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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. justanotherguy

    People aren't offended by what is said. They are offended by the fact that atheist exist; they don't want to be reminded of that. Well, too bad.

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

      There are no atheists.

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

      I don't understand the claim there are no Atheists. Obviously there are.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • AGuest9

      It's a claim. The same is true of their religion. It's simply a long series of unsubstantiated claims.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • chariotman1

      You are subject to your own judgment by Christ. Believe nothing if you want. You will die and be held accountable.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      aacorso: obviously, atheists exist. if you have proof that they don't, please supply it.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      chariot: you do realize that people cannot fear retaliation from beings in which they do not believe, don't you?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • chariotman1

      sam, just because someone doesn't believe in something doesn't mean it isn't the truth.

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

      @Chariotman,
      The same is true for the reverse.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  2. schaz

    Great, the American Atheists are going to provoke both communities when the bill boards are taken down, since doing so will obliterate the written name of God. This will result in their receiving more publicity.

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

      Ever heard of freedom of speech? These billboards can't be taken down without violating that!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • ski2xs

      @truth,

      Maybe so. . . if they'd of left the Muslims out of it. 🙂

      Now it's a whole new ballgame baby! If SouthPark wasn't allowed to air their episode for 'fear of angering Muslims'. . whaddya think this billboards going to do? ROFL

      March 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  3. Bails

    So they hope to "bring out the aethiest within these communities and let them know they are not alone. What, are they dumb? When I move to a new location, I don't need the churches within the community to reach out to me and let me know that they are there. I go looking for them. But whatever floats your boat I guess. Spend $15K on a billboard! Maybe you will be right when you die.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      You've got to be kidding when you say churches don't reach out to new people in the community! The recruitment is everywhere, you're just so used to it you don't even notice anymore.

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

      Isn't it more courageous to risk hell than to go through life being religious "just in case" or holding the belief that most people don't matter because they're going to hell?

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

      Churches are on every street corner in america. It's the dominant myth–you don't have to look for it. There's only a handful of atheists who are continually ridiculed by the majority of believers.

      You're basically saying that because you don't have to hunt long for a McDonald's, the one and only authentic Thai restaurant in the state shouldn't be allowed to put up a sign. Do you understand how stupid that sounds?

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

      How about putting up lots of blank billboards, and let "God" write on them? 🙂

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

      nope, reread my post. I didn't say the churches don't do it...(though the Bible preaches that they should)...I said I don't need it. I can find where I 'm comfortable on my own, thanks!

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

      again, reread my post. I didn't say they shouldn't be allowed to. I think their reasoning is rather lame. Let them put their billboards all over the place if they want. Cause they have to bring out the athiest ya know.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • John in Vegas

      Bail, your point is understood, however, you don't get the other side. Yes, it is easy to find a church and a religious community that support your ideas. You only have to drive down Main Street to find a church clearly identified as such, complete with meeting dates and times and even an open invitation to join. Atheists have no such network. These billboards are helping to create one.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION
    Atheism is a negative statement that says only what one does NOT believe.
    It does not imply any behaviours, morals, or characteristics whatsoever.
    Several of the governments mentioned in the comments, like North Korea and China, do not wave a banner of atheism for the populace to rally around – they are cults of personality (Kim Jong Il and Mao Tse Tung, respectively). It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. This is true whether we're talking about Stalin or Ahmadinejad.

    I am a Naturalist who believes that there is no existence save that which we experience directly (ie: no spiritual realm). I am also a rational anarchist who knows that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.
    I hold that it is impossible to shift, share, or distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility etc. are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. Therefore, we should be rational and realize that not everyone will share the same evaluations of good and evil. We must try to live perfectly in an imperfect world, aware that our efforts will be less than perfect while trying to remain undismayed by self knowledge of failure.

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

      Why do you torment yourself so much?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @aacorso
      Torture myself?
      Please explain...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • ski2xs

      Yes it is. . .

