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Atheist group targets Muslims, Jews with ‘myth’ billboards in Arabic and Hebrew
The American Atheists' president acknowledges that the pair of new billboards will likely cause a stir.
March 1st, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Atheist group targets Muslims, Jews with ‘myth’ billboards in Arabic and Hebrew

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – The billboard wars between atheists and believers have raged for years now, especially around New York City, and a national atheist group is poised to take the battle a step further with billboards in Muslim and Jewish enclaves bearing messages in Arabic and Hebrew.

American Atheists, a national organization, will unveil the billboards Monday on Broadway in heavily Muslim Paterson, New Jersey and in a heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood, immediately after the Williamsburg Bridge.

“You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice,” the billboards say. The Patterson version is in English and Arabic, and the Brooklyn one in English and Hebrew. To the right of the text on the Arabic sign is the word for God, Allah. To the right of the text on the Hebrew sign is the word for God, Yahweh.

Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists, said the signs are intended to reach atheists in the Muslim and Jewish enclaves who may feel isolated because they are surrounded by believers.

“Those communities are designed to keep atheists in the ranks,” he says. “If there are atheists in those communities, we are reaching out to them. We are letting them know that we see them, we acknowledge them and they don't have to live that way if they don’t want to.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Silverman says the signs advertise the American Atheists’ upcoming convention and an atheist rally, called the Reason Rally, in Washington next month.

Atheists have long pointed to surveys that suggest atheists and agnostics make up between 3% and 4% of the U.S. population. That number increases when Americans unaffiliated with any religion are included. The Pew Center’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey found that 16% are unaffiliated, though only a fraction of those are avowed atheists and agnostics.

Silverman acknowledges that the pair of new billboards will likely cause a stir.

“People are going to be upset,” he says. “That is not our concern.”

“We are not trying to inflame anything,” he continued. “We are trying to advertise our existence to atheist in those communities. The objective is not to inflame but rather to advertise the atheist movement in the Muslim and Jewish community.”

The billboards will be up for one month and cost American Atheists, based in New Jersey, less than $15,000 each, according to Silverman.

Mohamed Elfilali, executive director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, laughed when he learned the Arabic billboard would go up in the same town as his office. He says he’s surprised that someone is spending money on such a sign.

“It is not the first and won’t be the last time people have said things about God or religion,” Elfilali says. “I respect people’s opinion about God; obviously they are entitled to it. I don’t think God is a myth, but that doesn’t exclude people to have a different opinion.”

But Elfilali bemoaned the billboards as another example of a hyper-polarized world.

“Sadly, there is a need to polarize society as opposed to build bridges,” he says. “That is the century that we live in. It is very polarized, very politicized.”

The Brooklyn billboard is likely to raise eyebrows among Jews, in part because Orthodox Jews don't write out the name of God, as the billboard does.

“It is an emotional word, there will be an emotional response," said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future. "People will look at it in a bizarre way. People won’t understand why someone needed to write that out.”

To get around the prohibition, Jews usually use only one Hebrew letter in place of the word. In the Torah scroll, though, the word is found and it is pronounced Adonai, which means “my master.”

Rabbi Serge Lippe of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue was more dismissive than outraged about the billboards.

“The great thing about America is we are marketplace for ideas,” he says. “People put up awful, inappropriate billboards expressing their ideas and that is embraced.”

But Lippe acknowledged that there are a lot of agnostic and atheist Jews. A recent Gallup survey found 53% of Jews identified as nonreligious. Among American Jews, 17% identified as very religious and 30% identified as moderately religious.

“When you have two Jews in the room, you have three opinions,” joked Lippe.

American Atheists have used the word “myth” to describe religion and God on billboards before. Last November, the organization went up with a billboard immediately before the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln tunnel that showed the three wise men heading to Bethlehem and stated “You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate Reason.”

At the time, the American Atheists said the billboard was to encourage Atheists to come out of the closet with their beliefs and to dispel the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season.

The Christmas billboard led to a “counter punch” by the Catholic League, a New York-based Catholic advocacy group. The Catholic League put up a competing billboard that said, “You Know It's Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus."

