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. Hodad_McRasta

    I'm not a religious man. But I think atheists are arrogant. How, with such rudimentary senses as humans have, can one claim to be certain that god exists? I mean, humans can't even hear a dog whistle. Don't you think there might possibly be some things in this universe you can't be sure of? I'm not saying they exist, I'm just saying it's kind of arrogant to claim that you're sure that they DON'T exist.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • Johnny_Spacewigr

      Hey! I said that. You copied what I wrote!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Hodad_McRasta

      Then why is your post stamped later than mine!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Scott

      There is a great long list of things for which I have no plausible evidence including: god, cold fusion, santa claus… To save time I lump them all under the category of does not exist. Until I get (at least some small shred of) believable evidence for any of them they will stay on my does not exist list. I’m not asking for incontrovertible proof. I’ll put any one of them on my might just be possible list when I get any solid hint of their reality.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  2. John Doe

    That's a really poor choice of words. If they wanted to show their patriotism, they could have said something like "atheists love America too," but instead they chose an extremely confrontational and borderline childish slogan that's just going to have people on the ground saying "Godless America? What the heck is that supposed to mean?"

    July 5, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      They're doing it to be "in your face," not to get their message out.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:21 am |
  3. frank

    One of the principles America was founded on was the freedom to believe as you so desire. Now, I'm not saying one side of the arguement is better than the other, but What's wrong with beliving what you believe and being respectful of one another. in essence everyone just wants happiness, if it's found in prayer, or the opposition to prayer, why let the details makes us enemies of one another when we all want the same thing in the end? Pray and take solice in it, or take solice in not having to, either way, it shouldn't get in the way of being decent and respectful of one another.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • Brian

      Bravo, well said.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  4. Former Atheist Pastor

    I just did a little more reading of some of the many posts here. Having done so, I would like to offer the following to the Christians: Attacking atheists (or anyone for that matter) gives Christ a bad name. The same was true when a corrupt Pope lied to people and told them that they would go to heaven if they went on Crusades.

    For the atheists, I offer this: I have seen many claim that the world will be better off when religion is wiped out. I would suggest that those who hold to that view look at the former Soviet Union and China and North Korea, and remember the millions of people slaughtered. Yes, many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. Likewise, their is much blood on the hands of the non-religious.

    For all of us: No one can truly force their beliefs on anyone else. History is rife with examples of countries that tried to mandate one religion or another, or to mandate atheism. It is solely at the discretion of each individual what they believe. Christians should not expect atheists to keep their beliefs to themselves anymore than atheists should expect us to try to keep God in church.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Scott

      Good points; but, if you use the category of dogmatic, authoritarian, totalitarian belief systems then the former Soviet Union and China and North Korea fall into the same category as the corrupt pope and many other bloody religions

      July 5, 2011 at 5:37 am |
    • Björn Möøsefåärtsniffænsen

      Why do you claim that the atrocities of the Soviet Union, China and North Korea are due to atheism? Those things were a result of political ideology, not anti-religious ideology. Stalin's purges were about political rivalries, political dissent, and Stalin's paranoia and blood lust, not for the most part about religion. The Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward were about political purity, and only a tiny part would have been anti-religion. North Korea? Same deal.

      That's a common misconception we see here, blaming atheists for massive atrocities, but the truth is that political ideology – communism – was the real culprit.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  5. Former Atheist Pastor

    When I joined the Navy, I was an atheist. I was just as patriotic as my Christian shipmates. I came to faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the age of thirty. As an atheist, I was very outspoken about my belief when I was faced with the faith that others had. Now, as a pastor, I have been asked to pray publicly. I have also supported the atheist's right to open with a moment of silence, and the right of the Muslim to pray to Allah. This is not to say that I believe we should be silent about our faith. If we, as Christians, are true to our beliefs, we must share Christ with unbelievers because we believe that a horrible end waits for those who die apart from Him. To refrain from sharing Christ would be the epitome of hate. We must, however, share in love, and with respect. Likewise, however, we must be willing to let others share, as well.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Billy


