home
RSS
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. Fiona

    How childishly disrespectful! To say "you know it's a myth" is to insult the faith, the culture, and the intelligence of anyone who adheres to a spiritual belief. It is an immature form of "debate," a true ad hominem attack. I am a baptized, and lapsed, Catholic who has evolved into a Pantheist. I have never understood why people who claim to be atheists go to so much effort to refute the faiths of others. I think at some level they must have doubts, and they must feel threatened by faith.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Nah

      Most likely because they're embarrassed for 1) having believed in a religion, or 2) are embarrassed because they still believe a god might exist.

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

      Or you could assume that they are talking to nonbelievers who live in a religious community. Those nonbelievers already know it's a myth, but they can't be open about their nonbelief because of how their bigoted community will treat them.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      momoya, how exactly will they be treated by their community? What are you going to say next, that atheists are some kind of prosecuted bunch mired in victimhood?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Fiona

      Yes we have fears.

      I am sure the four US servicemen who were just killed by Abrahamists were terrified before they were killed for the burning of a nonsensical book

      In case you haven't realized, you people are dangerously crazy..

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

      There is no intelligence in religion! LOL!!!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • poop mouth

      atheism is based on the idea the religion is merely a business, no real god exists and therefore they take no part in it. isnt attempting to convert or refute religion taking part in it? this has paradox written all over it. i dont know what i believe, but dont insult me because i may believe. its my freedom and sire, putting up billboards like this reinforces the fact that you are no smarter than i. get bent over bearing atheists!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      William Demuth: Were the followers of Stalin not dangerous? Pol Pot? The current followers of Maoism?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • ski2xs

      I've just got to load a question here. . .

      @momoya. . . . So, how exactly would you defend 'I know it's a myth' ?? Is it something you have imperical proof of? Or is it just something you feel? 🙂

      Think wisely now?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Abrahamists"??
      Another made up word by the atheists?
      You could try and be more specific instead of being ignorantly va_gue.
      I am sure you wouldn't think it's fair or accurate when ppl lump atheists and agnostics into the same group right?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • GodPot

      I guess the truth stings a bit doesn't it.

      How would you react to a friend who came to you and said they had been praying to Edward from the Twilight series and they believed that vampires were real and the only reason we never see them is because they are all sparkly in the sunlight so they hide among us...

      You might just confirm they were serious at first, have a few discussions about reallity and make believe, and then leave it at that and stop hanging out with them if they will not give up their deluded beliefs. Now multiply that times 5 billion plus. You might even start thinking "Hey, if so many people pray to Edward, maybe he is real..." and like so many others you might take the path of least resistance and figure "If I can't beat um, I'll join um" and the glitter makeup and Team Edward T-Shirt sales will continue to rise.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "There is no intelligence in religion! LOL!!!"

      I find this statement even more funny considering the username came from the zodiac.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      Speaking of threats, Fiona, where would Christianity be without the threat of eternal damnation? How many people would go to church every week and worry about the issues that seem to drive Christians if the threat of eternal damnation is removed? Religious belief in this country is a mile wide and an inch deep. People hang onto Christianity as some kind of "just in case" policy against the possibility of hell.

      Next time you accuse atheists of feeling threatened by religion, give a thought to the threats your religion is leveling at YOU to keep you in line (and in fear) and feeding their coffers.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Godpot- I do not believe that is a fair co_mparisson. For one thing....their is no one that thinks that way about Twilight. At least, you have yet to create..I mean...produce one yet.

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

      "Mr Mark
      Speaking of threats, Fiona, where would Christianity be without the threat of eternal damnation? How many people would go to church every week and worry about the issues that seem to drive Christians if the threat of eternal damnation is removed? " More assumptions... Not all believe in your fiery hell...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      Mr Mark, if you feel that religion instills fear, then I see how you became an atheist. Many of us, though, prefer to actually understand our religious principles so that there's no fear. Respect our intelligent, carefully deliberated choice just like we respect yours.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • GodPot

      "What are you going to say next, that atheists are some kind of prosecuted bunch mired in victimhood?" Statisticly, believers are "prosecuted" far more than their atheist counterparts. This is either due to the larger number per capita of believers, or that the believers feel they are either above the law or will be forgiven for their crimes. And if you believe in God, please pray for more "prosecutions" of those believers who are dragging your God's name through the mud with violence and abuse.

