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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. HeroicSlug

    How can so many people believe in this garbage?

    There isn't any evidence of gods, no more than there is for Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny! I understand your parents telling you they exist can be powerful, but we all eventually conclude the latter two are fiction. Why isn't it so for the former?

    I'll never understand the mystery of faith.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Jonathan

      If you believe and have a personal relationship with God then you have your proof, you feel it and God speaks to you. He speaks to all of us, but only some choose to listen.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Drew

      Becuase the other two aren't explained in a long, borning book written 2000 years ago

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

      The very fact that you are breathing is testament to God. He made you and he loves you!

      March 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • What

      By listening you mean give lots of money

      March 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • jimtanker

      No, that isnt proof. That isnt even evidence. That is an oppinion. I will refer you to the blog yesterday about Bill Mahr.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      God touches me in my secret spot and I like it.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
      carl sagan

      you are making an extraordinary claim that there's a magical being in the sky controlling everything. where's your extraordinary evidence to support your claim?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Everything is an opinion to those that dont believe it. Religion, science or just about anything can that can be said of. I have no reason to provemy belief or my God to anyone. That is the work of my lord, my work is to live a life that would support what I say and feel of my God.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      The very fact that I am breathing is a testament to the adaptability of life to mutate over time and incorporate available atmospheric gasses as a means of furthering its own functioning.

      Evolution does not know me, but I am it's blind attempt at perfection.

      It wants me to reproduce as much as possible, so that my offspring can be better suited to reproduce themselves.

      🙂

      March 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  2. Thomas

    At first I thought "but atheists don't proselytize", then it occurred to me that it makes sense to decrease the ranks of blind, ignoramuses who try to turn their religious views into our laws. Make perfect sense to me now.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  3. DrewNYC

    Another happy Atheist here. I used to be religious, and I am a better person now than I was before letting go of religion. Since I know that we only have one life to live, I make an extra effort to help other people (since I don't believe that a higher power will help them), as well as pursue my own happiness and just try to spread love. I prefer to be treated the way I treat other people, which should be religions number 1 goal rather than trying to save people from supposed eternal damnation and spread fear to control mass amounts of people. But that's just me.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      Oops, this was supposed to be in reply to @U so crazy. Not sure why it made a new post...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Nodack

      Your post was good enough on its own. I feel the same way. I am very happy and religion makes up no part in my life. What a monumental waste. There are good points to religion like preaching goodness and love, but you don't need a made up God for that.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Mike

      Yep, Drew, your post is good enough on its own. If there was a like button, I'd push it.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  4. pat

    God is male? In what sense? Male Greek gods mated with female gods but what makes the god that is popular with Americans a male? Does he have an anatomy?

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

      We are made in his image and the bible says he is male, so I guess he would also have anatomy. I guess in paradise those questions will be answered.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • jimtanker

      The bible is a poorly written work of fiction. Evidence of nothing.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      if you think about it, God is such a C0CK that he must be male...

      March 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I will respect your opinion, but i will not agree with it. I just wish you and all of the people on this earth, peace, happiness and whatever revelations they have in their lives to make them happy.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Strong Agnostic, Weak Atheist

      Johnathan, if we are made in his image, and that image is male, how do you account for the 51% that is female? Are they less godly because they don't have male parts?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  5. Edward

    What a load of crap. "We are not trying to inflame." Then why use, "You know its a myth." That's an insult to those who's religion your are disregarding. If you truly did not want to inflame you would say something more along the lines of, "American Atheists ... come join us. We understand."

    Whenever anyone prefaces a statement with, "This isn't about ... whatever ..." that's exactly what its about and this statement of "We don't mean to inflame ... " is exactly what this is about.

    And, if there is no God, what's the point? If there is no God, then why waste your time on people who are wasting their time? It matters not what they do because for you and for them there is no God. Go to the park and enjoy the day.

    I am not particularly religious.

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

      Because most people, at the back of their minds, must know that this is just one more fairytale.

      Those who don't are either lying to themselves or have a psychological condition not unlike dependency.

