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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.

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

soundoff (1,760 Responses)
  1. elgeevz

    I wonder how many Christians have ever read anything other than their minister's suggested daily Bible readings for the week. After bapism at age ten, I started with Genesis 1,1 and read straight through just as if I were reading a novel. I stopped short when I reached chapter 31 of the book of Numbers.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • fda

      You should read Jude.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Jon

      You should read Leviticus.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Mark9988

      The Bible is not intended to be read from Genesis to Exodus, as a novel. It's not a novel. It is organized into sections: narrative in some parts, poetry, history, prophecy, teaching, etc.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Nathan

      Most Christians don't actually read the bible they have someone else read it for them.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • elgeevz

      Well, what is the passage I mentioned? Poetry?

      July 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Kdog

      There is the rub. You only read the first four books of the bible.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • I_get_it

      @Mark:
      "It is organized into sections: narrative in some parts, poetry, history, prophecy, teaching, etc."

      Yes... and many sections of myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy (most of which overlap with your list).

      July 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  2. David

    I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

    -Mohandas Gandhi

    July 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • fda

      thats a pretty broad statement.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • David

      It was a rather broad group of Christians that were discriminating against him

      July 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bill

      Perhaps you missed the attribution to Ghandi?

      July 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • leoretrossi

      could not have said it better myself ,

      July 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Mark9988

      So then, don't focus on Christians, but rather focus on Christ.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • David

      Mark

      It is hard to do when you feel you may need a bullet proof vest after doing your job.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Billy

      A very broad and a very accurate statement.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  3. Ally Buster

    Our government is secular by definition.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • fda

      i think its Christian by nature.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Matt

      fda

      Ironic since I think our government is self-serving and opportunistic by nature.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bill

      It isn't...

      July 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • jq-DoL1

      Our USA gov't is far from secular, when the "God" is on our money, our pledge,
      Congressional prayer, etc....

      July 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • fda

      opportunistic? You mean the stimulus that went to the banks? Obama tried secularism, its failed and will continue to fail. But the bill of rights was written by a Godly person, James Madison, who once said ""If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

      July 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Simon

      @fda – I like how you reinforce your argument with the quote of someone long dead in one area and berate someone else for doing the same thing elsewhere.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • fda

      Simon- you have a point, but unlike the person i was berating, i have a doctoral degree in post neurological and biological mechanics of thought processes. This means that i understand the biological components and chemical reactions that cause lies. And atheism is a lie.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Simon

      Then prove it.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Aaron

      @FDA
      You said "i have a doctoral degree in post neurological and biological mechanics of thought processes. This means that i understand the biological components and chemical reactions that cause lies. And atheism is a lie.".

      Based on what you said (and I'm assuming you were lying here) I can safely assume that you are a man of science and that you know how to research and reference where your claims come from.

      To that end, kindly reference the study that showed that atheism is a lie. A *real* PHD of neuroscience would be very interested in seeing what you have to say.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  4. Ray

    Funny how nobody shoots at people putting up Jesus billboards, or burns down such billboards etc. All the violence and attempts to squash free speech are coming from the christian side.

    And to all those who say that atheism is just another religion – BS! That's like saying health is just another disease.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • David

      Great anaolgy.

      Conservative Christians have mastered the art of appearing to be the victim when a simple analysis exposes them as bullies. Maybe one day they will worshp in peace and leave the rest of us alone.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • jq-DoL1

      Those without God or gods (atheists, agnostics, non-religious, etc....) are mostly unorganizaed,
      coming to independent a-spritual belief. Contrast this with the organized subjugation of women,
      minorities, and non-believers under centuries of rule by the Catholic Church and two-main Muslim
      sects. They must attack those that adhere to other belief, so as to stay in power/control.
      The a-spiritual do not wage war, in the name of no God. How many churches are in the USA?
      How many are shot-at by non-believers daily or just on Sunday?

