July 4th, 2011
11:22 AM ET

Atheists explain flying ad campaign

On the Fourth of July across the U.S., American Atheists are taking to skies with a flying banner ad campaign.

They will be flying over busy holiday hot spots like beaches and parks with banners that read: "Atheism is Patriotic" and "God-LESS America."

Some pilots balked and would not fly the banner ads. 

Justin Jaye of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, told the Belief Blog last week,  "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.'"

In the video above, Rick Wingrove from the Virginia chapter of American Atheists explains to CNN's T.J. Holmes more about the campaign and why they picked the Fourth of July.

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Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Content Partner • Faith • TV-CNN Newsroom • United States

soundoff (1,760 Responses)
  1. paul k.

    Electricity is brought to us by mans inventiveness. We did it not some faith based religious force! When i flick the switch i expect it to work because i have faith in MAN! religion has nothing to do with it.

    July 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  2. Muneef

    The Bible, the Quran, and Science
    by Dr. Maurice Bucaille
    Translated from French
    by Alastair D. Pannell and The Author

    In his objective study of the texts, Maurice Bucaille clears' away many preconceived ideas about the Old Testament, the Gospels and the Quran. He tries, in this collection of Writings, to separate what belongs to Revelation from what is the product of error or human interpretation. His study sheds new light on the Holy Scriptures. At the end of a gripping account, he places the Believer before a point of cardinal importance: the continuity of a Revelation emanating from the same God, with modes of expression that differ in the course of time. It leads us to meditate upon those factors which, in our day, should spiritually unite rather than divide-Jews, Christians and Muslims.

    The results of his research into the Judeo-Christian Revelation and the Quran are set out in this book.

    The Bible,the Quran and Science .
    Dr. Maurice Bucaille

    Why I Embraced Islam?
    Dr. Maurice Bucaille

    July 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Anon

      Ram a Koran up your @$$.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  3. Rhonda

    @Evolved DNA
    The point I am trying to make is that no human lives their day to day life devoid of faith. We make decisions and act on choices with reason plus expectation without scientific method. Faith is not the opposite of reason; it is a companion to reason. Because of the evidence -the science in the design, personal experience, power source, etc. – I believe the light will come on when I hit the switch. I exercise faith wfen I turn on the light. Reasonable faith is not an oxymoron. When someone bashes people who admit to living by faith they are accuseing all, themselves included.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  4. Muneef

    You mean to Ch-all-enge  is like was "The Ch-all-enger" or like the T-itanic (The unsinkable) in their Ad cam-pai-gn in which they have said that even if God wanted to sink the T-itanic he couldn't..!
    They those are ch-all-enging but who pays the price in the end with them aren't it those innocent people who were driven within such un-thankful w-a-ves of disbelieve...

    July 7, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Quran verses;

    The Big Bang Theory Confirmed*
    [21:30] Do the unbelievers not realize that the heaven and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence? And from water we made all living things. Would they believe?

    [21:31] And we placed on earth stabilizers, lest it tumbles with them, and we placed straight roads therein, that they may be guided.

    [21:32] And we rendered the sky a guarded ceiling. Yet, they are totally oblivious to all the portents therein.

    [21:33] And He is the One who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; each floating in its own orbit.

    [21:34] We never decreed immortality for anyone before you; should you die, are they immortal?

    [21:35] Every soul will taste death, after we put you to the test through adversity and prosperity, then to us you ultimately return. 

    All Messengers Ridiculed

    [21:36] When those who disbelieve see you, they ridicule you: "Is this the one who challenges your gods?" Meanwhile, they remain totally heedless of the message from the Most Gracious.

    [21:37] The human being is impatient by nature. I will inevitably show you My signs; do not be in such a hurry.

    [21:38] They challenge: "Where is that (retribution), if you are truthful?"

    [21:39] If only those who disbelieve could envision themselves when they try to ward off the fire – off their faces and their backs! No one will help them then.

    [21:40] Indeed, it will come to them suddenly, and they will be utterly stunned. They can neither avoid it, nor can they receive any respite.

    [21:41] Messengers before you have been ridiculed, and, consequently, those who ridiculed them incurred the retribution for their ridiculing.

    Priorities Confused
    [21:42] Say, "Who can protect you from the Most Gracious during the night or during the day?" Indeed, they are totally oblivious to the message of their Lord.

    [21:43] Do they have gods who can protect them from us? They cannot even help themselves. Nor can they accompany one another when they are summoned to face us.

    [21:44] We have provided for these people and their ancestors, up until an old age. Do they not see that every day on earth brings them closer to the end? Can they reverse this process?

    [21:45] Say, "I am warning you in accordance with divine inspiration." However, the deaf cannot hear the call, when they are warned.

    [21:46] When a sample of your Lord's retribution afflicts them, they readily say, "We were indeed wicked."

