Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance
June 30th, 2011
06:41 PM ET

Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

(CNN)–It's a battle of belief - and the right not to believe - in a country founded on freedom.

"I'm a patriotic American. I served my country. I get out there and celebrate the Fourth, too," Blair Scott, who calls himself a proud atheist, proclaimed.

"This America belongs to everyone."

Blair, the communications director for the New Jersey-based American Atheists, said atheists in the United States often feel alienated and face accusations of being anti-American because of their lack of belief in God.

To combat those notions, his group is using Independence Day to say atheists love their country, too.

But the way they're spreading their message might have Americans looking to the sky this Fourth of July and finding something besides fireworks to stir emotion.

Planes with banners that read "God-LESS America" or "Atheism is Patriotic" will be flying over 27 states on Monday. While people might be leery to see the messages overhead, the $23,000 campaign has had a struggle with those who are supposed to bring it to life.

Justin Jaye of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, who is orchestrating the flights for American Atheists, said out of the 85 people in the country who fly these sign-pulling planes only about 17 have agreed to fly the messages.

"I've been in this business for 20 years and I've never run into so much resistance on people flying," Jaye said. "I've had pilots who are actual atheists who said, 'Justin, I am an atheist and I won't fly it because I can't wear a bulletproof vest.'"

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, says the reaction to the organization's campaign before it takes off shows how much work the group still needs to do. "This is a clear reminder of why we need to keep fighting because the bigotry against us is so thick that a lot of the pilots are afraid to fly our banners," he said.

Jaye said while some feared for their lives, others feared for their marriages. He had one pilot say his wife would divorce him if he made the flight.

Red Calvert, a pilot and president of Pro-Air Enterprises in Indianapolis, said his reasons to decline the flight were based on his personal beliefs.

"I respect our country and I respect our churches and we've got enough problems in our country without stirring up some more," he said. "If those people want to do something they believe in, fine, just don't include me."

The American Atheists hope to draw attention and spur public discussion through their campaign on Monday.

"It's going to remind people that atheism is at that ballgame and at that beach and at that parade. We are patriotic people," Silverman said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • New Jersey • Religious liberty • United States

soundoff (2,835 Responses)
  1. Matt

    @David Johnson
    I must say that you put a lot of thought into your comment and I understand where you are coming from. And I appreciate your line of reasoning.

    However, on you point # Evil exists- so therefore God does not exist. Well, lets think about that for a moment: You are a parent or the son of one, correct? Of course, no doubt you encountered many an event that were accidents. Lovingly your parents provided protection, food, clothing, shelter, etc. But were they in any way incompetent or unloving because you got sick or needed a surgery? No, they still loved you. And knew that the best course was that you undergo a very painful surgery to get back to a better condition of health. Is not that the logical answer? Well, it is the same with God as it is with out parents. You see David, God like your parents is caring, knowing, and aware. And like your parents, God has promised to do that what he said and remove all suffering. However, for God just now is not right is the time for it- Right now is "the surgery" part. The best is yet to come. Psalms 37:9,10,25,29; Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; 33:24; Revelation 24:4,5

    Peace and Cheers

    July 2, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Blastomere

      That's a false analogy. If your god could really do that, then why doesn't he? Your god doesn't do anything. It's a hoax.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Sybaris

      Again, a god in man's image.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Pam

      Matt, and your god is going to torture you forever if you so much as doubt his existence.

      Think about that, next time you are boasting about your wonderful "caring" old man in the sky. Here in reality we have words other than "caring" for a jerk like that.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -Matt...

      I see from my fellow posters on this thread, a few of the counter-arguments have been covered.

      I think one of the main points in question here is you Christians, with your ..."believe or burn...forever in eternal torment" doctrine somehow find that to be an example of 'ultimate love and caring' from this almighty deity that has a love for us that is far beyond anything we know of.

      I don't get... I don't buy it.

      In my humble -opinion- this is one of the most ridiculous and horrible -belief systems- ever created.