      Now I know you meant "persecuted" but if you think it's the HUGE majority of the world that professes a belief in a deity that are being "persecuted" you are purposefully ignoring the facts to create your own false narrative. You cannot have a majority that claims "Aghhh! The minorities are persecuting us!" because you are the ones in power making all the rules. It's the minorities that get trampled and abused and persecuted by the majority all while the majority screams "Dey Tuk Arr Jaaabs!!" and "My Gawd will Keel you all!!"

      March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      GodPot, thanks for the rant. However interesting, though, it didn't address my question. Care to try again, please? Try to stay on point, please.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Uncouth – "I do not believe that is a fair co_mparisson. For one thing....their is no one that thinks that way about Twilight." So it's not a fair comparison because there aren't enough people who believe in it yet? So the veracity of something is based on how many people believe in it?

      @Mr. N – I need to stay on point? I'm not the one who can't tell the difference between "prosecuted" and "persecuted". Besides the fact that my post directly refutes your attempted statement of "What are you going to say next, that atheists are some kind of 'persecuted' bunch mired in victimhood?"

      March 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @GodPot- "So it's not a fair comparison because there aren't enough people who believe in it yet?"

      You have yet to show that their is even one person that does. Yes..it is not a fair co_mparisson.

      "So the veracity of something is based on how many people believe in it?"

      Of course not..but just making up a faith that no one believes in is quite dishonest.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • GodPot

      "but just making up a faith that no one believes in is quite dishonest." So was Abraham dishonest? There apparently were no other worshipers of the God of the Hebrews at that time and he was the only one who could communicate with his God, so his family had to take his word for it. My point is valid but you just don't want to see yourself that way so you make excuses as to why your un-provable belief is better than someone else's, and the excuse you are using is "Well everybody else believes this way so it must be true." which seems like a poor thing to base your faith.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Habeeb

      Very well said. If they are so confident why bother spending 15000 dollars on a bill board when that money could have been spent on some good cause like feeding the hungry or getting eye glasses in a third world country.
      In short MYTH is a dirty four letter word and GOD, Allah or Yahweh are not.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @GodPot- "So was Abraham dishonest? There apparently were no other worshipers of the God of the Hebrews at that time"

      No..he wasn't. Plz do not ignore all the chapters prior to those with Abraham. Actually, you might want to double check your own word usage. "Hebrews"?? At the time of Abraham?

      "My point is valid but you just don't want to see yourself that way so you make excuses as to why your un-provable belief is better than someone else's,"

      Your point is still not valid and your attempt to validate it has failed. I have yet to say that anyone's faith is better than anyone else's. You are making @ssumptions based on no reality but your own imagination.

      "and the excuse you are using is "Well everybody else believes this way so it must be true." which seems like a poor thing to base your faith."

      I've never said that. You are a fool or a liar. Maybe you are both on this subject.
      My faith, which was never the topic yet you have this odd obsession for it, has never been based on the number of believers their have been. You are agin making foolish @ssumptions. I offer a the suggestion to you to gather more information before making any further @ssuptions that make you a fool.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  2. DA

    this is goofy....

    March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  3. jsf12

    I'm an atheist, but I see no reason for atheists to proselytize. Those billboards are a stupid waste of money.

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

      I am an atheist and I agree, this money could have been spent feeding the hungry. Leave it to the christians to buy gold crucifixes then preach about saving the poor...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • BK

      So you haven't noticed the jews and the muslims murdering each other in droves? Just because they are atheists doesn't mean they don't care for the good of humanity.

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

      Also: If you were an Atheist that lived in those areas and had to face the threat of being murdered if anyone found out what you were, you'd care about what these people thought.

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

      I would love to not be vilified anymore. I think the more people who "come out" to their families and friends, the more religious people will have a positive (or at least less negative) view of atheists.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      asdf, who is vilifying you exactly? Stop playing the victim. Very few people here try to cram their believes down the throats of others like you have.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • tcp

      Mr. N – Looked at a dollar bill lately? Said the Pledge of Allegiance? Ever been berated for even loosely implying that the god-thing has no place in schools, on money, or ANYWHERE else that atheist money supports?...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      tcp, why? What exactly does the phrase on a dollar bill do to your daily life? If your quality of life suffers because of a few characters on a dollar bill, your life is poorer than I thought. Maybe that atheism thing is not bringing you the happiness you thought it would?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Bo

