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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. scranton

    One thing is known to be true, "there are no atheist in foxholes". Simple statement but very accurate. Everyone hedges their bets when the end seems to be near.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Drew

      So? Do you think that being close to death suddenly makes humans more aware of the universe, or just makes them cowardly and irrational

      March 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      Completely false and borderline offensive. There are MANY atheists in the military, and they don't suddenly convert under fire, contrary to what you might believe. In fact, instead of wasting time praying, they would more likely try to analyze the situation and attempt to rectify whatever is causing them to be suppressed in the foxhole, or at least fortify the foxhole.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Observer

      scranton,

      You don't understand the difference between WISHING and BELIEVING.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      I had actually read an interesting article some months ago of an atheist soldier who was put in charge of guarding a moronic chaplain. This chaplain believed that his god would protect him no matter what, and would frequently take unnecessary risks that put him and his surrounding unit in danger. It was the atheist who just as frequently had to get the other guy's head down under fire. I suppose a believer would just say that god sent the atheist or something though.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • John H.

      Funny thing is on the atheist experience they were talking about this very thing. The co-host explained they were in the field and never once felt the need to pray to a god. It's a common and unfounded claim that is NOT true.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Sass2u

      Boy that's an old one, and just like your god, thoroughly unprovable.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Patrick

      Simple statement made by idiots who are neither atheists nor have have been in foxholes.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Irioth

      "Patrick"- a simple idiot commenting on ppl that he doesn't know

      March 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • graytiger

      no deists in foxholes either. Not one of them wants to go to heaven.

      March 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  2. Crad

    Isnt the point of atheism to be free from the chains of religion? These athiests are bound by a belief that has them spending money on billboards, flying banners in public spaces, forcing their religion down our throats. Whats the difference between that and the people they are fighting against?

    March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      Well stated

      March 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • YeahOk

      "Isnt the point of atheism to be free from the chains of religion?"
      We're trying. But yet religion keeps trying to chain us and control us.

      "These athiests are bound by a belief that has them spending money on billboards, flying banners in public spaces, forcing their religion down our throats."
      Atheism is not a belief or a religion, it's a non-belief, like not believing in Santa Claus.

      Whats the difference between that and the people they are fighting against?
      We don't believe in fairly tales.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Earl

      For atheism to be considered a religion, it would have to have a god, right? That would be contrary to it's definition.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Patrick

      For many atheists, we only are concerned with those who wish to indoctrinate. Those who practice their faith with independence and with no need to convert others are welcome by many atheists.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  3. Believer

    By the way! what "scientific proof" atheists are looking for. What would you consider a conclusive evidence? Is there a litmus that would turn blue? or there is an alarm that would ring? Please educate me on that.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Observer

      Just have any proof of God's existence. Just have any proof that the world could not have been created by a committee of zombies, for instance.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • JR

      Any proof would be nice. How about giving me any proof that Super Man doesn't exist?

      March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Believer

      Any proof??? That is what I am asking. What would it be that you would consider conclusive?

      March 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Clarifying

      Believer,

      An omniscient "God" would know *precisely* what it would take for each and every one of us to believe.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Believer

      LOL.... Is that a scientific proof?????

      March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Observer

      Believer,

      How about something simple like God taking time out between watching football games and answering the prayers of the Christians on offense or the Christians on defense? All God has to do between plays is announce to the world "This is God. Follow my Bible."

      There you have it. Less than 5 SECONDS and BILLIONS of people could be saved.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Believer

      5 seconds?? Suuuurree you would be first one to call that a hoax. Also your Atheist on top will tell you personal testimony has no scientific value.
      Again what I am asking is how can "science" prove God? What would be a conclusive scientific evidence?

      March 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Observer

      Believer,

      So God can't take less than 5 seconds and make a world-wide announcement? Or it that beyond his ability?

      Try again. You completely FAILED to answer the question. FIVE SECONDS to end all the controversy and save the world.

      FIVE SECONDS.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • pirate

      Simple: Any one of the hundreds/thousands of miracles/acts of god/you name it that the bible is full of, in a time when books were written by bronze age men in caves... Why can't your invisible man in the sky come down now and turn 5 fish into thousands, or turn water into wine, or heal the sick, rise from the dead mr zombie dude! Now – when man has better power of reason, able to analyze something supposedly supernatural.. now, nothing like that happens anymore.. If your invisible man in the sky exists, well, he's like a kid playing with an ant and a magnifying glass.. simple cruelty!

