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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. Forgetthatguy

    Actually, many of the founding fathers (and mothers) were deists (of which i am one). Atheism means "without theism." without any belief in theology. As with any reponse to extreme points of view (I.e. The communist response to capitalism as an example) atheists are as militant as those they are seeking to be the opposite of. Deism is tolerant of all views which is why it was likely adopted by many leading thinkers during the age of reason. Perhaps we need a resurgence of deism in the u.s. To get back to our roots ?

    July 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Jake

      The predominant view of historians is that the majority of the founding fathers were atheists.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Another predominant view of historians is that Jesus lived.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @4mercy And yet another predominant view of historians is that Jesus was male. That means he had a Y chromosome. He could not have gotten that from his mother. Who did he get it from and how did that happen?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Miracles happen every day. Many are not publicized. Many people do not believe they occur. I believe they do. I believe that God is capable of many things which mankind cannot explain or understand.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Forgetthatguy

      "most historians" is usually code for "don't suggest a historical fact that goes against my rigidly held worldview." Examples of founders that were deists are: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin (who was a quaker) etc.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Jake

      Forgetthatguy – Thomas Jefferson was an atheist.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • John Richardson

      So the miracle of how god became flesh all boils down to how a human Y chromosome came out of nowhere and matched up with an X chromosome to make Jesus? Wouldn't it be more parsimonious to say that Jesus simply had a human father and the whole Son of God thing is just a somewhat hyperventilated metaphor?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Truth

      John Richardson: Did God create everything? If He did then he created evil which means God is evil. Does cold exist? No it doesn’t, in fact according to the laws of physics what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Does darkness exist? No it doesn’t, in fact darkness is the absence of light, light we can study but not darkness. Evil does not exist it’s just like darkness and cold, God did not create evil. Evil is what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart.

      SCIENCE IS LIMITED and will always be limited but God is the creator and will always will be God.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Willard

      I believed Jesus lived and I'm an Atheist. I believe Jesus wanted to raise the bar on humanity and was willing to sacrifice himself to do so, and I can admire that about him. I do not believe he was the product of a virgin birth. I do not believe he was the son of god. I do not believe he performed "miracles". It's miracle enough that anyone would lay down their life for anyone else...2000 years ago and today.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • smit

      actually, 4mercy you are completely incorrect. there is not a single contemporary account of the life of jesus outside of the bible, and there is no evidence that the person who you think was jesus was ever divine or supernatural.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Felix

      Truth, you can's use science to prove that God did not create evil and then turn around and say that science is limited. Well, if it's limited to explain that there is no God, then it's limited to be used in your analogy that darkness is lack of light. Besides, according to the Bible, God divided dark and light, so there you have it. It's either science is right and God did not create darkness, then the whole Bible is false, or God did create darkness from light, then He could also have created Evil.
      As usual, don't try to use science when it fits your beliefs (like you always try with these phony studies that try to show that praying for a patient improves their health) and discard it when it shows your faith has no basis in reality.

      July 5, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  2. HappyAgnostic

    Sorry folks, rejecting one belief system is not in and of itself a belief system.
    And all of you atheiests spewing insults about "fairy tales" and generally behaving as though you are somehow intellectually/spiritually evolved far beyond the 95% of the world that professes a belief in a supreme being, can you please explain to me how exactly your rhetoric is less vile and hateful than the Christians you complain so loudly about?

    July 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • pdfsmail

      If I do not believe in something.... then I have the BELIEF that the item in question does not exist... If you do not believe that then you support the idea that it could exist!!! You believe that there are no deities.. you have a belief system, just because you are afraid of the religion word doesn't make you excluded from it. If I do not believe in flying pink elephants... then it is part of my belief that flying pink elephants don't exist. I am a believer that pink flying elephants don't exist and that is part of MY religion... in short it is pretty hard to have absolutely no belief system, hence to be religion less.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Well, for starters, Atheists aren't proposing amendments to the const=itution that would declare the US an atheist nation. But your question seems to presuppose that it is degrading to believers for the fantastic tales told in the bible to be compared to fairy tales. What makes you feel that the bible's tales are any more credible than what you find in, eg, the Grimm brothers' collections?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Jake

