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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. Julie Mac

    There will come a time when you believe in God no matter what your belief is now.

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

      No, I won't, just like I won't believe mohammed, nut case.

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

      We better watch out, huh?!?

      http://www.jhuger.com/kisshank.php

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

      Nope.

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

      I also believe at some point in everyones life they will come to a personal belief or understanding of God, I may be wrong but no one can really say they will or wont.

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

      Wronnnnng.

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

      Sorry Julie, but there is a comfort from the certainty I get from believing in "facts" that you just can't get from "faith." It's not something I can describe for you having no personal experience of it yourself from which to understand it. I've been a person of "faith" and I can tell you that this -atheism- is a far better experience.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Sadly Vynn you never truly were a person of faith...Its not something you can walk away from if its truly in your heart. Someone decieved you and for that I am truly sorry.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Vynn

      Jonathan...stop pretending to be god. You haven't lived my life.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Jonathon wrote, " you never truly were a person of faith...Its not something you can walk away from if its truly in your heart. Someone decieved you and for that I am truly sorry."

      Um, no. Many of us were just as fundiot as folks like you. Heck, I was raised LCMS – even went to their school through Junior High. I could out quote any of you on the bible. Then I took some science classes in high school. I started asking my youth group pastor and the other pastors questions. They couldn't answer them. They told me not to question things. They told me to not ask questions with other kids around.

      Sorry, but I grew tired of the lies.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  2. Bob

    Wow, they managed to insult two religions at the same time. Congrats, proving yet again that atheism has the same zealotry that every other ideology has.

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

      How is it insulting? They are reaching out to other Atheists, they don't care what the religious reaction is.

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

      Insulting?? I dont know, but bad taste I would agree with.

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

      Why not insult them. Their religions are just as insulting to atheists. Do unto others...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I dont see how a mans religion is any way insulting to an atheist, you can take their existance as an insult to yourself but that is not the reality.

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

      Jonathan, the insult comes when people of faith try to make us live by their rules of faith; by trying to impose their morality by way of civil laws and criminal codes. If they would stop trying to push their faith into the science classroom, their organized prayers into school functions, and their faith into my bedroom and in my docotr's office, I would be happy to live and let live. Until they stop, they deserve my contempt and my objections.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Reason

    Although I am secular, I think atheists are arrogant and disrespectful to others. Who am I to to judge or say that god doesn't exist. Atheism itself, is becoming a religion. Let people believe whatever they want as long as they keep it to themselves.

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

      I agree that people should believe what ever they choose, I do not agree they should keep it to themselves. I will tell you of my belief and that is not wrong, if I force it on you then yes that is wrong and very counter productive in my humble opinion. I wont knock on your door or call your home, but i will share my belief thru my life and actions.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  4. Webfoot

    Atheists are simply exercising their God given free will to believe in Him or not. It slays me to hear people talk about atheism as a religion. Sort of like not collecting stamps is a hobby. I believe that our humanity renders us incapable of fully grasping the grace, power, and love of God.

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

      You claim to be able to choose whether or not to believe in something you know?!?? Really? Once I know something, I don't have a choice to believe it or not; I am compelled to believe in that which I know to exist. There's not enough evidence to compel me to believe in any gods. I'm not choosing what to believe and neither are you..

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

      Your statement begs the question... Why put up a billboard in order to claim a "non belief" and in the process point specifically to others who do?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  5. Mahesh

    Atheism is not about promoting a different opinion – no God exist. It is about using their brain and not follow any statements blindly. May be God exists, but it is not the way written in religious texts. Einstein also used the word God, but it was more to describe the beauty of universe rather than a magician as said in most religious text.

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

      Einstien was a believer.....

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

      What makes you so certain that you know another man's mind?

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

      Einstein did not believe in a personal god. Although he rejected the term 'pantheist', he also said he believed in the god of Spinoza. Spinoza was a pantheist. Einstein was confused on the terminology and perhaps on what EXACTLY he believed, but he was neither an atheist nor a theist as those terms are generally understood.

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

      Jonathon wrote, "Einstein was a believer...."

      No. Einstein wrote this, “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

      March 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  6. Jonathan

    You know its not a myth...but you have the gift of free will, so yes it is a choice.

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

      3 claims; no evidence. Does not compute.

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

      Maybe one day it will compute for you, maybe never. neverless I wish the best to you and God loves you.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Up2Late

    What an angry group of people. In this great country everyone has the right to express their opinion, but what message are the atheists and agnostics propagating? This is a mesaage of "I don't agree with your belief system, therefore I am going to ridicule, belittle and incite needless controversy." This is a miniscule fringe element of popular, mainstream society that gives voice to narcissistic windbags like Bill Maher to create spectacle and generate advertising revenue for cable news outlets, nothing more. Feel free to disagree with me, I honestly don't care and will sleep quite well tonight.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Way to project your feelings onto others. Why are atheists angry?