      @ Mike: I agree; there is a lot money spent on frivolous things, both religious and secular. The secular people, well it’s not just secular people, the people of this nation and other nations as well, spend so much money on nonsense that if it could have been used to help the unfortunate in this world, there would be no hunger. Think of the millions spent for the Rose Bowl Parade, The Macy Parade, The Mardi Gras, etc. not to mention the money spent on sports events and other things. After these events are over: other than a memory, what is left that is of any real temporal value?
      Think if a small portion of that wasted money were spent to help the people in drought stricken Africa how much it would help.
      Don’t point fingers at other people, religious or not, everybody is guilty.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  4. Brandon

    It doesn't matter who puts up what billboards, Jesus Christ wins in the end. Revelation 19:11-16.

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

      Your god was nailed to a cross, my god, Thor, wields a hammer. My god is better.

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

      Mike has a point, Thor whoops Jesus 10/10 times.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • asdf

      Revelations was written by a crazy person after he was ex-communicated and banished to a small island. He wrote four different versions, and they picked the LEAST CRAZY one, just to give you an idea of the rest of the stuff. He was probably on 'shrooms the whole time.

      ..So I wouldn't hang my hat on that one.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • JJ

      That was a good book, but I like the Harry Potter series better.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bo

      @ Mike, do you know whay christ was nailed to a cross?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Brandon

      "Hulk will SMASH" Avengers #8 Chapter 3 Line 8.

      Now I realize its stupid to base ones life on a comic book, so I am curious as to how you haven't figured that out yet?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  5. Mike

    I am an atheist, I am a good person, if I go to hell for not believing in the sky fairy, your god is a loser.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      A good person hu? Belittling the majority of the population makes you a good person?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Shaji

      Mike,

      I respect your opinion; but its like saying "I work for IBM and if IBM doesn't cut me a check, IBM is a loser." So refrain from idiotic comments because other people hole God to a higher standard.

      Thank you

      March 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Belittling the majority of the population makes you a good person?"

      And excusing people for their false beliefs that they force upon others by attempting to legislate morality because they are a majority is righteous how?

      Is that what you base your faith on Mr. N? That a lot of people believe in God so I guess I should to?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  6. Robert

    ATHEISM: The opiate of the Proud, Puffed-Up and Educated

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

      Uneducated*

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

      If education is a hallmark of atheism, then what does that say about theists?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • What?

      If being educated makes me a atheist, then I will gladdy be a Atheist. What kind of person belittles knowledge?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      You got that wrong. It's not the educated. Its:

      ..educated-beyond-their-level-of-intelligence.

      Get it right!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  7. WestboroBaptistChurch

    What a bunch of idiots. I sure am glad no Christian groups are out there making fools of themselves. Well, see you later. We've got a soldier's funeral to protest.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  8. jewish girl

    You could feed a lot of hungry kids with the money they are spending on those billboards.

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

      I'll keep that in mind the next time I drive past a JCC.

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

      and you could feed a poor villager for a year on what you pay for your monthly cable bill. your point?

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

      You could feed a lot of hungry kids with the money they spend on those marble-laden churches.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • William Demuth

      So I guess the printer and the building owners kids don't matter?

      You could feed MILLIONS on the money you zealots use to strangle and subjugate the Palestinian people.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  9. Hank Zmith

    Yo Atheists:
    Burn a Koran while you're at it.

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

      sorry, book burning is what religious zealots do to other religious dogma they disagree with. and sometimes people they disagree with too.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Drumcode

      Hey Hank, looks like you've got owned.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I prefer that you guys just continue to burn each other.

      Zealots killing Zealots, like the retarted children of the original sociopath Abraham.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Shaji

      You can burn as many as you want; but you cannot burn the hearts and minds that have it engraved on them...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • tcp

      Hey William Demuth – If you're going to use an offensive, derogatory, bigoted term like retarded the least you could do is spell it right. TOOL!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Red

    Can an atheist tell me why atheism is good and not why every other religion is bad?

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

      Oh that one's easy – atheism isn't a religion no matter how many times you call it that.

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

      OOOOO i dunno, because atheists preach compassion and doing the right thing for the fact that it makes you a decent human being whereas religious folks do the right thing for fear of eternal damnation to hell for instance.