      Yeah, I know... maybe I'm wrong.

      I'll take my chances, as that is just not a God that I would want to follow in any format.

      I hope that you have a nice 4th of July.



      July 2, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • David Johnson

      You said: "You are a parent or the son of one, correct? Of course, no doubt you encountered many an event that were accidents. Lovingly your parents provided protection, food, clothing, shelter, etc. But were they in any way incompetent or unloving because you got sick or needed a surgery?"

      My parents and myself are not all powerful, all knowing, all good gods. We are mortals. If my loved ones were sick, and I knew about it, had the power to change it...then they would not be sick. You are not addressing the argument. You are creating a straw man.

      The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and subst_itutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.

      If God exists and is all good, we must have evidence that all of the evil / suffering we see, are for a higher purpose. A purpose such as spiritual growth or soul building.

      There's no evidence at all, that 300 to 500 million people dying from Smallpox in the 20th century, is for a higher purpose.
      A baby born without a brain, or a worm eating a child's eye, has what purpose? A mom watching her baby die of starvation, because she has no milk, serves what purpose?

      Where's the divine love, Matt? Pfui!

      As William Rowe points out, "when a fawn burns to death in a forest fire and no human being ever knows about it, this apparently unnecessary evil does nothing to build the character of human beings. It is just suffering."

      God has failed to make it absolutely clear that the evil inflicted upon humans is for a good reason and is not just gratuitous. We are left to guess what lesson we are to take away from our ordeals.

      If there are lessons to be learned, why isn't the suffering equally shared by all? Many young innocent children suffer, while others live fantastic lives with little to cause their spiritual growth. Seems more like random chance than the work of a god.

      If god is lovingly allowing / causing these evils, for soul building, we should expect that only as much suffering as would be needed to achieve the objective would be applied. Yet, there is no evidence that the suffering is moderated in any way.

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.


      July 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • News Flash

      And THAT'S why the five year old gets Leukemia ? Hahahahahaha.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  2. God is like sunshine on a stormy day

    My friends and I are reading a series of books on Christianity. It isn't what we were always told it was. If you want to know the truth about this whole thing go to the top of the food chain. Someone who is the best in the field. Someone who went to the best colleges for his research and has something worthwhile to say. Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. You will enjoy any of the lectures or books by Bart D. Ehrman. He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time and has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. History should be based on scientific research not gossip. Religion is not historically proven to be accurate. Stories told at camp fires by drunks, snake charmers and wackos.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • JohnR

      More spam from the faithful. Beauty.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Sunny God

      What's your point? You start out seeming to praise religion, but end by saying it's not proven by history...

      July 2, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Pariah

      Burton Mack and Robert M Price are 2 who can show how absolutely bizarre the whole phenomenon of belief in the bible is when we step back and think. oh and the "christian Delusion" by John Loftus while quite confrontational really hits most of the huge failings of Christianity.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • BoDacious01

      I read a book by Eric Butterworth that also speaks to the life of Jesus rather than the life about Jesus.....Historically speaking though, I would disagree....If we want to see what was happening in our World 2000 years ago we have to understand that during that time a shift was occuring in how we percieved God....their is an evolution to dieties changeing....for example, from polytheism to monotheism....but at the time of Jesus the were these changes happenig and they are very important to understand...not to save your soul mind you but instead to show us a new way...we are in an age of information and the age of science...we need a new way to view the world of the spirit...Another good thing to view is the movie...."Down the Rabbit Hole......What the Bleep do We Know"...it shows that quantum theory has disturbed our scientific view of matter, time and the material world....we are entering into a new way of seeing our universe that hasn't really been challenged for 2000 years...basically due to the expansion of knowledge, science and information.

