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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. Joe

    yeah, and us coming from monkeys is not a myth. LOL. This has not been proven.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Noone has ever said that humans evolved from monkeys except for idiots who know nothing about the fact of evolution.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      Joe: You really should understand the theory before you bloviate. No one is claiming we came from monkeys. Now, go home and get your shinebox

      March 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • YeahOk

      God created Joe from dirt. Nuff said.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • MagFlare

      The science is pretty clear and noncontroversial: humans descended from earlier animals and share ancestry with modern apes.

      This is accepted by members of all religions and is pretty irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • risky

      Doesn't matter if it was proven or not, and I dont care because no one is going around trying to convince me.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      We evolved from apes actually. And we still are a subset of the ape family.

      Of course, if you reject the theory of Evolution on the premise that it's "ridiculous" and then turn around and tell me man was made from a pinch of dust by a super-wizard 6,000 years ago...well...

      there's just no fixing stupid is there?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Leo

      Life on Earth originated and then evolved from a universal common ancestor approximately 3.7 billion years ago.

      Do you believe this? No but it is the religion of the Atheist!! Stated as Fact yet never proven or even provable!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Jerry Bergman from Why Abiogenesis is Impossible. “Abiogenesis is only one area of research which illustrates that the naturalistic origin of life hypothesis has become less and less probable as molecular biology has progressed, and is now at the point that its plausibility appears outside the realm of probability. Numerous origin-of-life researchers, have lamented the fact that molecular biology during the past half-a-century has not been very kind to any naturalistic origin-of-life theory. Perhaps this explains why researchers now are speculating that other events such as panspermia or an undiscovered “life law” are more probable than all existing terrestrial abiogenesis theories, and can better deal with the many seemingly insurmountable problems of abiogenesis.”

      The full theory of panspermia requires two events to explain the presence of life on earth:
      1. The generation of life outside the earth
      2. The transfer of this life to earth
      Many scientists have objected that the generation of life cannot occur, or have occurred, outside of a planetary environment, where heavier elements are plentiful. Almost the only elements present in interstellar space are hydrogen and helium–and the latter, being an inert or noble gas, is not a component of life in any form known to man.
      The generation objection by itself would not destroy panspermia. But the transference event requires a transit through space, followed by a passage through the earth's atmosphere and then an impact on the ground or at sea. Either of these events is fraught with danger. The unprotected space outside of an atmosphere is subject to unfiltered radiation in various forms. These include the products of radioactive decay, cosmic rays (the highest-energy form of electromagnetic radiation known to man), and the stellar wind, a stream of particles that fly out from any star as it continuously burns. Even if any life forms could survive the spatial passage, it must then somehow penetrate the atmosphere and risk incineration from sheer friction, and then must survive the impact.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • svscnn

      I don't KNOW whether we evolved from apes, but to paraphrase Joe Rogan:

      "Humans share over 98% of the same DNA as chimps. Now, if I handed you a sandwich that was 98% shlt, and 2% ham, would you be willing to call that a 'ham' sandwich?"

      March 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • MagFlare

      Really, Mr. Brown? Unsourced and off-topic chunks of text taken from CreationWiki?

      If that's what passes for Christian scholarship these days, it's no wonder believers have become a minority in the world of science.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      It has actually been reduced to 95% by new studies, but then again most living things on earth have some genetic similarities. For example, even the DNA of plants is similar to that of humans. We share 60% of our DNA with a banana.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Sorry, thanks for sourcing that second part for me. I googled the banana thing not sure where it came from.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I always wonder why folks who purposefully choose to be ignorant about science come onto internet message boards and demonstrate that ignorance for all to see.

      Seriously, do any of you fundiots ever crack open a science journal?

      March 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • MagFlare

      @Mr. Brown: It's true that humans share about half of our genes with bananas - and unsurprising, too, because the plant and animal lineages diverged about 1.5 billion years ago. We're much more similar to other animals, and very, very similar to our closest living relatives, the great apes.

      Incidentally, there are different figures for human genetic similarity to apes because there are different means of measuring the difference. If you're talking about nucleotides, the 98% figure is about right. If you're talking about gene duplication, it drops to about 95%.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      really? you choose to deny such solid scientific support? do you have any idea how silly that sounds to anyone with even a high school-level science education?