      July 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Chris

      If atheism is a religion, then "bald" is a hair color.
      If atheism is a religion, then "not collecting stamps" is a hobby.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      I don't believe still that someone would really shoot at those planes.
      We have freedom of opinion, freedom of speech.
      I think it's made up.
      There are crazy people everywhere. Also, crazy Atheists.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  5. James

    armywife: Don't understand your logic, if there is any, that atheists cannot be patriotic. Of course, they can, without any doubt. I feel patriotic & I served the military. I respect life & laws of the U.S. I don't have any problem with anyone who still thinks there is a "God". I believe there was a Jesus, Mohammad & Buddha. There have been many prophets in many cultures. But no "God". People at one time thought there many Gods. Now almost all would agree there isn't–even if you think there is one.

    The universe is 13.5 billion yrs. old & the world is 4.5 billion yrs. old. Man is about 200,000 yrs. old. One question: Do you honestly believe "God" waiting almost 4 1/2 billion yrs. to create man? There is no logic or reasoning to support a "God". No preaching here, just a little to consider, rather than just go on with what you were taught when you were a child. You didn't come into this world with the thought, "Hey, there is a "God". No, you were taught & you haven't really sat down & given it much thought. You just assume it is true. There was no Ark, Daniel in the lion's den, Jonah & the whale (fish) & other tales.

    Think for yourself. Don't allow anyone to think for you. Best wishes to you, your husband & family. I do mean it, too.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jon

      Atheist here. Thank you for your service, and well put!

      July 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Lairbear

      A friend of mine believes in the ancient Egyptian beliefs. That's his choice and he will die with this choice.
      He told me, Amun-Ra is a loving God, not like the one god in the bible that judges all.
      Yes, upon our death I believe we will be judged by the good things we did on this earth verses the bad things...If you've been a really bad person all of your life, watch out. Remember there's the scale that weighs ones heart against the feather.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  6. Vincent Da Silva

    Its amazing how most religious people are unable to comprehend that we weren't created by a divine power, are unable to see the overwhelming evidence for evolution and the incredibly destructive nature of religion. They retain the ignorant belief that they have the right to pass judgment on our rejection of irrational belief. Atheism, if kept true, is incorruptible and decidedly aligned to a rational and holistic judgment without evidence. Atheism in its nature demands the truth and an evidence based reasoning.
    Reading these comments by the 'believers' makes me feel truly sorry for them as very little self belief and general ignorance is needed to have such faith. I only hope that in your quest to correct all the 'wrongs' in the world you keep mindful your duty to your fellow man, and not just that of your god.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Kdog

      Mankind has struggled with the idea of a Devine being/creator since coming out of the caves when all they had to do was wait for the words of mr. Da silva.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  7. wisdom4u2

    Atheists/Fools explain flying ad campaign

    July 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Jon

      Battle ensues on anonymous internet board... Casualties in the high thousands.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  8. Isaac

    Love it!!! Hooray for common sense and logic!!

    July 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Steve

      I am an atheist but this is just as dumb as when religious types write their beliefs in the sky. How about just everybody stop doing this its annoying ... Maybe thats the point to all this but I have a feeling that point will be lost.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  9. Walter

    If your faith is shaken by a banner behind a plane it wasn't that strong to begin with.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Jon

      This.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chris

      Also, this.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  10. John M

    Well, that's nice. The last thing a terminally ill child might see out the window from their hospital bed is this cheerful banner, declaring God is dead along with any hope for an afterlife free from the pain and misery of the only one they've known.
    What's next? Would you go to their room and say, "Hey little buddy, looks like you've had a tough time of things and this is the end of the line for you. But, guess what, the last thing you might see on your way to oblivion is my grinning face!"

    July 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • closetiguana

      Why do you have to be mean or offer the kid mythology? Why can't you simply offer the kid love and kindness. After all,l isn't that what he or she really wants anyway?