      July 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  3. aginghippy

    Some folks are speculating that most people carry on a tradition of whatever beliefs their ancestors held, and then applying that speculation to atheists, as well. It is almost certain that a Christian was born and raised in a Christian nation, by a Christian family, and those born in a Muslim country will likely be Muslim, etc. The same cannot be said of the vast majority of atheists. Most atheists were raised in one religion or the other, and most have struggled with the conflict of denying the beliefs of those they love and respect. It takes courage and a firm commitment to logic and reason to become an atheist.
    It irritates me when I hear people calling atheism another religion, or declaring that atheists have "faith" in science that is similar to religious faith. If we atheists have anything resembling faith, it is only our firm belief that the scientific community will never stop searching for truth, and will be not just willing, but eager to abandon any theory that new evidence proves to be flawed. Compare that to religious faith, which prevails no matter how much evidence to the contrary is presented to the believer.
    Regarding the "hateful" nature of atheists, don't confuse frustration and indignation with hatred. No atheist would ever consider depriving another of the right to live his or her life based on their beliefs. We atheists want nothing more than a nation in which you are free to believe and worship anything or anyone you wish. We are simply sick and tired of being treated as immoral, un-American, and lacking some sacred knowledge because of our lack of faith in a deity. We are tired of watching religious belief shaping our laws, so that a g@y man or woman cannot be married because a religious text says that God hates ho-mo-se-x-uals. We are tired of hearing any real discussion about limiting a woman's right to decide if she will become a mother because some believers find the termination of an unwanted pregnancy to be offensive to their god. We would like to see our leaders stop including prayer or religious dogma and symbolism in the government of our nation. True freedom of religion cannot exist if any one religion is considered the official religion of our nation. Imagine, my dear Christians, if somehow Islam became our official religion. Would you feel a bit left out and alienated, if our President made decisions regarding YOUR personal freedoms, based on what he perceives to be the will of Allah? Can you imagine a public school room in which the kids were expected to face Mecca and pray several times per day? Can there really be religious freedom without the right to have NO religion? You may say that atheists already have the right to disbelieve, but if we continue the myth that ours is a "Christian nation", then anyone not Christian can hardly be considered a true American. That makes us less than patriotic, less than equal, and therefore not truly afforded the right to freely live as atheists. Many atheist are "in the closet" in regards to their own families, their friends most often their employers and coworkers.
    That's all the flying messages are trying to convey: it is, and absolutely should be, OK to be an atheist in America.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Mike

      Very well said! Thank you.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Pam

      A great line, by Richard Dawkins I think:

      "Saying atheism is a religion is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby." or something close to that.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Dstew1

      Great comment!!!

      July 2, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  4. Stevie7

    "Ignorance is not always bliss but if you choose to be ignorant then that is your choice
    The problem I have is that this country was found on the belief system that a God exisited. Not just any God, but the same God that led Isreal out of Egypt, the same God that sent His only Son (Jesus!) to die for us all!! "

    I love irony.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Pam

      yes. Oh, the irony

      July 2, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  5. Nick

    I find it rather humorous that the "christians" on this page are speaking of bigotry placed on them by Athiests, When in fact a christian will be the first person to toss his/her rock at someone and tell them they are going to "Hell". Athiests merely don't buy into religious dogma. More wars are started, more lives are lost based on dogmatic "gods" that demand spilled blood and everyone who does not "believe" to be converted. Christians are no different than the Blood or Crips always trying to recruit someone into their invalid beliefs. America is a free country meaning we all should have equal protection under the law, Be allowed to believe or disbelieve what we choose, However the church and the christians disagree. The folks who believe in any organized religion are the lost ones. Go on athiests ring the freedom bell and just be!

    July 2, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Gumby


      July 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  6. MichaelP

    Ignorance is not always bliss but if you choose to be ignorant then that is your choice. True Christians should share their belief out of love for their fellow man. My job as a Christian is to show you how an Almighty God loved you so much that He took on flesh so that He can save you from eternal damnation! If you choose not to accept that fine, I still love you regardless! The problem I have is that this country was found on the belief system that a God exisited. Not just any God, but the same God that led Isreal out of Egypt, the same God that sent His only Son (Jesus!) to die for us all!! even the unbelievers in the hope that they will believe one day! It was mandated by God for us to spread the word of God through out the world, because He does not desire to see anyone perish! Unfortunately, God will not get everything He wants because some will still chooose to turn away from Him and that is still a choice! Believe in Him because everyday you wake up is proof that He still believes in you!