      It is a 'belief' which deals directly with the question of a deity, which belief of (or not) is the prime compenent of . . gasp. . .religion. i.e. Belief in a deity is what? A religious belief. . . belief in no deity is therefore no more or less the same. . a religious belief. You may not WANT it to be this way, simply because it labels athiest in the same manner as thiests, but that's not going to change the fact that an athiest has a BELIEF about something dealing with a deity just as much as a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, etc. has a BELIEF about something dealing with a deity. You'll just have to suck it up princess

      March 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If someone says they are apolitical, do you consider them a member of a political party?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      it is more of an individual philosophy than a religion

      March 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • ski2xs

      @Doc,

      Does it still place them with a political agenda? 🙂

      The absence of no political inclination is in itself its own political view, correct?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @ski2xs
      That's like saying that being dead is a way of life.
      The lack of life-signs is a sign of life...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Andrew Vrba

    Typical Atheists, putting their nose where it doesn't belong.

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

      You're right. We're hypocrites because churches have never advertised..

      March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Monkey Sender

      Wow, the hypocrisy just knocked me off my chair!

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

      Totally. It's not like we live in a country with freedom of spe....oh wait.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Why, exactly, don't atheist messages belong on billboards?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      Typical christard...they put their noses where they don't belong all the time-school's; government's; women's rights; gay rights; a persons bedroom.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      Sounds more like theists, Andy

      March 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  6. God is Dog spelled backwards but I believe in science

    Every culture in history has had some sort of deity. Humans are animals that evolved from primates. Like humans, primates have complex social structures governed a dominate male figure. Humans have an innate need to be lead by a dominate male. I believe theistic religions are the natural evolution from primitive primate troop social structures. The simple fact that there have been so many different theistic religions throughout history, should show that the idea of a "god" is one that has been fabricated by humans to fill a very primitive need.

    Educate yourself and don't just take something at face value. Think logically and the answer will present itself to you.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • chariotman1

      The days of Noah are upon us. God will spare one righteous person. Be thankful we still exist.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • God is Dog spelled backwards but I believe in science

      Good luck with that!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      Chariot: Empty proxy threats are laughable. Go ahead, spew some more

      March 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • God is Dog spelled backwards but I believe in science

      @ Chariot
      This is the same fear mongering that has existed for thousands of years. Sadly you have fallen for the same trick and now you use it to scare others.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  7. Peter F

    I don't understand atheistic propaganda. I wish someone would explain it to me. Is it simply to create fellowship between like-minded thinkers? If that's the case, I don't really see that on this blog. It sounds like many atheists are just as much on a crusade to ridicule anyone with religious faith... but to what ends? I am a Christian because I believe it is through Christ that we are perfected and filled to a point of peace, or shalom. While I understand that not everyone believes this, I do not understand the benefits of uniting and attacking a religious faith that fights to liberate people enslaved and addicted, to love those who are unloved and to preach wisdom in all areas of life. You will know the kind of spirit of an organization or religion by the fruit it produces.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      i got no problem with a person's beliefs. until they try to codify it into law

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

      It's simple, Peter. Atheists realize that you religionists are the ones who are enslaved and addicted by religion. We're trying to help you realize that.

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

      Some people look at the history of religion and see how it is corrupt and causes more hatred and violence than it does peace. They believe that if they can bring people to their side, some of the ignorance and hatred will be removed. No one will be killing in the name of their God anymore.

      I think humans find any excuse to kill each other. While it would be nice if there were more people who believed in science instead of sky Gods, I am more of a live and let live type of person. As long as you keep your religion to yourselves and try to be good people, the idea of converting seems weird. There are some problems when people believe things without facts or rational thinking...I guess really dumb people are the problem. If they actually did what their books said instead of what their leaders told them to do, we wouldn't have these issues.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Peter F

      @Freethinker

      Isn't liberation the opposite of slavery??? The reason I am asking is because Jesus sought to liberate the blind from their blindness, to heal the physically impaired of their ailments, to teach love and compassion as alternatives to hatred towards one another. Christianity is a faith of freedom, not slavery. The message is one of hope. All I see from atheists is some ambiguous argument about "enlightening" people to the truth there is no God, when the real "light" comes in the form of redemption. Actions speak louder than words.

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

      "Is it simply to create fellowship between like-minded thinkers? If that's the case, I don't really see that on this blog."