      March 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  2. Marty in MA

    I am an atheist and don't believe anyone should convert anyone into any religion or atheism. It's a personal choice.
    This makes me as made as Evangelists do.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • beelzabarber

      agreed. People, just mind your own business. What works for you may not work for someone else

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  3. Chris

    People who state that God and Jesus are a myth are clueless because they never accepted him as there savior. Denial is stupidity and using that as a tough guy image surely wont make u happy or any better i feel sorry for anyone who talks like that.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "People who state that God and Jesus are a myth are clueless because they never accepted him as there savior."

      You're the one that is clueless, most atheist posting here are former christians.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Chris
      Now replace the names "God" and "Jesus" with "Zeus" and "Hercules".

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • risky

      comments like that are exactly why no one likes you.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Why would you accept something as your saviour that you dont believe in? You are making no sense.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      "People who state that God and Jesus are a myth are clueless because they never accepted him as there savior."

      Chris: "There savior"? Perhaps you should straighten out your own house before you call others stupid.

      "I feel sorry for anyone who talks like that."

      And I feel sorry for anyone who feels they need a savior

      March 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  4. pkp23

    I really feel that the organization is going about this in the wrong way...I don't understand why they are trying to make atheism into a religion...if they want to have a billboard then let them have a billboard but it should be more passive instead of attacking other religions...live and let live

    March 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  5. Doc Vestibule

    There are so many folk who are certain that their God, their church and their interpretation of their holy book is the One Truth... what unmitigated arrogance!

    Who is to say that Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama aren't true gods?
    How can the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, New Testament, Quran, Sunnah, Nahjul Balagha, Avesta, Vedas, Upanisahds, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Tantras, Sutras, Vachanas, Adi Granth, Purvas, Samayasara, Niyamasara, Pravacanasara, and Pancastikaya; Anupreksa; Samadhishataka of Pujyapada; Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati, Tattvarthasutra, Pali Tripitaka, Jataka,, Visuddimagga, Tripitaka, Lotus Sutra, Garland Sutra, Analects; the Great Learning; the Doctrine of the Mean; the Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, K-oki, Ofudesaki, Mikagura-uta, Michi-no-Shiori, Johrei, Goseigen, Netarean Shower of Holy Doctrines, Chun Boo Kyung, Kitab-i-Iqan, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Book of Mormon, Dianetics, or Revelation X be dismissed as Holy Books since they all claim to be The Truth?
    If you're a Bible adherent, how do you know whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, oriental Orthodox, As.syrian, Byzantine, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Anabaptism, Brethren, Methodist, Pietism, Apostolic, Pentocostal, Charismatic, African Initiated, United, Quakers, Couthcotti.tism, Millerism, British-Isrealism, Latter Day Saints, Mennonite, 7th day Adventism, Kelleyism, Co.oneyism, Shakers, Methernitha, Strigolniki, Yehowism, Christadelphians, Christian Science, doukhobors, Iglesia ni Cristo, Makuya, Molokans, Subbotniks, Ebionism, Martinism, Rosicrucians, Rastafarianism, Santo Daime, or Umbanda is the REAL interpretation of your God's words?

    If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, They should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Dean

      Can you tell me what holy book Pluto wrote?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • ski2xs

      Wow. . . so then what you're saying is that atheists are just as ignorant then. .right? I mean, to profess with unabashed authority that there is no god or deity has to represent the same kind of arrogance. . .correct?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      I didn't have to read this to see that you're missing the point....we believe in a Creator...because we're here. Forget the 'religion' and focus on a Loving Creator.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @ski2xz
      They cannot all be correct – but they can all be wrong!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @wisom4u
      Which creator would that be?
      Many have been postulated throughout the ages

      March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Doc is spot on. How can you prove any one of those God's doesn't exist? How can you prove your religion is the exact right religion? You tell us our everlasting hope is based on these choices. Better hope you pick the exact right combination. Reminds me of the one Emo Phillips joke about the man on the bridge.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • MM

      Make it easy – get yourself a King James Bible. It is the one and ONLY "Authorized Version".