Silverman says his group’s billboard campaigns will continue long into the future.

“There will be more billboards,” Silverman says. “We are not going to be limiting to Muslims and Jews, we are going to be putting up multiple billboards in multiple communities in order to get atheists to come out of the closet.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Islam • Judaism • New York • United States

soundoff (5,946 Responses)
  1. Leucadia Bob

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5inORZCvSnE&w=640&h=360]

    March 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  2. aacorso

    Atheism is sterile and inhuman. Look at communism.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Eric G

      Care to explain that one?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • LiveFromATX

      religion is a pompous dictatorship sold under the guise of love and morality.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • aacorso

      Learn.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Eric G

      Learn? Wow, well said.

      Apparently, you have no explaination.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Bullfeathers

      'religion is a pompous dictatorship sold under the guise of love and morality' You are confusing the organization around religion with religion. Anything touched by human hands can become corrupted, cases in point – communism, capitalism, government and (of course) atheism.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Dale

    There is God, who he/she is, or God is, still a mystery. It is just good to see this atheists group is an equal opportunity group and not just zeroing on one faith. The question is, how will each of these religion react to this message?

    March 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • aacorso

      Actually, atheist and believers agree in many points. But the disagreement comes in the fulfilment of life as a human being.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      they will probably react inhumanely. like when crazy religious zealots attacked the danish newspaper/reporters/cartoonists for printing a pic of Allah. religion promotes acts of evil clothed in the guise of the divine.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • aacorso

      Violence is never the answer.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Dave

      While I see your point Bootyfunk, how humane, sane or normal is it to commence a legal action against a nativity scene in a public setting, which an athiest disagrees with because it is not in tune with their belief.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'd say very, very sane. you think a nativity scene in the public arena is fine because you are a christian. what if we started erecting Muslim religious scenes around the city on public land? think the christians would react? dave, it's wrong because it promotes christianity in government. separation of church and state. it's wrong because when a buddhist, atheist, taoist, jew or anyone other than a christian walks into a courthouse and sees a symbol of christianity decorating the halls, he/she feels alienated. is this a house of justice or a church? how about we hang some of those billboards up in the courthouse? want to have a nativity scene on a billboard? go ahead. but don't put it up in our government buildings and promote your religious beliefs over all others.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • SuperDave

      Right. This one has a God, and this one over here has a different God, and that one over there has a different God....can't you see how ridiculous and sad it is that people cling to their "god"???

      March 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  4. Terry Docker

    And you can also bet that the so called "atheist" with a jewish name like "silverman" there will be many more boards in muslim communities than in jewish communities..........the boards in jewish communities are simply designed to deflect attention away from yet anouther zionist attack on islam.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • HA25

      Go ahead, Terry – Call that closet jew"Silverman" an Infidel. You know you want to.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  5. Ezra

    There may be a god, there may be thousands of them, there may be none. One thing is certain though, religions are human inventions and have no light to shed on the subject.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Jim

      By definition, what ou just posted was self-contradictory. Either you KNOW for a fact that NONE of the religions on the Earth shed no light or ou don't. The ONLY way to know this is to know EXACTLY what the truth is in reference to the God question. Since you cannot and admit to being unable to make a determination on the God issue, your logic is fatally flawed and thus your post is self-contradictory.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  6. Joe

    Let me get this straight, atheists. You are fighting a cause against...nothing? You are angry that people are believing in...nothing? Why, exactly, does this bother or affect you? Wny doesn't my daughter's belief in Leprechauns and fairies bother you? To you, it should be THE SAME, should it not? I just don't understand atheists. Unless, of course one views them from the perspective of having great anger against God, instead of unbelief. Sad.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      You've got on thing right, you don't understand.
      We aren't angry at a non existent God, we don't like the followers pushing their beliefs on the rest of us. I especially don't like pushing religion on innocent children, religious indoctrination of children is a type of child abuse.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Adam

      "We" are fighting the idea that it is acceptable, and in fact noble, for one to pretend to know things that they CANNOT know–that it is appropriate to lie to themselves and to their children about what we know about the world. "We" do not accept this. "We" revile the license religious people give each other to believe propositions upon insufficient evidence.

