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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. VinceBklyn

    @Nah: "Nah. More evil has been done in the world out of greed, desire for power and land, and politics than anything else. You only need to flip through the pages of one history book in order to see that."

    I don't know what history books you're referring to, but at the top of all the greed and desire for power has always been a ruler who insists he is chosen by god.

    PS: my opinon does not equal bigotry just because you disagree.

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

      vince: "I don't know what history books you're referring to, but at the top of all the greed and desire for power has always been a ruler who insists he is chosen by god."

      Not really. Look at a list of any wars, political strife, etc. in even the last two thousand years. You'll find most of it had nothing to do with religion.

      Even in the last century, more people died from wars and political struggles than from any religious cause.

      "PS: my opinon does not equal bigotry just because you disagree."

      Nah. Your opinion is bigotry because it's unsupported by facts and history. The fact that you dogmatically adhere to your revised version of history - in order to justify your hatred of religion - is what makes you a bigot.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Jim

      Over 100 million people diedin the last century in the name of atheism and the attempt to eliminate theism. So this tripe about religion being the source of wars and such is just that – tripe.

      We utilize ANY excuse for war and then try to cloak ourselves in the religion of the day to make ourselves look OK to those around us. Religions of theism or non-theism or atheism are all used.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • asdf

      "As a Christian, I view my Lord and Savior as a fighter."

      -Adolf Hitler.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Please list ANY instance where a war was started in the name of atheism – where the end goal was the glory or defense of a lack of belief. I won't hold my breath.

      Any attacks on theism in the last 100 years was done to consolidate power and eliminate political opposition – not for the sake of atheism. The same cannot be said for religion.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • funny

      hey, nah. ever heard of the jews?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  2. Jim J

    If God isn't real, how did he create man in his own image? Checkmate, atheists!

    March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • JohnR

      That's the most pathetic argument I've ever heard. Meanwhile, humans are mammals, not god reproductions made out of dirt.

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

      Well, there is an argument regarding carbon...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • gager

      That's is called begging the question, a logical fallacy.

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

      You really make other Christians look bad. You should probably keep your mouth shut and leave this to at least someone with a basic understanding of reality. Debating against people like you is like dunking on a 5 year old.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • funny

      i'm going to start claiming that every unknown is the result of something unfounded, too. that will be perfectly logical. then when people say i'm wrong, i'll say that they are incorrect without any solid proof to back my own logic. totally rationale.

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

      And then God made monkeys in your image. ROFL

      March 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Jim

      I'm a Christ-follower and I have to say that is either the weakest argument on record or you're a plant.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  3. Justin

    Atheist are such bigots. They are so insecure with their own beliefs that they attack every other belief.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • JohnR

      Is it bigotry and insecurity when evangelicals evangelize?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Now thats not fair.

      Just becaue I want to round up all the people like you and put them in gas chambers, that does NOT make me a bigot.

      I hate you all equally.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      Imagine everyone around you believed in a magical Lizard-King who watches us from space.

      Sure, nobody has ever SEEN it, but they all know it's there. And they REALLY believe it. To the point of printing that belief on money, adding it to the pledge of allegiance, and taking its supposed will into consideration when teaching science.

      This is the world through the eyes of an Atheist. Your god is that Lizard-King.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Justin

      JohnR – to evangelize is to teach others about their belief. Atheist seem to always attack religion and are intolerant of other beliefs. i.e. the billboards above.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • WrshipWarior

      @HeroicSlug: Have you ever SEEN gravity? No, you can only see its effect. Have we seen GOD? No. But His existence is made manifest throughout all of creation.

      As you defined atheist below, there is no foundation.

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

      ya. those athests have started so many wars in the name of false religion. silly belivers. religions start wars. not billboards from non-belivers.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Religion is a lie.

      ive never seen pigs fly, i suppose thats real too right? F*** outta here

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

      @Religion: Silly response. I believe in God. But I also know for a fact that pigs don't fly! I certainly hope you don't.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "Atheist seem to always attack religion and are intolerant of other beliefs. i.e. the billboards above."