      July 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Jon

      And I suppose you find it more acceptable for a priest to accost a dieing man to procure a last minute conversion? The difference being you posed an unlikely event of happenstance, where as the latter is actively pursued.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • TheBear

      You could tell your child that Santa Claus is coming this Christmas. That doesn't mean that you as an adult have to believe it.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • John M

      Yes, I believe that offering comfort is key. Neither last minute forced conversions or disillusionments accomplish that.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • jq-DoL1

      Medicine and medical-staff save lives in hospitals. Not myths, fantasy, God, and/or gods.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • John M

      I wrote "terminally ill". As in: beyond medical redemption.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Steve

      Maybe that child is not christian and doesn't need a reminder they picked the wrong team. All sky writing pushing beliefs on others is ridiculous, how about they all stop.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • JF

      It's a real tragedy when an undeveloped mind is brainwashed.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • John M

      I agree that thinking in terms of "teams" is the major part of the problem here. Not ruling out the (unknowable) possibility, regardless of faith or lack thereof, that the child might go to a "happy place", as opposed to a cold, dark, dead hole–colder and darker than the absolute zero of inter-gallactic space, where nothing lives and there ain't a hope in hell!

      July 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • jq-DoL1

      How many parents, priests, imams, etc... take terminally ill children
      back home, to church, temple, mosque, etc....? Few! Most
      leave their terminally ill children in a God-less hospital. Why?
      Because they silently know who can more honestly ease
      the pain and suffering. You are cruel for starting this sub-thread.
      As cruel as your religion.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JohnM: The banner does not say "God is Dead". BTW if the kid is an atheist himself, this might cheer him up immensely.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  11. Mark

    Atheist and proud. I advertise it. I'm in anyone's face with it when they get in mine with their religious BS.
    It amazes me that some pilots refused to fly not for their own convictions, but because they might be shot at. Sounds like more than enough reason to ostracize the xtians amongst us instead of the rational thinkers.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  12. closetiguana

    As an atheist, I hate preachy atheists just as much as I hate preachy religious people.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • 74duki

      Not preaching – as Rick said, it's a coming out party. Just sayin we're here and we're patriotic too.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Steve

      Totally agree... Does anybody like a pushy person whatever the reason.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      I agree.
      I am actuall about 90% d'accord with scepticism and atheism, it's just that I am 100% aware that it's not the whole story.
      The answers always lie in the unexpected corner.
      We always need to be open to everything, but stay awake is the key.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • closetiguana

      cubiksrube. Unfortunately I'm about as open to gods as I am to witches, ghosts, fairies and all sorts of things many people at one time considered real.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      that's ok... you have other ways of expressing your delusions. You go to starbucks, buy a bigger car. Get cable. whatever.
      You do a lot of irrational things for irrational reasons without ever questioning how silly they are.
      We are inherently irrational beings.
      Science is great, but it's a human idiocy to think we can make some kind of natural mechanisms accountable for everything.
      We saw the apple fall, now everything has to be like the apple falling.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Kdog

      I like this post. Athiests can be preachy, intolerant and judgmental. Similar to the ones they are preaching to, intolerant of and judging. Gee, the culprit must be human nature.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • closetiguana

      "Science is great, but it's a human idiocy to think we can make some kind of natural mechanisms accountable for everything."
      Why is the idiotic? Why do we need a "gods did it" accountable for everything?

      July 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • closetiguana

      (account not accountable ) – I blame the typing gods.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  13. RichardSRussell

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." —Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman statesman (5 BCE – 65 CE)

    July 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • fda

      why do you quote people that are likely in h3ll? why not quote the book of wisdom from the bible? you could say something like "Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools"

      July 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • AirborneMedic/FirefighterParamedic

      Close minded people should keep their mouths in the same way. The Bile also states " judge not lest you be judged." It's your Hell, I suggest you go to it.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bill

      Since h3ll is a religious construct, his comment was totally appropriate. Since religion is a fantasy, yours was useless.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Frogist

      @fda: "Why do you quote people that are likely in h3ll?" You know every once in a while a believer just shocks me with their intolerance... today you're it, fda.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  14. thehand

    I wish CHRISTIANS would stand up and state their belief that ALL OTHER RELIGIONS are FALSE and the works of SATAN!
    Hindu – Going to HELL
    Budhist – Going to Hell
    Muslim – Going to Hell
    Christian – SAVED

    Oh yea... the Budhist doesn't say another religion is going to hell... certainly the HINDU doesn't

    It's all about FEAR of damnation. DONE DEALIO

    That's what most of them believe... than there is the "grey area" where they see Jesus Christ as their savior and all... but, won't go as far as saying a budhist who is good is outright going to hell.