      March 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • graytiger

      The One million dollar challenge by James Randi, would do.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • graytiger

      you could make a nice bit of money too. But a bit discouraging for the believers, until now no one succeeded.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Believer

      Why can't your invisible man in the sky come down now and turn 5 fish into thousands, or turn water into wine, or heal the sick, rise
      First of all God is not man. God is the consciousness that is creating all forms and shapes in the huge ball of particles that we call universe. And God is already doing everything you asked for. His turning 5 fish into breeding but not how you want it but as he wants it and that is through breeding. Wine comes from water. Without water there is no wine. He is healing the sick through the mechanisms he created in body. He creates life from a dead substance that you call sperm and egg in his own subtle way trough the mechanism which you call natural process. So all miracles you asked for are already happening. Now if you deny what you already see with your eyes. Even if it happened through some other mechanism, you would still deny that. Even if you saw something supernatural, you would doubt your ears and eyes and still reject that. Be honest wouldn't you?? and if you don't believe me then answer this. There is a guy in India that lives without eating and drinking. That is supernatural, would you believe him if he told you he was God?
      And again, none of these amount to be a scientific proof. So when you guys say there is no scientific proof of God, you do not know yourself what you are asking for.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Sass2u

      Atheists tend to deal with facts. They place these facts into syllogisms and use logic and reason to prove a concept. If, as in the case of the existence of god there ARE no facts, not one thing in reality that proves there is a god, then it is not worth our time to pursue it further. Your saying there IS one doesn't make it so! It is really that simple for an atheist. Reality is what we humans have.

      It's a whole other question for me to ask – why do people invent one? I could understand it back in the days when, huddled around camp fires in a cave, people would imagine such beings as gods when they were frightened by thunder, lightning, earthquakes and floods. But with evolution, we have begun to understand the causes of these dramatic events and realize that we humans are not being punished by some invisible being or force which we must appease. How it is that so many still believe in essentially the same stuff as the cave man? That pretty much explains the gap between reason and belief; science and myth. What would I accept as proof of god? Proof – of god. I'd be fine with that.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Believer

      "If, as in the case of the existence of god there ARE no facts, not one thing in reality that proves there is a god".
      What would you consider a fact that proves God?

      March 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • pirate

      Is it any wonder that as IQ goes up you have more and more atheists? What is it, 93% of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in your invisible man in the sky? And something like one half of the prison population is atheist? Scientists have answered more questions about the universe in the past year than all the witch doctors, rabbis, priests, imams, shamans, etc combined all throughout history. They consistently (the scientists) throughout the ages have proven so many things in the bible as wrong...

      Agnostics I understand – they can admit that they don't know the answers, and that just because it is written in a book by some bronze age cavemen doesn't mean it's true!

      March 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Believer

      Again you went off the topic and are trying to steer the conversation in another direction. My question is really simple and it seems like all the high IQs cannot answer that simple question.
      Let me rephrase it is there anything that science would recognize and that would convince you God exists? If there is? What is it? I am asking because I hear all the time science has not found any proof of God so there is no God? And I am asking What should science find?

      March 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Patrick

      No, there is no need. Do you need proof that Odin does not exist in order to not believe in him?

      We only need to be able to not believe in something, as all others do. Our disbelief is a bit more thorough than others.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • graytiger

      I seem to have to repeat my post because Believer seems to have overlooked it: 'The One million dollar challenge by James Randi, would do.' Just look up 'James Randi' or 'James Randi Educational Foundation ' in wikipedia. Or do you ignore it because it answers your question?

      March 2, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • graytiger

      The problem for Believer is that he can't make God 'do' certain testable things. And even if God doesn't do things, Believer probably doen't know how we could test his mere presence in a lab. So lets make it a bit easier. Although I still would like to have Believer's reaction on the Randi challenge. But now on the easier side: Believer could at least show, if not the existence, then still the possbility of existence. Hows? By solving a few killer problems for the existence of a christian God. One: solve the problem of evil, two: show how miracles could be possible, three: why oh why does God condem the coveting of your neighbour's ass, in the bible, but why doesn't God , in the same Bible, condemn the terrible crime of slavery? In the bible slavery is even condoned. Still, solving these problems, which are unsolved since the beginning of christianity, would only show that at least these problems don't forbid his existence. It wouldn't show that God exists. But it would be a start.