      If you read the article, it's for people who are in the islamic and jewish faith that know it's a myth.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Why are atheists angry, you ask? Go to a science blog, go to the Space.com Facebook page. When people are taunting men of science with decades of research behind them, quoting a 6,000 year old book as "proof" of why big bang cosmology, immunology, evolutionary biology, particle physics and a myriad of technologies are "wrong"? Telling us that we are going to live in eternal damnation for unlocking the underlying structure of matter and energy? You will begin to see why atheists are angry.

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

      Bobinator, your statement is ridiculous!

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

      In this great country, founded on secular government, where modern politicians complain that they want to throw up when they think of a government segregated from church. Where non-believers are routinely described as evil? It's a two-way fight, without any doubt, and Christians are eager and public with their mockery of atheists - many of whom were raised Christian but disillusioned by endless failed promises, corruption, greed, and hypocrisy.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • JohnR

      Why are so many theists so hopelessly illiterate?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Anon

      AGuest9, That is an out and out lie. Most scientists want NOTHING to do with this argument. It has zero to do with their work. Perhaps some believe Hawking is a scientist...lololol.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • merc

      This is about reaching out to the atheist who feel helpless within these tight-knit, religious communities. People who are afraid to speak about how they feel because of various religions' grasp on the community. Read the article.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      How did anything you read in this article (if you actually did read it) lead you to the conclusion that Atheists are angry and belittling people? Yes some do, but if you're going to comment on an article, you'd expect that it pertain to the statements within said article. If you really want to know why some Atheists are in fact angry, maybe you should sit down and have a calm and rational talk with one to just listen, then you'd find out that many times we feel alone and hated because we are constantly fighting for equality. When the majority of Americans still treat Atheists as they were criminals, yeah, I get a little upset because I am a good person, yet when I observe many Christians, their actions would lead one to believe that they are in fact a bad person. No not everyone, but it's sick that an immoral and hypocritical Atheist is preferred over a moral and law abiding Atheist.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Up2Late

      And once again, the angry atheists replying to someone who disagrees with their point of view have gone on the emotional attack. It's almost laughable that you guys get so upset over someone having a difference in opinion from you and immediately begin dolling out personal insults and sweeping generalizations about theists. Apparently some of you missed the point of my opinion post about this story and did not read the full article for yourselves. I get it that this is a coming out of the “theological closet” initiative for the American Atheist organization intended to reach like-minded individuals in concentrated cultural and religious neighborhoods. However, since I disagree with the message, I must have not read the article. Apparently the statement by Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists of “People are going to be upset,” he says. “That is not our concern,” was misinterpreted on my part in this piece. And I guess the line "Silverman acknowledges that the pair of new billboards will likely cause a stir" does not support my argument that this is an angry group of individuals who use their right to free speech to incite controversy. Have fun spewing your message of anger and intolerance towards those of us who don't agree with you.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Glenn

    I am an atheist but I prefer not to stir up trouble. Religion hardly ever bothers me and I don't bother it.

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

      I respect your choice to not believe, just as I am not bothered by these signs as I believe and its in my heart. I will tell you of my faith if asked and if not I will always remember you and all people in my prayers.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      What if your wife couldn't get health insurance for birth control pills because she works for a religous company.

      Just because it doesn't now doesn't mean it won't down the line. By your reasoning, starvation in africa hasn't affected me, why should I bother worrying about it?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Anonymous010

      Exactly. This country was in part founded on the principle of freedom of religion. Let religious people worship. Let non-religious people abstain from worship. When groups start trying to inflame one another (and no matter what Dave Silverman says, he knows they were attempting to inflame with those billboards, the same as the Catholic response) or when groups start trying to actively recruit, that's when you run into problems. Personally, I find it offensive when missionaries approach me in public and ask me if I would like to hear more about Jesus. If I wanted to hear more about Jesus, I would go to a church. It's not like people aren't aware of where the churches are – they're hard to miss.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • JohnR

      Well, she could always change employers. People tend to do that when unhappy with their work conditions and/or compensation package, which includes salary and benefits. Or she could pay out of pocket or possibly, if you are indeed married, she could get insured under your policy.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. Paul

    So the Muslim says it is "polarizing" when an atheist sign goes up. Does he say the same thing when a religious sign goes up? What a hypocrite !!!