      Sam Harris said it well: "It is time we realized that to presume knowledge where one has only pious hope is a species of evil." You are part of this evil (it appears). And this evil must be opposed.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Eric G

      Perhaps I can help you understand. Ones beliefs form ones actions. When someones beliefs cause them to act in a way that infringes upon the liberties of others or cause others harm, I am now obligated to demand that they provide evidencial support for their beliefs.

      If a belief is benign, (such as your daughters belief in faries) I do not require evidencial support. If you think you can tell someone else if they can practice birth control, discriminate against others or fly a plane into a building because of your belief, I will require evidencial support.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      We fight faith. The virus which has otherwise intelligent people believing in ridiculous things for which there is no evidence.

      Faith is nonthinking with a positive connotation.

      It is an affront to mankind's ability to reason and should be ridiculed and ostracized into nonexistence.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • WrshipWarior

      HORSE PERSON... But you are forcing your beliefs on the rest of us! Atheism is a religion also because it defines what you believe: you believe in the non-existence of God!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Bullfeathers

      Well stated. The campaign by atheistic organizations against religion has become exactly like the religious attacks on each other. Atheism as practiced has become a de facto religion.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Ross

      As soon as your daughter's belief in fairies and leprechauns starts becoming a threat to women's reproductive rights, people's marriage rights, separation of church and state, and even the environment we live in, then we'll start caring about her idiotic beliefs as well. Until then, we're just happy that more and more people are losing their blind faith every day.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Joe

      Then speaking the truth must be evil, according to your amazing arguments. You are all also imposing your beliefs on others, which is, in your belief, evil. You think indoctrinating a child that there is no God, no morality, no truth, is NOT child abuse? Foolishness! No aspiration for Man could be greater than faith, hope, and charity, unless you are living within your own eggshell (ego). Once you get past that, so many possibilities open up. Freedom? You want freedom? Try drawing a 4-sided triangle once your elementary school teacher restricts your freedom by telling you they have only 3 sides. Your "freedom" is freedom FROM something: freedom from the truth. Freedom FOR error. If all believe whatever they want, then ALL are in error.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • LiveFromATX

      what the "horses" guy said. Believe whatever you want, just don't tell OTHERS what to do. It's about respect, man. Respect me enough to let me make up my own mind, and live by my own principles.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Sare

      We are fighting against ignorance, intolerance and segregation due to religious beliefs. Atheists are not angry, they are just sad that people believe in fairy tales in this day and age, and not only that, these people are willing to kill, denigrate, hurt, judge and segregate others that do not believe in their religion. Not saying all of them do, and I also accept that some atheists are too vocal and hurtful in their comments. The world would be a better place if the walls of religion were not there to separate us from our brothers.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • TSuisei

      Belief in leprechans and fairies IS the same... but it's cute. It hasn't caused hundreds of years of bloodshed and hatred.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • DrMatrix

      Being angry with God would be like being angry with the four-sided triangle.

      "Wny doesn't my daughter's belief in Leprechauns and fairies bother you? To you, it should be THE SAME, should it not?"
      It's not the same at all. So long as your daughter does not impose her beliefs on others, she can believe whatever. But, if she were to try to teach that gold came from leprechauns in science class, then we'd have a problem.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bullfeathers

      Wait a minute, 'we don't like the followers pushing their beliefs on the rest of us' and yet, that is precisely what the billboard and you are trying to do. Being agnostic I find atheism just as intrusive as a regular religion. atheists demand the belief in the non-existence in god.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Joe

      If only atheists spoke from both sides of things, as Catholics versed in their religion do. The Church Fathers and Doctors do just exactly this. In writing. (In case you were going to give me an ignorant "Nuh-uh!") 🙂

      March 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • HA25

      No, Wrshp and bull – it's not a religion anymore than not smoking is a habit. Religion is a belief in something based upon faith alone. Atheism is not a belief. It does not require not believing in God. Atheism is conforming to logic and scientific principles and believing only in that which has evidence to support its existence. I don't believe in Bigfoot, Aliens or Unicorns but there's no religous group for any of those either.
      Though truth be told – there is more evidence for all three of those things then God...