      March 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  4. Sass2u

    As an atheist since age 19-20 (I'm 67), I had no reluctance about telling my friends and family. But I think it is contrary to my nature to join groups and attend conventions! I think I'm not alone in that among atheists. It smacks of treating atheism like a religion, a "belief" system when it is anything but that. They contradict and downgrade the role of reason and logic in one's decision. And like I said, I hate groups. They usually go too far to the left or right, carry irrational signs and just look plain silly.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • QS

      You're not the first Atheist to state a similar sentiment. But as I told them, there's a fine line between tolerance and letting people walk all over you....which religion has been doing for far too long. By not standing up to the type of religious arrogance and self-righteousness we continue to see today, you are essentially condoning it.

      And I'm sorry, but just because you were lucky enough to not be shunned when you declared your Atheism doesn't mean that every Atheist had it as easy. The religious are relentless in their pursuit to force everyone to conform to their way of thinking that I personally think it's about time Atheists at least got organized to the point of offering a place to share ideas...but that doesn't translate into having conventions or holding Atheist sermons so to speak.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  5. Kingofthenet

    After reading the Bible and Torah, How ANYONE could want to willingly follow a God that KILLED EVERY SINGLE LIVING THING on the planet, save one small boat, is beyond me.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      66 books in the bible and that is the ONLY story you remember 😉

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • momoya

      Well there's lots of other stories that show how horrible bible god is. It's not just the one story!

      March 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • John-117

      Its because people were nothing but hateful ***holes back then

      March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • QS

      I can't say I've read the Torah, but I've read the bible, and after reading the bible I came to one final conclusion....it's a great story, but nothing more than a story.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • pirate

      John-117 – people were *** holes then? Well, when your invisible man comes down from the sky or lights plants on fire or does other supposedly miraculous things, why can't he give some better rules than the junk handed down about how to go about raping, pillaging, etc? Seems like the people of three thousand years ago would be more gullible and do what their boogieman tells them to!

      March 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  6. John Stefanyszyn

    An "atheist", a "Christian", a "Muslim", and a "Jew" meet together in a bar and order the same drink.
    What is the name of this drink?
    ... freedom of rights and religion

    This is the primary core belief that they all live by.

    But there is Only One True Way if Life... through Christ, Son of the One Creator.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Robert

      "But there is Only One True Way if Life... through Christ, Son of the One Creator."

      Uh-huh. And you know this to be a fact because . . . you read it in a book written by others who believe it. That makes you no different from a Scientologist or a member of any other credulous group, who simply believe what people tell them rather than things that can be verified. Like the man said - "there's a sucker born every minute".

      March 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  7. Kukulkan

    All you religious people are atheists, all of you. If I ask a Christian if they believe in Allah they will tell me I'm crazy, conversely if I ask a Muslim if they believe in the Christian God I'll receive a very similar answer. You all have the capacity to be reasonable thinking human beings when it fits your own narrative, we atheists just happen to believe in one fewer god than you do.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Drew

      Hence the "A" (meaning without) in front of the "theist." It's funny that an atheist wouldn't even understand the etymology of the word

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Kurt Kammeyer

      No, I think you're describing a "monotheist", Kukulkan. Just because I don't believe in the Mayan Corn God doesn't make me an atheist.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • John-117

      I'm not sure you know the definition of the word "atheist".

      March 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Aamy

      For your information, Muslims whole heartedly believe in the God of the Christians, in the God of Jesus Christ and in the God of Moses.. the one true God!!!

      March 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  8. John-117

    Wow Atheists, real mature. You give atheist a bad name! Aren't atheist suppose to not care what people believe in?

    March 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • momoya

      No. You're mistaken.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      When those same people are clinging to their antiquated beliefs as justification for imposing irrational legislation that affects everyone else in the country, you bet we should care what other people believe.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • graytiger

      it's because we care
      care for truth

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Observer

      Atheists doin't believe in god. That's it.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • thowed

      u'd care if u were targeted as "evil" and sent death threats all the time such as "you are going to hell if u dont believe what i do"

      March 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • John-117

      Science isn't meant to answer questions about religion. Atheism is a philosophy that came out of the misuse of science. Science gives us data, not answers on religion. This billboard is contradictory to what atheists claim. They do care about religion. They do care what you believe in. They want more than anything for people to convert to their system of beliefs. They want to crush any other faith or philosophy that say other than what they say.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Observer

      John-117,

      Atheism doesn't have anything to do with science. Reading the Bible can create atheists. You don't have to be a scientist to NOT beleive in unicorns and talking serpents.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      It seems all of our responses just went right over your head. I suppose that shouldn't be any surprise. Just look at all the irrational organizations who are pushing the war on women in this country right now. Can you be any shocked that some people might be offended by those who wish to suppress entire groups of people based solely on the writings of some bronze age authors?