      July 5, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  6. freethinker

    @James "Unlike the atheists, who do force their views on others".....I had to say that that really made me laugh! Are you saying that xtians don't force their views on others? Let me see, we have "god" on our money, "god" in our pledge of allegience, the ten commandments on courthouses, nativity scenes and awful christian music forced on us everywhere we go for the entire month of December, prayers at graduations and city meetings and sporting events, and national days of prayer. It seems to me that the religious have been forcing their views on everyone whether we like it or not. If atheists decide to say that enough is enough, then all of a sudden they are "forcing" their views on people. Hmmm....sounds pretty stupid to me.I have a solution.....why don't we as a nation just keep god in church where he belongs and xtains can worship him to their hearts content....then atheists wont need to be so outspoken and then maybe our nation can focus on issues that really should be dealt with, like the economy, crime and clean drinking water.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • James

      Frethinker: Yeah, baby. Right on. I did not say that Christians do not force their views. I said that I – me, me, me, do not force MY views on others. Atheists do. And yes, Christians do, too.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • freethinker

      @James....we agree!!! Right on! Happy that we can meet in the middle!

      July 5, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • James

      Freethinker: Truly. I heard that! Peace.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Good grief ... a Athiest and a Christian meeting in the middle ..... guys run for the door before the radicals on both of your sides come and tear you both limb from limb ...

      Run ... duck and dive , duck and dive

      July 5, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  7. James Black


    July 5, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • ....

      ~~Don't bother viewing this garbage, click the report abuse link to get rid of this toll.

      July 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  8. Joe Blow from Idaho

    Before anyone is enticed by what the atheists and blasphemers are saying, I should point out that God makes no allowances for non-believers. Either you are for him or you are against him. Either you believe and get saved through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or you will burn for eternity in hell where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • ayceman

      yes yes heard this all before look if thats what you believe keep your mouth shut and it to yourself. You are not god if their was one, and like your own belief states in a not so direct quote cast ye the first stone that is without sin.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • James

      @Joe Blow: Agreed.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      I will not keep my mouth shut nor keep it to myself until the atheists do the same. This is a free country after all. See this is exactly why we need an amendment to declare America as a christian nation. The atheists are trying to take over.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • ayceman

      Joe blow you are no one to judge again are you a perfect individual without flaw or "sin" are you worthy to cast stones

      July 5, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • 666 devil lucifer

      nicely put ayceman. religious people are taught to not judge and are usually the first ones to judge someone, especially if they look different. the practical implementation of religion is hypocrisy.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>"I will not keep my mouth shut nor keep it to myself until the atheists do the same."

      On that point ....

      @Joe Blow: Agreed.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • ayceman

      exactly 666 many and I mean man Christians feel that they are self righteous morally and even mentally superior to those who hold different beliefs they preach tolerance and demand the right to practice their religion but only for themselves look at how they attack muslims, atheists, agnostics, look at the bloody history. The victorian era, salem witch trials, crusades they claim discrimination by us yet they are the most judgemental lot i have ever seen. quick to judge much less inclined to tolerate.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho


      Where do you get that I am judging anyone? I'm telling like it is. If you don't believe me, read the bible for yourself.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • ayceman

      Hi Joe blow well I'm leaving this thread I dont wish to start a flame war or disrespect your beliefs and any other. Just in closing my lack of belief or knowing as a true agnostic I also dont feel that my lack thereof of beliefs should be shoved down anyones throat my contention was to advise people that you will "burn" in hell quoting scripture one quote out of many that could be taken out of context sounds like muslim extremists who take a quote out of the koran and justify their remarks their actions thats my point either way if your beliefs make your whole or happy then more power to you.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • 666 devil lucifer

      the day religion dies is the day the world becomes a better AND safer place for everyone, not just atheists.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Someone

      JoeBlow: "If you don't believe me, read the bible for yourself."