      HappyAgnostic – It's pretty simple. How many wars have you seen in recent history involving atheists? How many atheists do you see going around killing people because of their religious beliefs? I don't think there's any question that in general, atheists are less "vile and hateful", as you put it, than religious people. And btw, I used to consider myself agnostic and thought that atheists were equally wrong to say they "know" there is no god. Then, I realized that if I can't say I "know" there is no god, then I can't say I "know" there is no santa or I "know" anything at all. There's a chance I'll learn to fly some day and there's a chance there's a god, but based on the evidence I have, I'm comfortable saying I know neither are reality.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • SonicStun

      It's been my experience that atheists are some of the most venomous and hateful commenters out there, as you can see by this thread. It's apparently not enough that they don't want to believe, but they apparently feel it's their agenda to attack and belittle anyone who believes differently than they do. All I see is a campaign of organized bigotry. Surprising when, for the most part, these days nobody cares if you're an atheist.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Shawn

      Every region of the world created their own belief system. The fact that there are thousands of belief systems makes it obvious man created religion. I can understand someone living in a cave in Afghanistan believing but there’s no excuse for people in the western world to believe. If you spend a few hours on the computer with an opened mind it’s easy to see the truth.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • ES

      "95% of the world that professes a belief in a supreme being"

      The above statement is factually incorrect. There are an estimated 1.1 billion nonreligious people on Earth.

      http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      July 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Frogist

      @pdfsmail: So is what you're saying that belief or non-belief in anything equates to a religion? That somewhow doesn't seem accurate.

      Also I have met a few very mean, belittling atheists, but I have met far more equally impolite, intolerant Christians. People can be vile but at least the atheists aren't trying to legislate any vile personal opinions they might have.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • BJRMBA1

      How did you come up with the 95% figure. Did you just make it up?

      July 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Becca

      He got that number from Matthew McConaughey's character in Contact.

      July 6, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  3. Oldtimer

    I once saw a sign in front of a church that I find appropriate for this article. It simply stated...."Don't believe in Heaven? Then Go to Hell!"

    July 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Willard

      I read a better one..."Judge not, lest ye be judged"...now where did that come from again?

      July 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  4. Luigi

    tallulah13, your mention of two thousand years suggest you don't agree that a specific God (the God of Abraham) is God. What about all the other possibilities?

    July 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  5. Liz

    I think I dislike Atheists pushing their religion on people more than I dislike christians or any other faith doing so. I have to day, Atheists are one of the most close-minded groups of people. I mean, what do they get out of someone leaving their faith? Are they saving their soul? No, they're just..making someone leave their faith. Not even sure if they believe in a soul.

    Personally, I think I'm rather tolerant of other religions. I'm just not tolerant with their extremists...Two of my best friends are atheist, and they don't push their beliefs onto others, they're like "to each their own". Personally, I'm not Christian. I am wiccan, and also German. In my religion, it's seen as taboo to push your religious beliefs onto others, just as well, in Germany, it's considered tacky.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • oxymoron

      heh, great minds think alike Liz... See my post below yours. When looked a from a 3rd party standpoint.. they are just as ignorant as their claims on believers.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Giant1

      I don't know what groups of people you hang around, but I find that Atheists are the most open minded people I know. Guess that just goes to show that you shouldn't judge an entire population based on the few that you see.
      Funny, you then go on to talk about the two Atheists you know and say that they are very tolerant. You need to decide on the point you are trying to make.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Jake

      I can't speak for other atheists, but I think education makes the world a better place and religion has a pretty horrible effect on society. If we're able to get religions people to think, we make the world better for them and the rest of us. It's not hypocritical, because pushing religion is not comparable to pushing logical thought. Believing something that makes no sense and refusing to think is just bad, no matter how you slice it.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Atheists have been at the forefront of promoting the secularism that you obviously support and without which, Wiccans would be faced with the same intolerance witches (real and imagined) faced back in the "burning days".