      March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • John H.

      Atheists would not care if not for the harm these peoples belief systems cause. Look at stem cell research for a fine example of how these peoples bronze age myths are causing harm today. Other people have to die just so these religious people can feel good about their beliefs. Really sick!

      March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • pirate

      Mature? Better than Exodus 22:20, Deuteronomy 13:6-10, Deuteronomy 13:12-16, etc etc etc - Your god says KILL KILL KILL throughout the whole thing! More maturity: When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB) So basically you're off the hook if you beat the living daylights out of your slave but he lives for a couple days!

      March 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  9. ill

    "target"???
    i see no difference in this than when i see billboards saying "YOUR savior jesus christ" or any of them that say "our lord"...

    March 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  10. rennin1

    In the United States billions of dollars have been spent over many decades indoctrinating our young in atheistic evolution, yet still only about 3% of the US population is atheist. Even if someone knew nothing more than this, they should reasonably conclude that there is something in our genes that predisposes us to reject atheism.
    Parents are genetically programmed to transfer their values to their young. Their young are genetically programmed to reject hypocritical value systems. These two principles lead to an objective definition of what it means to be normal and explain why atheism is so unsuccessful at transferring from one generation to the next, compared to religion-based value systems. The main reason there are so few atheists in the world today is because atheism is a hypocritical value system that causes the vast majority of offspring to reject their parents' attempts to transfer it onto them.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Drew

      "heir young are genetically programmed to reject hypocritical value systems." Really? How do you account for all the Muslim Extremists or the Westborough Baptist Church?

      March 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Drew.... saw you were having trouble with the word filter a few pages back - hope this helps:

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      March 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • MagFlare

      Wow... it's almost as though evolution, as a firmly established scientific theory accepted by members of all religious beliefs, isn't being used effectively to indoctrinate children into atheism!

      Good lord.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • awaysaway

      So you reject atheism – not because it might be correct but because you believe we are predisposed to believe in the supernatural. Ha Ha.

      PS. Your numbers are made up to boot.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • QS

      People are not born religious. All people are born into this world unaffiliated with any religious belief. It is a learned, or rather forced-to-learn ideology that children are typically not given a choice in because their parents were just as thoroughly indoctrinated by their parents.

      I think you're confused about just who and what does the best job of indoctrinating children.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • pirate

      Most interesting thing to note, your 3% atheists are probably almost all somewhere in the top 10% in terms of IQ.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Patrick

      Who told you evolution was atheistic? Sounds like someone has swallowed the Kool-Aid hook, line and sinker.

      Free yourself before it is too late.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  11. Adam

    "It is time we realized that to presume knowledge where one has only pious hope is a species of evil." ~Sam Harris.

    Stop lying to yourself and your children
    Stop creating placeholders where knowledge is lacking
    Stop denying your own ignorance
    Stop pretending to know that which you cannot
    START a conversation.
    It is no less than the project of civilization that is at stake.
    Thank you.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • AR

      You're welcome. Now stop trolling and mind your own business.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Adam

      Hello, AR. What do you mean by 'trolling'? And if that is trolling, then what, exactly, are you doing? Thank you.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  12. ComeOnMan9

    Please please excuse my vernacular. I aint never been in the room with an atheist and didn't know it. What is with the anti-hysteria? It is all still just noise.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Drew

      That's a fallacy, because if you were ever in a room with an atheist and didn't know it... then you wouldn't know it!

      March 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • ill

      ive never been in a room with god and knew it..

      March 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • thowed

      ive never been in a room with god and knew it..

      March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  13. djusmc7229

    Gay, You know it's sick, and you have a choice.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • momoya

      Oh, no, you didn't talk about gays deserving eternal torment. Try again.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • QS

      Religion is unnatural.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • djusmc7229

      If they can take it in the a$$, they should be able to take some torment

      March 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  14. U.S.Army-OverLord

    What exactly are these people selling? What do you atheist believe in anyway? Let's hear it...