      The Bible is nothing.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • gozer

      Uh, Joe, re "you will burn for eternity in hell ", how is it again that your "loving" god provides eternal tor-ture for finite transgressions, such as merely doubting his existence? Seriously, think about that. No reasonable human court would use tor-ture at all as acceptable punishment, let alone torture forever. The only conclusion can be that your god cannot exist with the characteristics that you attribute to it.

      But maybe you just want to worship a god that's an as-shole. Weird stuff, what Christians want to believe.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Jeremy the Atheist

      "Only a Sith deals in absolutes"
      -Obi-Wan Kenobi

      July 5, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho


      Yes, God is a loving god. But He is also a wrathful god. Remember he destroyed the world once because of its sin. Also, his ways are not our ways so it doesn't matter what a court would do. He can do whatever He wants. He's God.

      @Jeremy the Atheist

      So your entire contribution is to quote a line from a film?

      July 5, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Someone

      @JoeBlow: "he destroyed the world once because of its sin."

      What is the verified proof for this?

      July 5, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      SomeOne- I know its not the deep proof that you might be looking for but the flood and the legend of a ark type of craft that appeared is one of those things that does not only appear in the Bible.

      I remember news specials and even old "In Search Of" episodes that spoke of how many not only mention a flood but that animals and humans were saved in almost the same way. I will post a Answer.com page that list all of the different faiths and regions that mention such. The flood part is amazing unto itself but that the similarities of the craft/vessel I found amazing. I know there is a rational argument that I will respectfully inquire for my ...calmer Atheist friends here to answer.

      Is this true, can it be explain. Not the flood, which is amazing unto itself, but so many religions around the planet hitting on a single craft that was sent to save the animals and man?


      July 5, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Scott

      “for whoever is not against us is for us” Mark 9:40

      July 5, 2011 at 5:58 am |
  9. James

    By the way, I would like to see any atheist provide any credible evidence that God does not exist... how can you convince me, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is no God?

    July 5, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • 666 devil lucifer

      yeah i got some for you, its called the crusades. a real deity would not want people murdering other people in his name. millions of people dead for your good ol boy. you must be from the south...

      July 5, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • James

      @666... How do you know what God would or would not want? Answer me that. And where did I say I was a Christian?

      July 5, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • James

      Do you have a direct line?

      July 5, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • ayceman

      James and as an agnostic can you prove to me that God exists empirically? I dont want to impose my belief system on anyone but dont impose yours on those who could care less.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • James

      Unlike the atheists, who do force their views on others, I never claimed to have proof one way or the other. But the available evidence (the universe and life) satisfies me personally that there is some sentient higher force...

      July 5, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      James, they will never provide proof because they can't. They are just guessing that they are right.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • James

      And though I try my hardest to avoid labels, I am probably most accurately described as a deist.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • James

      To Joe Blow: Agreed.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • 666 devil lucifer

      because no one deserves to be hurt, physically or mentally. a god who is that cruel does not deserve even a tenth of a second of worship from ANYONE. you make yourself look bad for defending such an evil force. the good that christians claim to be apart of is just a defense of a mass murdering psychopath. its sickening

      July 5, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • ayceman

      so james if you are a deist and are avoiding labels why do you agree with the condenming remark from "joe blow from Idaho" which says those who are against god will burn in hell.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • James

      To 666: Who are you to say who deserves what?!? You are a speck that has only existed for a fraction of the universe's age. Yet you claim to know the nature of the universe? Wow, you must think that YOU are God, making such statements. Tell me, from an OBJECTIVE, non-human biased point of view, why you think that no human derserves or does not deserve anything?