      I am an atheist, I am a good person, if I go to hell for not believing in the sky fairy, your god can S my D.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      Mike, what is a good person? Ultimately, what is good? As an atheist do you believe it's purely a human construct?

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

      If nothing else, it forces one to really try to live the best way one can because, as an Atheist, there is only this life...so why spend life trapped in a way of thinking that divides more than it unites?

      As an Atheist, I don't feel morally superior to anybody, that's for the self-righteous religious people – I simply don't think a belief in something as fantastical and unprovable as any version of god is necessary in order for a person to be a good person.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Religion is belief in silliness.

      Atheisim is the rejection of silliness.

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

      you're comparing apples and oranges. atheism simply says there is no god. it's not a form of ethics or a philosophy on living your life. it's just a denial of an imaginary being in the sky. if you want an atheistic form of ethics, try Humanism. if you compare Humanism to Christianity... well, there is no comparison. Humanism says use logic and reason, have compassion and help fellow human beings in need, do away with h_o_m_o_phobia and prejudices of any kind, education and health care are free and a right, treat the earth better, etc. i challenge you to look up Humanism and tell me how Christianity is more ethical. Humanism is modern ethics; Christianity is bronze age morals.

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

      @ Mike: what makes you think that Christians "fear death".

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

      @Mike: BTW, when do atheists ever preach anything, and who is their congregation?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Mike's friend

      Mike is a decent human being because he adheres to a moral standard. Mike's moral standard derives from his society, but that society just maintains and transmits a standard that has been developed progressively throughout history primarily with the help of religious thought. Mike enjoys the benefits of religion even though he may not believe.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      Mike's fried: Exactly! The atheist's value code can be humanism, but it can very easily be any other human-based value code, including a judeo-christian based one. Nothing wrong if they choose not to believe in God: It's a personal choice. However, disparaging the very source of the freedoms and values they enjoy, is uncalled-for.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  11. MikeyinLA

    I do believe in a higher power but my problem with Atheists is not that they don't believe but find no similarity in their own fundamentalism. Atheists, just as all fundamentalists of any belief or religion tell everyone else how wrong they are, how stupid they are and what a waste of time they are engaged in.

    I don't hate Atheists, believe what ever you want but don't for one second think, as so many of you do, that you are any better than fundamentalist hateful Christians, Jews, Muslims or Scientologists.

    How do you not cause resentment and dislike towards your beliefs by demeaning other people? So many Atheists say that they are retaliating against the Churches and religions that have forced and dominated the lives of so many in the past. So be it. But none of those religions have the power they once did and your cause doesn't create nearly the converts you'd get by your hateful, disrespectful belittling messages on billboards and buses. In the end, aren't you doing exactly what you apparently hate these religions for doing?

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

      You clearly are oblivious to the impact religion has on politics and the people who create the laws of for this country.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • JJ Jukebox

      Lets say for instance the argument is "there is such a thing as the Easter Bunny". Would you post the same comment you just did? That is how atheist feel about religion. It's false and ruining the world. Sure, religion does orginize good deeds such as helping the needy, funding disater relief, etc......but for crying out load, there is no bearded man in the sky. There is no afterlife. The universe wasn't created in 6 days and isn't 6000 years old. And for sure, there isn't 60 virgins waiting for Muslims after death. How is a civilized world suppose to react to aldults professing ideas of a child???????

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

      Sybaris, I am not oblivious to the role religion plays in politics at all. Again, I not only see it but I categorize the vast majority of those who impose their religions beliefs into politics as fundamentalists, even if they have the best of intentions or not. Even as someone that does believe in a higher power, I DO to believe in the separation of (All) Church(s) and State.

      But to my point, most Atheists are as bad as those same people you say affect politics with their religions, they are simply in power at this time and have been for ages.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      Actually, you yourself are an atheist when it comes to 99.9999% of the gods man has invented for himself over the centuries. The only difference between you and an "atheist" is that the atheist goes .0001% further than do you and doesn't believe in your god either.

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

      generalization.... tool of the ignorant.