    March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • momoya

      Atheists don't share any beliefs. We're pretty much like people who don't believe in unicorns. Oh, but we don't have a special term for people who don't believe in unicorns, you say. Yes, but if 90% of the population claimed unicorns existed and were the answer to all our problems, there would be a term for people who don't believe in unicorns.

      When there's only as many god believers as unicorn believers, there will be no atheists, either.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • graytiger

      truth, to name one thing

      March 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Justin

      I am not necessarily atheist, but I don't believe in anything close to the God that modern religion presents. Therefore, you could say that I believe in other people, the grandness of what we have achieved, and the need to maintain and respect that.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • AR

      You're just like people who don't believe in unicorns, except you run around all day rubbing it in peoples' faces like it makes you a better person, and while people don't have the head to argue against you, secretly most people wish you would just shut up already.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • John-117

      No believes in unicorns. You say you don't have beliefs? What is the point of the billboard? Shouldn't atheists not care? You do know that atheist is a philosophy. Its a set of beliefs. Science and Atheists aren't the same thing. True scientists know that science doesn't have the purpose of answering philosophical questions.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • truth will out

      well we know for sure Christianity is selling hate and violence toward anyone who doesn't believe as they do

      March 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • momoya

      @AR If you'll stop using stupid arguments, fear, and strawmen we'll quit bugging you.

      @ John234285 or whatever, try rereading the post. You're arguing about something I already covered. Keep trying, though.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Will

      Can you explain to me why any one religion is the only true paradigm explaining existence. Why choose Buddhism over Islam, or Christianity over Hinduism. Faith is not supported by logic. I don't claim to know how this world came into being, or if there is a God that judges all of us upon our death, but I do know that such truth is impossible to know through logic.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Chach

      I can't speak for all "atheists". I don't really like the label, but use it if you must. I just "am". For myself, I can say that what I am could be best described as a "clean slate". Neither dis-belief nor belief. It is the absence of any religious dogmatic, mythologiical doctrine. I don't recognize any religion as truth, because they can't all be right so then all must be wrong. If there was one out of the countless belief systems that was correct, then it MUST be 100% correct and therefore undeniable, provable and accepted by all. Sort of like it is undeniable that all water is 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen. That isn't something I have to believe in, it just "is". Or the "theory" of gravity. It just is. There's no point in arguing about whether one believes it or not. So it's better to describe it as knowing or not knowing, than believing or not. I can't know that there is a god called yawweh any more than I can know that there is a god called Zeus. If there is any kind of higher life form and / or consiousness that is responsible for "everything" it seems likely that "it" is either incapable or unwilling to come right out and tell us all which of the many religous belief systems has got it 100% right. "It" also seems to care very little about or unable to do anything about human suffering or cruelty. Science is far more effective than prayer. That is precisely why hospitals are 100 times more effective at healing than churches. I would ask the "faithful": If you break you leg, and you must choose between going to the hospital to get the bone set and casted or going to church and praying to God to make it better. Which would you choose? Or if you get cancer, or heart disease? Can God grow limbs back, or does "he" simply choose not to? I mean, if God can heal the sick, why can't he grow limbs back or regenerate spinal cords? I know things from science that religion can not explain. If we could ALL agree that the best way to get closer to understanding the creator would be to study and better understand the secrets of the creation, imagine how far the human race would be today! Science is the closest we can all come to agreeing on everything. Like I said before, you can't argue whether or not gravity exists, so let's start there and work our way up.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • pirate

      Logic tells me a few things. Take two people, one very religious, lives a pious life because he/she wants to go to heaven and not burn in hell. Second person – devout atheist who lives a very full life helping people and not doing harm. Which is better? Logic tells me that if I am wrong and there really is a god, well, the atheist who did right with no promise of heaven nor threat of hell, is definitely worthy of a good afterlife... and that god would not fault him for not believing in him after giving him such a long cryptic trail of misinformation to base his decision on..

      March 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • pirate

      Logic also tells me that a book that is chock full of godly advice like this should be pitched in the garbage! -- When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

      March 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Patrick

      AR, were you talking of Christians? That is a pretty good description.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  15. bunghole_christians

    There are christians in my bunghole

    March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • AR

      I need TP for my bunghole!

