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. Athiest(Really)

    This is getting ridiculous.

    Atheism is no more a religion than not believing in unicorns is a religion.

    People are confusing Atheists and Anti-Theists.

    Anti-Theists spend money and time trying to "educate" others through billboards, flying ads, etc.
    Atheists just don't believe in religion and don't waste their time either way.

    Here's a tip, if you run into a person who goes out of their way to talk about how they don't believe in religion, that's probably anti-theism. If you run into a person who never even mentions religion and when asked says they don't believe in a/any god, that's an atheist.

    Just to make it obvious, the people whom this article is basically about, aren't atheists. They are anti-theists.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • pdfsmail

      nope sorry please look it up and define.. both religion and atheist.... now if you were agnostic then I could support that.. atheist has the qualities of a religion.. which btw does not require belief in a deity

      July 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Wibik

      Thank You! I never really thought much about it. I know a few self proclaimed "atheists" and you're right. They never went out of there way do push their thoughts on those around them. Unless asked, of course, they would explain there position. But the people that pay for billboards and fly-by banners...?? What gives? Why does there have to be ONE way? If we all lived the same how boring would we be...

      July 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      Atheism is an dangerous new form of fundamentalism that prides itself of providing "access to the truth", while being completely ignorant to its own origins in ideology.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • wakeup333

      Not quite. I'm an atheist who loves to talk about it. Why? Because atheists are the last persecuted group in America. 16% say they don't follow any religion. That's 48 million. More than some religions! Yet try to get elected as an atheist! Try to get regular air time on talk shows! Try to get a seat whenever there's a televised chat between the "big 3": Christianity, Judaism & Islam. Have you EVER seen an atheist on the same stage? I haven't!

      Why should atheists speak? Because OUR lives are threatened by the religious! Every day, Americans wonder when the next Islamist will blow someone up. It's time religious insanity is exposed for what it is: the inevitable consequence of belief in invisible, imaginary unprovable beings and following the insane who speak on their behalf.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Atheist (really): I'm not really sure I get the distinction except that one group is more mobilized than another. That doesn't really speak of philosophy in any way. Also if you differentiat anti-theists as people who try to convert others, then maybe this ad campaign isn't about anti-theism. It's about having a respect for different points of view and dispelling the myth that atheists cannot be patriotic, not conversion. Either way I don't really see much of a problem with atheists promoting tolerance for their position.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Civiloutside

      "atheist has the qualities of a religion.. which btw does not require belief in a deity"

      Really? What qualities if a religion does atheism have?

      – noun 1. belief in and worship of a God or other superhuman agency 2. particular system of these beliefs

      – noun 1. the belief that there is no God

      Definitions courtesy of Random House Unabridged Dictionary.

      July 6, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  2. Grundoon

    Something to think about on this day celebrating our nation's independence, especially for those that insist we are a "Christian" nation. In justifying why church and state are to be kept separate, Thomas Jefferson said: "It does me no injury i my neighbor says there is no God or that there are 20 Gods. It nether picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

    Our founding fathers were a lot smarter than most Christians seem to give them credit for. Marco Polo traded in the far east in the 12th century where there were Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. Jews were brought to New Amsterdam (NYC) to set up the economic system because Christian thought money was evil, Yoruba slaves from Africa were brought for the heavy lifting. They were very well aware of the many faiths that existed on the rest of the planet. WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A DIVERSE COUNTRY!! It's time to give up the but-we're-a-christian-nation argument because that position is pure fiction.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  3. JLS639

    "Justin, I am an atheist and I won't fly it because I can't wear a bulletproof vest"

    Oh, please, you paranoid fool. I am an atheist, too, and I have yet to feel threatened. Sure, some people are jerks to me because of it, but being afraid of being shot over an atheist message? What a load of hooey. Admit you just prefer to avoid controversy. The last major case of people supposedly being murdered over their atheism? It turned out that they were murdered for their gold and for personal revenge.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  4. pdfsmail

    Nice try but that does count.. note the word disbelief above in my previous comment... they are an ORGANIZED group that Believes in no deity.. there is no organized group of fairy disbelievers... and yes i would be a member of a religion that does not believe in fairies.. you are throwing that into a box.. part of the definition of religion has to do with spirituality.. not lack of deity...