      July 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • godlessmom

      Liz, Atheism is not a religion, rather the absence. I like to consider myself a free thinker, something you cannot do if you follow any kind of religious doctrine. That would in fact limit your ability to think or act freely because of its restrictions. Atheists are generally seen as an amoral, unethical soulless lot. This cannot be further than the truth. Where a religious person does something because of the fear of hell or the promise of heaven, an atheist does it because it is the right thing to do. We recognize empathy as the driver in moral behavior. You need only to Google famous Atheists to see we are not alone when it comes to being good productive, generous and loving Americans.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Jun

      @godlessmom, VERY well said.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Amber

      Godlessmom, I could not have said it better. In both my professional and personal life I continuously prove that my morals and depth of empathy and compassion surpass many of those I encounter who are "Christians". I, as an atheist, live my life without moral obligation to a higher being, instead as a human with compassion for what exists around me in the present. I do, however, believe that there are people who require the "guidance" of thought of a higher being, and for those who need this to carry out compassion and morals, I support his/her beliefs. At the end of the day, the reason we strive to be "good people" doesn't matter.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Always Realistic

      Liz – The banners did not fly in Germany. They flew in the U.S. on July 4 which is Independence Day for Americans. What is acceptable today in Germany was brought about by defeat of the heinous fascist acts of Hitler and the Nazis. If you were American and lived in the U.S., you would see every day that the dominionists are pushing their christian fascist agenda everywhere in the U.S., including legislation. The banners are the atheists' way of holding off fascism from taking root in the U.S.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • John

      There is no such thing as a soul.

      July 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Delcycer

      Well, I'm glad you're personal belief system doesn't promote pushing those beleifs onto other people–but you're in the minority at least in the West. Two of three major monotheisms actively seek converts and are commanded to do so. There is no live and let live, as you suggest–else America wouldn't spend so much money and intellectual energy fighting for gay rights, or keeping abortion legal as a vital health care choice for women, or trying to fund stem cell research. The opposition to these things is religious in it's conception, and it's hard to see what evidence could be provided in the absence of religious dogma to oppose these things. But the real issue is that with ole' man Dogma in the game, any honest attempt to have a rational conversation about limiting the total abortions in America, or coming to terms with when you're killing a baby and when you're just getting rid of a blastula, or the relative ethics of stem cell research becomes impossible. "Live and let live," is a violation of the unambiguous commands of the Christian God as they are reported to us in his "holy" word.

      July 7, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  6. oxymoron

    Funny.. I hear atheists ALL THE TIME saying... "We don't like you cramming your beliefs down our throats!"

    Then they cram their beliefs out there... All of a sudden, they can justify their own behavior and have excuses for it.

    Ignorance surely is blissful when we ignore our own words and actions...

    July 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • oxymoron

      so it goes like this: "Don't cram your stuff down our throats. I will argue with any response you give. You cannot make excuses and justify your belief system to me. I will plug my ears.. la la la la la, I can't hear you." – Now I cram my own beliefs out there. "Don't like it? Well, I have excuses and can justify my behavior. Don't argue with me on point out my hypocrisy.. la la la la la la I can't hear you."

      Hardened hearts cannot see the hypocrisy. I mean, seriously.. how can a person totally ignore these facts? Redirect the spot light off of your same doings, but have no problem putting the spotlight on others who are doing it. How childish...

      July 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Donna

      First, there is not a cohesive "they" when you refer to atheists. We are not in a club with doctrine. And the reason that these atheists are cramming it down your throat is because the religious folk never stopped cramming christianity down everyone else's throat. But you seem to think atheists should keep quiet while everyone else advertises their beliefs- that's hypocrisy on your part.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • oxymoron

      there surely is a "they".. It's a congregation, with a doctrine, with believers... and with faith. Faith in man and themselves.

      it's all the same...

      July 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Mike6000

      I think it is more of the individual or small group choosing to ram what they believe down your throat, not the belief itself. I am an atheist, and I know many christians who don't push stuff into my face, as I don't push stuff into their face.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • BradW

      It's called "freedom of speech" and religious folks seem to agree with the concept until someone publicly disagrees with them.

      Ignorant indeed!

      July 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Oxymoron How does flying a few banners count as "cramming beliefs" down anyone's throat? You can't watch a football game without seeing someone waving a John 3: 16 placard. Annoying? Perhaps, but fully within the right to free speech that Christians enjoy and atheists support. But when atheists exercise free speech, the face all this vitriol. Who's the real hypocrite here?

      July 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • oxymoron

      The thing is Donna... Atheists don't just let people 'be'. If someone believes something other than you, what is the purpose to confront them, call names, and puff our own beliefs up as superior?