      March 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Leo

      There are a lot of elements of Christianity that other religions share. In example Christianity starts with the foundation in the belief in God, as do many other religions especially the other monotheistic religions. Please notice the kind of God I am talking about here is not some force in the universe as is believed in many of the eastern religions, but rather a God that is a person, and this person is different from that which he created. So it isn’t that everything is God which is the case with pantheism of the eastern religions, but again this God created something separate from himself and there is a clear distinction of the two. Part of what he created are personal beings, part of which are human beings in particular and in addition you have all the animals. Human beings are separate and unique from all other creatures. These previous points once again are believed by many religions, but there are also many religions that don’t make this clear distinction as with some forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and others which believe in the transmigration of the soul through reincarnation from humans to animals and vice versa.
      When it comes to Christianity and Judaism God has created human beings as unique and special made in some sense in his image which sets them distinctly apart from all other creatures. There is another observation that can be made of human beings and that is that humans can be both noble and cruel. There is a certain nobility and dignity of human beings that sets him above the animal kingdom, which we can find in the great works of art they produce and the humanitarian gestures that are performed. On the other hand they can be very cruel and there is also something twisted and broken about human beings, so we have this anomaly. The Christian and biblical world view helps us makes sense of this for man in the beginning was made in the image of God with noble characteristics, but through rebellion against God something happened and something got broken and something got twisted. This twisted and broken human being leads to a twisted and broken world.
      There is however great hope for God did not just leave it at that though he might have if he so willed, but rather out of love he reached down to mankind with a rescue effort. This rescue effort was not for him to toss some teaching our way and hope we would live better lives, but rather Gods rescue effort is that he came down himself to communicate in the most clear form possible his intentions and desires, and to make a sacrificial provision for pardon for mans crimes against God. So the incarnation of God becoming a man through Jesus is unique, and what Jesus did was take the penalty of the crimes of man upon himself so that human beings could be freed. He took the rap for the crimes against God, so that those that trust in him then could receive the pardon that the Father offered. This is another unique element, not only does God come down and reach out to man, but he gives him a free pardon of his crimes. The solution to the problem is not in making man better so as to make up for past deeds, for that doesn’t work. The solution is grace, it is an act of unmerited mercy on God’s part. It is not by any moral behavior that we qualify for salvation, it is actually our crimes against God that qualify us for his pardon and rescue. It is a pardon that God is willing to do graciously as we respond to that gift.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @MM
      So I should ignore the American Standard Version, American King James Version, Amplified Bible, An American Translation, ArtScroll Tanakh (Old Testament), An American Translation, Berkeley Version, Bible in English, The Bible in Living English, Bishops' Bible, Catholic Public Domain Version, Children's King James Version, Christian Community Bible, English version, Clear Word Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Contemporary English Version, Concordant Literal Version, A Conservative Version, Coverdale Bible, Darby Bible, Douay-Rheims Bible, Douay-Rheims Bible (Challoner Revision), EasyEnglish Bible, Easy-to-Read Version, English Jubilee 2000 Bible, English Standard Version, Ferrar Fenton Bible, Geneva Bible, God's Word, Good News Bible, Great Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, The Inclusive Bible, International Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible, Jewish Publication Society of America Version Tanakh (Old Testament), Judaica Press Tanakh (Old Testament), ia E. Smith Parker Translation, King James 2000 Version, King James Easy Reading Version, King James Version, King James II Version, Knox's Translation of the Vulgate, Lamsa Bible, A Literal Translation of the Bible, Leeser Bible, Tanakh (Old Testament), The Living Bible, The Living Torah and The Living Nach. Tanakh (Old Testament), Matthew's Bible, The Message, Modern King James Version, Modern Language Bible, Moffatt, New Translation, James Murdock's Translation of the Syriac Pesh.itta, New American Bible, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New English Bible, New English Translation (NET Bible), New International Reader's Version, New International Version Inclusive Language Edition, New International Version, New Jerusalem Bible, New Jewish Publication Society of America Version. Tanakh (Old Testament), New King James Version, New Life Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Quaker Bible, Recovery Version of the Bible, Revised Version, Revised Standard Version, Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, Revised English Bible, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, The Scriptures, Simplified English Bible, The Story Bible, Taverner's Bible, Thomson's Translation, Today's New International Version, Third Millennium Bible, Tyndale Bible, Updated King James Version, A Voice In The Wilderness Holy Scriptures, Webster's Revision, Westminster Bible, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible, Wycliffe's Bible (1380), Wycliffe's Bible (1388), and Young's Literal Translation based on your say so?