    It's just amazing... FEAR, FEAR and FEAR again! It's what drives many lives. JUST think of it an all LOVING Father GOD who casts solus to HELL for eternity! Really, oh yea... what an addiction and a CULT. THat only me... to logical... isn't it. Oh yea, the arguement that we all have the same ultimate freedom to CHOOSE to accept Jesus Christ is totally bogus. Yes there is free choice, but it's no absolute! We all come into this world with certain capacities or leanings that

    July 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • BL

      First of all, your ignorance of other religions is beyond overwhelming, but do help support one argument: that religion is the single most destructive force in history. Get rid of that fairy tale nonsense!

      July 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @BL you are probably forgetting all the crimes that were committed in the name of science and those committed with the means provided by science. Science is going to get us all killed, more likely than not.
      To make religion a destructive force is to make its negative side effects into a part that represents the whole.
      There is no putely scientific fundament for social life.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Simon

      @cubiksrube

      Ah the false argument that science and religion are opposing forces.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @Simon I'm not saying they are opposing at all. I am saying that seeing science as the "saviour" that will rescue us from religion which is accountable for all the evils in the world is a fallacious argument.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Kdog

      Pearls: from the mouth of "the hand" to the ears of humanity

      July 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  15. Will

    I agree, Tom. I worship my God out of love. And I do it terribly. Every day. In fact, I am the worst sinner I know. Still. And Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Sinners like me. Every time I look at the law, I feel condemned. So does EVERYONE, Christian or not, which, incidentally, explains the motivation for the atheist signs. And then I see the truth that the law has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ. I can do anything I want and he still died for me. He still gave me himself. Now I want to obey. I want to worship. Not out of obligation, but instead in response to the amazing reality that I now no longer have to do anything to earn God's favor. Had I been alive, I would have shouted "Crucify him!" the loudest. And he would still say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Now I am free to do whatever I want. And I want to do what's right from love.
    I'll pray for you guys. I love you. I mean that, or I wouldn't be writing this. I don't need to win an argument that's already been won.
    Still, maybe there's some pride that makes me want to win this argument, but, hey, Christ died for prideful jerks like me and he still forgives me even in this.
    God loves you enough to die for you even as you deny him.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Jon

      I won't presume to speak for how you actually view your life since I don't know you, but it seems like you could live your life much happier and guilt free without such a shadowed specter hanging over your shoulder. Try it out for a day.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Written more eloquently than I've heard it stated anywhere else. Thank you.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • TheBear

      It's a dangerous position to believe that you can go on sinning as long as you like because Jesus will forgive you. I would say put down your bible for a second and just stop sinning because it's the RIGHT THING TO DO! We atheists don't need the promise of a reward or a fear of punishment to act this way, we just act the way we know is right

      July 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Will

      Jon,

      Thank you for caring enough for me to be worried about the guilt I might carry around. That's far more loving then many people who have called themselves religious or Christian. But, don't worry about me. That guilt's been taken care of. There's no more guilt for me. Ever. Now I don't have to live trying always to get somewhere or something–approval of others that disappears the minute I displease them, possessions that break or burn, temporary pleasures that fade, physical health that ends in death. Now I can live free. Free from trying to be better. Free from the fear of death. Free to just live. And God approves of me because, instead or what I do or did, he sees his perfect Son.
      Peace and joy to you, Jon.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Will

      The Bear,

      Jesus said, "“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire." Matthew 5:21-22

      So, if you're angry you are a murderer. Because God cares about the heart, as well as the actions of the body. So, try it out. Don't be angry for even a day. Let me know how that works out for you.
      Now, if I love someone, and what they are all about is not being angry, I will desire not to be angry, not out of fear, but because I have a heart that now desires what is important to the one who I love. Now, imagine how strong my love would be for someone who has given his life for me and has expected nothing in return. In fact, this someone gave his life for me when I hated him. In fact, I was supposed to die and deserved it and he died instead and wanted to. How strong will my desire be to live for his priorities once I know and believe that he's done that for me.
      Really think about what I wrote here. Think about how amazing it is when your child–I'm assuming you're a parent–obeys you not out of fear of punishment, but simply because he loves you. This is what God wants, and he brings it about by loving us first.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • TheBear

      Will:

      It was your ealier statements that concerned me:

      I am the worst sinner I know.I can do anything I want and he still died for me

      What I don't want is for people to think they can continue to do "anything they want" and there are no consequences because Jesus will forgive them. People should have a brain and be able to use it and do what's right simply because it is right.