      July 5, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • James

      That's the problem with atheists – they think that humans are the end all, be all of the universe. How can they objectively say that? They are biased.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • James

      To Ayceman: Please quote where I said that I agreed with that.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • James

      To Ayceman: Never mind. I found the quote. Notice that the same word appears in my post, as well. That post to Joe Blow was placed on the wrong thread. For the record, I did not agree with that particular statement. Sorry.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • ayceman

      to james thank you disregard my remarks to you then my apologies as well.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Scott

      If the fact that god did not incinerate Howard Camping with a bolt of lightning isn't good enough then nothing will be.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:03 am |
    • Civiloutside

      "That's the problem with atheists – they think that humans are the end all, be all of the universe. "

      Sigh. Not even remotely. This is actually a problem for people on all sides of the argument – so many condemning others for things they *think* they believe rather than understanding what they *actually* believe. I've probably been guilty of it myself.

      There is nothing inherent in not believing in the existence of gods that implies that humans are the greatest, most wonderful thing in the universe. Most of our positions rather strongly imply that humans are just another thing that happened.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  10. James

    Atheists are a stupid, ignorant lot. They think that they, rather than God are the center of the universe. How can any rational being look at the universe and conclude that it was an accident. Ridiculous. Because they are blind to reason, I would like to see atheists deported o the geographic center of the Atlantic Ocean...

    July 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      Such a loving Christian. Jesus would be proud of your love for fellow man. Surely your heart is open to all!


      July 5, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • 666 devil lucifer

      wow dude you are a nut job. you need to be castrated, and if you 've already had kids, they need to be sterilized too.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Matthew

      Hmmm…I thought the only stupid, ignorant people who believed they were at the center of the universe were the Christians. Then, science proved that the writers of the bible got it wrong and earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around.
      Copernicus: 1 James: 0

      July 5, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Civiloutside

      A scientific approach to the world (I.e. The approach many if not most atheists take) says that humans are pretty insignificant on the grand scheme of things. So atheists, by and large, believe pretty much the opposite of what you claim about our place in the universe. But of course we don't believe your god is the center of it either, since we don't believe he (or any other god) even exists.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  11. Ben

    I really don' understand why atheist give a crap. Their need to have other people believe the same as them is just as, if not more annoying than any of the various religious folks. Just go about living your life because according to you that is really all you've got.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • freethinker

      For those of you who want to know why atheists care about christians.....this is a good place to start, If you really care to know. http://youtu.be/h1ImMtHrrKo

      July 5, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  12. Peter

    Be careful what you ask for... you might just get it...
    I rather God bless America, than God less America...

    July 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • ayceman

      christ allmighty peter as an agnostic I could care less if people want to keep mention of god in Americas creed but stop shoving it down peoples throat some people dont want to hear it. Christians are not the center of the universe.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  13. TJ

    Why so much negativity towards atheists in the comments? They just want to have their voice heard and to be seen as legitimate and patriotic Americans.

    There is nothing in the article about Atheists attacking or insulting believers. Why are believers so insulted by Atheists simply trying to be recognized as a legitimate group? I am not insulted when you mention your belief in god, why are you insulted when I mention my lack of belief in god?

    July 4, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Kevin

      Its because many atheists have historically also held Marxist or other anti-American views. You are right however that some people falsely lump in all atheists, since it really isnt a value system at all, just a lack of belief.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Judas

      Atheists always attack believers. it's what they do, and is in fact the basis for their entire "belief" system. they simply wish to hurt others and make them feel as terrible about life as they do.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • TJ

      Judas, atheists do not "always" attack believers. I am an atheist and do not feel the need to attack any believers, most of my family are believers and some of them are very devout. They are free to have their viewpoint, as I am to have mine.