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

      Nice try, but your semantics have failed. Disbelief is not belief.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Jon

      That is because the vast majority of the governing body does not believe in fairies. They do not base important legislative decisions on fairy lore. They don't profess divisive ideals, like that America is a fairy nation. I think you can see where this analogy is going. Suffice it to say, that is why we organize so. Fairies bless America.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  5. Elle

    Another plane should fly right next to them, "God bless America." Hey, it's only fair.

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

      You want it pay for it....

      July 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Unless they're trained formation pilots, I doubt that the FAA would give them clearance. You're supposed to maintain flight-level separation of 1000 feet.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Elle: Sure, so long as every Christian billboard has an atheist one right next to it too. Isn't that what you meant?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  6. Jim

    I suggest that atheists, as a group, are MORE in line with the intent of our founding father that "believers" (in general).

    "Believers", of any stripe, MUST, as a condition of their faith, believe that all other faiths, or lack thereof, are wrong. To do otherwise admits that one's own faith is in doubt. Many (most?) religions seem to promote that to get into heaven, nirvana, wherever you think you go after death, you must "save" all these "non-believers," infidels from their ways. As the speaker on this article mentioned atahiests just want to be left alone, and not cast as "evil" because they don't believe.

    So, to the "believers" who are so enthusiastic about the intent of our "founding fathers," practice your religion, but leave everyone else alone.

    Is that really too much to ask?

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

      Actually, I believe that Christian non believers are usually referred to as "heathens" and islamic non believers as "infidels".

      So, at the very least, everyone is at least one or the other

      July 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  7. billp

    This is stupid. It's akin to some of the marches that took place in Northern Ireland or Skokie (Illinios, a heavily Jewish community where neo-Nazis wanted to parade) – it's only intent is to provoke.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Jim

      It only provokes if your religious intolerance allows you to be provoked.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • apostate

      I hope you are equally outraged at all the religious signs and provocation in the country.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Buy Coke! No, buy Pepsi!
         Man, am I ever provoked! I'm being confronted with a brand of pop that I DON'T NORMALLY DRINK!
         HOW DARE THEY!!!

      July 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Dan

      No, that is a terrible analogy. To not believe in a religion is just as valid an opinion as to believe in one of the hundreds that exist. Christians, Mormons, Muslims, they all advertise their beliefs, they all push it on others. Atheists are only trying to remove stigma around our belief system, we are trying to make those who are secretly atheist able to speak freely about their beliefs. These campaigns are about pulling bigots like yourself out of the woodwork so that the world can examine these blatant intollerances that have gone unnoticed.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  8. Patrish

    Wow, I didn't know there were so many of us atheists. Irony that we would have to worry about the Christians retaliating because we don't wish to be believe in a deity. Anyone else see something wrong with this? If your believe makes you want to cause serious harm to others, or belittle them, then you believes are not a good thing.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      About 1.6% of the population describe themselves as Atheists.
      Most people are simply mildly religious.
      Atheism is a way to say "no" to an area of poetry, art, imagery, feelings, experiences that everyone has and shares.
      Without constructing anything in its place.
      It is simply a gesture of expanding personal power and denying the un/subconscious any right to exist.
      In other words, it is one big lie.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Dan

      @Cubiksrube: There is no proof that Christianity or any other religion exists, there are thousand year old books which arent even internally consistent. There are heaps of poetry, of art, which is produced by atheists. If you think the psalms can rival the deep thought of Dawkins then you are the one who is ignorant to valuable things in this world. Frankly, your conviction that we are wrong, and your bald faced lie about the statistics of how many are atheist is absurd. Remember, as Atheists remove this social stigma that exists, you will find that there are FAR MORE than you ever guessed, people in your family even.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @Dan See, you're doing it yourself: Replacing the bible with the Word of Dawkins.
      One prophet with the words of the other.
      Why don't you go back to the way the world occurs to you?
      Why do you have to put the label "christian" "muslim" "hindu" etc. on your spirituality?
      How do you explain the difference between how you see yourself/the access you have to yourself and the way you have access to other people?
      How about the inside and outside perspective of the human being.
      What exactly IS that difference and how are you intending to explain that with science, which decidedly doesn't even acknowledge your "inside perspective" in the first place as it is by definition outside of empirical verification, or, according to another Prophet of Atheism, Daniel Dennet, and "illusion"?
      How can something that is the basis of our conscious experience be an illusion?
      Isn't all of this already enough religion to start from?
      Why do I have to twist my way into cultural detail of world religions that are thousands of years old?
      Really, Atheists just don't think straight imho.
      They found 1 ideology and now think the entire world has to be like that. Just like all other good ideologists ... and religious fundamentalists.