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

      in all seriousness, imagine you were raised in a cult. but not just a local cult, a cult that had swept the country. this cult tried to change everything in the country to match their religious doctrine, a book that says gay people are evil, women are second class citizens, the world was made 6k years ago and a whole bunch of evil/ignorant dogma. what would you think? wouldn't you want to free people from the religious zealotry of the cult? wouldn't you want that dangerous cult that relies on fear, ignorance and guilt to be disbanded? that's how atheists feel about christianity.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • MikeyinLA

      fintastic – again how do you not see generalization in exactly what you believe in? You generalize EVERYONE with a belief in a higher power as the same = Abortion doctor killing / science denying / suicide bomber nut job.

      How do you not see yourself as a the exact same? Or rather, why are you not, the same? You generalize everyone that doesn't believe what you believe, do you not?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Bo

      @Sybaris: Can you cite any recent new laws that favored Christians that offended secular people.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  12. V

    Athiests, if you want to put so much faith in humanity, remember that is humanity that wrote each page of the Bible. If you find inconsitencies, blame humanity's misinterpretation and seperate religion from Theism. Jesus himself was opposed to organized religion, and he urged us to pray in a closet with the door closed away from everybody else. I follow most teachings of the Bible and question a few...but I have very personal reasons to believe in God, and I do not appreciate your generalization of Theists.

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

      Do you believe in Quranic teachings? Talmud?...or is it just the Bible that's "right"?

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

      Humans also wrote A Seperate Peace. Doesn't mean it's good or worth reading.

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

      Well said! Clearly someone who has had religious studies classes and has an understanding of the actual base for what became Christianity. I wonder if you, V would agree with what I said? That many Atheists are just as bad as all fundelmentalists of every religion, in that they believe in their own superiority over others based upon what they believe (or don't) in.

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

      tcp...I think that's what V is saying...V doesn't "believe" in the Bible...V believes in God

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

      I have little knowledge of other religious texts, therefore I don't place judgement. Something I wish many Athiest would do as well when regarding the Bible. I will say though, I was deployed in the middle-east and the locals were some of the nicest people I've ever met. They asked me every day how my family was and if they were healthy and happy.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      I know it's a difficult idea for the faithful to understand, but atheists don't "put faith" in things, including humanity. It's a shame that you can't see things from a perspective outside of you little faith box. Instead, you project your need for faith in the imaginary on everybody else.

      Atheism is non-belief. It is a religion the way that not collecting stamps is a hobby. You yourself have no faith in the thousands of gods man has created for himself over the centuries. For some reason, you hold the CONCEIT that your god is the "real" god. Guess what? He isn't. He's just as make believe as are Zeus and Anubis.

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

      MikeyinLA – I've never been to an American Athiests meeting, so I'm not sure what they "preach", but everything I've encounterd coming from that organization appears to only be an effort to destroy other people's ideals, and I have yet to see an "American Athiests Soup Kitchen" or the "American Athiests Relief Fund". I would love for an Athiest to prove me wrong and educate me about that organization's efforts in civil services.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • V

      Mr Mark – It seems to me that Athiests are putting FAITH into good-ethics and empathy existing without the belief that someone up above is watching and judging your integrity.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      There are plenty of "atheist" charities out there. Just because you've never heard of them doesn't mean they don't exist.

      Do a Google search on "atheist charities" and you'll become enlightened.

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

      Mr Mark – I understand there are plenty of secular charities...but for organizations such as American Athiests who raise money and gather people I would think they'd put those funds and helping hands to do something other than erecting billboards.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      To V – why can't atheists do both, just like churches do? Help the poor and put up a billboard?

      Apply your standards to religious groups before you ask them of atheists and we'll talk.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  13. asdf

    I would LOVE for one person to explain how this billboard is in any way different than the 10,000 pro-jesus billboards all over the place. You might think it silly that they would spend money on convincing people (you'd be wrong), but that's another discussion. I'm asking what is morally different about this versus a pro-Christian billboard. Aren't they, by definition, also calling other religions incorrect?

    March 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Marthalynne Webb

      Thank you asdf. Gettin' real tired of having things shoved down my throat in a "free country." It seems the political activists and religious extremists think it's free for them but no one else. Next thing ya know they'll be hanging witches in Salem again.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Atually no.

      Believers need people to believe and then war over the details.

      We non-believers threaten to topple the industry of salvation. No more trillions for the liars and zealots.

      Scares the pants of them.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  14. To the Atheist

    You just can't say no to God...
    There is no choice

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

      You can't just say no to Allah, you have no choice. Idiot.