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

      The point is that religious groups are trying to insert religion into schools in place of science. The US is falling behind other developed countries as it is, but to have mythology that is no different than Greek or Norse mythology taught as fact would make us fall behind even more.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  6. RossC

    The tactics used by the religious are good and Atheists need to copy them to reach out to people that can think rationally and value evidence.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      Like holy war, fear tactics, and other similar threats? The majority of Atheists I know are for peace and against indoctrination. Scratch that, ALL the Atheists I know are for peace and indoctrination. (Not to say that there are not Atheist extremists, every group has a few crazies, but the ratio is FAR less among Atheists. I promise you, most of us are nice people with great morals!)

      March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  7. TheFatherofLies

    Deez: Atheists believe you only have one life, so cherish it. Everyone else only has one life as well, so don't hurt them in the process of living yours.

    Best quote of the day. Thanks for that one, Deez.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Tony in Detroit

    Atheists, in general, and Silverman, in particular, need to stop speaking for us Agnostics. In fact, Silverman isn't even speaking for all atheists - regardless, a little respect would go a long way.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • jimtanker

      I agree with you to a certain extent, but those billboards are just so funny.

      He is doing what he started out to do which is to stir up controversy and get free adverstizement.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  9. CCD08

    “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.”

    Really? Then why use the word "Myth" in the billboard. No, Mr Silverman, you are trying to bring people to Atheism. Man up and announce your true intentions.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Mike

      So if you ran into someone who believed in the greek mythological gods, you would say "O your religion...?"No, they're myths, just like islam is a myth, just like christianity is a mth, just like the egyptian gods are myths.......

      March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Mike's friend

      Of course at one time the Greek god's were believed to be real, not a myth, by quite a few people. You recognize that they were later demoted to myth status and hope (beg?) that other ideas that people have that you disagree with may be treated similarly.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  10. adamg

    seems awfully polarizing. also a bit contradictory–atheists often cite religion pushing their views onto others as one of its major problems. in the case of these billboards, they're doing the exact same thing.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      wrong.
      atheists don't complain about religious billboards. atheists complain when it's in a government building. see a difference?

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

      Very true, they are making 'atheism' into a region now!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      1,000s upon 1,000s of church signs, billboards, etc. Really don't hear much complaining. Two signs for atheists and its on CNN's front page.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • DarkBronzePlant

      They're actually not pushing their views on to anyone. They're simply reaching out to "closeted" atheists who already share their non-religious values, essentially telling them that's okay to believe that way.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Noigiler

      So sad that you don't see the difference between a billboard posted next to a highway–paid for by private funds–and religious dogma and prayer being forced on citizens and paid for by tax dollars.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  11. swohio

    The solution is simple: people of faith should put up billboards right next to the ones put up by the atheists, declaring the message "You know it's not a myth". Honestly, if atheists really think they're going to pursuade believers to stop believing by putting up such silly messages on billboards, they are sadly mistaken and obviously know nothing about what it means to have faith in God.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • William Demuth

      You are correct, we know nothing of blind ignorant subservience, and have no desire to learn.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @swohio: You said, "Honestly, if atheists really think they're going to pursuade believers to stop believing by putting up such silly messages on billboards"

      Honestly, we really don't. We accept that the "true believers" are lost. We're trying to reach the fence-sitters who are looking for support for their "blasphemy."

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

      The point isn't to convince believers to stop believing – that's extremely hard to do. The point is for non-believers to realize that they aren't alone, and that it's ok to not believe.

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

      I think the point is not to try to "convert" believers but to reach out to those who already don't believe or feel like they don't believe but are surrounded by those who do and thus feel trapped/isolated. That is what is stated in the article.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Webfoot

    Serious question for non believers reading …. If you could somehow be shown irrefutable proof that God exists, and that there is life everlasting in Heaven … what would you think about it? Sometimes I feel that would trade my faith for certainty.

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

      I would think that god is a twisted, selfish deity. I would know god existed at this point and worship it but yea.... twisted monster god.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I suggest you read Milton.

      It would be far better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

      To that end, if I met a man that I absoulutley knew was the savior, I would kill him. Mankind does NOT need the benevolence of God, it would be our damnation.

      I guess the Romans were smarter than we give them credit for!