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

      @cubiksrube: Beyond all your rambling, you seem to ignore that atheists as a group are not trying to convert the world.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  9. jason

    I am amazed and proud of how many atheists and those considering apostasy are represented here. This is a good sign and suggests that perhaps there is hope my kids and yours can inherit a country where Christianity is the minority rather than the majority. Continue to find the courage to question and challenge Christianity! It matters

    July 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • JC

      It is going to be minority soon. Stories and fairy tales of religion has no significance anymore in this century.
      All these people rant about atheism being a belief system, the day they understand that its just a rejection of an idea that they are not convincing enough.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @JC you can deny your un/subconscious any right to exist/access to reality as long as you want. It's not going to go away.
      You will always be completely out of power in respect to your subconscious impulses.
      Meditation, prayer, poetry, language.
      What you describe as fairytales are primary and basic functions of human life.
      I can recommend reading Carl Jung a little.
      I hate fundamentalists and conservative radicalism too. And of course science is our best effort in so many areas.
      But we must NEVER discuss ourselves and our experience away.
      Our humanity sits right there,

      July 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Frogist

      @cubiksrube: I'm curious how atheism is a rejection of poetry, art etc. I don't know why you need to believe in god for any of that to happen.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  10. Jaseinspace

    The quote from Justin, "I'm an athiest.... but I can't wear a bullet-proof vest," says it all. Religion and "faith" in god are the two most fearsome and detrimental adhered to by man. They are dangerous and murder-inducing.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  11. Thereyougo

    Well, now atheist have something to believe in too. Let's move on.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  12. asm_ith

    The fact that the pilos are concerned about being shot at speaks volumes for the so-called believers who would be doing the shooting. Whatever happened to "thou shalt not kill"? If the believers don't follow the basics, what does that say about them or their beliefs?

    July 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Jaseinspace

      Yes, indeed.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  13. Riyaz Hoosain

    Just gas up the planes to the point where they have no fuel left for descent.Then lets see if they start believing in GOD.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • open2it

      And you, sir, are the reason Justin wouldn't fly without a vest.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Harpo Darpo

      So you are advocating terrorism to get people to obey your religioous beliefs? How al Qaeda of you!

      July 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • JC

      That's what its all about fear and begging for help. You are irrational.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • shamgar50

      What a really stupid post. So you only believe in god when you’re desperate?

      July 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • wakeup333

      You prove atheists' point: only the religious are against "freedom of religion." True freedom includes the freedom not to believe in imaginary invisible beings. Atheists have no ideology telling them to kill people who disagree with them. Only the religious want to force others to share their beliefs and kill those who don't.

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

      Yup, it's about fear. A gal was coming to our Full noon rituals but then stopped because she was afraid she wasn't gong to go to heaven. That was it. Not that she believed she was closer to deity as a Christian, or that it spoke to her inner being or anything. Just the threat of Heaven's door man not letting her in the big disco in the sky.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      More tolerance from the followers of religion of peace and tolerance. Efking tards ! If anything, the just-adequately fueled plane of your should be used pop Muslims into the sky , the world will be a better place.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  14. cubiksrube

    They might fly as well a banner that says "YOU DON'T EXIST!"... Do you see any proof of your existence? Or of my existence?
    Why do you believe in yourself?

    July 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Donna

      Do you know what the word, "proof" means?

      July 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Jon

      Bullet Proof logic right here. I am now having an existential meltdown.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • JC

      What? Absolutely senseless.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Roger

      Yes, indeed, I see evidence that I, and you, exist, so your suggestion for such a banner is utterly irrational. Now, on the other hand, I do NOT actually SEE any evidence of the existence of God. Sure, I see that people BELIEVE God exists, but that's a long way from seeing actual, hard EVIDENCE of His existence. And that's the point. You shouldn't believe in something when there's no evidence of it.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • kevin

      There is proof of our existence. If you have read Descartes he attempts to prove that he exists. I'm sure you have heard of the famous "I think, therefore I am."