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

      Hi Paul, I come from the other side, but agree with your comments......rare to see a rational statement in the comment section

      March 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • AGuest9

      It's not upsetting to him when a suicide bomber detonates his backpack in a crowded marketplace?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Kent

    Well, it doesn't matter if you believe or don't believe – just know that the billboard owners are don't really care when they're lauging away making $15,000 a pop for anyone wanting to advertise their views.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  11. msyellarose

    Whatever. Indeed I do have a choice. So what if you believe He's a "myth". I know He's real. I don't have to scream that from the rooftops, why do they? They are fighting mighty hard against something they claim doesn't exist.

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

      They are fighting against god. God does not exist. They are informing people that they are not alone in thinking rationally and not religiously.

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

      You claim to be able to choose whether or not to believe in something you know?!?? Really? Once I know something, I don't have a choice to believe it or not; I am compelled to believe in that which I know to exist. There's not enough evidence to compel me to believe in any gods. I'm not choosing what to believe and neither are you.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • AGuest9

      msyellarose, I guess you were never part of a group that tried to get your local public school board to have religion taught instead of science. THIS is what has a lot of people worked up in the sciences, most especially if it personally affects their children.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Merc

      You ask why the atheists need to scream it from the rooftops, carefully ignoring all the wonderful proselytizing that many Christians do, up to-and including- ridiculing others' belief systems.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Anonymous010

      As an agnostic, I can understand why they're fighting so hard even though I don't agree with their tactics. Often, atheists and agnostics feel like we're alone because many of us choose not to advertise our presence to make our lives easier. I made the mistake of making my choice public in middle school. I was tormented and bullied all throughout high school for it. Nowadays, I get uncomfortable when I'm at a meal with my co-workers, and one of them leads everyone in a prayer. None of them even stops to think that it might be offensive to me because they all assume I'm Christian like them. I don't say anything because I believe it's rude to impose your beliefs on someone else – ergo the paradox. In my mind, they're being rude for assuming everyone at the table shares their faith, but I would be equally rude if I asked them to stop.

      So yeah, I can understand their desire to raise awareness of atheists and agnostics in the general population. What I don't condone is their obviously inflammatory tactics. Those billboards were not meant for atheists at all; those were meant to anger religious people and remind them that there are atheists and agnostics among them. It was a cheap, dirty, deplorable tactic and I hope that they soon learn that they're not helping anyone by doing things like that.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  12. Chaim

    The people who made this sign should have done a bit more research on their target audience. The Modern Hebrew word "mitus", presumably meaning myth, is not a word which most religious Jews in Brooklyn would understand. They should have made the sign in Yiddish or Rabbinical Hebrew if they hadn't wanted to get their message across. I have no idea if the Arabic sign is equally incomprehensible. Sorry guys, better luck next time.

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

      Myth is a myth is a myth is a god.

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

      Paul, you seem to be trying really hard to convince yourself of that. That's the problem with atheists. God gave them a conscience, and an innate knowledge that He exists, so they spend their entire lives trying desperately to convince themselves that their conscience is wrong. It's sad to watch.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  13. Peter

    People like the American Atheists are turning atheism into a religion, and make me want to not be associated with them.

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

      So, American Athiests are now aspousing a belief in a super natural being? I am surprised to hear that but not surprised by your lack of LOGIC and COMMON SENSE.

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

      True, atheism is not a religion like bald is not just another hair color. But I am a physician and it is important to identify a patient as a "non-smoker" That is important in knowing their overall health.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  14. jwtjd

    There is no such thing as an atheist.

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

      Agreed. We are ALL agnostics, including religionists.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Agreed. We are ALL agnostics, including religionists.

      Umm, agnostic means you have no knowledge of God. Atheist means you have no belief. There's a difference.

      If everyone was rational, then agnosticism would be the defacto position because agnosticism results in atheism. But since everyone isn't rational and logical, the word has some use still.

      I'm an agnostic atheist. 😛

      March 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Kris

      Why? How do you know?

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

      Nope. I am right here. I exist. I am an atheist. You will be hearing more from me by the way. An atheist is one who is not theistic, does not have a belief in a god(s)

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

      There truly is no such thing as an athiest and trying to prove to be so hard only shows a lack of confidence in your belief. You believe in God, are maybe not living the life he would choose for you and that scares you to now need to yell your an athiest and hope for more to agree to comfort you.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  15. willy

    "Myth" I like definition "3" : "any invented story, idea, or concept".

    March 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • 1221

      The city of Troy was a myth once too. I don't believe centaurs are real but those Greek Myths are rooted in truth.