      How are those billboards attacking or intolerant? They are highly directed at other atheists. Are you really that overly-sensitive?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  4. seek-the-truth

    Does man think that he will be left neglected?
    Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted?
    Then he was a clinging clot, and created and proportioned
    And made of him two mates, the male and the female.
    Is not that [Creator] Able to give life to the dead?

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

      Abysmal.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  5. HeroicSlug

    Lets "break it down". But with no grunting or subwoofers.

    a-, an- : Greek: prefix; no, absence of, without, lack of, not

    thei, theo : Greek: root; god

    I am an atheist. I am without belief in god(s).

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

      How true... atheist = without God.

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

      ...actually without root. So by your own admission and definition there is no tangible root to atheism.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      Didn't see that semicolon there, did you?

      That's okay. They're tough on some monitors.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • WrshipWarior

      Actually I did see the semicolon. It further substantiates what I said.

      What's ironic is the word atheist does have the root word theo in it which means god. There is nothing in your definition that implies belief in. It simply states that you are without God... thereby acknowledging the existence of God.

      Rather than calling yourself atheist, why not call yourself Nowhere Man? I think the Beatles pretty much summed that one up... [only saying that as a pun. I mean no serious offense to you or anyone by that... 🙂 ]

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  6. James

    Why do athiest spend so much time trying to convience people of something they think doesn't exist?

    March 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • seek-the-truth

      lol. good one

      March 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Peter F

      And the funniest part is that so many atheists claim they aren't fighting AGAINST belief in God, just that they don't have a belief in God. So why try to convince someone not to have a belief? It's like telling someone they are not allowed to make up their minds about whether they're going PB and J or ham and swiss.

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

      It's actually an outreach to isolated atheists. But why not convince people that god doesn't exist? Irrational delusions are a bad thing, and organized religion is one of the very worse forms of it.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • TheMiddleWay

      Because the decisions of believers influence politics, which influences MY life. Stop putting religion in politics and we'll stop trying to persuade you that god(s) don't exist.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Because people think it does exist and those people are causing harm to those of us who don't believe. We're finally making our fight the same way the gays did to have acceptance in society

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

      James said..."Why do athiest spend so much time trying to convience people of something they think doesn't exist?" Why do christians spend so much time, energy and federal dollars try to convince atheists that "god" does exist?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Mike D

      Because most religious thought, which presupposes all manner of things about reality and the world we live in, is an actively destructive force. The mind of man will never truly be liberated until religion is an embarrassing memory.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • funny

      they spend a lot of time trying to convince others? how many athiest rallies have you heard of before? how many athiests come and knock on your door to spread the false word? how many pieces of mail do you receive from non-belivers? you're funny.

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

      Why do believers waste so much time trying to validate their religion? There is as much evidence for God as there is for UFOs. Show me some evidence and I will believe.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Peter F

      It seems as though the political argument is a false one considering there are religious folk on both sides of the aisle these days

      March 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      Because the people who believe in magic beings are doing their utmost to ruin this country?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Peter F

      @Les

      Atheists don't want evidence... they want evidence that THEY can be the judges of. There is plenty of evidence for God, such as the existence of life itself, the ability to turn from a self-destructive lifestyle to one that is free and liberating, etc. etc. However, that doesn't create belief... that just causes debate over what counts as evidence. And the fact that you already don't believe in God causes you to dismiss that evidence. Aaaaah... going in circles!!!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  7. malcolm

    smh...they know its a pious myth, and yes, they have a choice and have exercised that choice...maybe there's a better picture that an atheist cannot grasp?

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

      What does that mean?

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

      The failure to grasp reality is greatest amongst the theists, greatest yet amongst those who think that their doctrines are the absolute divine truth and all else heresy.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  8. rationalamerican

    I invite everyone here to google "Lord Raglan's scale". In this, he uses twenty-two archetypal incidents that are common among mythological heroes. See how your guy/girl/being stack up to Achellis, Oedipus, Moses, or Thesius. Whether your "savior" is Jesus, Allah, or Mithra, the fact is, it is all crap. Religion is one of the biggest and most detremental problems with America. It often breeds hate and judgement. I don't need some apocraphyl text to tell me if I am doing wrong. You know it deep down. Some call that god, I call it conscience.
    I especially like all of the "bumper sticker" justifications for religion on here. It just reinforces the degree of assimilation without any justification of why you believe.
    Just a thought on morality: Religion teaches us to be moral, not because it is the right thing to do, but because you are taught to stack the deck for your afterlife. Doing something moral for the sake of the afterlife is inheritly immoral.
    I find it sad and dissapointing.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  9. cavm

    I have never written a comment before in websites, but I feel I need to do on this article. Never ever use the name of the Lord God in vain. Your belief should not hinder Jewish and Christian beliefs. Are we moving to a situation where we must be requesting for religious freedom for Christians in America?