    [21:47] We will establish the scales of justice on the Day of Resurrection. No soul will suffer the least injustice. Even the equivalent of a mustard seed will be accounted for. We are the most efficient reckoners.
    Verse 21:30 translation of the Arabic word for the big bang as per Arabic-English Dictionary is; (to unsew,un-st-itch,rip open,tear,rend,slit open). 

    -Another translation of verse 21:30
    Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe? (30)

    -Another translation of verse 21:44
    Nay, but We gave these and their fathers ease until life grew long for them. See they not how we visit the land, reducing it of its outlying parts? Can they then be the victors? (44).

    July 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  6. Evolved DNA

    Rhonda.. When we flip the switch we understand that it will be electricity that will flow through the light and make it burn. The electricity can be measured, and proven that that it is there... we can claim with certainly how it works. Faith is the opposite..prayers work the same way as coincidence... disconnect the power from your home and pray the lights come on any way.. and see what happens. bet ya....

    July 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Eldensword

      “ADAPTED” DNA – Your attempt at simplifying "observable" proof and confirmation is just staggering...Now, what came before the switch and the harnessed electricity? It is there, at your finger tips because of a series of events. Those events include the migration of people from one continent to another. To put it into mechanical terms, every single bit of freedom and free thought went into to the immensely complicated, harnessing of electricity. Having the science and the tools necessary to syndicate it were all available through the acts of warring and fighting done by God fearing soldiers, arguably. For the land and the right to be free thinking, productive citizens, they fought and died – That effort was absolutely motivated by the faith in and idea of, God, overall. Prayer was a huge part of it. You stand in a land that exists in its current state (technology included) because of prayer. In our current observation, because The Land of The Free was founded on the basic moral standards as taught by the Holy Bible, which lead to free thinking and the immense industry – Your simple, observable challenge to prove that prayer works is in fact directly connected to the electricity that flows through your light bulb. Our ionosphere protects us from frying from a blazing star 93 million miles away, it can all be explained so therefore it’s impossible for it to be a miracle? By definition, a miracle cannot be observed and dissected to produce physical evidence of its mechanism? But wait, the mechanism is only discernable because of chemical and electrical impulses formulating thought inside carbon based tissue (our brains), right? So instead of your “switch flicking” epiphany, why don’t you tell the class what flips our cognitive switch, first? Is that as simple as your example and demand of proof from us? Let me guess…The old “It just happened” answer to follow? Sure, we crazies and our beliefs involve the “It just is” message too, but then, we have faith in a bigger answer, one perhaps just out of reach, and that’s ok. You challenged me to prove prayer works. You stand in a free nation, using your cognitive mind to formulate complex direction and pursuits unique to your being, protected by layers of immense magnetism in a flawlessly forged ball of improbable water and rock, in a perfect sphere-shape, surrounded by millions of varieties of creatures with their own lives and ambitions…And you ask why you can’t switch answered prayers on and off like a light switch? Buddy, here’s a simple observation for you to wrap your head around: You fill a prediction, a 2000 year old prediction with your ignorance and agenda…For those with open eyes, you help prove that prayer works…Every time you open your folk-tongued mouth.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  7. jason coberly

    Can't we all just get along?!

    July 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  8. Religions are BS

    You must be an idiot not to see that "all" religions are the subjugation of self and non-believers.

    Atheists don't force religious sheep to recite - e.g. "in atheism we trust," "so help me atheism," etc. Why do religious sheep need to subjugate non-believers, especially when they brag about their personal relationship with god? When in fact, it's pure insecurity!

    Sheep are sheep!

    July 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Religions are BS

      You can betcha that every Vatican folk beats off! 🙂

      July 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  9. Muneef

    British Actress Inspired by Prophet's Life
    Myriam Francois-Cerrah Embraces Islam
    'Sense and Sensibility'

    Say (O Prophet!): The evil and the good are not equal even though the excess and abundance of the evil may impress you. So, O people of understanding, be mindful of your duty to Allah that you may succeed." Al-Qur'an, 5:100

    “The two feet of the son of Adam [human being] will not move on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah until he is asked about five things: about his life, and how he spent it? And (more specifically) about his youth, what did he consume it in? And about his money, how did he earn it? And on what did he spend it? And how much did he act upon what he knew?” Hadith


    July 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  10. DiamondSky

    Atheists claim they go with reason, logic, science, evidence, etc, etc. But they are the ones who ignore all of them. Everything in the universe declares there is Creator God, redemption, and judgment. Those who trust Jesus find life.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • VoipOfReason

      Again DiamondSky... Prove it. As a matter of fact, I prayed this morning, and God said you should give all of your possessions, and money away (to me). Yes, I'll take a check, my friends call me "CASH".

      July 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  11. TriciaB

    Ok ok there is non religious and there is religious, why must we change everything everywhere just to accomodate one or the other? atheists say not fair to have God in national songs on money in courtrooms in schools, BUT its also unfair to religious people NOT to have it in or on those things as well!! So what do we do? Screw religion would be the answer and then atheists wonder why they are being slandered by the religious. Altho real true christians wouldnt act or respond the way they do for God says to love everyone, but where does it end? How do we compromise? Its like now with the law allowing gays to marry now we have to redo our marriage licenses to accomodate them, im bout to get married myself and would hate to not see bride/groom on my lincenses, what do we do? I guess thats the long adage question of life and fair and unfair. All I can say is leave well enough alone believe what you want to believe but dont change what is already done!

