talk show demeans people who don't practice what is in the bible. Evangelists constantly berate the "demoralization" in America of those who don't practice what is written in their bible. People show up on my doorstep saying I'm going to spend eternity in damnation if I don't believe what is in their little book. The funny thing is that all these "books" people believe in were written by humans, not some supreme being. I personally believe that if a supreme being wanted me to follow his word, he or she would have sent the word themselves and not had men write in whatever they want. If there is a god out there, he sure doesn't get involved in what's going on down here on Earth, so I'm pretty sure he's not going to hold me to some text written by different men conflicting each other's doctrines. Don't accuse atheists of attacking the Christian religion. The christians started this, and we are only now vocalizing our rights to not have our lives dominated by other people's beliefs.

      December 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Wade

      I like this quote from Born Atheist:

      "The atheist has nothing to prove.

      As an atheist, I have no belief in god–not in the Jewish god, not in the Christian god, not in the Muslim god and not in the Hindu gods. When comparing myself to a religionist, I like to picture each of us holding an old mayonnaise jar. Perhaps when you were a child you poked a few holes in the lid of a mayonnaise jar and collected insects for observation. But in this instance, instead of putting insects in the jar, picture it full of religious beliefs.
      The religionist's jar contains all of the beliefs of his religion. For example, a Catholic's jar would include heaven and hell, a bearded man in the sky and his human son, virgin birth, walking on water, people rising from the dead, saints, miracles and the Pope as the infallible spokesperson for god.
      My jar is empty.
      Often religionists feel atheists should prove there is no god. Perhaps because they have been in power for so long, they think they can set the terms of the debate. But atheists have no belief in god. My jar is empty. I have nothing to prove. All of the shouting in the world will not change this fact. It is the religionist who has a jar full of beliefs. And the religionist lacks facts to support his beliefs. So he labels them faith. Religion requires faith because it has no facts."

      December 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • Kace

      @ David Johnson, one of the "50 million" thanks you for your succinct remark!

      December 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • Ray

      This just shows that you don't know what an atheist is. An atheist doesn't have to believe that there is absolutely no god. To be an atheist you simply don't have to accept that there definitely is one. You also show that you don't know what an agnostic is. And agnostic thinks that you can't know for sure whether or not there is a god. An atheist doesn't have to hold that opinion. And there has been no proof whatsoever to show that god exists. Otherwise it would be a scientifically accepted position, which it is not.

      December 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • no name

      I am a Christian and I have been all my life, but you know what: evolution is real and indisputable. The creation story can't be taken literally. It really annoys me when Fundamentalists literally translate the bible when it just wasn't intended to be read that way. It also annoys me when Atheists think that they are all-knowing and say that everything must be proven, 'cause guess what: religion is not meant to be proven. If it could be proven than it wouldn't be faith. Also, Christians, it's these petty, ridiculous arguments that turn church-going people Atheist. SO STOP!

      By the way, the Atheist billboard didn't depict Christmas at all, what was on that billboard was epiphany...just sayin'.

      December 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • cacarr

      "There is no way to have definitive proof that God does not exist."

      That one can't prove that a thing doesn't exist does not make the thing as likely to exist as not. Would you give the existence of faeries 50/50 odds? How about Thor, or Marduk?

      Atheists are just people who are not convinced by arguments for theism. If you're not a theist, you're an atheist.

      Agnosticism is an epistemological position.

      December 1, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
    • Karin

      The catholics have it all wrong. It should read; "You know it is **FAITH**. There is nothing real about faith... Other than having a real faith. What is really at issue here are those with whom require facts to those that would like to create their own realities. I for one prefer those that require facts. More sound platform in my mind. I also find comfort in knowing that I am not alone as an atheist. It is quite disturbing to celebrate a holiday season amongst a bunch of delusional people.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:29 am |
    • ybs

      No worries! Whatever god you believe in, it will be stripped naked like the SUN god! It's just a matter of time, sheep!

      Keep drinking the kool-aid (eating dung) till your heart's content! 🙂

      http://bit.ly/Lambcheats

      December 2, 2010 at 1:03 am |
    • Vince T

      This is the biggest fail in logic I have ever seen in my life. It's people like you that insult the human race.

      December 2, 2010 at 3:42 am |
    • OhGodNo

      I'm an ex-Christian and many of those I love are believers. But Thank God (!) they're not bigots – these are intelligent and educated people who know that their beliefs depend on faith and cannot be demonstrated or proven. They tolerate atheists because they know that tolerance matters. Many American Christians seem to think their religion is more to do with cramming it down everyone's throat than with living a decent life.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • SeeinReezin

      Someone has to point out the obvious here:

      There's a huge difference between faith and belief.

      Belief is based on a culminated conclusion of given evidence.

      Faith is belief without evidence.

      Once someone accepts something based on faith, that's it. No proof to the contrary can convince them otherwise.

      Why?

      Because they never had any proof to base their faith on in the first place. Ergo, it becomes almost impossible to prove the fallacy of their own ill-founded thought processes.

      This is what makes religion the single most amazing industry on the planet. They produce nothing yet take everything. Absolutely fascinating.

      December 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Beth

      You obviously have no understanding of science or reason, Rick. You can not really prove that something does NOT exist, merely look at all the evidence and draw conclusions, most of which being a highly contradictory bible which was written 200 years after Jesus supposedly walked the earth. There is nothing in there, nor is there anything in daily life which truly proves god exists. Our existence can be explained by evolution (of which there is plenty of hard evidence), bad things happen to both good and bad people equally, etc. Show atheists your real evidence of god and you will make believers out of them. Until then, please don't mock what you choose not to understand.

      December 3, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • NotAChristianButNotUnreasonable

      Speaking as an atheist, did the reporters have to pick the most idiotic person to portray atheism in this way, as if he had proof that there was no god? You can't prove a negative. His argument doesn't exist. Kids, stop getting mad at your parents and rejecting their religion as a way to reject them. Think about it. Do some soul-searching. Don't just blat out sound bytes, especially to an international news corps. If religion works out for you, great. If not, weigh other options.

      December 4, 2010 at 9:10 am |
    • Norman Smith

      HAPPY HOLLOWDAZE!!!!

      December 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Shilohgl

      To all non-believers: As a believer it isnt my job to prove to you that God exsist, it is my job as a Christian to pass on the word of God. Once I have done that, the rest is up to you. Either you believe or you dont. I am only to tell you that by denying God and Jesus Christ as His son, your soul will end up in hell but with complete acceptance the Kingdom of Heaven awaits you. No one, God, or Jesus has to prove anything to you...thats why Christians, Muslims, etc are called BELIEVERS.

      December 14, 2010 at 6:57 am |
    • John Ross

      I will try to make this easy for you to understand.
      Atheist = I Know that there is no God. Your wasting your time worshiping an invisible man in the sky.

      Religious Believer = I Know there is a God and Mine is the right one. If you dont believe in MY God You will Burn in hell forever.

      Agnostic = I'm kind of getting sick of both of you. Back and forth with your stupid crap. There is no way to prove or disprove that there is or isn't a God. Mr Atheist, why are you wasting so much time on something you say does not exist?
      Mr Religious Believer, Not only can you not prove that there is a God. You dang well cant prove YOURS is the Right One.
      And as far as you knowing what God wants, Please Dont make me laugh. The human mind is so pathetic it cant even memorize the positions of all of the molecules in 1 grain of salt. And yet you think you can figure out the mind of something you claim created all of reality.
      Could you both please Shut Up

      December 22, 2010 at 7:20 am |
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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.