      Didn't you read the article? The entire purpose of the billboards is to reach out to other Atheists in certain communities. They are aware that it'll probably cause a stir, but as the article indicates, that is not the intention. As an Atheist myself, I find comfort in knowing that there are others out there. I don't see how it's an attack at all, especially when I see Christian billboards telling me I'm going to burn for eternity if I don't believe. Now THAT is an attack. American Atheists are not slandering anyone with these ads, it's simply an attempt at reaching out to other Atheists in the closest.

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

      Peter, you're right...actions do speak louder than words. The purpose of the billboards as you yourself said: "Enlightenment." How in the world is that a bad thing? Any Christian I've talked to has put me down for being an Atheist. While yes, there are Atheists that will attack religion, it doesn't resort to threats and violence. If Atheists started wars in the name of Science and killed countless women and children, then yeah go ahead and say that we don't have any room to talk.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Skeptic

      @Peter F

      I don't doubt that most theists believe their religion liberates its adherents; but from the perspective of those who don't share the belief, the opposite is true. Atheists aren't the ones out there trying to limit freedoms. Who is behind efforts to limit marriage equality and access to reproductive services? It isn't the atheists.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Peter F

      Now you're just generalizing. I am a theist and a democrat. I don't make my faith a political battle to make my morality legislation. There are Christians on both sides of the aisle (as well as the third parties).

      And when I talk about liberation, I'm not merely talking about a depends-on-your-perspective liberation of the mind. IE. "Oh, now that I'm a Buddhist I see the world so much more clearly." No, when I say liberation, I mean literal liberation. Being imprisoned by alcoholism, greed, lust, and even slavery (human trafficking). These are very real imprisonments that Jesus came to destroy. So when I saw that is what Christianity is founded upon I mean it. I don't mean some sort of epiphany that one might call enlightenment, but a kind of radical worldview change (caused by the Spirit) that shapes the way we interact with the world and causes us to take up arms for love and justice.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  8. Mark from Middle River

    Well, the boards did not seem to work on the Christians so its interesting to see them going after the others. Before the news reports on the Jewish in the West Banks and how they sorta break that image of the docile Jew, I would think that only the green billboard would be attacked. Now I think that both could be in flames in no time.

    I can't wait to see when they put up a billboard in front of the Buddhist Monastery.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • God is Dog spelled backwards but I believe in science

      The Buddhists aren't out killing each other so the atheists actually like them.

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

      "Well, the boards did not seem to work on the Christians"

      Can you define worked and how it was measured? If you have statistics those would be useful as well.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  9. Yarah

    Where id the energy come from to cause the big bang?

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

      It depends on which myth you were indoctrinated with. In what culture and time period do you wish to ask the question? I'll get back to you.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • ski2xs

      Now you know you won't ever get a reply to that. They typically only like to argue already complex atomic structures when dealing with abiogenesis. When you start going quantum on them, they simply get angry and go away. 🙂

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

      Just as I thought, No reply from Atheists there.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      does the possibility of a creator equate to a being that watches over human interaction and judges "sin"?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      From the negative energy of other collapsing multiverses. Any other questions Yarah?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Now that I answered you Yarah, where did your God come from?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • ski2xs

      @horses butt,

      You failed to answer with proof. That is, after all, what you want. Isn't it? 🙂

      March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Skeptic

      @Yarah

      god is infinitely powerful, omnipotent, omniscient, etc. right? then from what energy source was god created?

      The infinite regress argument is a silly one because there is always one more question about origins that emerges.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  10. aacorso

    After you die, faith and hope are irrelevant. Only LOVE prevails.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wasn't that the last line of "Ghost"?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  11. seekthetruth

    @If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses.....

    "I especially don't like pushing religion on innocent children", Now that is just your belief!

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

      Agree.

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

      Teaching is better.