      July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      sorry guys, you don't want to get the point, just think about it again for a moment:
      Science has 0 proof of your existence.
      Science is great at taking all of the accountability you ascribe to "yourself" and make genetics, education, chemistry, emergence, complexity.... responsible.
      What would "you" be after all?
      You are simply not there.
      You are as real as a teapot circling between Mars and Jupiter in the universe.
      Look into your brain.... where would you be?
      There is nothing in there.
      It's just cells/blood vessels/molecules.
      When you say "i" it means absolutely nothing.
      You are not there.
      Give it up.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • randorolian

      You seriously make me want to cheese grate my forehead. Yes, we have proof you exist (Well, the people you interact with in real life)

      July 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @Kevin any robot could write Descartes Meditations if it was programmed to do so.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Donna

      Get a dictionary. You can't expect people to be able to communicate with you if you make up the definitions of words yourself.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      They are just having an illusion. There isn't anyone there really. We just holding on to things because we are not strong enough to face the truth: That we aren't there in the first place.
      That is, we are as real as Atheists say God is, for the same reasons.

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

      @Donna I know quite well what the word proof means, and you have none whatsoever.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      Gods effect on the known universe is absolutely 0.
      And so is yours.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Donna

      Prove it. Define the words 'proof' and 'evidence' and explain how we have none about our own existence.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @Donna Get on wikipedia an look up empiricism and scientific epistemology. Go there and come back, read again what I wrote. You are then allowed to ask another question.

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

      Ha ha! Coward. I asked you first. You can't- you won't- because you know I'm right. You know deep down that you are making crap up , just grasping to hold on to your comfortable beliefs.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  15. Scott

    Somewhat suprised at these comments! The United States was founded upon Christian beliefs and values. Any argument to the contrary is ridiculous. We can readily see the result of their erosion, however: crime, poverty, abortion, disease, hate! How factual Reality's statement on Abraham remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the figure is still insignificant given the volume of believers in the "Abrahamic" religions. The fact of the matter is that Jesus is the Son of God, and was sacrificed in your place...whether you believe it or not. Being a Christian is not enslavement, but freedom. As far as historic support, the Bible records the over 300 prophecies fulfilled by Christ hundreds of years after they were set forth; witnessed by hundreds of people at a time. No other religion can make that claim. Invite Jesus into your heart and receive eternal salvation...and may God continue to bless America!

    July 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Amen! Well said!

      July 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • JC

      Your fact of the matter is baseless and unsubstantiated. Therefore its not a "fact". You are deceiving yourself.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Patrish

      We are no different that our ancestors who believe in many God's, human decided to focus on one God, of course there is no proof he exists you have to believe he exists, but if I believe in faeries or dragons and preyed to them, you'd call me crazy.... go figure!

      July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Maya

      What proof do you have that America was founded upon Christianity?

      Saying that America was founded on Christian "values" is meaningless. Christianity has no unique values beyond the worship of Christ. If you believe that Christ espoused such things as kindness, forgiveness, charity, the other Abrahamic religions (as well as other religions, such as Buddhism) teach the same things.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • gozer

      Scott, that's bullcrap plain and simple. The founders were mainly Deists, not Christians, and valued the separation of religion and state.

      So Scott, how about those Christian values like burning animals to appease your sky fairy? Done that lately, like your bible commands you to do in lurid detail? Your fairy will get you if you don't; you might get a disease or a tsunami sent at you by your jerk in the sky.

      And your scapegoat dead guy on a stick story was stolen from earlier supersti-tions than yours. Not even original. And why exactly did your supposedly omnipotent tooth fairy needed a scapegoat to get rid of sin, anyway (which didn't work)? It's a ludicrous pile of nonsense that you follow. Get with the last century, at least.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Litmus Boogliner

      Whether I believe it or not? Hmmm.... So you're saying that belief plays no part in life? Or that only your beliefs are valid and mine are of no consequence? There's no point in arguing with a crazy person, so you're absolutely 100% correct!

      July 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • NRen2k5

      “Somewhat suprised at these comments! The United States was founded upon Christian beliefs and values. Any argument to the contrary is ridiculous. We can readily see the result of their erosion, however: crime, poverty, abortion, disease, hate!”

      You’re the one who’s being ridiculous. What you’re saying there is nothing but a bald assertion that pretends to prove itself.

      “The fact of the matter is that Jesus is the Son of God, and was sacrificed in your place...whether you believe it or not.”

      If it’s a FACT, then where’s your proof? How do you KNOW it’s a fact? Or are you just pretending that your religious belief is a fact, which is in effect LYING?

      “the Bible records the over 300 prophecies fulfilled by Christ hundreds of years after they were set forth; witnessed by hundreds of people at a time.”