      Every single faith based post pertaining to those that believe.. .95% of the posts on CNN are of atheists. Now look at this post.. Do you see 95% of the posts from believers that are attacking? No, you don't.

      A majority of believers will leave people alone.. yes, there are fanatics out there... I don't doubt that.. we see them in the news. And other believers that do engage, they do it in a civil manner. Now look at the atheists.. Look at how they attack, call names, try to belittle people... Blatant attacks on another person's belief.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • oxymoron

      @Mike.. you're my kind of people. I also have friends like that. But take a look at faith-based blogs on CNN... check out the comments. Tell me you see civil atheists posting. It's nothing but attacks.. I have to wonder if it's not a bunch of kids. Possibly..

      July 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Donna

      Oxymoron, how is expressing our view on the existence of god an attack? Honestly, you sound paranoid.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Every time that a group previously cowed into silence stands up and demands that their voices, too, be heard, many, many people accustomed to the aforementioned silence consider the now vocal group "uppity". It's happened over and over again. People like oxymoron are like the people who thought (as some still think) that America's race problems started in the 1960s, when they in fact started as soon as Europeans started to settle here and started with respect to Africans and their descendants when the first slave ship arrived a decade or so before the Mayflower.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • jason

      @ oxymoron
      Are you kidding!
      You are calling the placement of billboards along a few obscure highways, ads on the sides of a couple of buses, and a few "flying banners "the cramming of beliefs." LOL
      That is NOTHING compared to the blatant arrogance and aggressive imposition Christianity has perpetrated over the years! You seem to forget that Christians have a tremendous presence and influence on our government which they have effectively used for so long to impose their ideologies on everyone. Not only do atheists have zero presence in gov. but they are far far fewer in number than Christians.
      You need another argument. This one is on life support and dying if not already dead....beep beep beep beep beep......

      July 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • JAMES

      sorry that we atheists put in god we trust on your currency so you would have to see it everyday

      July 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Frogist

      @oxymoron: It seems a little misleading to base your opinion of atheists on the Belief Blog alone. But if you are going to then maybe you should read some of the posts of Christians like Zelda, HeavenSent, CW whose posts are as vile as they come with rants that would make the WBC blush. Throw in the posts of all the believers like idsmom who, lacking in thought or information, bitterly post outright lies and misinformation about non-believers due to fear. Add the evangelicals whose posts always end in gleefully anticipating how non-believers will burn when their lord comes back. And then those who are genuinely confused about who and what atheists and agnostics are who post asking questions based on the prejudiced image they get from believers. After that you cannot say believers by and large engage in a civil manner. Do all this and then you will get a clearer picture of the relation of the religious to the non-believers.
      Now that does not excuse any arrogance or meanness posted by non-believers. Not in the least. But it will give you a fair comparison by which you can judge for yourself who is in the majority of vile posters.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  7. godlessmom

    I think most of the comments on this thread are missing the point with the ad campaign: This campaign, as most of them, such as the billboards, are to wake up the agnostics and closet atheists to the fact that they are not alone. It is not meant to convert believers of God to Atheism. It is aimed at others who may be questioning what they believe, or are afraid to come out to their friends and family about their disbelief. Remember Atheists are in an unpopular minority in this country right now.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • godlesspatriot

      I think you have it exactly right. Good post. Thanks.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Mikey

      Many places around the US, athiests pretend to be religious so that they (and their children) don't get shunned by believers, so that they can still get promoted at work, and so their kids don't get picked on at school. It is astonishing to me in 2011, people have to pretend to be religious or they get persecuted by supposedly "Christian" people

      July 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Felix

      Great post!
      However, even if the campaign targets atheists, it is still offensive to some. Some religious people see our mere existence as an offense, just reading some of the posts here is proof...

      July 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  8. Brown

    Anyone who dreams has a vision. I don't blame atheism but this don't simply add up to the causes of rejuvenation to see the future a promising growth. Casualties could be instantaneous and answers could be diverse, yet relying on a power that is healing in nature can give us peace and prosperity. If the reasons in the natures are stopped, we will be nothing but matters that can't express any feelings or emotions, only a bunch of foolish objects and meaningless life. Power rests in belief and our God lives through senses, we will discover Him in us truly.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • John Richardson

      That is the most comically random post I've read in a long time!