      My life is not terrible and I actually quite enjoy it. The worst part of my life is not being an atheist, it's having to hide my lack of belief because of the intolerance of believers that is well described by this article.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • Khary Sudan

      We all should get in where we fit in. If one enters the public arena you will have to fight it out or run. If you don't wish to fight you will have to leave or be beat down. It's called politics. These self-styled atheists evidently wish to fight. Witness their entry into the public arena via airplane messages!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  14. jimi

    Belief systems, religions among them, were developed to help make sense of the world around us. Everyone has had a different experience of the world around them, that changes with time. So what makes sense to you must also change with time and experience. So, never tell another what to believe. They have to figure it out themselves. There are no absolutes. I'm basically intolerant of Intolerance!

    July 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • James

      In my experience, atheists are the most intolerant people of all...

      July 5, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • ayceman

      James do you know the history of Christianity research the great schism, the crusades, the inquisition, salem witch burning last I checked there were no atheists present at those.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • James

      Ayceman: To you, I would reply... look at Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, etc. All proclaimed atheists, responsible for the deaths of millions. Stalin alone proves that point.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • ayceman

      and lets look at how many died in the crusades, inquisition, and the great schism, Stalin was a mad man, Castro killed many yes but so did the USA over the years Stroesseiner, Pinochet, Fujimori, Rios Mont, Somoza all governments sponsored by the USA in their war against Communism that killed comibined hundreds of thousands men women and children. They wer armed and supplied by the USA>

      July 5, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  15. bugbuster

    We atheists and our religious brethren continually talk past each other. At the end of the day, it's just words–too often fighting words–mountains made from molehills. I have seen close friends and relatives' lives transformed for the better by religion. I don't believe in God, but frankly, it doesn't matter. For a lot of people, religion works. It's juvenile to carp and pick at the technicalities of something that works for people. I believe in and try to practice The Golden Rule. So does every good religious person. We all need to stop posturing and carrying on, listen to each other, be honest with ourselves about our motives, and take care of business.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  16. TJ

    God LESS America? That doesn't sound like something an atheist would say. However, I've heard fundamentalist Christians say exactly that because our country is not sufficiently close to their version of Christianity.

    I'm not atheist, but I've known some. The ones I know accept that the majority of America is Christian and they have nothing against Christians. Their issue is with laws enforcing Christian beliefs, with Christians who don't know atheists and think that atheists hate Christians and are evil, and with Christians who are somehow offended that atheists exist in their community.

    Many Christians have been born Christian, have maybe gone through an obligatory "rebirth" or two, but have basically stuck with the community they are part of, believing what they have always been told to believe. Somehow this seems empty to me. I think the Holy Spirit touches us and brings us to Jesus, in a way mysterious and not necessarily related to what our pastor says, what church we go to, or even whether we go to church. Should we consider atheists to be a problem because they have not yet had this mysterious touch by the Spirit?

    July 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • craig

      Odessa, you are down right WRONG. I am an atheist, and I have christian friends (unfortunately for them). I do not hate christians (not on a massive scale, just individuals) i just dont acknowledge their god, the same way christians dont acknowledge other religions gods.
      TJ – I think its funny how you say we're going to be "saved" by some douc.... guys magical touch. WE DONT CARE. we dont want to be saved, we dont want to hear you try to save us, we dont care about your soul/our soul/everyones soul going to heaven and/or hell, because it's all a fairy tale made up to explain the world when human knowledge was limited. The Dark Ages were caused by religion, and we are headed for another one soon if we dont banish the fanatics from both sides of the argument. There are way more religious fanatics out there who if they had their way would instantly murder a few billion people for being non-believers. We need atheists to keep whack jobs in check. Atheism is the future, some european countries are reallllly close to becoming christianity free. I could only hope for a situation like that in America.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • TJ

      Craig – didn't mean to offend you regarding your salvation. The point of my post was the exact opposite of the way you seemed to take it. It is up to the Holy Spirit to touch someones heart, and all the Christians that are trying to scare or otherwise intimidate non-believers do not seem to be aware of the scripture regarding this subject. If you do not believe in God and care nothing about your salvation, I expect I could do nothing to change that, and that is the whole point. Good Christians should get off your back and just be good Christians.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • craig