    July 2, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Blastomere

      Regardless of your made-up mandate, you are not free to shove your filthy religion into our laws. We have freedoms in this country that mean you'd better keep that religion on a tight leash. The USA has enough of your religious crud here already.
      Go elsewhere if you want to bulls**t lpeople. You're beating a dead horse.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Pam

      That sales "job" that you've taken on, of pushing your silly religious beliefs on everyone, is sadly part of why your cult keeps on going today. Did it ever occur to you that if the god you are pushing on us actually existed, he wouldn't need a human marketing team, nor you on it? And that maybe he'd show his face more than once every few thousand years, or ever...

      I get so sick of Christians pushing their beliefs on the rest of us. Keep your supersti-tions to yourself. Can't your god sell itself on its own? Another sign your god does not exist. And calling non-believers ignorant like you did is a typical insult from your lot. Most non-believers in America probably know the bible better than you do, which is part of why they don't believe it.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Gumby

      Pam: as they say, an atheist is someone who has actually read the Bible. It's amazing how little these supposed "True Christian" fundamentalists actually know about their own book.

      Once you take official Christian doctrine and compare it against their own "holy" book, it all falls apart. Much doctrine, including the virgin birth and the existence of the Christian Satan, hinges upon taking the square pegs of cherry-picked and intentionally misinterpreted bits and pieces of ancient Hebrew doctrine taken out of context and forcing them into the round holes invented by the early manufacturers of the Christian religion. It's all nonsense.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  7. WonderSpring

    Criminals hate any thought of condemnation; another proof mankind is sinful.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Cherie

      So you admit to being a criminal? Great, we'll send teh cops right over to arrest you.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Christians are the only ones who admit the total depravity of mankind as it is. Atheists are uncomfortable of the thought, because though they know they are guilty, they want to continue sinful lifestyles.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Blastomere

      Where are the Christians who will admit the total depravity of Christianity? We have plenty of proof, where's yours?

      July 2, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • WonderSpring

      ? Christianity saves humans from the consequences of depravity.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Gumby

      Atheism is not criminal, you hateful godbot.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Gumby

      "Christians are the only ones who admit the total depravity of mankind as it is. Atheists are uncomfortable of the thought, because though they know they are guilty, they want to continue sinful lifestyles."

      Why do Christians lie?

      July 2, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  8. Cattnippy

    Freedom of choice is what is truly American. Freedom to believe or not believe in any religion. Where I live, there are plenty of religious billboards and bumper stickers proclaiming that anyone who is not Christian is WRONG and destined to burn in eternity. I find that very sad for the folks who display that way of thinking. I'm agnostic, and one reason I don't believe in any religion's version of a higher power is that most seem so compelled to condemn anyone who does not conform to their way of thinking.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Blastomere

      Condemnation is much easier for people when they don't have to think too hard about it.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Condemnation is real for Americans who promote blasphemy, infanticide and Sodomy. Denial does not bring any solution.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Although I'd like to be sodomized, but no one would do me.


      July 2, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  9. WonderSpring

    Atheists need Christian love. The lonliest species on earth.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • apostate

      You're the one who needs an imaginary friend.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • mist

      good one apostate

      July 3, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  10. Matt

    I am beginning to see the Truth that there is no better hope for man than to believe in Cosmology and Atheism and to know that there is nothing but a grand mystery set before us. Thank you for your support.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Tim A

      Oh, stop being silly. If you really believed your god existed then you should be able to think of some way of proving his existence. Without proof why do you believe? Because you like the idea and don't care if it's really all that true.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Tim A

      Where did Matt mention a god, or did miss your sarcasm or humour?