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

      Mike ... that is not the God that I was brought up to believe in. Humans have free will. That is the reason for so much evil, cruelty, and suffering in the world. It is also the reason for so much kindness, beauty, compassion and reason for hope.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • BRC

      If there are gods, there gods, I would have no problem with that. If there is a heaven, GREAT, I try very hard to live a good life because I believe it is the right thing to do; if it turns out I get reqarded for it, neat. IF it turns out that it is the "God" as described in the Bible, then I would continue my life unchanged, as I believe that "God" is a tyrant unworthy of consideration or following.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • DarkBronzePlant

      As a current non-believer, I would like change my views.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Mike

      I would agree with the other Mike...if it is the abrahamic god of the old testament, he is a bully, plain and simple. I think if proof of a true loving, peaceful god would be great, but where has he been? As the Greek philosopher Epicurus said:

      Either God wants to abolish evil and cannot,
      or he can but does not want to,
      or he cannot and does not want to,
      or lastly he can and wants to.

      If he wants to remove evil, and cannot,
      he is not omnipotent;
      If he can, but does not want to,
      he is not benevolent;
      If he neither can nor wants to,
      he is neither omnipotent nor benevolent;
      But if God can abolish evil and wants to,
      how does evil exist?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Webfoot, were you brought up catholic, by any chance? I'm not asking in an accusatory fashion. In the two parochial schools I attended, and dealing with many people who were of various protestant sects, I found that bible study is more heavily encouraged in the protestant churches. In fact, catholics tend to be accused by many protestants of "not knowing their faith". A few years ago, I had a long convalescence which allowed me time to reflect on my life, and read a lot. In addition to several philosophical books, I read several books of faith, including the catholic bible. The kind, loving god that is taught in school is not portrayed in the bible, neither are the stories of the fall of satan. A cottage industry grew up around the church and the bible (the shroud of Turin is an example), and let's face it, if a man named Jesus existed, his followers built things up quite a bit as well. Acts 2:13 almost points fun at itself.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  13. Jonathan

    To all my athiest brothers and sisters... No matter what you currently feel or believe the one powerful truth is that God loves you. He knows you, he knows you journey and knows your internal struggles. He will be in your life regardless if you believe in him or not...Because he believes in you. God bless all of you

    March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you can be deprogrammed. it is possible to think for yourself. try it. stop being afraid. stop feeling guilty every time you feel good. get an education.

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

      Get help. You seem to have schizophrenia.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Noigiler

      He loves me so much he will have me roast in eternal damnation for not believing in him. Swell guy.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      He has a list and is checking it twice!

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

      Bootyfunk, you're right...it's possible to be deprogrammed. You've been programmed into thinking there is no god. But you can change. You CAN start believing. You have that freedom. You really do.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Your attacks on me are understandable, without Gods love you live in fear and you are both very afraid. I am highly educated and think for myself, and I only respond to your anger with love as my God has asked of me. Prayers to both of you and I pray one day you allow your hearts to allow God to enter. God Bless.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Nodack

      He also says that I will burn in hell for eternity because I didn't bow down to him in life.

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

      Jonathan,

      One can know so much about a person by how he thinks his god behaves.

      Gauging from this post, you seem like a nice person. Other believers and their gods, not so much...

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

      I'm going to ask you a very serious, very honest, and very important question. I would like you to consider carefully, and to keep it in mind always. I want you to ask yourself this at all times, and ask it of others you meet when you come across statements asserting truth. Please consider this carefully:

      HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Tell your God to stick his love back in his crypt.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      swohio. uuuuuummmmmm... yeah.
      logic and reason leads my thinking. i know that sounds "cultish" to you because christians hate facts...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I was asked "How Do I Know That?" Easily asked and hard to answer. If you dont feel it or have not opened your heart to God I really dont know how to explain how I know my God. I guess for me its the same as two people in teh same spot one feeling warm by the rays of the sun, the other still feeling chilled. Why one can feel its warmth and the other can not is a mystery to me.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • DarkBronzePlant

      Thank you. Oh, and FYI, Cthulhu believes in you too, but he wants to eat you.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      Cthultu doesn't want to eat anyone.

      He wants to eat their souls.

      All hail him. Legacy of the Old Ones.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Adam

      Hi Jonathan. You admit it is "hard to answer" how you KNOW what you assert unconditionally. You "dont know how to explain" it. You say it "is a mystery."