      March 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  6. risky

    To love and cherish something you dont even see more than your family is just ridiculous.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  7. maff

    yeah, sad thing about the atheist is that they dont believe and anything and try to make you seem stupid for believing in God. Even with all there "reason" and facts, it would still just suffice to say, "we are alive, we are animals, and we live on planet earth. now go play!"
    But they dont say go play. They say "now get back to work. Keep doing what you are told, and be good."
    If im just an intelligent monkey, then I'm gonna do what I want to do, when I want to, cus I only got one life to live. And when I get tired, or I have done something wrong and dont want to face the consequence, I can "off" myself to escape.
    Why follow the rules? Why be moral? why cooperate with the laws and social rules of society?

    March 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • risky

      But we ARE animals.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • jimtanker

      "Dont believe in anything"

      LOL, damn you're F'n stoopid.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • maff

      IF we are animals we are far from intelligent! Why be so tame and passive? Monkeys dont work for monkeys to make enough money to pay for bananas! Food is free!
      why do we go along with the rules? even if we odnt understand or agree with them?
      Did we evolve from monkey to lemmings?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • MarkNS

      If the only thing preventing you from raping, killing and stealing is fear of hell or the reward of heaven, you are a very frightening person. You really wouldn't know those things are wrong without your church? Most people refrain from harming others because of their evolved empathy and reason. That you feel you lack these attributes is rather sad.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • svscnn

      Maff, most likely we "follow the rules" because we've evolved from species who have, due to their unique physicality as compared to their environment, found that living in groups was more "advantagoeus" than living alone. Whether for enhanced protection from predators, increased likelihood to surviving injury/illness, or a simple desire for daily companionship, this species seems to prefer groups. With groups come hierarchies and rules. No one says you (or any other monkey" is not free to leave those rules behind by leaving the group.

      Just don't expect to get your food from a grocery store.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • maff

      MARK you have more sense than that. The reason people dont just do whatever is because of how they are raised. Simple as that. But anyone who actually believes that we are just animals cant possibly be comfortable with doing what they are told their whole life. unless they are that weak minded.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      @ Mark and svs, both comments nailed it on the head.

      @maff, svs's comment isn't dismissing that some morals are taught in childhood, but the essential and core morals such as refraining from violence is a product of the evolution of the human race. This is why we excelled past other animals because we found that if we kill someone or hurt them, we will be more alone and less likely to survive, hence svs's comment that we survived better in groups.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  8. cooiegooie

    And once again the atheist religion wants to be heard. Dont care. And no, your simple arguments do not add up. Atheism is a religion, hands down.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Mick

      Atheism is not a religion, it is the lack of a belief in a god. It is no more a religion than baldness is a hair style.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Bioartchick

      Right, just like bald is a hair color...

      March 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • cooiegooie

      "It is no more a religion than baldness is a hair style." – Seriously, that is the only argument anyone ever makes, and it holds no water. I have my opinions, basically we're worm food. But I dont go around spouting off about it to get attention. Its a religion for people that like to argue. I have better things to do with my time.......as I sit here blogging about stupid shi*.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  9. Dean

    Wondering if this is as bad as burning Korans or making jokes about Allah?