      July 2, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  11. Greg Gilbert

    I'm an atheist and I NEVER got the impression that I was considered un-american. I don't know where this guy is coming from.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • My 2 cents

      Tell that to the pilot who feels he would need to wear a bulletproof vest to fly the atheist banner...

      July 2, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  12. WonderSpring

    Christians are the easiest humans to oppress or abuse. You never have to worry about retaliation or even curse. Christians always pray for blessings(salvation) for the worst enemies. Time is limited, however. There is Judgment at the end.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • apostate

      Tell that to the native Americans and former slaves, Christians have had no problems throughout history oppressing others.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Barbaric, uneducated people were always overrun by others on earth, and slavery was abolished all over the world only by Christians while you were watching stupid cartoons at home.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • apostate

      "Slaves obey your masters" – Jesus

      July 2, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Jesus didn't say that. Another misquote by atheists. Atheists should give up quoting religious texts; you were never right doing it.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Apostate

      Ephesians 6:5
      Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
      Colossians 3:22
      Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.
      Luke12:46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
      you better watch out you better not pout.... 2000+ years but any minute.... Even Jesus supposedly thought he was coming back within the life time of the people he preached to. oh well...

      July 2, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Sybaris

      Apostate "Slaves obey your masters" – Jesus

      I thought James Hetfield said that

      July 2, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  13. Matt


    I mentioned the fall of 1914 for the very simple reason; even world historians testify that that year was a pivotal date in world history.

    The Irony is NOT that it is near the time and rise of the German Nazi state, Because just prior to this event an evil murderous individual and his associates where kicked out of heaven. Revelation 12 talks about that war.

    The result upon the world was WW1. As for spewing "the rhetoric"- I have no idea what your talking about that lead to the Holocaust? Are you taking about the hateful rhetoric by the Catholic Germans who backed and financed Hitlers rise to power? or, "Our Nation" is better than "your nation" thinking? or, the killing of their Catholic "Brothers" here in USA ? All that is in clear violation of the scriptures and what it means to be a Christian.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  14. WonderSpring

    Preach atheism in Iran if atheism is so important to you and see what bigotry really means. Spoiled atheists. American atheists never know what is means to risk life for one's belief.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • David

      Why Iran? That makes no sense.
      He is an American, exercising his American right of freedom of/from religion. I disagree with him spiritually, but support his right and accept atheists as just as American as anyone else.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • WonderSpring

      American atheists are so fervent in their preaching of despair. They should try that under real bigotry to see what it means.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • apostate

      If you risk your life over an imaginary sky fairy that's your problem. Seek help.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Confused

      Huh? You're working under the assumption you can only fight for a belief in religion. There are plenty of things for atheists to fight for and die for – freedom, improved quality of life, lack of persecution.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • caw

      Actually it's exactly the opposite. Those of us who are Atheist who serve our country KNOW that if we die there is nothing beyond but we fight and give our lives anyway. Those of you who who believe in an afterlife give less value to human life on earth.

      So a soldier who is an Atheist can be argued to be a greater patriot.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Caw, not true. Atheists view humans by usefulness and don't mind butchering billions especially now they believe Planet Earth has over-population. Christians know this life counts for all eternity and do everything to save every life.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Oops, I forgot the many many people that Christians brutally killed in the Inquisitions. And the witch burnings by Christians. And Hitler was a Christian. And that god wants to brutally tor-ture millions of people forever for finite sins.

      Well, Christians are the evil ones. But we have the majority. For now. I think. Even if our old man in the sky is imaginary and won't fly down to save us.


      July 2, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  15. WonderSpring

    They should try that over Iran to show how truly patriotic they are. It's too easy to persecute Christians on American soil.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Steve

      Yes, because expressing your opinion is sooooo anti-Christian and un-American....