      Joe – I object to where you are going in this and other posts. Religious people like to use the word 'TRUTH' in a completely co-opted way. Real TRUTH is when you get the same answer no matter how you go about your search. God as you know it cannot be truth, since the same search leads people to different results – Allah, Yayweh, Jehova, Ganesh, Budda, etc. GOD is comfort, but not Truth.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • HA25

      Correction
      I don't believe in Bigfoot, Aliens or Unicorns but you wouldn't argue it's a religion to NOT BELIEVE any of those either, would you?

      Bull – the billboard isn't pushing anything more than the bells at church or the signs out front do. They are simply saying 'here we are and here's our belief'.
      I'm not saying Church isn't allowed to push it's beliefs but I do agree with others the practice of indoctrinating, via ceremony, children under the age of 14 is a horrendous practice.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Joe

      HA, you want a straight answer out of a man (including your august self, too)? Good luck. You want a straight answer out of God? Go to God.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Strong Agnostic, Weak Atheist

      Well said, HA25, I like the way you think.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  7. Crownnoble

    God is just another name for truth. Truth has always been, is and will be. Everything eminates from it. Life has been always been there too, just not seen. Everything that exists physicaly can be drawn by a mathimatical formula using calculus. DNA is a code, a mathimatical formula set in truth, and that code has also always been known by truth from before the beginning of the universe. Love, knowledge of self existance, language and everything else that defines personhood is founded first in truth and therefore truth itself must have personhood to give it. Hense, God (aka Truth) a person. Duh!

    March 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Joe

      You are getting close Crown. Keep searching!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • LiveFromATX

      and who defines this "truth"?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • David

      So well put.Ironically, this is probably someone raised in a Muslim or Jewish tradition. Most Atheists are former Christians, and most modern Christian teachings leave something to be desired when compared to the aforementioned faiths.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      Peer reviewed evidence defines truth. Duh.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Adam

      That's great, Crownnoble. But that is some new-agey-Deistic-Pantheistic philosophy. That is not religion. That has NOTHING to do with Theism-with Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc. Your word "God" has NOTHING to do with their "God." If you are uncomfortable with someone saying, "you're right there is a God, but His name is Yahweh, and he thinks that collecting sticks on the sabbath is a capital offence," then you should oppose them. If you are uncomfortable with someone saying "you're right there is a God, but His name is Allah, and his perfect word is found in the Quran," then you should oppose them. If you are uncomfortable with someone saying that "the Bible is the revealed word of God, but the Book of Mormon is absolutely NOT the revealed word of God," then you should oppose them.

      Your philosophy, it appears, does not trespass into the arena of assertions of truth. Theism, by definition, MUST make such assertions. You may intuitively feel like you have more in common with them than with atheists/agnostics, simply because they like to use the word "God," but please consider how they use it. And please consider that making specious claims about the physics and metaphysics of the universe has nothing to do with this "Truth" you (and I) value so greatly.

      Atheism need not make any positive claims about the possible existence of a supernatural agent. Atheism is merely the noises reasonable people make in the presence of dogma.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Joe

      Slug, that's hilarious! Tell that to all the scientists of the past few centuries! Where did their "truth" get us? We're still trying on our own and failing, by the way. That won't change in the future, either, unless we can contain and make sense of ALL knowledge, which is not possible.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Joe

      Adam, speaking for the Catholic Church, we do not adhere to a dogma. We adhere to a Person, and it is love that causes us to follow Him, not fear, chains, fire, or the words of men. To open your mind and learn about it is to understand. To stand away and throw stones is to remain in ignorance and fear.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • HA25

      @Crown – the Sixties are over.
      Calculus is used to determine the area under a curve. That's it.
      If DNA was a mathematical formula, how do you account for the errors int he DNA code all over? Genetic diseases, albino's, etc? Math always reaches the same answer which is Truth but it's got nothing to do with Creation of Life. Not that we know, yet anyway.

      Language defines personhood? So Mutes are not people?

      DETOX from Religion. Free Your Mind.