      Such as… ?

      “No other religion can make that claim.”

      Sure they can. And just like Christianity, it’s up to them to prove it.

      “Invite Jesus into your heart and receive eternal salvation”

      That’s not even how it’s supposed to work. That’s a recent Protestant idea.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lee

      The crime, poverty and hate you speak of Scott are likely not from Atheist but from Christians. Atheist typically have a higher IQ than most religious people and believe it or not the majority also have better values.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • open2it

      I'm afraid you're rather mistaken. You must properly understand the other side of an argument to be able to intelligently debate it. The "requirement" of animal sacrifice was strictly Old Testament and anulled by the sacrifice of Jesus. Additionally, the sacrifice of Jesus was not meant to eliminate sin, but to atone for it for all mankind. Hateful and venomous rhetoric, from either side, adds nothing constructive.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Dabboo

      The Republicans united the Rich and Religious ... the egomaniacal and the deluded. The rich propogate the rise of Christian faith (like the drivel this guy spouts) because they have somehow successfully melded these views with support for capitalism, greed, and the mantra of lower taxes. America is screwed. The decline of this empire is obvious and well underway because of idiots like this guy spouting crap that prepares the future of mankind for nothing except a disappointing last moment of existance where the pearly gates and St. Peter fail to appear.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • gozer

      open2it, glad that you admit that the animal sacrifice commands are in the old testy. That's purportedly the word of god too, so apparently your "god" got things wrong the first time around. Yet, your religion claims that your god is perfect. Once more case of Christianity being complete and utter bunk, and in conflict with its own claims.

      Now, there's also lots of nasty stuff that your sky as-shole commands you to do in the New Book of Horrors. Shall we get into that too?

      Your whole religion is a steaming load of crap. Just get over it already.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • open2it

      Sigh...again making uninformed assertions. I am actually an atheist myself, so your ranting about "your god" and "your religion" is misplaced. I am merely trying to inject some rationality into the debate.

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

      if your god is here may he strike me down right now!

      July 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • John

      nope still here.

      July 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  16. conoclast

    Flying banners advertising atheism is so illogical and in such poor taste I'm not surprised the pilots balked, bullet-proof vests notwithstanding. Let's leave the cheap shots to the christians who don't know any better!

    July 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Roger

      It is indeed understandable why some pilots would fear for their lives, considering the free-floating rage out there by those gun-toting Christians who claim their (supposedly peace-loving) God actually exists. But it is perfectly logical for atheists to try to spread the word about the non-existence of God. Illogical is when you believe in non-existent things and try to convince others of their existence.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  17. Mark from Middle River

    You know, this is really without question getting silly. Come on friends and even enemies... CNN Belief Blog is now running dual threads just to see how many folks they can get to fight. Next it will be a "Your Take" thread and the same arguments will start over again with folks giving the same arguments.

    It is becoming folly.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      I generally agree with your point, Mark, but it seems that no matter what the story is about, most people here quickly choose to argue some aspect of the meta-question behind it all, or to try to debunk other belief systems. I think CNN could save money on writers and just put up titles like "Homosexuality" and "Atheists" and get the same result.

      CNN could post a story called "Atheist Pickle-Juggler Beats Christian Pickle-Juggler" and people here would argue about atheism, not pickle juggling.

      I they ever had a story about an atheist who was attacked by a Mormon but saved by a gay Muslim who had moments before caught a Christian megachurch pastor sodomizing a donkey, well, they almost wouldn't need to post any other stories. That would get all the traffic they need to get their advertising revenue.

      And for us, it's not really folly. It's a form of entertainment, a guilty pleasure like a bar room brawl or a shin-kicking contest (gosh the British come up with some weird sports!).

      July 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Frogist

      Mark, I don't believe CNN does it specifically to pit people against each other. I don't know where you got that from them having 2 articles about the same topic. But I agree with Electric Larry that I really wish the comments would stay on topic. It usually devolves into the same old same old of evangelical v atheist v catholic v muslim etc etc. It makes it really hard to actually get what people's opinions are about the article. But Mark, I think you're totally right that we will be getting a "Your Take" article next which doesn't really bother me so much as long as the discussion is fairly represented.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  18. Hypocrites

    Time and time again Atheists bash the church for forcing their beliefs on others. I agree that it is wrong. But now they're guilty of the same exact thing. Believing in nothing is still a belief and they're trying to force their beliefs on others.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • JC

      Religious people are mad and dangerous.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Donna

      There is no shame in wanting to educate people about reality.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Hypocrites

      It's called being human. Everyone is guilty of it.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • shamgar50

      When we reach the level of intrusion that christians have managed, THEN you’ll have a point. Right now, we’re about a billion points behind you.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • jason

      Atheism is not a belief in "nothing." Atheism makes no positive assertions...get it straight!