      July 2, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • apostate

      Christian zealots should move to Iran.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • WonderSpring

      There are plenty Christians in Iran, all under severe persecutions that are unimaginable to American atheists who are in comfort of the Christian establishment of USA.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • apostate

      Good thing America is secular and not a Christian theocracy. Treaty of Tripoli confirms this. Spare us your persecution complex considering how many people Christians have persecuted and killed in the name of jebus over the centuries.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Apostate, Christians saved 7 billions by feeding, education and medical missions. You would not be alive if Christians didn't rescue your parents. You didn't learn proper spelling in the American public schools.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • apostate

      Christians feed billions loads of BS.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Zeldalina

      I love you WonderSpring.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  16. Dan

    I know you weak people with no hope in your life need to believe it but the earth is not flat, the sun does not revolve around the earth, and there are no gods.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Canada

      Couldn't have said it better, eh

      July 2, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Canada was created to spread Christianity, for no other reason.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • WonderSpring

      I'm a stupid old twit with a fat ass.


      July 2, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  17. Michael Knight

    Atheists should do more thinking about what they don't believe in. It's not possible for an atheist to prove that God doesn't exist. In order for an unbeliever to prove that an Almighty Deity doesn't exist, he/she would have to be all-knowing; the atheist would need to be Omniscient and would have seen all of the countless proofs and evidences indicating that God doesn't exist. Unless the atheist has seen all of the proofs in the universe proving that A Divine Being isn't real, then they should start to listen to True-Christians ( Christians who really follow the teachings of Jesus Christ ); not the self-proclaiming ones. Also, unbelievers need to talk to former atheists who have died and went to Hell and were allowed to return and tell their story in order to convince those who dare to challenge the Christian doctrine to be changed and start seeking God; an awesome God who loves everyone.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Tim A

      I think you should check yourself in to the nearest Psych ward. They can help you with some nice meds. Have fun!

      July 2, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • David

      I think you are missing the point.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Stevie7

      One could replace "god" with zeus, unicorns, the tooth fairy, krishna, mermaids, aliens, and the flying spaghetti monster and you'd end up with an equally pointless argument.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Michael Knight

      You said: "Atheists should do more thinking about what they don't believe in. It's not possible for an atheist to prove that God doesn't exist."

      Actually, since it is the believers that are positing a god, it would be their burden to supply evidence that god does indeed exist.

      Extraordinary claims, requires extraordinary evidence – Carl Sagan

      You are right.No one can prove a negative. I can't prove that god does not exist. I also can't prove Santa Claus does not exist. But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we feel is probable.

      In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

      I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature. I can't prove vampires or werewolves or fairies don't exist. But, I bet you would agree, that they are not real. They just don't fit in with reality.

      So, we can look for attributes of god, that should provide evidence that He exists.
      If positive evidence is found, we should conclude that god probably exists.
      If positive evidence is not found, then we should conclude that the Christian God, beyond a reasonable doubt, does not exist. Just like Santa. Just like fairies. Just like vampires.

      One of the most compelling reasons for rejecting god, is the fact that there are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently. All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
      Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

      Christians claim their god is Omnipotent ( all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnibenevolent (all good).

      1.If god is Omnibenevolent, He would WANT every human to believe in Him.
      The bible says He does:
      2 Peter 3:9
      9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. King James Version (KJV)

      1 Timothy 2:4
      4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. King James Version (KJV)

      2. If god is Omniscient, then He would KNOW exactly how to convince anyone and everyone that He exists.

      3. If god is Omnipotent, then He would be ABLE to convince anybody and everybody that He exists.

      Yet, ~ 68% of the world's population are not Christians.

      Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      In the same vein as the above, notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 34,000). Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they understand the wants of Jesus/god.
      All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
      Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      Christians believe god's purpose in creating the Bible is to guide human beings towards a knowledge of God, and to help them lead moral lives, Christians must be certain of the meaning of the Bible.

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.