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

      Your god does not exist, and you are childish and gullible for believing otherwise.

      Welcome to the internet. We have our own brand of pretend things, only we know they are pretend.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • asdf

      You would consider your "freedom of religion" to include the right to prevent other people from speaking? That's hilarious.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Scott

      How is this infringing upon ANYONES religious freedom? Christians, don't confuse not getting everything you want at any time with persecution. They are not the same.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Les

      I would image cavm is short for "cave man" Gods were invented by people to explain things they did not understand, then Man used the invented God to control others. Read history it is all there. Your God makes no sense, and is not evident.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Religion is a lie.

      no one is hindering anything. they are simply reaching out to those individuals within a religious society that feel they are being forced into a belief because of others, & that is simply not right in the same way it would not be right for you to eat fast food when you didnt want to & everyone around you is telling you to. I think this is a brilliant idea to try & make sense to those who are lost in spiritual guidance in whatever form that may be. In america, not only are we allowed to follow irrational beliefs & ideas, but we also have freedom of speech.

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

      cavm wrote, " Never ever use the name of the Lord God in vain."

      My impression of the Holy Ghost ....

      BOO!!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  10. Basjim

    If these billboards bring about peace instead of ongoing religious wars, would'nt that alone be a good reason for this?

    March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Nah

      bas: "If these billboards bring about peace instead of ongoing religious wars, would'nt that alone be a good reason for this?"

      Yeah, being antagonistic and malicious is going to bring about peace.

      Stupid much?

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

      an inflammatory billboard designed to bring peace?

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

      @ Nah & Dan – On the way out of town, on the interstate, we have a billboard that says REPENT! Or spend eternity tortured in HELL!

      I guess you guys want it both ways? You should be free to put up inflammatory billboards, but we can't put up a billboard that tells people they have a choice.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Ellen Thompson

    Satch, you've missed my point. I am not trying to censor you. I'm saying that these athesist billboards do nothing more than put down someone elses beliefs. I couldn't care less what your "truth" is or if you put up billboards. My point is these billboards do absoultely nothing for your cause; you are simply tellilng others that they are wrong.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • JohnR

      But they ARE wrong and after centuries of monopolizing the conversation, you can bet theists will be hearing the truth of the matter more and more.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Jim

      Notice the true believer mentality in his response?

      He thinks saying something stupid (insulting, claiming the ability to read minds and just telling peopl they are wrong [instead of what is right]) is productive.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  12. DoubtingThomas

    I recently lost my Mother to cancer. She has suffered for years with various assults from this desease. To her last breath, she found strength and comfort from her faith. While I am agnostic, I would not seek to destroy another's beliefs nor convert them to mine. It is only the attempt of others to convert me, that I find abhorrent. Otherwise, I am pretty much live and let live. I see no need for further "belief wars".

    March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  13. Robert

    ATHEISM: The opiate of the proud

    March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Vance Cogswell

      Religion, the opiate of the mindless, subservient.

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

      Atheism: the trademark of those who can don't need a psychological crutch.

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

      Atheism: the religion of those who don't understand basic logic and reasoning.

      In order to be an atheist, one must make a claim that there is no god. In order to know definitively that there is no god then one must know (and be able to demonstratetheir understanding) of all things to rule out all possibility of being incorrect.

      Anything less is agnosticism which is not atheism. So either all atheists are deluded (arrogantly so), omniscient or do not understand the basics of language and logic and thus are far from the enlightened ones they claim to be.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  14. John Robertson

    Love it.. Ya lets all believe in the big guy in the sky.. Kinda stupid concept.. But it keep the kids off the streets..