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

      What I mean is that by definition 3 the big bang is a myth. Sure they say it is based on mathmatics and science but no living human actually saw it happen. The theory was made up to match the facts they had at the time.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • AGuest9

      "Uhulp. We don't want nunna yor science and figurin' around these here parts! I ain't no monkey, and as long as I can add up my grocery bill, I'm good!"

      Right??? Unbelievable. This is the 21st Century.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • willy

      The truth doesn't car what century it is.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  16. Pauli

    Many religions espouse that the outright dismissal of the existance of God is a mortal sin punishable by eternal damnation. So, if the atheists are so smart, then why are they quite literally playing with fire? In other words, if you believe in a God and try to live a righteous life by the tenants of your faith and then die only to find out that God doesn't exist, than no sweat. Your consciousness will cease to exist, so you won't even be aware and it won't matter to you if people are calling you a naive a*sh*ole at your funeral. On the other hand, if find out that God does exist (something I believe in), you'll at least have scored some points for your faith which could help your candidacy for heaven. Although I doubt I'll be passing through those gates when its my turn, I'm sure I'll derive some pleasure before being cast into the lake of fire at seeing all the atheists screaming in unison..."We should've, could've, would've!!!"

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

      This is an ignorant argument...you're about to be mauled for it. Atheists, please do not think all people of faith believe as Pauli does.

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

      So basically you're saying "why rock the boat? Just do as your supposed to."

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Leucadia Bob

      There's a difference between leading a righteous life in hopes of "scoring point" with someone who may or may not exist vesus leading a righteous life and actually enjoying it and living it to the fullest. Live for today. HERE AND NOW!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I can't just start believing. It would be great if I thought I had someone always backing me up and believing in me, but its not just something that can be turned on. I don't believe because the very idea of a god doesn't make sense to me. Physics doesn't allow a god to exist, and the very idea that a being can hear everyone's thoughts and change things in the natural world is so foreign to me that I can't possibly believe something that far fetched.

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

      @Dave–be careful Dave, there's a special place in hell for people who think they know the reality of God's existence better than others...need only need to look at Santorum for a clue.

      @situationalawareness – not at all. Faith is and should be a very personal thing and can be expressed in a variety of different forms. You don't have to accept what being peddled at the local congregation for fear of being ostracized. Screw them if they don't think you're conforming properly. Just have a personal relationship with your maker I always say.

      @Leucadia Bob – Ya...that's what all the great civilizations that came crashing down espoused "Live for Today...Don't Worry About Tomorrow." How about I bonk your mother because it just makes me happy and gives me a sense that I'm living to the fullest (since I won't believe there's justice beyond this world)?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • LaTuya83

      WHAT??? You are a prime example of religious people IGNORANT!!! What the hell is your point, you completely disqualify your argument when you say you are going to hell yourself, at least the aethiest don't believe in God, but you believe in God but obviously don't follow his teachings if you just said you are going to hell. What an idiot you believe in hell, you think that whatever life style you are living is going to send you, yet you keep doing, shouldn't you change your ways instead?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Pauli

      @I'm The Best! – All reasonable points. But you should know (in all seriousness, and I don't even know you) that you are special in the eyes of God, that he created you for a purpose and that he truly believes in you. There's a ton of stuff that we have no clue about in this universe that cannot be explained empirically – especially why bad things happen to good people. But that mystery is the essence of faith and the answers (I believe) will eventually be revealed to us through love of each other and of the being that deliberately created us all.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      There are many flaws in Pauli's argument:

      Flaw A) Assuming that your faith will help you.
      In many religions, those who do not have faith are not treated as harshly as those who do. You might anger the tiki god of lava for example, by worshipping something else.

      Flaw B) Assuming you don't pay anything for faith.
      Which is wrong, you spend time practicing your faith. If it's nonsense, you have spent a good chunk of your life, the only life you're going to get on nonsense you didn't have to. That sucks.

      Flaw C) Assuming God respects faith.
      How do you know God doesn't respect people who reject religion. That is to say, how do you know God doesn't use religion to seperate the wheat from the chaff.

      Pascal's wager is the weakest argument you can make. It literally would have taken you 5 minutes of internet searching to figure out why it's stupid. 🙂

      March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Pauli

      @LaTuya83 – you misundestand. It's not that I believe I'm living a bad life at all and that I'm content to stay the course. It's that I am not so presumptous (as in the case of a few of these politcal candidates lately) that I'm first in line to make it through the gates. I'm humble about my chances...that's all. Humility makes me want to serve others instead of "controlling" others.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Colin

      Pascal's wager is nothing new. However, what he did not factor into his "wager", was the _cost_ of pretending to believe in or pay homage to or stay in lockstep with such a thing publicly. You must give up reason in some cases and on important issues, which is a horrible cost. Also, what that 'wager' and what you suggest do not address, is all the negative parts of religion. Adding that makes it a simple choice for someone who realizes there is no Santa Claus for adults in the sky. However, if the _only_ thing keeping you in line is the fear of "eternal damnation", then by all means, keep believing.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Careful playing with that imaginary fire, there, Pauli.