      "There are in excess of 1,000 Christian faith groups in North America. They teach diverse beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God, the second coming, Heaven, Hell, the rapture, criteria for salvation, speaking in tongues, the atonement, what happens to persons after death, and dozens of other topics.

      On social controversies, faith groups teach a variety of conflicting beliefs about abortion access, equal rights for ho_mo$exuals and bi$exuals, who should be eligible for marriage, the death penalty, physician assisted suicide, human $exuality topics, origins of the universe, and dozens of other topics.

      The groups all base their theological teachings on the Bible. Generally speaking, the theologians in each of these faith groups are sincere, intelligent, devout, thoughtful and careful in their interpretation of the Bible. But, they come to mutually exclusive conclusions about what it teaches. Further, most are absolutely certain that their particular interpretations are correct, and that the many hundreds of faith groups which teach opposing beliefs are in error." Source: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

      If the bible is ambiguous, then it cannot be said to be inerrant.

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Another reason to reject the idea of a god, is because there appears to be no need for one. Each hour of each day, science fills another gap in man's knowledge, that god once filled. So far, science has found no need for a god.
      We don't want to postulate what isn't necessary.

      John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – This is certainly a Christian favorite!

      If the Christian god so loves the world, why does he allow / cause so much suffering? Disease, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum. ?

      I can explain the existence of these horrors as being due to natural causes and evolution, but my explanation fails when I include an all loving Creator in the equation. I keep getting a "Can't divide by zero" error.

      Christians say their god is omnibenevolent (all good); omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient ( all knowing)

      1. If the Christian god is all knowing, He would be AWARE of all the suffering on earth.

      2. If the Christian god is all good, He would WANT to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      3. If the Christian god is all powerful, He would be ABLE to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      4. Yet, evil persists.

      Therefore, The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent. But these attributes are not compatible.

      If the Christian god is all knowing, if the future can be known, then even god would be bound by events in the future. Everything would be predetermined.

      1. If the Christian god, knows what will happen in the future, and does something else...then, He is not all knowing.

      2. If the Christian god knows the future and cannot change it, then He is not all powerful.

      3. The attributes attributed to the Christian god conflict with one another.

      The Christian god with these attributes cannot exist.

      Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.

      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who did?

      Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery.

      If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.

      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world. We can dump the guilt trip.

      If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a redeemer.

      If there was no redeemer, then Christianity is a based on a false premise.

      "If we cannot believe in the First Adam, why believe in the Last [Christ]?" 1 Corinthians15:45

      If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.

      If we evolved, there is no soul –> no afterlife –> no need of a heaven or hell.

      LOL, which is why the Evangelicals fight so hard against evolution.

      Evolution is the Christian god's Achilles' heel.

      The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes.


      July 2, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Michael Knight

      You said: " unbelievers need to talk to former atheists who have died and went to Hell and were allowed to return and tell their story in order to convince those who dare to challenge the Christian doctrine to be changed and start seeking God; an awesome God who loves everyone."

      "Seeing Gods, Angels and the Afterlife
      In some cases, patients undergoing NDE’s later claimed they had seen dead loved ones waiting for them in a beautiful heavenly realm, or said they saw gods or angels; some claimed to have felt a tremendous sense of well-being.
      Skeptics and scientists believe these images are simply the products of a traumatized or dying brain, much like hallucinations or dreams that can seem very real to the person experiencing them. As previously mentioned, sleep deprivation and certain drugs can trigger vivid hallucinations and feelings of peace or oneness with the universe, just as some NDE patients have reported.
      Moreover, skeptics have argued that people of different religions experience NDE’s in the context of the religion they are familiar with, and see what their religious tenets prepare them to see. For this reason, it is unlikely that the various gods and angels appearing in these near-death experience visions have any objective reality outside of the mind."
      Source: http://www.suite101.com/content/explaining-the-near-death-experience-a144583#ixzz1PeAjYwls


      July 2, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Blastomere

      David Johnson
      That must have hurt coming out all at once like that. What a huge post.
      You and this Reality person are making sure our scroll buttons get a good workout, aren't you?