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

      🙂

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I don't believe in free will but that's an extension of my lack of belief in god. No supernatural – no god – no way to change physics – no way to change brain chemistry – no free will.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • rodney in little rock

      wow. ominous.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • dp in Missouri

      You just can't say no to Chocolate!!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  15. Uncouth Swain

    I find the billboards to be in bad taste. These same ppl would be the ones that would whine about being "preached" to but yet will be hypocrites with this.
    Nothing wrong with them believing in their opinion..no more than anyone of a faith. But why offend ppl for no good purpose?

    March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • ski2xs

      Because it's all they're really left with. Just look through the pages and pages of comments here. IMHO, it's what many seem to be best at.

      Hey, go with your strengths I guess?

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

      Your religion offends me. Are you going to stop talking about it?...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @tcp- "Your religion offends me. Are you going to stop talking about it?..."

      I never stated my faith for one thing. Other than that, yes..I will talk about it...in the proper place and time. I wouldn't be so dumb as to go about and insult atheists for not believing in a faith.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • dp in Missouri

      And yet we see Jesus billboards everywhere... but I guess that's ok.
      The last I checked, this is still a free country.
      Poor taste? Offensive??? How about billboards and signs with abortion pictures!
      The thing that really REALLY annoys me about 'The Faithful' is the Hypocrisy!
      I should put up signs of caltholic preists molesting young kids! I'm against that too!!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @dp in Missouri- "And yet we see Jesus billboards everywhere... but I guess that's ok."

      ~I never said they were ok now did I? Don't go making @ssumptions. If those "Jesus" billboards were merley advertising a faith or church. Fine. Just as fine as an atheist organization stating what they believe. However, atheist or religious, to go out with the intention of offending someone's beliefs is rather childish.

      "How about billboards and signs with abortion pictures!"

      ~That could be argued to be a political billboard. Though you weren't very specific with the details.

      "I should put up signs of caltholic preists molesting young kids! I'm against that too!!"

      I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of atheists and religious are in agreement with you.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Mike

    In my lifetime I have never seen religion move mountains, but I have sure seen religion change skylines.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      I have also seen religion change death rates due to malnutrition, for the better. Your point?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Jane Says

      Beautifully put. Should be on a bumper sticker. :o)

      March 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  17. seek-the-truth

    To all athiests, watch HAMZA TZORTZIS debates, on youtube.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  18. spud1954

    Believing that the universe just poofed into existence on its own seems kinda stupid, too. When you boil it down you only have two choices....believe in a creator or believe that the universe created itself.

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

      We can see and test the universe; why bank on something we can't see and test to have begun it?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      Oh really? And who created the creator? Or did the creator just poof into existence? And if a creator could just poof into existence, why couldn't the universe do the same? "Oh, but the creator is different!" Right. Childish, illogical thinking.

      Honestly, you religious types never bother thinking through what you're saying before you post to boards like this.

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

      And you find idea than it is all created by an invisible human called "god" makes more sense? Where did the guy come from ?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • ski2xs

      Wow. . . it never ceases to amaze me at the ignorance those who profess 'science' seem to have. After spending years studying quantum physics what causes me the most side splitting rounds of laughter is when someone with no foundation attempts to explain 'life' in terms of abiogenesis dealing strictly with already complex atomic structure.

      And Mark. . what exactly do you define in your mind as a 'creator' when you think deeply on it? A magic cloud man that appears on your plate of spaghetti?

      How naive.

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

      mark: "Oh really? And who created the creator? Or did the creator just poof into existence? And if a creator could just poof into existence, why couldn't the universe do the same?"

      It's ironic you talk about thinking things through when it's obvious you haven't.

      The entire purpose of positing the existence of a "creator" is that:

      1) There must be a first cause to the universe because an infinite regress of material causes is both illogical and physically impossible.

      And, 2) therefore the first cause must be both immaterial and outside of the universe, and the cause of everything within the universe.

      Asking who "created" the creator is a non-sequitur because it violates the premises of the argument: that there must be a first cause for material things by necessity, and so there must be some immaterial cause above and outside of the universe itself.

      That thing is what theists call "god".

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

      alex: "And you find idea than it is all created by an invisible human called "god" makes more sense? Where did the guy come from ?"

      Nice strawman. Anthropomorphic gods are the product of religion, they are not what theist refer to when talking about a "god" qua "first cause".