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

      @Seekthetruth,
      That's not a belief, it's an opinion, or a feeling. i also don't approve of pushing religion on children; it's fine to introduce them to religions (plural) and to forst or support their investigation of religions, but it should never be forced.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Thank you BRC. Correct it is my opinion & you are free to have your own opinions seekthetruth.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  12. Tony

    Professor: If God exists; then he is evil because he created everything evil and evildoers; in conclusion God is evil.
    Student: Does cold exists professor?
    Professor: Certainly cold does exists! What kind of a question is this?!! Didn’t you feel cold before?!
    Student: Cold does not exist according to Physics, because what we consider is cold; in fact is the absence of the temperature!
    Student: Does darkness exists??!!
    Professor: Certainly it does!
    Student: You are wrong professor; darkness does not exist also; because darkness is the absence of light. We can study light but we can't study darkness!
    Evildoers don't exist same as cold and darkness. God didn't create evildoers but evildoers existed when human doesn't have love of God in his/her heart.

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

      Evil is the deprivation of good which is GOD.

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

      Wow...that's such an intelligent post...your mommy must be so proud.

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

      Difference is darkness and coldness are quantifiable and can be measure. God can not and shows no proof of existence other than works created by man. Making a fake scenario with a dumb professor is cute, but it isn't going to sway someone who has actually thought about this.

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

      awesome Tony!!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      good is good. to identify it with a deity is absurd

      March 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      evildoers exist with or without "god"

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

      Now how the hell are evil doers the same as cold and darkness??

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

      We can't see air but we believe air is all around us without seen it! I can't see your brain so your brain doesn't exist either MORANS!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Steve the Goat

      You were dropped on your head as a child. I can tell.

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

      Jack: You misspelled "morons"

      March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  13. Steven Albert

    As an atheist, I'm a confused about why it's so important for other people not to believe in a god or gods. Personally, I don't care what religion you choose as long as your choice doesn't affect me. The world isn't a worse place because people with beliefs different than mine exist. It can be a worse place when you think it's necessary that people believe the same thing as you because you think everyone else is wrong. Let's just start a shoving match and see where that gets us.

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

      Your answer is of course within your own question... Very nice. You are good people...

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

      Love everyone, and problem solved. You don't have to think differently, just act lovingly.

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

      Take a better look at the world around you and you'll see tons of things that are negative, that affect you, and are the result of religion.

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

      "as long as your choice doesn't affect me"

      But it does. When theists force the government to twist itself into a pretzel in an effort to appease their made-up morality.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  14. Arron

    The arrogance that one's belief is the 'truth' and the willingness to impose it on others is what is truly offensive. This is true regardless of one's beliefs.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Seriously, I remember when I was in college, there would be these people, called professors, that would even say my answer is wrong and give me points off my test... the nerve of them how dare they not be open to my ideas and beliefs as to how physics work, or what Poe point was, or what actually happen during Roman occupation.... that is total intolerance not to accept ever inane answer that comes out of everyone's mouth.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      –This is true regardless of one's beliefs.

      What arrogance to accept "one's [yours] belief is the 'truth'"

      Please tell me you were trying to make a joke.

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

      In other words, one belief (or lack of) trumps another. That is the absolute height of arrogance!

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

      Mike from CT
      Did you really attend college? From your grammar I can only guess it wasn't in America.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      It was, the university of Connecticut, for a BS in CS&E. Nice smoke screen.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      "In other words, one belief (or lack of) trumps another. That is the absolute height of arrogance!"

      I believe 2+2 = 5, HOW DARE YOU CORRECT ME, BE ACCEPTING, cries the one that makes the above statement.

      So because I put my belief in writings that have transcended cultures and time periods as the authority I am arrogant. But you believing that every though that pops out of your head is authoritative is not arrogant, how so?

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

      How exactly are these billboards imposing a viewpoint on someone?

      If you don't like it, disregard it. I see religious billboards all the time and just drive on. So what?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  15. OhMyMy

    I love how Atheists point out the anger and I-am-right-and-everybody-else-is-wrong fights in religious communities. Then they get angry at religion and provoke religious communities telling them how religion is stupid and only Atheists are 21st century. Then come long lectures of reason and rationality.
    Little kids feeling left out of the fights of older kids and trying to be included. Please give them some attention too.

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

      What an absolutely silly post OhMyMy.

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

      How is it that you infer anger from the words on those billboards? Methinks you exhibit a little transference.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  16. Yarah

    Here is a question the best minds can't answer. Where id the energy come from to cause the big bang?