      July 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Tristan

      John you made me literally LOL

      July 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  9. j.l.m.

    I prefer the use of "not believing in the supernatural" vs. atheism.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • a

      agreed.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • SaintGenesius

      I prefer "not believing in magic."

      July 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Jake

      I have to disagree. I know (as much as it's possible to know anything) that there is no god. But I can't explain everything, so I also know that there must be some explanation beyond what we know of the "natural" world. I'm not talking about ghosts, but I'm sure it's pretty super.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Luigi

      SaintGenesius, how did supernatural get universally defined as magic?

      July 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • BradW

      louigi:

      "mystical" is one definition of "supernatural"; look it up.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • BradW

      luigi"

      Sorry about the misspelling.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Luigi

      I did look it up and got "outside scientific knowledge." There's a lot outside scientific knowledge. 100 years ago, a computer would be magic. But a computer still acts within the bounds of nature.

      I did look it up...

      July 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Donna

      Not believing in the supernatural means something entirely different from atheism, which is probably why you prefer it. ; )

      July 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  10. BradW

    ldsmom02:

    Please share with those of us who are atheist the exact name and location(address preferably) of any "church" of atheism of which you are personally aware.

    I am 69 years old and still have not found any edifice constructed by and for the exclusive use of atheists to meet or "worship". And if any of us were to actually build such an edifice, we would welcome to the sanctum sanctorum all people no matter their beliefs.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Anon Atheist

      Why and what would Atheists need a place of worship for? If you want a meeting ground for Atheists, just go to any university with a strong physics program.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • JAMES

      there is a group in tampa florida that for kicks advertises themselves as the church of atheism.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Roxy

      @Brad,

      Google the phrase Church of "Freethought." Two of the results will be North Texas Church of Freethought and Houston Church of Freethought. The Houston Church was started as a copy of the N. Texas concept. It's really great.

      I would also recommend getting in touch with Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists (they bought the banners for 4th of July) – they would be more than happy to help you start up a group!

      July 6, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  11. Billy

    The unfounded fear of atheists is the problem. Like he said this isn't about converting, this is about telling the public that atheists can be great patriotic Americans. Just as a Christian or Muslim can be a great American. We should be judging a person on attributes such as generosity and intellect; not religious belief or non-belief. Unfortunately the instinct of a lot of Americans is to have distrust and hate for atheists.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Billy, if the instinct of many Americans is to hate and distrust atheists, I don't think you can say that "The unfounded fear of atheists is the problem."

      July 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  12. Shaneeda Quit

    They should have used a slogan like "Earth's magnetic field is caused by people burning in hell, therefore, sinners are necessary"!

    July 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  13. tommy

    science can only explain so much. i dont push my beliefs on anyone. and hate i when people throw theirs on me. but where science fails to answer the question. you have to wonder what really went on.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • a

      Science is simply the pursuit of knowledge... i doesn't fail to answer questions... it simply hasn't acquired the information yet. We will absolutely never know everything about everything, but filling in the blanks with religion is just plain dumb.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Nodack

      Science proves that Earth is over 5 billion years old. Science proves that there were other species of life living on this planet millions of years before man set foot here. Religion says that the earth and man were created at the same time a couple of thousand years ago and that is proven to be false. Religious followers don't believe the science is true, they believe in a book written by man two thousand years ago about a God that nobody has ever heard or seen since.

      Sorry, but the facts say that religions are man made cults. Athiests are just people living in the reality world instead of the make believe fantasy magic world that most people live in.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Tiqqun

      Science could only explain so much back in the Middle Ages as well; however the sum of human knowledge didn't end there due of a lack of awareness across the many fields of study during that age. The evolution of knowledge and understanding didn't come to an abrupt halt simply because ignorant Europeans in the Middle Ages didn't have all the scientific answers. Fortunately scientists of the day continued to chip away at the vast unknowns, just as modern science continues to do so. Just as it couldn't explain everything in the Middle Ages, Science certainly doesn't claim to know everything there is to know today. When science cannot provide a definitive answer to a given question, the typical response we hear is that they are working on one.