      And Please stop corrupting the meaning of the word Truth. It's a word. It means something. It means something that we all agree on based on facts and evidence and reproducable experiments. God is not Truth.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Joe

      HA – your definition of Truth is incorrect as you are intending it. You will never have agreement on something universally by man, therefore man did not create (and cannot create) Truth. Truth is not 1+1=2. That is a truth. Truth is everything, as it is, without any observation of it or interpretation of it by man or any other creature.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • PSJ

      Well said. And none of us will understand the whole truth until we pass from the physical/relative world to the next one, which is why all of these arguments are useless. The truth is not either this or that – it is something else entirely.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      The first product of peer review was a medical journal published in 1731.

      The "flat Earth" and geocentrism were not peer-reviewed, they were more like folklore.

      Everyone believed it because.. everyone believed it. This no longer occurs. Outside of religion.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  8. MP

    sounds like the makings of another religion...

    March 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • gager

      That's like saying not collecting stamps is a form of stamp collecting.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Jim

      This is old age religion masquerading as New Age religion.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  9. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Atheism is the absence of theistic beliefs, not the belief in not believing.
    To keep claiming atheism is a belief or even worse, a religion, is simply embarasing.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bullfeathers

      The definition of atheism is 'the absence of theistic beliefs, not the belief in not believing' but the vast majority of those who identify as atheist practice it as a religion. In practice (and in the billboard from this article) athiests are acting out the worst aspects of religion, the very same aspects they deride in those of faith (other than myth).

      March 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Bullfeathers .. sometimes you need to fight fire with fire.
      That still does not make Atheism a belief or a religion.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jim

      The definition of atheist is pretty clear and is easily observed in the word itself.
      Basic Greek

      "theist" is one who belives in god
      "a" is a positive statement of belief in the absence of "theos" (God).

      So, by definition an atheist is making a positive claim (belief) that there is no god. Whether in Greek or English, the atheist is making a belief claim.

      And because an theist cannot prove their belief evidentially (just like a theist cannot), both claims require faith. In one case one must be omniscient in order to make their claim (I know that there cannot be a god because I know every possibility) while the other makes it clear that they are not arrogant enough to claim knowledge of absolutely everything possible.

      The only logical choice for one claiming that there is no god is to be an agnostic (there is a possibility of a god but I have no knowledge for whatever reason). Otherwise, one is claiming omniscience and can tell us with and demonstrate what lies outside of our universe (rapidly expanding into what?).

      March 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • HA25

      Jim you absolutely made that one up as you went along.

      Theism comes from the Greek Theos meaning God.
      A means Not

      All Atheism means is 'No God'. YOU, Jim, added Belief in there to suit your argument.
      Then you built on it continuing to say Atheists "Believe" in no God. Your entire statement crumbles when the foundation is no good.

      Atheists don't need to be Omniscient. In fact – they/I/we are quite open to EVIDENCE of a God. Please provide it.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  10. joe

    Strange thing to me is why even bother? Religion in the west is dead. Has been for about 1000 years now. This is just beating a dead horse.

    Sure there's a few uneducated bumpkins who still cling to their religious security blanket and an occasional presidential candidate who attempts to capitalize on their ignorance but for the overwhelming most part, in all educated parts of western society, religion is a non-factor.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Sam

      For good or ill, a greater portion of the U.S. population is religious than at any other time in the countries history, even the period of the 'Great Revival' does not come close.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • jdub87

      Actually, the US a very low percentage of population that are atheists among developed countries. It's still (unfortunately) a very religious society.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Dead ... A Atheist posted a link to a site that showed that the Churches are still growing here in the states. With the Catholic Church showing the largest growth.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      Almost half of Americans think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

      'Cause the Bible tells me so...

      March 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Joe

      The Bible does NOT tell anyone so, Slug. The Bible is not a scientific collection of writings, but a historical one. Context, story, history, PEOPLE! Come on, that's an old argument.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  11. seekthetruth

    Just because you can not explain why the universe tends to exists, does not imply their is no GOD.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It certainly does not make the case for the existence of a God(s).