    July 7, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • TriciaB

      One more thing it is NOT patiotic to be atheist as well as it is NOT patriotic to be religious!! Being patriotic has nothing to do with it, it is patriotic to honor our Country and our freedom. Why does everyone have to find a reason to shove up others noses their beliefs? Nobody wants to change from their beliefs so leave well enough alone on both sides. Flying a flag stating that America is God-less and atheism is pariotic is just absurd. What if the Christians flew a flag that said opposite? Would the atheist be offended? Im sure they would cuase they act discusted by the very thought of God and the bible, if you dont believe then fine if you do believe then fine, why does it have to be one way or another? If God is real or not we will find out soon enough cause either he will come take control or our world will end either way we are all doomed and the answers will be revealed in the end. So live life enjoy what was created for us either by God or evolution and make the most of it and love one another for they are and not what everyone wants everyone to be!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Walter

      TriciaB said, "atheists say not fair to have God in national songs on money in courtrooms in schools, BUT its also unfair to religious people NOT to have it in or on those things as well!!"

      Tricia, what you need to understand is that courtrooms, schools, national songs, money, are all public things paid for by taxes. Christians pay taxes for those things, but so do Muslims, Budhists, and even Atheists. If a public thing is being paid for by a variety of people, it's not fair to let one group (even though they make up a majority) be represented but not the others. What you have to ask yourself is, would you like it if they had a Muslim prayer at the begining of school?

      Atheists don't want to keep you from having your religious practices, we just ask that they not take place in public places that have been paid for with taxes. Christians are HUGELY represented in this country. There are churches on (practically) on every corner of the USA! Atheists are not going to come into your churches and tell you not to pray.

      I would expect, being followers of Jesus, that Christians would be the most understanding of diversity.

      July 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  12. John


    July 7, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  13. Chris Mankey

    "is arrogant to claim that human intellect without a balance of faith"

    It pretty balanced to use reason and evidence and then use the negation of reason and evidence. That makes much sense.

    July 7, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Rhonda

      Human beings live by faith every day. When you flipped the light switch you had faith that you would not be fried by a bad connection. The evidence that the wireing was OK was not proof; only evidence that led to a choice based on faith. There is always the unknown, even at the end of reason. We make few choices based on logic alone.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • VoipOfReason

      @Rhonda - Wrong. Our "faith" in the light coming on when we hit the switch, comes from experience, and the knowledge that the power is not out.

      July 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Rhonda

      Hmmm... So, experience is another way of knowing something?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Rhonda

      Of course, even something that has happened again and again in the past is not guaranteed to happen always. So there is still uncertainty. Faith is what humans rely on when reason – or experience – has reached its limitations. Reason and evidence take us part of the way to conclusions.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Eldensword

      Rhonda – Well stated. The argument of light switches is about as big a model as the apes can fathom. A mind capable of including limitless, holy power and love in it's calculations along with appreciating scientific language and method Vs. a mind that tries to compare the potential for Divine Omnipotence to a light switch is obviously far more advanced and limitless. They are scared because they choose to live in a fish bowl and demand that the Ocean be brought before them in order to verify its existence. Silly – Forest through the trees and all that...So utterly limited...And by choice for crying out loud…

      July 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Derek

      Rhonda – The prior knowledge of what has happened in the past, and the application of this knowledge to the event at hand, i.e. the light switch example, leads one to suspect the light will turn on. Faith has nothing to do with application of knowledge obtained previously. Otherwise, the knowledge that there is no evidence supporting a god, and the application of this knowledge, would diminish one's 'faith' in a god because there is no reason to believe in one...that is, until evidence supports the claim of a god figure.

      July 9, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Eldensword

      Derek – As another poster put it in here, you have faith that the light switch will work every time it is used. That faith in of itself is a pretty close resemblance to faith in a higher power. Because of your demands from God, you miss the very language and signs with which you need to see the effects of the "switch" you are asking for. Above (On this page) I have set the example of why the light switch analogy only begs more, deep research into the reality of it's "simplicity". I can tell that simple is better for the faithless. Try as you might, each scientific example you try to stand on as "fact" can only be deconstructed into the deepest, most baffling form, which can then only be explained by quantum mechanics...And from there...Can YOU formulate the facts for us please? No? Well, there you have it. Study science long enough, commit yourself to the deepest corners of its language, THEN come crashing down on folks for looking to the sky for answers. No need to speak up before that moment.

      July 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "you have faith that the light switch will work every time it is used."
      I may have an EXPECTATION that it will work much of the time – but not FAITH.
      Faith is the willing cessation of rational inquiry.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
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