      Working on answers is a far cry from anything we might hear from a religionist. They’re quite sure of their answers without the need of a shred of supporting facts or evidence. Religionists have a ready made answer for every unknown in the universe, which they refer to as 'god'. In one form or another, 'god' apparently has been the default answer to all of humanities unknowns since the stone age.

      Nowadays, if we refer to the list of unknowns across the many fields and professions studying our planet and the universe as the remaining gaps in scientific understanding, human history clearly demonstrates that as time progresses, these gaps in our understanding are continuously being narrowed through more study, experimentation, development and education. By contrast, we see religion continuing to leer out from the gaps in human understanding, whispering the word ‘god’ while reveling in its ignorance and age old fear mongering.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  14. kathic

    You want to know why Atheists are so vocal?
    "No, I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God" -George H.W. Bush.
    Atheists are questioned about their morality, their patriotism, and about the trustworthiness. They are normal people.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • James

      There was no witness to that alleged statement. One atheistic reporter made that claim. I'm an atheist, and there is no way I would use that unproven quote in an argument.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Justin

      I see your point, but I think this action just puts Athiest at the same level as Bush. Two wrongs don't make a right.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Nodack

      I get a little defensive because people such as my best friend have told me that "If you don't take Jesus as your savior and pledge your love and soul to him then you are going to hell".

      I said what if I was born on a deserted island and never heard of religion and yet was the most kindest person ever to walk the earth? He said it doesn't matter and that even that person would go to hell. I said then your god is unjust and just mean and I don't want any part of a god like that even if I did believe.

      There is always a little catch that says if you don't follow the right religion you are damned to hell. How do Christians feel about Muslims? They think their religion is false and that all Muslims are going to hell. How do Muslims feel about Christians? They feel that their religion is false and that they are going to hell.

      Major wars have been fought and millions of people have died defending their religions. Peace, love, happiness, I don't think so.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • ES

      You really should be a little more thorough before you dimiss something...

      http://www.robsherman.com/advocacy/060401a.htm

      Yes he did say it, and there is proof. Evidence always wins out the argument. The reason atheists are so hated is because of BS comments made by politicians like George H.W. Bush.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Justin: How is flying a banner saying "Atheists are patriotic" the same as the frmr President saying non-believers are unpatriotic and should maybe not be considered citizens? The two are in no way equivalent.

      July 5, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  15. jason

    If Christians are right, and their god does exist, and its true that they have the graces and backing of this all powerful supernatural being then why are they afraid of what a tiny minority of the population (atheists) have to say. After all they have the almighty creator of the universe on their side; yet despite this they are terrified of us mere mortal atheists "flying banners" or putting up billboards and ads on the sides of buses. This just cracks me up!

    July 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Ripper

      Your comment is a generalization of a group of people, in this case "Christians". Not all Christians are intolerant and uneducated just as not all Christians are radical or fundamentalists. Not all Christians fear Atheists. Besides - Christianity is not the only religion that believes in a god or gods. Atheists do not believe in any form of god/deity - they do not just single out the Christian's God.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  16. a

    I am an atheist and am not really impressed with some of these banners. Atheism is patriotic? What does that mean? Seems like there could be a better use of these space and money that could promote freedom from religion and education (education being anti-religion)

    July 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  17. jatrayu

    Atheists explain flying ad campaign

    Yawn..

    July 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ripper

      Would have been nice to hear more from the Atheist representative. Unfortunately, the interviewer wouldn't really let him get a word in.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • ES

      Ripper, if you'd like to know more about Rick Wingrove and his organization "Beltway Atheists Inc", please go here:

      http://www.beltwayatheists.org

      Hope this helps.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  18. W.

    I have not found many people who actually believe in a god. Rather they believe in the "will" of god; what can god do for me? I am adamant in my disbelief in a god and find it offensive to be affronted by others who wish to impose their views on me. This being said, I am expressing my views on others right now and they may ignore them willingly. Believe whatever, keep it private.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Humor

      So when you push your views on others they need to get over it, but if others push their views on you, you are offended. You believe the people should keep their beliefs private but you put out that you disbelieve in a god.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  19. armywife87

    Actually, atheism is a belief system. The belief that there are no deities. As such, atheism itself cannot be patriotic. People can be patriotic and atheists at the same time. I know some who are both.