      July 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • jeff

      Belief in nothing is not a belief. If you don't have ice cream that does not mean you have ice cream. Besides, just because they don't believe in Man-In-Sky doesn't logically mean they believe NOTHING. They just believe in one less god than you. You after all, are a heathen for not believing in Apollo. Sounds silly. Man In Sky who looks on us and fiddles with our affairs. How silly Apollo is! Let's make up a new name and worship THAT one instead!

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

      Calling atheism a belief is akin to calling not playing basketball a sport. Atheism is a lack of belief.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Litmus Boogliner

      It's called freedom of religion, and that includes freedom FROM religion.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Roger

      There is absolutely no FORCE involved in what these atheists are doing. They are spreading the word, ncouraging peopel to consider the irrationality of believing in the supernatural, that's all. Many religions, (and Christianity in particular in the U.S.) on the other hand, do indeed attempt to force their religious beliefs on everyone by pushing for legislation which effectively codifies their beliefs into laws.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Please identify for us where you see the use of force in the above story. Really, please try. I'd like to know where you're getting this idea from.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  19. Alex

    Let's get this straight. Atheism is the lack of belief in a god. There are not tenets of atheism, no holy texts, etc. Being an atheist means that you don't believe in any god. Thus it's not a religion. To call it one is like calling not collecting stamps a hobby.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • conoclast

      That's a GREAT analogy! Thanks!

      July 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      The most dangerous ideologies are those that do not consider themselves as such, but as "absolute pathways to the truth".
      Religion: Can be a problem indeed.
      Atheism: Is a problem.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • NRen2k5

      Atheism does not consider itself an “absolute pathway to the truth. Atheism is just the recognition that religious belief is obviously not the path to truth.

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

      @Roger what is your proof that "civility predates religion"?
      There can be no basis for a personal social contract without religion whatsoever. There is no scientific basis for a "me" and "you".
      Science looks at everything from a 3rd person perspective.
      It has eliminated you from its equation.
      For science, you do not exist, you are as unreal as God.
      How can something that doesn't exist have a "social contract"?

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

      Atheism is a broad sweeping gesture attempting to discredit 99% of human conscious experience.
      If not 100%.
      For science you are accountable for absolutely nothing.
      Yet *you* make breakfast, *you* are interested, *you* dream, *you* sleep.
      How can something that gets rid of our basis of understanding be the access to any truth whatsoever?

      July 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  20. Rhea

    Pilots won't fly an atheist ad because they're afraid religious people might kill them. I haven't heard of any religious people in this country being killed or getting death threats from atheists for expressing their beliefs. So who exactly are the moral ones here? (And yes, I know most religious people aren't mindless thugs, but apparently some are.)

    July 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      Religion is a lot more than just a belief in something.
      It is the foundation of our social contracts, of constraints we put on ourselves and expectations we have in others.
      Religion is strongly tied to who we are and what we consider others to be.
      If you want to change that, you better be a little intelligent about it.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • voice of reason

      Religious wingnuts always pop in unexpected and do their thing. Assuming that nothing is going to happen would be the foolish thing to do, not preparing for the worst. Remember that abortion doctor who was killed a couple years ago by the the nice Christian man? Atheists don't do that kind of thing, EVER. Christians, as well as religious wingnuts from all other major religions, do this kind of thing EVERY DAY. There's your answer. Any more questions?

      July 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Roger

      Religion is NOT the foundation of our social contracts. Civility is. And that predates religion by thousands of years.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • NRen2k5

      The whole idea of religious people having superior morals to atheists is silly and backwards. Someone who needs scripture to dictate his morals to him is not a moral man to begin with.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • cubiksrube

      @NRen2k5 I agree with you about deferring accountability to the scripture. But here comes the counter question: I your Atheist wonderland of moral people, how do you want to establish an idea of "personal accountability" in the first place?
      I don't see anything in your brain that could be held personally accountable for staying in bed too long this morning.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:51 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.