      March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      nor does it imply that there is

      March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • aacorso

      If you can explain God, then thats not God.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • NSfromIndiana

      Just because you can not explain why the universe tends to exists, does not imply their IS a GOD. See what I did there? It works both ways. Although, this sentence is usually used as an argument for religion. I'm not really sure as to why you tried to use it the way you did.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Joe

      That is correct, seek. God –cannot– be scientifically disproven, and He has, in fact been overwhelmingly proven by science. Try the second law of thermodynamics and the fact that all possible universes have an expansion rate of > 0. If people really cared, they'd seek. For those happy withn their eggshells, go ahead, post away with the ignorance.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Chase

      I'm probably beating a dead horse on this one... You're correct in that it doesn't imply the non-existece of god, but if that's the only argument/evidence for god, then your case isn't very strong. Religious believers are the ones making the extraordinary claim; they should provide the extraordinary evidence for that claim. All I, as an atheist (and a majority of atheists), state is that we see no evidence for the existence of a god and therefore we conclude that we either have no evidence yet or this god simply does't exist. To jump to the conclusion that it does is completely irrational.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bobby D

      Doesn't imply that there is either.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • NSfromIndiana

      Joe, your argument is false. As I stated, just because you can not explain something does not mean the answer is God. Furthermore, it is not our job to prove that God does not exist. It's the job of those in the religious community to prove that he does. If I make a ridiculous statement of "fact" let's say... There is a giant invisible unicorn that holds up the moon and moves it around the earth. It would be ludicrous of me to ask you to prove me wrong. The burden of proof is placed upon the individual(s) making the statement of "fact." And proof is not the inability to explain something we may not yet understand.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • PleaseUseLogic

      Joe, I'm not sure if you were trying to be funny or not or it it was a typing error. I suspect you were serious, but it sure put a smile on my face. "He has, in fact been overwhelmingly proven by science." That's just good comedy. Faith has no place in science and science has no place in religion. If you're proving your god, then it ain't faith, is it?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  12. mullahfullahbullah

    Even Jesus had a doubting Thomas among his own apostles. I guess when the lights turn out for each of us individually we will then know. I am agnostic and am tired of some atheistic condescending tones. I know this will peeve a lot of people out there but I think as long as you treat your fellow human beings the way you want to be treated then regardless of faith or lack thereof the gates of heaven will be open for you. And if heaven does not exist, at least you led a good life.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Charles Dexter Ward

      I just needed to say that your screen name is genius and you need to trademark it fast. kudos!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Joe

      Thomas' doubt was used by Jesus as a teaching tool, for us, who do not see Him. If you do not know Christ (He is in scripture from Genesis through Revelation, if you cared to look), except for the usual few well-known and -worn quotes out of context, why are you writing about Him?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      atheists are the most hated group in america. want to lose family, friends and co-workers? tell them you're an atheist. it is perfectly fine for christians, in the public area, to say anything they want about atheists and we gotta just take it. our ex-presdient Bush said, "No, I don't think should be considered American citizens." our PRESIDENT said that. so yes, we've been taking it for a long time and we're fed up. christians can criticize atheists but never the other way around.

      for atheists, it's like this. what if almost everyone around you was a member of a dangerous cult. you were brought up to be a cult member too, but decided to think for yourself and leave the cult. so now you're on the outside looking in. you see how mentally damaging the cult is, using fear, guilt and ignorance as its main weapons. should you be happy about your friends and family members being members? why shouldn't you be allowed to speak out against it?

      and atheists celebrate life more because we know this is all we get. i feel more attuned with the universe now than when i was a christian. we just get frustrated at the power the cult of christianity has in our lives when we just want to be left alone. if you're looking for an atheist ethics system, try Humanism.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  13. momoya

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o&w=640&h=360]

    March 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • aacorso

      Love George.
      He was great.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  14. Concerned

    As an Atheist, I think I don't really think billboards about whether or not someone's religion is a myth. Religious people have made it perfectly clear that logic and reason are not important factors in their OWN belief systems, so why waste money trying to convince them of ours?
    What I think is worth the money is initiating a billboard campaign with statistics about Atheists themselves; statistics about how the prisons are not filled with non-believers, about how the safest most non-violent nations on earth are the most secular, about how the brightest minds on the planet are unanimously Atheist.
    We don't need to spend our time and money poking holes in religious dogma, we need to use the facts and evidence to demonstrate that Atheism is and always has been morally and intellectually superior to religion.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • NSfromIndiana