    March 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Mbane18

      "Here is a question the best minds can't answer. Where id the energy come from to cause the big bang?

      Just because no one can answer that quastion doesn't mean there isn't an explanation other than some mythical being. Anyone can make up a theory for something science can't yet explain.

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

      Clearly it was an invisible being who got bored, duh. Makes so much sense now.

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

      I guess I could always make up an answer according to whatever myth I was indoctrinated with. Is that what you want? 

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

      Here is a question the best religious minds can't answer: what or who created God?

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

      Really easy actually, in an infinate universe, the speed of gases, for example hydrogen and oxygen molecules, continues to build there is no "matter" to slow them down. When the molecules reach these speeds, and randmly colide, you get "the big bang" which really doesnt even have to be that big, it only has to be enough to make "molecules" begin to move through time. We can prove this, all you need is a ruler and a telescope. What we cant prove, what are the dinosours? are they a mistaken speciec, God decided to make? or here is a question, how come "Jesus" didnt know about the people living in China? or the Native Americas? or vikings? how come he didnt visit them during his time on earth? Religon is some BS stroy created by old men to explain a world they didnt understand. Clear proof, in heaven you get a bunch of Virgins to sleep with. I am pretty certian thats a mans idea. Can you imagine, your in heaven, sleeping with all your new virgins, slapping God high five. Ha, what a joke.

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

      The total energy involved in the Big Bang may be zero. Energy can be either positive or negative, and the positive energy of all the "stuff" may be balanced by negative gravitational potential energy. Observations show that this is true in a very approximate way.

      Having the total energy be zero is important for theories about the origin of the Big Bang where it starts as a quantum fluctuation.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jeff

      The point is, both sides look completely crazy insisting their THEORY is truth. On the Creationism side, one simply has to put their belief into that belief, that everything was created. There is really no way to ever prove this. On the Big Bang side, though, you have to ignore some pretty basic laws of physics to get the theory to work.

      Once the Big Bang can be proven without exceptions to rules that hold true to all the rest of physics, without mysterious constants being created to fill voids that we can't figure out, I'll accept it as the true creation. Until then, believers in the Big Bang need to understand that they are putting their faith into the contemplations of greater people than themselves, not at all unlike creationists.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Aradan

      Based on the most recent discoveries in science, cosmology and theoretical physics, there is no need for “God” to account for the universe. If you are really interested in the question and where the energy comes from, check out “A Universe From Nothing” by Lawrence Krauss and “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  17. Ryan

    There are a surprising number of atheists or at least agnostics in the Millennial Generation, most of whom don't openly express their views because their Gen X and Baby Boomer family members are so firmly rooted in their beliefs. Who would want to start an argument on the existence of an afterlife with their 85 year old grandmother? Are these billboards inflammatory? Maybe. But they do open the door for a conversation that isn't always easy to have and they show members of a closeted group that there are others out there with similar views.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ellen Thompson

      The billboards simply comdemn others' beliefs. That's it.

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

      @Ellen

      Condemning others' beliefs was invented by the religious. We are simply trying to get people to think outside the boxes they've been indoctrinated into....especially when the religions most people follow demand that they discriminate against some group or another.

      Religion – the world's ultimate dividing force.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  18. Christian

    Evangelistic atheism...oh, the irony.

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

      Not really.. We aren't selling anything, you are.

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

      A "loving" god who builds eternal torture pits for the majority of the people he made. Oh the irony!

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

      <3

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

      EXACTLY...these atheist idiots don't even realize what they're pushing is a dogma unto itself.

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

      "A "loving" god who builds eternal torture pits for the majority of the people he made. Oh the irony!" Yeah, that would be Dante... Got to love atheists who think they have all the facts...lol.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • God is Dog spelled backwards but I believe in science

      stupid atheists? Says the person who believes in a book that states a woman was made from a mans rib, All humans are direct decedents of two people. (apparently incest is ok, but gay marriage is not). etc etc etc etc.....So you must believe in Santa Clause and the Flying Spaghetti Monster too? It's incredible how the selective logic works.