      July 2, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • HotAirAce


      So we can assume that while you did not like the length, that you understand and agree with each of David J's points, or is attacking the length the sum total of your critical review?

      July 2, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Blastomere

      David Johnson is an excellent poster. He is a brother atheist. But these gigantic posts almost deserve to be an article all by themselves. Can't I tease David Johnson? Do you think his posts should be longer?

      July 2, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • David Johnson


      I agree, that some of my comments are too long. I'm not sensitive. In fact, I find criticism useful. I will try not to post this, so often.


      July 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Magic

      David Johnson's posts are always excellent. Anyone with a working brain can glean so much from them. Others, like Wonderlina, only want one-liners and sound bites, and respond with plati.tudes, insults and threats.

      July 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Blastomere

      David Johnson
      If you have that much to say, I think you should say it. Who cares if my scroll wheel breaks and bursts into flame? lol
      But my eyes are tired and I thought to tease you a bit because I am not up to reading the whole thing right now.
      I am glad to know that we have people like you, David Johnson, who care very much about getting the truth out there.
      When you and the others are posting, I can go to sleep knowing you guys are keeping the fundies at bay!
      Too often I take the weight of the world on my shoulders. The fundies are a big problem in this world.
      Any American who likes to fight fundies is an American I am proud to know exists. I salute you, sir!
      And my scroll wheel salutes you! You ease the burden of this old man with your clear arguments.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      And you sir should take a logic course. The specific example you mention is one example of the principle that one cannot prove a negative. I also cannot prove there is no Santa Claus.

      "Also, unbelievers need to talk to former atheists who have died and went to Hell and were allowed to return and tell their story in order to convince those who dare to challenge the Christian doctrine to be changed and start seeking God; an awesome God who loves everyone."
      -- Seriously, let's go with that one. You set that up, and I'll be there. How many, exactly, have you been talking to ?

      July 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      My sincerest apologies! I mistook you for a non-atheist attempting to shoot down / dismiss David J's points by being critical of the "form" and not the "content."

      July 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  18. jim

    What "belief" is it that we are trying to force upon you, atheism? Atheism is simply non belief. The big difference between your campaign and ours is that, unlike you, we don't want you to join us, we just want you to leave us alone!

    July 2, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  19. Brahm

    I'm an atheist and even I think this is an idiotic campaign. If you want people to respect you world views, you need to fly a sign that's less provocative. How about "It's OK to be an atheist" or "Atheists are ALSO patriotic". Better still, don't fly any sign and just be open about your lack of beliefs rather than confrontational or evangelistic about them.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Tim A

      Be sure and tell that to all the missionaries, evangelists, religious nutjobs, and other whackos out there too.
      Wouldn't want to get lopsided, would we?

      July 2, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  20. sheetiron

    I don't think its patriotic or non patriotic. However I would like to point out that how its funny that the tables have turned. Christians use billboards, bus signs, plane signs, pamphlets, etc to get their message across and Atheists always accuse them of "forcing" their beliefs on other people. Now atheist are doing the same thing, only it seems that they are more disturbed by resistance than we are. Hows it feel when the shoe is on the other foot?

    July 2, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • JohnR

      when did athiests ever complain about billboards? The complaints have been about displays on government property or with public funding.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Co-opted

      In all my years in this country, which is many . . . I've only ever been forced to listen to benedictions, opening prayers, closing prayers, Presidents hoping "God bless America" (aka: not our not-friends) and concern for the spiritual health of my brethren . . . I've never been subjected to anyone asking me to "think for yourself" and exercise independent proactive thought . . . which the old-school bible (though not the current fashionable bible) espouses

      July 2, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • i wonder


      There are over 300,000,000 people in the U.S. now (half of whom have below average IQs ;)). It is just easier to keep them in line with droning apothegms and snappy plati.tudes than to have them think!

      July 2, 2011 at 6:49 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.