      TJ – sorry I misinterpreted your statements, and I agree, no christian/jew/muslim/hindu/Buddhist/atheist or whatever should force their beliefs on others.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  17. Francesca Testi

    Brent, we're not being intolerant when we express OUR belief that there is no god. We'd be intolerant if we said you can't express YOUR belief that there is a god. And, Odessa, get real. Somebody telling me that I'm going to burn in a Hell that they believe actually exists is hardly expressing love.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  18. John

    In every atheist there is a doubt. This doubt is so scary in your minds that you need to constantly squash that doubt. The fear is that you will be judged by God. The fear that you may be wrong.

    So what do you do –so you can go on with your life free of fear? You constantly search for re-enforcement that your belief is correct. After all, if its not correct, its not like just missing the ice cream truck. This would be the biggest mistake a person could possibly make.

    So scour the earth with your biased eyes. Make a pile so high that no one could ever tip it over. Build a mountain of counterpoints to alleviate your fear. You cant deny thats what you do. Why else would someone devote so much time to something they have no belief in? Thats pathological. But with each news story about a Christian who cheated on his wife or someone going fanatical...you feel better. Its medicine to you.

    If you didnt feel threatened deep inside you would never speak a word about it. A God wouldnt allow suffering..a God would do this..a God wouldnt do that. Funny, it never occurred to you that this is the best of all possible worlds in which Humans have freewill and come to God, humble, as children. But .. even as it is....you are still as arrogant as ever. So arrogant, lil ole you, decide what a perfect God would do.

    Its so sad because He is as close as a prayer tonight for the truth. The world is set up so you would do that( if you are for God) –and plainly exposes those who are not. God is not on CNN so you will reach out for him a like a child in faith but you have already decided YOU are your own god. The throne is empty...you sit there instead. There is proof..but it only comes After you give yourself to God. What? Are you afraid? How could someone be afraid to live with Almighty God forever.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Cindy

      I have exactly as much 'doubt' about the existence of God as I do about the possible existence of Santa Claus. I am also aware that I don't know everything, and my beliefs are only my beliefs, but nonetheless, they are perfectly legitimate beliefs, and based on a lifetime of consideration.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Alan

      Nope, no doubt at all. Religions are nonsense invented by people.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • TJ

      What is pathological is someone writing half a page about how atheists rejoice when people cheat on their wives, how arrogant atheists are because they don't believe what we believe, how afraid, threatened... This rant shows as much intolerance, but directed at atheists, as the posts of atheists calling Christians irrational believers in sky fairies. Who is your brother- your fellow believer, or some non-believer (or Samaritan) with right in his heart?

      July 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Vee


      Sometimes I wish that your fantasy scenario were true. I am real good at following rules. I have no problem giving respect and honor to those who are smarter, more talented, more energetic, more productive, etc. than I am.

      Actually, I was a devout believer for 40+ years. After years and years of thought, reading, listening and discussing (and yes, praying too), but still hanging on to the beliefs out of fear and superst.ition, it got to the point that I just could not go through the motions and hypocrisy of pretending anymore. There is no-one there.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • ontarian

      your diatribe on arrogance ironically reeks of arrogance itself. it's unsettling how you believe this is the way to earn your place in whatever place you believe to exist. btw, being kind, good, loving of others, etc. do not necessitate doubt or fear. most of the vocal atheists are well-educated, very warm, generous, and full of love and compassion – unlike followers of organized cartels/religions that are the primary basis of intolerance for others.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Tom

      I am philosophically certain that God does not exist, and cannot exist.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Matthew

      I had to read over John’s comments a couple of times to wrap my head around them. For a while, I couldn’t figure out whether this guy was a believer spewing his beliefs or an atheist writing a very well written piece of satire.