      Your answers converge on a single explanation: you are grotesquely misusing the word "know." And this is not helpful for human cooperation and conversation.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  14. PIjoe

    I've never understood the atheists "movement"...and I'm an atheist. Why is it necessary to put up billboards to try to convince others that God is not real? I don't believe in an all-powerful superbeing who holds sway over the entire universe. But most of my firends and neighbors are people of faith. We're all good people I think. Pay our taxes, vote, obey most laws. Why is there this need by either side to beat the other over the head with their beliefs? Just folllow your own beliefs and don't worry about everyone else.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      were you raised in an atheist home or something? for most atheists, coming out is very difficult. my mother, still a southern baptist, stopped speaking to me for 2 years when i told her i was an atheist. so it's not always that easy. surveys show atheists are hated more than any other group in this country. tell people at your work you're an atheist and watch how fast you get alienated. these billboards, as he said, are there to tell non-believing people in heavily religious communities that there are other people who think like them. that's a good thing.

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

      We are simply "helping" them see the light!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Nodack

      As an agnostic I ignore the doorbell on the weekend because I know it's the bible thumpers coming to try to convince me to turn to their religion. At the same time I'm not interested in joining a group of Athiests in order to try to convince believers that they are wrong either. People can choose their own paths. i won't bother them and I don't want them bothering me. I do be
      Ievethat all religions are man made cults and that they are all brainwashed people believing in a God they will never see or hear. He just lives in 2000 year old words where he talked through burning bushes, parts seas, carves stone tablets with commandments on them, creates mules with wings that people can fly to heaven, feeds thousands with one fish and one loaf of bread. Back then all this kind of stuff seemed to happen all the time. Now not a peep for 2000 years. How many holy wars have there been in that time where good loving religious people have killed other good loving religious people of another faith over religion.

      God loves me so much that he feels the need to threaten me with eternal pain and suffering if I don't bow down to him. Sounds more like a dictator to me than a god.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Mike

      It's important to have a movement to keep religious non-sense out of the schools. Follow the National Center for Science Education to see how much religious legislation attempts to get through state educational boards every year. Yet the American christians want only Christianity taught in public schools...because somehow they think they have more solid evidence of their mythology than all the others...

      March 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Yet Another Poster

      Well, I don't know if you noticed, but there is a lot of legislation (anti-choice, contraception, etc) that's been pushed that's entirely religion-based. I am not even going to cover all the wars and pain inflected by religion in the middle-east.

      Atheists are indeed under attack by religion, and it is only fair to do something about it.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  15. Mike

    Sorry, I don't believe in a god who looked like Osama Bin Laden.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  16. Strong Agnostic, Weak Atheist

    "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
    Stephen Roberts

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

      Yes, absolutely!! If you tell a religious person that you believe in the Pantheon, multiple gods like the Greeks and Romans did, they think you are nuts! But they don't think they are nuts for believing in their one god. It crazy, whether you believe in one or several.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  17. Matt

    The irony is completely lost on the Atheists since they constantly cry about religious people forcing their views down everybody's throats and constantly berating them saying they are wrong, but yet they go and put up a billboard or two that does the exact things they are always whining and complaining about.

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

      the irony is... atheists don't cry about religious billboards. we "cry" when you put the 10 commandments in our courthouses. see a difference? how much would you cry if you saw those billboards hanging behind the judge in a courtroom?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Actually, it's not lost on us. We're simply giving you a taste of your own medicine.

      That you find such a small amount of it distasteful should make you understand how you make us feel nearly every day.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Matt

      The boot shall be on the other neck soon enough.

      We know what your cult has done, and it's time you paid the piper.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Doledart

      Yeah Matt, can't you see that any list saying don't kill, don't steal, show respect to others is flawed? I'd hate to see that hanging anywhere justice is supposed to be dispensed.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Ken

      You know it Matt. What good for the goose is not good for the gander. They are no different than any other group or activists movement. There's no higher ground there.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Doledart

      You make me laugh.

      The commandment is thou shall not MURDER. You rednecks misread the original and have misquoted it since.

      Killing is allowed in the bad book. In fact your crazy God recomends it time and time again.

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

      Doledart. You mean COMMON SENSE?