      Now, as to your second point, Yes I am a parent and yes I think it is wonderful when my child does something simply because he loves me. But why would I feel compelled to believe that this is the work of Jesus or God? I can appreciate and love this act simply for what it is. Will, it's not all about anger or love. These emotions exist outside the realm of religion. I want you to really think about this and understand that not everyone needs Jesus in their life to make them feel validated.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Doubting Thomas

      I can do anything I want and he still died for me. = Wow – anything you want – what about the golden rule that Jesus spoke of?

      I'll pray for you guys. I love you. I mean that, or I wouldn't be writing this. = condescending sense of superiority

      I don't need to win an argument that's already been won. = closed minded and brainwashed

      God loves you enough to die for you even as you deny him. = I though God was eternal – dying isn't possible – hardly a sacrifice.

      I have a cheese sandwich that is more real than your God – I can prove it – deny it and go to Hades

      July 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Will

      The Bear,

      I agree with you about people using their forgiveness in Christ as justification for sin. If they do this, they haven't really understood this forgiveness. Paul says something about this: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:1-4. It's funny how you have the same concerns as Paul, huh?
      The explanation I gave in my last reply covers this, so I won't repeat it. The danger you describe is a heresy called antinomianism.
      I've thought a bit about what you wrote. I don't feel validated. It's not about how I feel. My joy and peace comes from the knowledge that my sins are forgiven past, present, and future and that I am reconciled to my Heavenly Father. Not because of who or how I am (this would be validating me) but because of who my God is. It's about a truth of may standing with God that is objective, rather than a subjective felling such as "validation". I feel pretty crummy many days, as does any human being 🙂
      I used to believe what you believe–pluralism (I hope I'm not characterizing you)–but I no longer can because it's not true. I believe my sins are forgiven by Jesus Christ and his work on the cross. I believe that he's God because he rose from the dead. I believe that he can forgive sins on this basis. If you don't believe this, I can see how you'd come to the conclusion that there's other ways to peace and/or reconciliation with God. Anyway, it's been nice talking to you. I've got some kids eager to go to a 4th of July party to go to!
      Grace and peace to you!
      Will

      July 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Will

      Thomas,

      You're right. A lot of what you wrote about me is probably true!

      Will

      July 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  16. ed

    Religion is the basis for all evil in the world, all wars, all hate.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • JC

      True.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Well, I guess, in a roundabout way...I think it's actually man's sinful nature which is responsible for all of this...but unless you are a follower of a religion, you do not believe in sin either.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • John Knox

      I disagree, but i'll tell you why. In Rwanda when the Hutu and Tootsie's were killing each other, the religion didn't matter. They were fighting over their tribe. War's are fought because of differences. What ever the difference is. Skin color, Culture, Religion, Land, etc. People kill each other when the other person is different and they disagree. To blame it all on religion is nonsense.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • TheBear

      4mercy: I believe in right and wrong. Sins against man and against nature, but not sins against God.

      If the bible says that animals were put on this planet to serve man, then anything you do to them including skinning them alive would not be a sin, because the bible says that we are the masters, and you're right, I have a problem with that.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • James

      Amen! oops, I mean you are so right.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Catch a Clue, People!

      Agreed, John Knox. Humans should look at all the things that divide us and decide if they are worth continuing.

      Nationalism has an ugly history with little redeeming value, and should go the way of the dodo.

      Racism (skin color) has done no good at all.

      Culture has it's merits, but each must bend to allow the others room to peacefully co-exist.

      Religion has been the source of much misery, so has it done enough to offset that? Well, make lists of what good and evil have come from religion, and see which is more convincing. Religion itself has actually contributed very little to the growth and well being of civilization.