      This might be a hard concept but maybe the billboards are to let other atheists know they are not alone. Considering christian propaganda oppression is everywhere you look, I think the emerging atheists should get a chance to see the other side of the coin.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  19. Ellen Thompson

    It looks like the only thing atheists know how to do is condemn others' bleliefs. If you're so sure that you are "intellectualy superior" and that atheism is the only way, than why don't you put up a billboard stating facts rather than telling people they are wrong. That doesn't seem very "intellectual" to me.

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

      Seems to that this is just the other side of the coin for all you folks that believe that you are superior because you cling to a 5000 year old middle eastern agrarian folk myth.

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

      We don't condemn their beliefs, we are just sick of having those beliefs shoved down our throats. Keep your beliefs to yourself, and we'll do the same.

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

      Ya...and no other religion ever has trumpeted their ideals as the only way...cough...cough...Crusades...cough...cough...

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

      Hi Ellen

      spent my life growing up with every Religion I ever encountered pushing their beliefs in me. Forced to say Under God, forced to say a prayer at Breakfaet, forced to attend Church, forced to be stuck in traffic while a Christamas parade or seaon statue is put up, forced to see ll these ridiculous holiday lawn displays. Answerg the dor from solitiors asking if IO want to know more about Jesus, like 5 occasions. Unable to watch adult shows and have content censored becasue of your so-called values. Forced into wars.

      We are finally having our voice, Stop your preaching, censorship, and political persuasions.

      I act more "moral" than 99% of the lying, cheating stealing religious people/business I know. My word is my bond, my debts are all pad, or being paid, on and on.

      Stop spreading your myths and fear-based lies please that are dividing us and coercing us.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Monkey Sender

      There are no "facts" because there is nothing to disprove!!! Give me ONE SHRED of proof that religion is not a story.... Pretty please????

      March 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Aaron S.

      Because there aren't enough billboards in the world on which to state the facts!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Ellen Thompson

      Hmm, I've seen billboards from christians, muslims, jews, etc.... While they may encourage people to follow their beliefs, they do not put down or condemns what others believe. "You know it's a myth" is trying to tell someone that their beliefs are wrong. I can't imagine that these billboards are having the desired effects of atheists. Put all of those intellectual minds toghether and try to come up with something substantial on your billboards.

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

      "Monkey Sender
      There are no "facts" because there is nothing to disprove!!! Give me ONE SHRED of proof that religion is not a story.... Pretty please????" When man declared the earth was flat, the bible had already declared it round... When the Greeks declared the Earth was held up by a magical man in the sky, the bible declared it was held upon nothing... Give it some thought.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • John in Vegas

      They are stating a fact: Many people do know god is a myth and we all do have a choice.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  20. ski2xs

    @icon

    What does this have to do with the Jews? (ROFL)

    Ahhh. . but a girl scout cookie has nothing to do with a deity, which belief of (or not) is the prime compenent of . . gasp. . .religion. i.e. Belief in a deity is what? A religious belief. . . belief in no deity is therefore no more or less the same. . a religious belief. You may not WANT it to be this way, simply because it labels athiest in the same manner as thiests, but that's not going to change the fact that an athiest has a BELIEF about something dealing with a deity just as much as a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, etc. has a BELIEF about something dealing with a deity. You'll just have to suck it up princess 🙂

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

      @ski2xs

      Nonsense.

      So, by that logic, not collecting stamps is a hobby. And not skiing is a sport, I suppose.

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

      Atheism is a LACK of a belief in god or gods; it's a rejection of a claim.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • ski2xs

      Methinks thou doest protest too much 🙂

      @Skep. . . whiling away your time in a rocker on the front porch can be considered a hobby AND a sport. . . why does it have anything to do with 'not collecting stamps'. . .or 'not skiing' ?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • ski2xs

      @J,

      Actually it is it's own claim based on a belief of another claim.

      Try again 🙂

      March 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Skeptic

      @ski2xs

      It depends on how you define atheism. For some it's a claim that there is no such thing as a god. I will agree that it is a claim in the same way that the statement that "there is a god" is a claim.

      On the other hand, for some, atheism is the practice of living life as if there were no god.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:38 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.