    March 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • want2believe

      from a non-believer in any religion I think its just as disrespectful

      March 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  10. TruthStandsOutClearFromFalsehood

    "We created you, then why do you believe not?
    Then tell Me (about) the human semen that you emit.
    Is it you who create it (i.e. make this semen into a perfect human being), or are We the Creator?
    We have decreed death to you all, and We are not unable,
    To transfigure you and create you in (forms) that you know not.
    And indeed, you have already known the first form of creation (i.e. the creation of Adam), why then do you not remember or take heed?" – (Al-Qur'an 56:57-62)

    "A Revelation (this Quran) from the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
    Is it such a talk (this Quran) that you (disbelievers) deny?
    And instead (of thanking Allah) for the provision He gives you, on the contrary, you deny Him (by disbelief)!
    Then why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of a dying person) reaches the throat?
    And you at the moment are looking on,
    But We (i.e. Our angels who take the soul) are nearer to him than you, but you see not,
    Then why do you not, if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense (punishment, etc.)
    Bring back the soul (to its body), if you are truthful?" – (Al-Qur'an 56:80-87)

    Read, reflect and decide : http://www.scienceinquran.com/toc.html

    March 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Randy

      Gibberish.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • TruthStandsOutClearFromFalsehood

      @Randy, 'Gibberish' ? I guess you took the easy way out rather than trying to understand and use reasoning to answer the questions put forth.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Randy

      There are no questions of any substance posed here. The entire Koran is fairytale, made up by a criminal to justify his criminal behavior. Like many other religions, Islam has poisoned the minds of its adherents to the point that they cannot reason. Wake up, dummy!

      March 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  11. Bruce

    I think God's a myth. I know religion's a myth. What is your 'it', God or religion?

    March 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Feel free! Intellectual freedom! CHRISTIANS, JEWS AND MOSLEMS IN THEIR SYNAGOGUES, CHURCHES AND MOSQUES!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • smartaz

      Religion is not a myth. You can argue whether or not certain parts of it are based on myths, but religion itself exists.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  12. kat

    It's rather disingenuous to state that causing a stir "is not your concern", and then state that your actions aren't meant to be inflammatory. The only thing these billboards prove is that (some) atheists are willing to go as far as (some) believers to force their opinions on others. This is the stuff that wars are made of, no God needed.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • cooiegooie

      Brilliant statement! You hit it right on the head.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      You're misunderstanding the article, either by choice or accident. They are reaching out, that's their main focus with the ads. The acknowledge that it may not have a positive response from religious people, but they aren't concerned because ANYTHING atheists do, some religious people will have a problem with it. You can't please everyone. Most Atheists don't care about the countless Christian billboards with certain sayings, but we do have a problem when certain billboards state that we're going to hell because THAT is an attack. If we were putting up billboards that said religious people are ignorant and violent, then yes go ahead and complain about it. But that's not the case here, and from the sounds of it, most religious leaders couldn't care less about the ads.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  13. Mark

    I am happy because I accepted Jesus in my heart because I am sinner and ask Him to forgive my sins because He died on the cross for all sinners included atheist... Jesus, son of God, Loves you alll..... all of you non-believers are REJECTED Jesus for forgive your sin and comes in your heart... That is your CHOICE, dont blame me.... Good Luck after yu died, where will you go????? Heaven is best place for us.... Hell is very terrible place you will suffer!!!

    March 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      "Jesus, son of God, Loves you alll..... all of you non-believers are REJECTED"

      LOL

      March 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Jesus

      "I am happy because I accepted Jesus in my heart because I am sinner and ask Him to forgive my sins because He died on the cross for all sinners included atheist"

      Dude, there are other pagan gods that have the same roots as the Jesus myth, doesn't mean it's real.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Pascal's Wager applies to every other God as well.
      Are you sure you've managed to pick the One True Faith despite the total lack of evidence to support your choice?
      Remember, your assertion is that the price for choosing wrong is eternal damnation.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • svscnn

      Too funny. You don't even know why though, do you Mark?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • John

      If Islam is correct then we'll both be in hell together. If Hinduism is right we'll both be chickens in the next life. I'll share my feed with you.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Grandma

      Mark,

      You speak - and think - like a 6 year old.

      Trying to remember how to answer someone like that - oh yeah.... Mark, there are NO monsters under your bed.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Mick

      I don't get it...Jesus died on the cross for us but I'm going to Hell? God loves me but he's going to torture me for all eternity even though I'm a reasonably moral person?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • TheSchmaltz

      So I was born guilty of a sin I didn't commit, performed long before I was born. However someone else suffered and died so that sin could be forgiven, also long before I was born. So sin is hereditary but was transferred to a scapegoat, as long as I thank the scapegoat. Do I have that right?