      Loved every word of your comment. Kudos!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • waterman

      Good post.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • mullahfullahbullah

      Intellectually superior? People always like to think the other group have the dimwits. Truth is, each group has the same percentage of intellectuals down through morons. You may think you are right and maybe you are about there being a god. However, your condescending tone irritates me. There have been some brilliant people that believed in God but that alone does not make the belief true. It was just true for them. Get off your high horse and enjoy the world as it is and stop looking down on others.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      True. It's like arguing with a petulant child.

      They don't know how to reason, or very much of anything for that matter.

      But they still think they're always right.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • WrshipWarior

      @Concerned: And while you're at it, don't forget to make mention of how much of the technology of the world today was developed and came out of Israel! Perhaps it is God who has blessed them and granted them this wisdom from on high...

      March 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Strong Agnostic, Weak Atheist

      I heartily agree with you, Concerned. Also, I think these billboards degrade atheists to some extent . Religious billboards tend to elicit a rush of anger immediately followed by a snide comment from me. These religious billboards do nothing to convince me, but rather, repel me. I'm certain atheist billboards will have the same effect amongst the religious. So, in my opinion, your idea of promoting the positive aspects of atheism is a good one.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  15. slashrancid

    God was born on the day lightning struck an early hunting party on the plains of Africa. Today, he lives in the minds of the weak seeking answers, the oppressed seeking salvation, and those who have the ability to use old books as a tool for gaining money and power. There is only one true god, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Bow before him, or feel the wrath of his noodles.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • aacorso

      Everyone believes in something...

      March 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • momoya

      Unless the person is braindead. Then they don't even believe in the machines keeping them alive.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      I'll be praying for these misguided Atheists this Ramendan.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Nicole Chardenet

      There is only one LOGICAL religion in the Universe, and the only one that allows for faith as well, is the reality of the Invisible Pink Unicorns. Since we can't see them, OBVIOUSLY they're invisible, and by faith we know they're pink! However nothing really bad will happen to you if you don't believe in them. But they and I will be laughing at you behind your back. Silly infidel.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  16. CNNuthin

    Who knows. Maybe this will unify the two groups into hating a common threat to their different faiths. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  17. aacorso

    The atheists have a belief that no one in his right mind would beleive.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • CNNuthin

      It's just a shame that most religions "have a belief that no one in his right mind would believe." Can't we all just agree that we don't actually know anything?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      No one in their right mind? I suppose that eliminates theists, eh?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  18. HeroicSlug

    Its about time we start setting this country of magic-believers in the right direction.

    Your god doesn't exist. It was made up to give hope and meaning to people who lived in really crappy conditions.

    It also helped the ruling class stay in power. Things are fine now, and all men are (mostly) equal. Time to drop the skywizard.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • aacorso

      You have a strong faith.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      No, I don't. The "f" word doesn't apply to me.

      I believe only in that for which there is evidence.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Belief is belief. You have faith in your belief. You are religious.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      There is a word for believing in things that are facts.

      That word is knowledge.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Dave

      Faith is a relative term. You believe the evidence you see, having not conducted the studies, expiriements or tests yourself, and you trust them to be correct. Thus you have faith in something/someone.
      You see, the world being round was something tangible that could be tested, and as a result eveyone accepted (though some later than others) that the earth was round.
      The creation of the earth, mankind, nature, etc, has and will never be fully explained or testable, and therefore will always be subject to debate and lead to difference of opinion.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  19. MK

    I don't necessarily agree with these billboards, but it's way better than that "I Need A List Of 10 Rules To Know How To Behave" that I see in my face everywhere I go.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • anotherMK

      Funny, I have the same initials as yours... and couldn't say it better.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  20. murray

    Well I'm not really sure if Muslims have much of a choice considering the fact that, under Islamic Law (Sharia) the penalty for apostasy is death.
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XRCYlZ4XOQ&w=640&h=360]

    March 1, 2012 at 12:30 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.