      First, he writes about how atheists are full of doubt. Really? The atheists? Ok…I’m not religious enough to speak for believers so someone feel free to inform me here but I thought belief in God was about blind faith…or at least faith in something without a lot of evidence. If you have complete faith in the existence of your god, more power to you. But I’d be very willing to bet a large sum of money that a lot of people who attend church on Sunday have slight inklings of doubt about their gods.

      Then he goes on about fear and how fear drives the actions of atheists. Really? Is he talking about the atheists? Is he saying that atheists (who accept a world without gods even though it means saying "thanks but no thanks" to the possibility of being wrong and losing out on eternal salvation) are driven by fear? Seems like some pretty fearless motherfu#$#* right there. It seems to me that the people who say, “I should act like a good Christian because if I don’t, and I am wrong, it’s worse than missing the ice cream truck. I’ll go to the deepest pits of fiery hell” these are the people who are driven by fear.

      Then he rambles for a little about biased eyes, reinforcing beliefs, devoting time to beliefs, the sort of stuff that characterizes humans. All humans. Yep…even John, Christians, and atheists.

      I liked when he talks about the pathology that is atheists spending time in something they don’t believe in and then the medicine is something even worse than the pathology. That is very good writing. Of course, when you think about the logic, you become disappointed that he wasted such a good metaphor on that. I’m going to ignore the fact that his assumption that “atheists don’t believe in anything” is way off base. I’ll bring up an analogy that is sure to upset believers…the tooth fairy. Just follow me here. When I was little, I believed in the tooth fairy. Then, I realized that there were many much more logical explanations for how the quarter got under my pillow and I stopped believing. Then, I spoiled it for my little brother. I told him that I didn’t believe and he stopped believing too. According to John, because I didn’t believe in the tooth fairy, it was pathological for me to spend time on something I didn’t believe in. But I disagree. I saved my little brother the embarrassment of being misinformed by telling him the truth about the tooth fairy. This is the same thing as John finding god and telling people about his truth about god and trying to convince them to come to his side (which I fully support his right to do). The point is, I don’t see how it is pathological to stand up for something that you feel strongly about (whether you feel strongly that it exists or doesn’t exist).

      The rest of John’s rambling is just as hypocritical…him telling us that we are arrogant fools for pretending we know what the best possible world would look like then him telling us that he knows what the best possible world would look like.

      In the end, I’m still not sure if he meant this as a serious comment and completely missed the irony of what he was saying or if he meant this as satire. Either way, I think he comes off as being a righteous jerk. I hope if I get the opportunity to chill with the Almighty forever, I don’t have to share a room with him…

      July 5, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  19. Vilos Cohaagen

    Athiests don't hate god. You can't hate something you don't believe exists.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Brent

      They hate the idea of God and are hell-bent (pun intended) on destroying that idea. Why is it those who most loudly cry for tolerance are themselves incredibly intolerant?

      July 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • chris

      yeah we hate the idea of god (its spelled with a lowercase g) because of the millions of people that have been murdered in the name of religion. we hate the idea of god because of the repression of women and minorities that has existed for over 2000 years. we hate the idea of god because of the loss of advancement for society as a whole. we hate the idea of god because we actually think for ourselves instead of brainwashing children to be afraid from the time they develop consciousness. we hate the idea of god because of the hypocrite christians in America.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  20. Odessa

    Christians love God and love everyone including atheists. Atheists hate God and hate Christians; that's why they are such a problem.

    July 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Bill

      I do not hate Christians. I pity their ignorance. I do not hate God, because God does not exist.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Bill

      I hate obnoxious Christians like this.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Joe Mama from Pocatella

      @ Bill If you don't believe why do you even care what we believe?

      July 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • 666 devil lucifer

      joe mama, because religion is bringing down the rest of us

      July 4, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Odessa

      Man cannot be good without God. Not at all. Atheists did the most evil on earth. Then and now. There will be Judgment Day.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Interloper1

      I'm an agnostic dyslexic. I stay up at night wondering if dog exists.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:52 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.