      Politics also divides bitterly. Look how much each side villifies the other, and stops seeing them as human.

      Seeing other people as people tends to reduce conflict tremendously. Seeng them as somehow different and worse than you leads to unnecessary conflict and misery.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Ed, I believe you paint with too broad a brush. There are lots of reasons why people are cruel to each other. I'd even go so far as to say that maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of the time that religion is the STATED reason for a pogrom or genocide, it's simply an excuse for a land grab (tho clearly it wouldn't have been USED as an excuse if the suckers hadn't already been conditioned to fall for it).

      July 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      religious people are violent, criminal, insane, delusional, dangerous, irrational, stupid, blind
      atheists are reasonable, well behaved, smart, clear-minded, good natured, non-criminal

      Them(evil) vs. Us(good)
      Just like any other cult under the sun.
      Open your eyes: The current wave of Atheism is a cult like many others before it.
      What we need to dismantle is not the "belief" in something. We ALL believe in something.
      You are completely delusional if you think that you are not religious, that you do not live your life by an unquestioned irrational set of ideological beliefs.

      What we need to generate is an environment in which the "them" vs. "us" stops to have its sway.
      imho that is the true evil that atheists like to attribute to religion, oblivious to the fact that they are doing exactly the same thing when they demonize religious people.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Kdog

      All religion? What about Hitler, Stalin and Mao?

      July 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Frogist

      @CatchaClue, RichardSRussel and JohnKnox: All good points well said.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  17. TheBear

    Too many people here are trying to split hairs. On the one side of the issue you have atheists/agnostics/secularists and whatever other labels you choose to attach, and on the other side you have organized religion.

    To many of these religions, if you don't follow their specific branch then you might as well be an atheist. There are many Shiite muslims who don't see any signifcant difference betwee a Sunni muslim and an atheist. Similarly, Irish catholics lets say might not see a lot of difference in a protestant and an atheist. But the point of this whole campaign being, I am certainly not trying to shove my chosen beliefs down your throat or to convert you, but when you say that I am not patriotic because I am an atheist, well I take offence to that and have no problem announcing that to others. I would have had the banner read "Atheists are patriotic TOO" but I agree in principle with the point they are trying to make

    July 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  18. BD

    The actual story in this article is that the pilot is afraid for his safety. When did America become the sort of country where people of religion or their atheist conterparts are ignorant and stupid enough to commit acts of violence in the name of their beliefs?

    Isn't that why there are wars in the middle east? Wan't America founded on princples of religious freedom? Religious freedom means freedom from religion in EQUAL parts to the right it gives for people to practice religion freely. The American right seems to have lost sight of that fact.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • S1N

      When? About the time that dumb hicks started migrating north or within city limits in the South. These dumb hicks called themselves the Tea Party and decided to try and force feed everyone the destruction of an entire nation. Any more questions?

      July 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  19. American Citizen

    We know.
    We see the evidence thereof.
    ©2011 American Citizen ™. All Rights Reserved.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • ed

      What evidence? Not a shred that there is a God.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • S1N

      Where is this evidence? Feel free to believe in a God, but don't try to convince the rest of us happy atheists that there is some sort of undeniable proof that we "just don't get". We get it, we just don't buy it.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @ed I don't see a shred of you when I look into your brain to be honest.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  20. dustl

    I'd like to make a point that as an atheist/agnostic (i.e. I don't believe in religious doctrine), I'm pleasantly surprised at the amount of common sense from many of my fellow Americans. The majority opinions on this board however, contradict the statistics that over 90% of Americans believe in God however. Explanation for this? For one, I think many atheists are definitely in fear about being ostracized or being treated differently if they were to "come out" to their family, co-workers, community, etc. Perhaps an anonymous board like this can help to reveal a growing discontent among many of us for our own belief system being marginalized.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Donna

      The people of this board are not a statistically accurate sample of the population. They are people who are attracted to: CNN+This article+posting about this article. I think you are correct that many atheists fear being ostracized, but I don't think that would have much impact on an anonymous poll.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • JF

      Yes there are a lot more atheists than the polls indicate. Some of them are pastors.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:44 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.