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

      That's fine if you want to believe in a concept of heaven or hell which was INVENTED by man, but when you realize that there is nothing but oblivion with death, you won't care about such silly dogma.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  17. dave

    I'm sick of this c r a p. Athiesm is as much of a belief system as religion is. It's insulting to all religious groups to be putting up this sort of thing.

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

      And following that logic, if a simple billboard such as this is "insulting every religion" then every church standing is insulting to us.

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

      Why does it bother you that people are telling others that god is not real? Are you Christian? Do you believe in Islam? No? That's how I feel about your religion.

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

      I'll admit, Atheism is a "belief" (the belief in no gods), but to be a system would require a dogma, tenets, traditions and customs, and that's something we just don't have.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I'll admit, Atheism is a "belief" (the belief in no gods), but to be a system would require a dogma, tenets, traditions and customs, and that's something we just don't have.

      Atheism isn't stating we don't believe in God. It's a lack of belief in God.

      So, if you hold any other position besides "There is a God", then you're an atheist. That can include the following:

      – There may be a God.
      – I do not beieve in a God until one is proven
      – There is no God.

      Atheism deals with belief and belief alone. It does not deal in fact. A, as in lack, theism, as in a belief in a diety.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  18. lindsele

    This is stupid. There is much better things they can do with that money. They need to set a more positive example of atheists otherwise we are no better than those religious groups putting up abortion ads.

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

      Look at this as a David & Goliath situation. Atheists are up against the largest corporation in existence....religion; is it really a surprise that we would have to resort to using a something as seemingly harmless as a billboard to try to take down a giant? The billboard is equivalent to the stone used to slay Goliath.

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

      I agree with you lindsele. Let's you and I agree to not believe together and be happy the rest of our lives without harming any other person and without imposing our views on others.

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

      And by not standing up to religious discrimination and, honestly, bullying, you are condoning it.

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

      I didn't say we should just sit there and do nothing while they bully us. How many peoples lives have been changes by a billboard. How about they put that money towards a charity (vets,kids, disease, poverty, hunger, education). We are one of the most untrusted groups in america and we can change that. I don't care what religious people think about atheists but we're better than acting the same way they are.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  19. seek-the-truth

    How can you disbelieve in GOD? Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life.
    Then He will give you death,
    then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Leucadia Bob

      says who?

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

      Listen to what you're saying.. "He"? Why would God have a gender? It's things like this that religious people tend to overlook in the name of "faith".

      March 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • 2Mobile

      Do you have any idea how stupid that sounded?

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

      So, we should believe in Him because he promises us all these things? And all of this without even a shred of evidence as to his existence? You are welcome to your fantasy world if it makes you happy, but it is not for everyone, especially a person who can reason.

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

      There is no god.

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

      How can you not believe in leprachauns...(assuming you do not of course)?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • seek-the-truth

      God does not have a gender,
      The English language does not have a word to call someone without gender.
      God is unlike humans.
      He is implied because if you use she, its problematic, If you use it, problematic implies an animate object or animal.

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

      If an analogy is needed, I'd have to go with – religious people are more like children, they seem to NEED the carrot and the stick in order to feel that they are good people.

      If nothing else, religion is nothing more than a coping mechanism for those who fear death so much that they can't come to terms with the possibility that we are simply finite creatures who are not meant to exist for eternity.

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

      Keep seeking seek-the-truth. I wish you only the best.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • seek-the-truth

      atheist don't want to believe in GOD
      because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.
      If their is no resurrection, their is no complete justice.
      How do you give justice to victims whose oppressors will never be caught?

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

      Seek the truth wrrote (reguarding god's gender), " He is implied because if you use she, its problematic, "

      Why? Is it because your mythical sky daddy is misogynistic? And wants his minons to be misogynistic as well?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  20. yaolin

    the hebrew is in the wrong order. the first sentence needs to come before the first...who translated thihs thing?

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

      Yes, good point. And see my post above about "mitus" for myth not being a word which religious Jews would understand, other than some Israelis.

      Based on the punctuation, it looks like they messed up the sentence order in the Arabic version as well.

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

      Definitely proves their ignorance doesn't it?

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

      Hebrew is read right to left.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:19 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.