      March 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  14. exCONservtv

    Atheists- Ask yourself if you're happy with your life. That is all.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • John

      Supremely. I'm happily married with great kids. I'm surrounded by family who love me and I love them in return.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Yes I am. Thanks me for asking.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • YeahRight

      My life is full, I am at peace and I am incredibly happy.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • JanetMermaid

      I could not be happier.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Phil

      Very much so. I have everything I want in life. I have a great family, I have no debt - there are a few things I'd like to buy - but there are more important things...so those can wait.

      We are not sad people. Faith doesn't automatically make you a better person. It doesn't make you happier. It's what YOU make it...not what someone says it should be like.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Docmtc50

      Yea. I'm happy. Pretty simple.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • MJ

      ABSOLUTELY!!! and my Sundays are free.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • God Illusion

      Totally happy and fulfilledm- much happier than when I was younger and believed in the threats and promises of religion.

      The point here is your question itself though. Your question wants to lump all non-believers into one category that you can label as unhappy, unfulfilled and by definition less than yourself. That is the root of racism, bigotry, pride, arrogance and xenophobia and as such disqualifies you from your professed Christian beliefs. Sorry.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Phil

      @ God Illusion

      Perfectly said. Thank you.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Greyhound37

      Very happy, thanks for asking. You?

      March 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • TheSchmaltz

      I am. I hope you are as well.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  15. AdamTheGr8

    I have no religion. I could careless if someone else does, just don't starting killing in the name of it and we're good. Otherwise bring it on bible thumpers.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  16. Chris

    Pathethic Atheists are so miserable with their own lives and put on this show that their is No God and we will be a better world without believing. Damn I really feel sorry for those clueless people they a real eye opener heading their way when they least expect it. When u defame like they are doing all it shows is weakness and unhappiness with their own selves if their life is so great why even say anything negative like that I rest my case wake up because Atheism is a tragic mistake

    March 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Imran Haq

      Chris perfectly said.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Pathethic Atheists are so miserable with their own lives and put on this show that their is No God and we will be a better world without believing"

      This is the same crap all christians claim, it's a complete lie but it's what you have to tell yourselves so you can feel better in your delusional cult. Our lives are not miserable, we're not angry or any of the other excuses you'll come up with. By the way based on your handbook....lying is a sin! '-)

      March 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      The point is that religion is the root of most wars, irrational thinking, and poor decisions. It continues to hold back our species as a whole. That's why!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • God Illusion

      Weird post. I am an atheist / agnostic and am successful, easy going, loving, relaxed and extremely happy! I'm sure many Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians and people of every religious belief are also – there are also evil, miserable and depressing people in all camps too...

      Trying to stereotype everyone who is different from yourself as in some way "bad" or "less" is the root of all xenophobia, bigotry and racism. You may want to think about that.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Aaaangggrryyy!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Anne

      These are the statements of religious followers so they can feel superior to anyone who "is not blessed with THEIR truths."

      March 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • BubbaJones

      Wow! You're reading an awful lot into the action of the ones putting up these billboards. I really doubt that they are "miserable" in any way.

      I think that they are probably frustrated and a little sad that children are indoctrinated with little regard for their actual needs. Some may break free of the indoctrination and become free-thinking agnostic adults, and it seems that their goal is a little push to dispel the doubt, and allow a way forward without misplaced guilt.

      Conversely, if you were to ask an atheist about an adult that embraced religion, completely after childhood, they would probably be quite supportive, although probably a little puzzled. (Realistically, this almost never happens. "Born-agains" are the victims of an obsession, or undue influence, and it rarely ever lasts...)

      March 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • TheSchmaltz

      I'm happy. My life is pretty awesome. Some atheists aren't so lucky. They feel isolated, living in fear of the believers around them, just as I used to. These billboards are there to reach out to those people and let them know they aren't alone. Hopefully they can get through and find the happiness I did.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Steve

      Yeah Right – If Atheists are not angry, why do they constantly attack those who believe for their belief? Do you feel that your atheist cult has the right to destroy religion in a society that has religious freedoms? Why do you ridicule my beliefs because you don't share them? Why are you so angry that I believe in something that your mind is not open enough to believe in?