    Time for us to all grow up and use your brain..

    March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  15. hingedlwnb

    Thank God for Atheism.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  16. hello

    In this context, athiests are part of a religion. They are spending resources to try to convert people to their way of thinking. Athiesm is a religion.

    It is actually a little funny that they are spending money to try to get people to think about nothing.

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

      Atheists are spending money to try to FREE people from their mythical thinking.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • asdf

      It's seriously comical that you define a religion as any group that spends money to convert people to their way of thinking. Is a superpac a religion? Is a union a religion? Is the NRA a religion?

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

      Atheism is to religion what scientists are to cavemen.

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

      Having an opinion that you're willing to invest in does not make the opinion a religion.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  17. Drew

    This is awesome.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  18. SusyQ

    I'm a nonbeliever but this makes no sense to me at all. What is the purpose of posting such a billboard except to impose your views on others? What's next, are they going to post billboards outside of day care centers letting all of the toddlers know there is no Santa Claus? They want athiets to come out of the closet for what purpose, to unite and have meetings about the nonexistence of God? I just don't get this.

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

      Atheists need to come out of the closet because we are being treated as second-clasd human beings and will continue to be treated that way until we make ourselves heard.

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

      You do not get it because it is a lie. What they want is to impose their views on others, just as they claim religion does.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • bff

      The purpose is stated in the article:
      “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.”

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

      Maya that is such whiny nonsense!

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

      I've never heard of the myth of Santa Claus being used to subjugate women, to dictate the daily lives of non-believers or to kill.

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

      How does a billboard impose anything on anybody?

      When you consider that religious people, like Santorum, will tell you that using legislation to impose their own version of morality on others is perfectly fine, how can you even sit there and say that a billboard is anything close to that?!

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

      Because the other side does the same..
      Both sides have a right to display their beliefs.

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

      There are churches every 6 blocks in major cities
      Bibles in every motel room
      God on our money
      Evangelists on TV and radio 24/7
      Moment of silence (prayer) before public events
      Churches advertising on billboards and TV

      Who is imposing their views on others???

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

      Isn't it obvious? they want to get people out of the closet so that people will stop vilifying us. It's outrageous that over 50% of the US says they won't vote for an atheist for president. The more people that "come out" to their families and friends, the more those people will have positive (or at least less negative) views of atheists.

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

      MAYA, You are not going to make your self heard or respected by making fun of other people beliefs.

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

      Sorry to all of the Athiests (I say again that I am a nonbeliever) out there but why would you want to convince others that God doesn't exist? Maya – 2nd class human beings, really? I don't discuss my religious views or lack thereof with others because it's none of their business. Why would you cafre if your neighbor is a Jew or a Muslim? I thought in this country we all had the right to practice or not practice whatever we want, as long as we do not harm others? Neither the believers nor the nonbelievers can prove their belief so why argue and fight over something that can not be resolved until we all die and then nothing happens?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • JohnR

      How many times per day are Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs truly imposed on people? Simply stating disbelief is no imposition. And the billboards are meant to reach atheists who feel trapped in those communities.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Justin

      It's important for Atheists to be heard because, as it stands currently in this country, Atheists are extremely underrepresented in government. When being a Christian is still an unwritten requirement for the highest government office, it's vital for those who don't view reality through a lens that distorts their views with myths and beliefs that don't stand up to even the most basic logic and reason, to make their voices heard.

      The founding fathers were largely agnostics and deists, which are both relatively benign and understandable, given the greater lack of concrete scientific knowledge of the time. They would be turning over in their graves if they saw how religious our politicians have become, and how relentlessly they try (and often succeed) in imposing their beliefs through legislative policy.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  19. Don

    Anything you say against the religious makes you strident...

    For the liberation of the human mind! Atheists, fight, fight, fight!

    And our sense of good and evil is independent of religious dogma. How else do all the world religions and non-religious members agree on universal moral principles?

    Lastly, being generous to people to gain more points for heaven does not equate to sincere morality. It's cowardly submission to a tyrant masked as moral superiority.

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

      Boy are you presumptuous and arrogant.