    What religion people follow, or not, really doesn't matter. Their actions do. If you don't want to pray in public, don't. If you are attending an event where there will be prayer, make a mental to-do list or daydream during the parts you don't want to hear. No one can make you participate in a spoken act if you don't want to but no one should be able to squelch prayer just because they don't want to hear it either. The respect must go both ways.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Patrick

      Actually atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief. Atheism is no more a belief system than no believing in Santa or the Easter bunny.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Ripper

      I agree. And very nicely put, I might add..

      July 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Chris

      Atheism is a response to a claim. The word theist becomes atheist when trying to say the opposite of. Atheist can be liberals(the bad ones) or conservatives.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • armywife87

      Definition of ATHEIST: one who believes that there is no deity. From Merriam-Webster.com

      Christian and other religions believe in their version of god, atheists believe there is no such thing as god. Belief system.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bill

      Finally I have a voice. I am a patriotic American and a non-believer. I am a moral and ethical person. One would get the impression from American christians that their god walks around in the sky waving an American flag. Of course you would feel threatened by my non-belief. Christians will of course call me non-patriotic as my non-belief is offensive to them. There is no person on this planet who can definitively state what happens to a person upon sessation of life. You can pretend to know but it will always remain a mystery.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Jake

      Armywife – Do you really not see that a lack of belief in something is not the same as a belief? By your logic, I can make up a story about flying pink unicorns and if you don't believe it, that is your belief system. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't definite yourself as a non-flying-pink-unicorn-believer. The fact that atheisms don't believe in something we consider to be ridiculous is no more of a belief system.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """Definition of ATHEIST: one who believes that there is no deity. From Merriam-Webster.com"""

      Maybe next time they should consult a non-believer for the correct definition.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Ted M.

      -armywife87-
      There is proof that your religion is false and deliberately misleading.
      As an atheist, I don't have a "faith without proof", I have a position that is iron-clad due to the complete lack of any evidence to prove me wrong about their being no god.
      There simply is no proof at all. None.
      Quibbling over a lack of belief due to a lack of reason to believe is ridiculous.
      Atheism is a rational and reasonable position for anyone to take. Even babies are born atheist.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • @chris

      Chris, your statement becomes pointless when you claim liberal atheists are "the bad ones" opposed to conservative atheists. Words like liberal and conservative are not meant to be stark black and white banners that represent one side of every question, in the same way democrat and republican have been oversimplified to some sort of entertainment standard.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Bill

      whether or not atheism is a belief system or not; the question posed is whether non-believers are patriotic. Answer the question: why does one have to believe in a god to be patriotic?

      July 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Donna

      armywife87, there is no system involved in atheism. The word refers to one single belief that there is no god (or some say the lack of belief that there is a god). Nothing else. No system.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Donna

      Armywife87- now you should look up the definition of *system.*

      July 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • RS

      You should look up some of Christopher Hitchen's talks on YouTube if you want to know what Atheism truly stands for. It is, by definition (not dictionary mind you, as the dictionary by default has to over-simplify everything) the lack of belief in a deity. The basic tenet is that the existence of or non-existence of God can never be proven, thus it is not claimed that they know there is no God, but that no compelling evidence for the existence of God has ever been discovered, and therefore there is no reason to believe in it. I am not an Atheist, although I have wandered a long way from my old Christian beliefs, and I have to agree with most Atheists in that the burden of proof doesn't lie on the Atheist to prove there is no God; that should actually be the default position, and those who do believe in God are the ones who need extraordinary evidence to back up their belief.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • jason

      *SIGH*...
      Atheism is not a "belief system." You seem unable to make the distinction between the terms "belief" and "system."
      There is no system on which atheism is based. According to you Christians believe in their version of god and atheists believe there is no god so that means atheism is a "belief system." Wrong! Atheism makes no "positive assertions" therefore no SYSTEM. Atheism does not rely on a system, doctrine, or dogma supporting and pushing evidence that gods don't or can't exist. It is simply the belief that the evidence supporting the existence of the gods engendered by man is not sufficient to justify they really do exist. Incredulity is not a SYSTEM.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • armywife87

      Definition of system (one of the many) : a form of social, economic, or political organization or practice. Meriam-Webster.com

      I think the gist of my original post was lost due to semantics. I don't really care what other people believe, or not. However, if atheist groups have formed, and they have, then there is a system related to atheism. eg: American Atheists. It would be called a social organization and organizations have systems in place.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Donna

      RS, Hitchens is part of a specific movement, sometimes called the "New Atheists," but it is different from "atheism."