      Nice try.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Joe

      There are far more logical and scientific arguments that the universe created itself. When you consider that science says that it took billions of years and religion says it took seven days, the arguments for the former are even more compelling. Religion goes out of it's way to teach their ridiculous beliefs to children at a young age ... before they're old enough to realize just how ridiculous those beliefs actually are. Many (myself included) are afraid not to believe in God ... it doesn't make any sense, but who wants to burn in hell forever and ever ... Amen!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      Nah & ski2 have apparently never heard of an infinite regression.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      "The entire purpose of positing the existence of a "creator" is that:

      1) There must be a first cause to the universe because an infinite regress of material causes is both illogical and physically impossible. And, 2) therefore the first cause must be both immaterial and outside of the universe, and the cause of everything within the universe."

      So in other words, winning your argument is entirely dependent on stipulating that the imaginary/fantastic is true.

      Right. What grade are you in?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  19. massms

    Billboards are expensive; the atheists could do much good – and get the attention they crave – by spending the money on a worthy cause instead of on this silly, childish nonsense.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • spud1954

      Atheists seem to be a hatefilled lot. You must believe as they do or you are ignorant....seems to be their message.

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

      As could the Christians with their billboards.

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

      Very well put. As an athiest, I agree with you completly.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  20. U so crazy

    Religious people are shown in countless studies to be happier, live longer, have lower rates of drug abuse and violent/criminal behavior. Whether there is a God or not doesn't matter. The belief is great comfort to many. Atheists can only comfort themselves with their self congradulatory arrogance in knowing that they are smarter than all those folks that are happier.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Mr Mark

      Cite those studies. You can't.

      You don't believe in Zeus. Does that mean that you are "comforting yourself with self-congratulatory arrogance?" Didn't think so.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      You're wrong, I have seen studies saying their happier but all the others are way off base. More theists use drugs than atheists, and prisons are packed full of theists with only a very small amount of atheists

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

      Utter nonsense. Source? YOUR belief is shoved into everyones face EVERY single minute of EVERY single day. Who is being self congrdulatory (sic)?

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

      i'm: "More theists use drugs than atheists, and prisons are packed full of theists with only a very small amount of atheists"

      False statistics and fallacies, eh?

      First, if there are more "theist" drug users it's because there are vastly more "theists" than atheists. To give a proper number you have to show the ratio between atheist drug users and atheists as a whole, and theist drug users and theists as a whole.

      Second, prison conversions are irrelevant because conversions often take place to aid parole.

      Third, your argument is a strawman. You may as well say "there are more blacks in prison than anyone else" in order to prove that being black is wrong, or means you're violent, or criminal, etc.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • U so crazy

      To those of you claiming I am lying or wrong, I'll defer to your standard argument. Prove I'm wrong; If you can't then I'm right, and you are misguided.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • U so crazy

      I did take 2 seconds on google for those too lazy to do so- http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/spirituality-may-help-people-live-longer
      That's web MD a hotbed of creationism.

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

      Many religious people believe they are the crowning achievement of an all power God watching and judgeing their every moment and will reward them after they die because they are so faithful/good/righteous etc. and only they can stop others from living sinful lives and spread proper morality...as the mouthpiece of said God.

      no, that's not arrogant at all.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • U so crazy

      Hre's one on happines-http://news.discovery.com/human/religion-happiness-social-bonds.html

      March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • U so crazy

      Here is one on drug abuse http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/PressReleases.aspx?articleid=115&zoneid=48

      March 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • U so crazy

      Mr Mark, I have cited three studies in 2 minutes. Please cite even one showing atheists to be happier, use drugs less or live longer.
      If you can't you are just clinging to your own faith system ignoring scientific fact. Sound familiar?

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

      less than 1% of our prison population identify as atheists.

      ....all of the rest of the things you mentioned are actually the result of being more intelligent, as all of those things also apply to intelligent people. a correlation is not a causation.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """Religious people are shown in countless studies to be happier, live longer, have lower rates of drug abuse and violent/criminal behavior."""

      Whitney Houston loved the Lord.

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

      We eat breakfast across from a Catholic church on Sunday mornings. When the church emties out after services, none of the attendees look very happy. Coincidence? Makes you wonder if they'd be better off on drugs.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Tom

      Here are some facts. Something that religious people are not very good at:
      http://www.opposingviews.com/i/atheism-rare-among-prison-population

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
Advertisement
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.