      It sure seems like you are angry to me.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  17. Robert Brown

    The public outcry made them decide to change the billboards. They will now read: You know it's a myth, that God does not exist, and you have a choice. Jesus Saves.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • MagFlare

      Are... are you writing American Atheists alternate-universe fanfiction?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  18. SayWhaaa!!

    Wouldn't be long before atheists start showing up on doors with pamplets like the witnesses. Some could argue that a belief in no higher being is also a religion some could also argue that atheism is also an organized "religion." I always thought atheists didn't care what others did, but these billboards prove otherwise. Atheists like theists very much want to convert.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • ski2xs

      It is interesting. . .and funny. Devoid of what you believe, you always feel better having someone to believe it with you.

      What I find hilarious are the atheists who will argue tooth and nail that atheism isn't a religion. It's like, the more they argure the point, the more it proves it.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • appalled

      I hope they do. The atheists need to get the truth out there. Love it!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Deanna

      Who would you rather have in charge of your children: Joseph Ratzinger or Bill Gates?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • ski2xs

      @Deanna,

      Mother Theresa or Stalin?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • MJ

      How about a pedophile priest? Would you feel safer leaving your children with one of them? How about Jim Jones? Or maybe an LDS leader who likes to marry 12 year old girls? Yeah, religion ensures your safety. Wake up!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  19. svscnn

    Atheists have the same amusing religious fervor as their nemeses. And the same flaw – they claim to KNOW something that the rest of us don't.

    The ONLY true honesty is in agnosticism, as, by it's very definition, it admits NOT KNOWING.

    Anyone who claims to KNOW anything, one way or the other, is a liar or a fool.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • svscnn

      *its (possessive)

      March 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Dean

      "Anyone who claims to KNOW anything, one way or the other, is a liar or a fool."

      But you claim to KNOW that not knowing is the only rational way. Therefore, by your own logic, you are a liar or a fool.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • svscnn

      Okay, now queue the "I KNOW you're a __insert insult here__" comments...

      March 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      U do not have to know to be Xtian. Just feel free to follow as much as u can. If it works fine. I don't know why the Bible works but the better alternative is not atheism. Materialism if u r rich. Xtianity works fine for all.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • God Illusion

      There is a certain truth to that... none of can say we know everything, the history of man's scientific discoveries have taught that and the search for answers is ongoing, fascinating and exciting.

      What we do know, however, is what is NOT true, and that is man made concepts and myths from the Tooth Fairy to Santa Claus to the Easter Bunny to every single man made religion from Ra to Thor to Zeus to Jesus (and a few thousand more scattered around).

      I would never "promote" atheism or a lack of belief – billboards seem pointless to me. I would just promote a search for truth and the acceptance of reality, nothing more is needed.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • chris

      By definition, Agnosticism is a form of Atheism. Theism is a "belief" in god, atheism is "no belief" in god. The latter includes those who actively believe in no god, those who have no active belief one way or another, those who don't know, and those who don't care.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • svscnn

      Disagree NIck. It can be summed up, and differentiated by the answer to one, simple question...
      "Is there a 'God'?"

      Theist – "yes"
      Atheist – "no"
      Agnostic – "I don't know"

      March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • svscnn

      Sorry, chris – don't know why I replied to you as "nick"

      see, now even I'm making stuff up. 😉

      March 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Mick

      "Anyone who claims to KNOW anything, one way or the other, is a liar or a fool." Then which are you? After all, you claim to know that leprechauns aren't real. At least I HOPE you do.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • svscnn

      For the few responses that are choosing to "put words into my mouth" – I don't see anything in any of my posts where I make any such claims to "know" any of the things you've chosen to ascribe to me.

      But, thanks for playing.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  20. Scones

    I guess this is the atheist version of those incredibly annoying Jesus billboards.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • svscnn

      Amen (pun intended). 😉

      March 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Phil

      Ramen.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • MJ

      And in that lies the irony of fundies. They push their agenda everywhere and every way they can and then complain when a non-religious group dares to share its opinion.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.