      July 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Donna

      Armywife87, "System" means "set," not a single thing.

      Terminology is important; 'atheism' (lowercase) refers to a single belief (no set- but singular). Atheists groups do form and have other cohesive views, but then we aren't referring to 'atheism' but to a system that *includes* atheism.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • armywife87

      Looks like I've hit a hot button here. My only point was that people can be both patriotic and atheists. Atheism itself is a perspective, point of view, "part" of a system if you belong to a formal group. Therefore atheism cannot be patriotic. Considering that what one believes is what is one thinks then I guess not believing means not thinking. Just a thought.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Atheism itself is a perspective, point of view, "part" of a system if you belong to a formal group.

      Atheism is a response to a claim. The logical default position is to not believe in something until it is proven to you.

      Theism is the belief in a god. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god. Hence the A. It is not the rejection of a claim.

      Atheism in the strictist sense tells you nothing about the person, except that they do not subscribe to a diety. As such, a system cannot be demonstrated. For example. Everyone in the world is Aspacegoatlobsterpeoplespaceshipism. Do we form a system?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Donna

      The only people who are apparently not thinking are the ones who continue to speak from ignorance. So your argument now is that atheists can be patriotic (which obviously they can), and that atheists don't think because they don't believe there is a god?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Floyd

      Christopher Hitchens is a miserable, angry sod and a bigot. People who bring guys like this up are only promoting them and making them richer too promoting their books, videos, speaking engagement fees etc. Kind of like the insinuations as to where the money in the church service donations go to. Atheists are indeed organizing and building doctrine and running a propaganda and recruitment machine. But, that is their right to do so. Atheists can indeed be patriotic and we should embrace and befriend all who hold dear our liberties and freedoms. However, a banner that reads “God-LESS America” and some of the billboards around the Holidays etc are not only propaganda but they are also instigating and incite hate. The hate and vitriol that is spewed is definitely more from the non-believers to the believers, but that is just as I scroll through these blogs and could be different on or in other forums. There are lots of heads in the sand and denial on this, but just look at the backhanded swipes at intelligence across this board specifically. There are intellectual believers and intellectual non-believers in this world and throughout history. The choice remains to believe or not to believe but just stop the hatred and respect each other.....for the love of God and/or the love of peace and humanity.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Floyd: Yes, maybe you should scroll through some of the other articles on the Belief blog to get a better idea of who does the majority of hating on here. Try any article on gays, muslims or Catholics and see the vitriol and prejudice from Christians out in full force. Swipes at someone's intelligence, yes that is particularly rude. What then do you call swipes at someone's morality, condemning someone to hell, calling them ugly, or an abomination? You say the majority of hatred is coming from atheists? Or maybe we've all just gotten used to the petty behaviour shown by the loud Christians.
      Also I'm not sure how declaring your belief in billboards etc around the holidays is in itself instigating hatred. It is the content of the billboard not the mere disagreement with someone else's belief that may or may not be inflammatory.

      July 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  20. James pfeiffer

    Fundamentalist evangelical Christians are as dangerous as any Islamic fundamentalists. We are a nation that loves its fairy tales and the simplistic belief that there is a some "guy in the sky" that has all the answers is infantile. Creationists and religious zealots have used the bible and Jesus fantasies to justify nearly everything that, in fact, they are unable to understand about the real world. In fact, it is far more difficult to be scientifically curious and, above all, personally responsible for are own behaviors...not using that sad statement, "its Gods will" to rationalize what you can't understand.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Linddar

      I am an agnostic. However, I definitely do not believe there is a God that created man in his own image. It honestly seems childish to believe that. I believe one of the problems with any religion is the indoctrination causes people to put aside any common sense whatsoever. I find it amazing that so many highly intelligent people are like this. I recently watched a debate with a scientist and a rabbi about why God would allow something like 9/11 or the holocaust. They discussed this fascinating subject while talking about God as if were a person and thought like we do. There may be a higher power and I would sure like to know if there is. Unfortunately, I don't believe I'll gain that knowledge from the Bible.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
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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.