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

      don: "And our sense of good and evil is independent of religious dogma. How else do all the world religions and non-religious members agree on universal moral principles?"

      Lol. A sense of good and evil independent of religion (i.e., a god). No such thing exists.

      Where in the world do you find moral laws? Are they floating around the universe?

      No. They're within you. Making morality entirely subjective and irrelevant. Pretending an atheist has any duty to do "good" or to do what's "right" is absurd. The only thing that matters is him, his life and what makes him happy. And if doing "wrong" makes him happy, why shouldn't he do it?

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

      Well said Don!

      Religion and morality are not synonymous, and the very simple fact that so many different religions exist only serves to divide people, because nobody ever will, or should, be forced to believe any specific way.

      The point you make is valid; you can be a good, moral person without ever having been polluted with petty religious nonsense.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Nah

      qs: "The point you make is valid; you can be a good, moral person without ever having been polluted with petty religious nonsense."

      Nah. You can "be" a "good" person in only a subjective sense. In the sense that you do what makes you, or others, feel "good".

      Beyond that there is no objective right or wrong. Hence, the atheist who does "good" because he thinks he has a duty to do so does "good" for no reason at all. The only thing he has to worry about are his own feelings and what makes him happy.

      Learn to think.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  20. Jim

    The only certainty with this campaign is the arrogance and stupidity of the billboards and those behind them.

    1. Sorry but we don't, "know" there is no god. But your childish arrogance at "knowing" what the majority thinks is pathetic and simply stunning.

    2. The fact that some people who think they are really smart and have the ability to read minds and then stupidly and childishly insult others and think they are being persuasive is even more stunning.

    For those who claim to be followers of logic and reason...they demonstrate that they are the ultimate oxymorons.

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

      Jim,
      Claiming that there is no god doesn't take much of a stretch, particularly since there is 0 evidence of one. However, the true arrogance is on the side that claims there is one.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • U so crazy

      bff-I don't think you understand the basic premise of Jims post. There is 0 evidence one way or another, yet the atheist crown says stunningly dumb things like "Claiming that there is no god doesn't take much of a stretch, particularly since there is 0 evidence of one." 0 evidence either way=agnostic.

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

      bff: "Claiming that there is no god doesn't take much of a stretch, particularly since there is 0 evidence of one. However, the true arrogance is on the side that claims there is one."

      Spoken like a true ignoramus.

      Are you philosophically illiterate? Or just a militant atheist? There are many proofs for the existence of a god. Some are based on pure logic, some based on science and material causation, others on a mix of the two. Dispute the proofs all you want, but pretending they don't exist - or that logic isn't "evidence" of anything - shows more that you're partisan and dogmatic than reflective and intelligent.

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

      U
      ??? Would you call someone arrogant that said "You know there is no tooth fairy" ??

      The billboard has meaning only to those trapped in these cultures that already "know" there is no god. Not to everyone in those communities.

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

      I'd have to disagree bff. A human claiming God doesn't exist is like an ant claiming a human doesn't exist. Simply because you can't fathom it's existence doesn't mean it's not there. An ant cannot comprehend it's being pushed around by the finger of a human, just that it's being pushed. People of faith can't comprehend God, we can only see a guiding direction in our lives. Accepting that there may be a force you cannot understand influencing your path is not arrogant, it's humble. It's giving up a sense of control and stability.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • endrace&religion

      Arrogance and stupidity? Wow coming from a person who doesn't really understand that each religion preaches its our way or spend eternity in hell. That is the epitomy of arrogance and stupidity. Religion started out as a way to explain unexplainable natural events like wind, fire, rain, etc. It then evolved into chiefs, pharohs, kings, etc to control people. It has become these days the worst idea for society since it does nothing but create great divides between people just as race does. One day after enough education gets through to enough people it will be the norm to understand that we are all from the same place, evolved together and religion was a guess without any basis.

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

      Jim, what does the majority’s opinion have to do with this? At one point, the majority thought that slavery was a good idea... should we not have changed that mentality?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      A religious sign will be polarizing if it was in a specific community which had opposing views territory. Religions mostly have respect for each other. Building on another's former Temple site is ok if it was not destroyed by u for instance. A billboard in front of their temple also is.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.