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

      doledart, yeah if that was all it said, maybe. but it comes from a book that says to put h_o_m_o_s_e_x_u_a_l_s to death.

      why not just say don't kill and steal without the religious backing? those rules were in place LONG before christianity reared its ugly head.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Dan613

      Matt, your religion has done this for millennia. A bit of a pay back won't hurt your pious eyes, right?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  18. harinder

    if there is "A" god , there cant be more than one. So whose it is Allah, Jewish, Christiasns, Hindu etc. Since we can not decide,
    let us leave him alone and try to live our lives in peace..

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

      I personally believe thier is one God, and all these different views are just different paths to the same God. He knows our differences and choose to give many different paths to himself.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • TracyG

      Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the Life". And I BELIEVE Him!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Dan613

      TracyG, sorry to disappoint you, but your don't actually believe "in" him (whomever that guy jesus was). You believe in hundreds of copyists, translators, clergy and oral traditions that say he said that.... and still you have no historical proof he (if ever existed) said that other than your own book saying so. Pretty confusing, uh?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • HeroicSlug

      Jonathan, your old pal Jesus said something like: "There is no way to the father but through me."

      So are you saying you don't agree with your own god?

      He went through all that trouble getting strung up on a telephone pole, and still, you can't just take him at his word.
      Tsk, tsk.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  19. Noocrat

    I tend to agree with a point Sam Harris made some time back, I don't know if it's useful to label ourselves. Doing so acknowledges the possibility of an alternative. I've never had to tell anyone I'm a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. I'm pro-water in case anyone was wondering, apologies to all the anti-water people out there.

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

      Blasphemy! Gatorade is the only true liquid for hydration!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • beebop

      Normally you can smell the non-water people coming.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  20. U so crazy

    Can anyone cite a study showing the positive effects on happiness, health or life expectancy gained from atheism?
    In a matter of minutes I was able to cite three showing the same for religion.

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

      I am a happy, healthy, living atheist. There you go.

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

      Positive effects on happiness, health, or life expectancy of being a critical thinker? Of questioning things before living one's life as though they were true? Nah, it would be much better for people to just do what they're told. Thinking and reasoning are way overrated.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • William Demuth

      SO you might sell your rationality for some personal gain?

      Did you read Muslim gain more from their faith than Christians, and Jews more than them?

      So quick, go have a briss and reject Jesus, I am sure it will be an emotional boon for you.

      As for myself, I reject lies, whatever the cost.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Noocrat

      It's true, ignorance is bliss. The religious majority tends to have less critical thinkers, as such they're in many cases care free as they're unaware of some of the things happening around them.

      How about another study? 15-20% of Americans are nonbelievers (depending on study), of which less than 1% of the prison population is made up of nonbelievers. something like 75-80% (depending on study) of American's are Christian, yet they make up over 95% of the prison population. So, who's more moral?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      All that proves is ignorance really is bliss. I'd rather live in reality for one fewer year than to live a lie for the extra one. There's also the fact that religious people waste more than a full year of their lives due to praying and things like that.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Justin Taylor

      Hey just because you're too weak to find meaning in life without a fictional character telling you what to do doesn't mean that the rest of us are the same way. We live life to the fullest as well...the meaning of life is living life.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Adam

      I would like to point out the OBVIOUS here, for clarification: An argument for its UTILITY is not an argument for its TRUTH.

      Your point seems to be that it is acceptable to lie to ourselves and to our children if we think it will be useful in some sense. If this is so, then you need to lay out your case for the elevation of utility over truth. Thank you.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • steve

      it's called thinking for youself

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

      Abraham's study has a 100% Standard Error.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • asdf

      Aside from the fact that those stats have nothing to do with religion's truth, all those stats (higher drug use, lower happiness, higher stress) are all found additionally in intelligent people (something highly correlated with atheism) – so your argument of causation is really a farce. Furthermore, I fail to see the outcome even if your argument made sense. Are you expecting an atheist to read that and think "Oh boy! I don't want to be a heroin user! I better start believing in god!"?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Greg s

      Critical thinker, You study a little science and suddenly you feel you have it figured out, Your meaning of life and the after life is based on other men's hypotheses, Yet it makes such good sense to you that you make a life choice based on it, then you stand up and criticize a person whose made a life choice based on A holy Book written 2000 years ago, When it comes down to it how are you any different, Your choices based on science which changes daily and theirs on the prophets. They feel your foolish and you feel there stupid.....amazing!!

      March 1, 2012 at 2:02 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.