      March 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  16. Zia Shah

    Try islamforwest.org to evaluate and refute atheism

    March 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Patrick

      Refuting atheism is a simple matter of proving god.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  17. Raimundo

    I see from the billboard they'll be using the atom symbol for their symbol this time. Much sharper than that lame red star, hammer & sickle, illuminati symbol or swastika. I'm sure their cries for unification are still too early for the manditory uniform. Though It'll be a charming one to be sure I bet when it comes out.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Drew

      As much as you disagree with the billboard, you can't possibly say that it somehow represents a call to violence

      March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • loverpoint

      Think of all the atheist that have died protecting your rights as a US citizen, even the freedom of religion, yet now they want to use the right for freedom of speech or press, religious fanatics are claiming Atheist don't have the right

      March 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Dalton

      How many people have been killed over religion, hundreds of millions. Lets not forget the Crusades, the Nazi regime or the Boxer rebellion...next time you say atheist are promoting "violence", think about all the violence actually caused by religious beliefs...

      March 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Senor Coggs

      Crusades 700 years ago...zzzzzz. Anyone say nazi regime? Nationalists not Christians thanks for playin:

      "Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure." 10/14/41 Hitler

      "National Socialism and religion cannot exist together.... The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.... Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. " Hitler 10/10/41

      March 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Patrick

      Someone else who confuses atheism with a political philosophy.

      Hitler was a big, fat Catholic. The Third Reich's first treaty was with the Vatican. Read Mein Kampf and learn for yourself.

      Don't take my word for it. Think for yourself.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  18. loverpoint

    Humans will eventually evolve away from the dependence on religion, and that is why religions don't believe in evolution. If a person from another planet observed people walking into a building, put some money in a collection plate, then get on their knees and mumble to themselves, they would probably think it was a waste of time and money.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Believer

      He may get inspired too. You never know...

      March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • ElDeque

      Actually, the Catholic stance is that evolution is possible but God had something to do with it.

      The sad part about this whole debate is that, despite calls to reason and logic, no is acting reasonable. How about we start a discourse to see how we can co-exist as opposed to calling each other "morons" or "sinners." How does this help anyone?

      March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • R Burns

      The idea that "religions don't believe in evolution" is one of the most prolific myths of our time! Genesis clearly lists the exact steps in evolution with the creation story. Science now understands the evolution of life on this planet to have occured in exactly this sequence. The unfortunate monkey wrench in the Genesis recounting is the use of the word "day" as a term meaning "era". It wasn't meant to mean a single 24-hour period, just a next step in the process. Peter addresses this very dilemma in 2nd Peter 3:8, but many who call them selves "christian" ignore much of what Christ taught and don't understand HIs message. Here's something for any doubter to consider: IF there is more to humanity than the physical life we experience on a day-to-day basis, then science will eventually catch up and be able to explain things that we have been told but which remain mysterious. A lot of that is coming to light now, and the studies are fascinating. Since the evolution story, for one, is accurate scientifically whether you are reading the first few verses of Genesis or a science text, and since mankind had that information well before science even came along: where did the information come from? ET? Genesis also says God made the "worlds". Plural. So there must be other creatures on other planets, also. Some may interact with us and we call them ET, but in the end ALL will be accountable to follow the basic moral structures laid out by the creator. Yes, ET probably has the equivalent of a Jesus. And since, as Jesus told us, all men live on beyond this life whether righteous or believers or not, then what was the point? The point is that we are eternal souls, no matter what doctrine we adhere to (or none) and God plans to harvest this field in a time of judgement and keep those who will go on beyond the 2nd death to belong to the Kingdom which He has prepared. The rest will be destroyed. Most people don't plan beyond a few days for groceries and gasoline, but this is important! If you don't believe it without being shown, and you want to know this without a doubt, you just have to ask. Call out to God and He will answer. Then you'll take down the billboards, because with those you're just playing into Satan's hand. I don't think you really want to do that.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Patrick

      Most faiths have no issue with evolution. Only the recent rise of the Fundamentalists that has occurred since the '80s has put any force against evolution. That is why we have the resurgence of Creationism in the US.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  19. foxhole_ Atheist

    There are no Atheist in a Foxhole

    March 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Drew

      How does that prove anything? Is a foxhole somehow the site of truth?

      March 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Raimundo

      No foxes either.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • us1776

      Sure there are. I was one.

      .

      March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • graytiger

      there is no deist iin a foxhole

      March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • loverpoint

      Most wars in the history of man have been instigated by organized religion. Now that atheism is becoming more popular hopefully in the future atheist won't have to fight religious wars, thus there will be no need for them to be in a Foxhole.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Tim from NY

      Actually, there are lots. Pat Tillman, for example, was one.
      It's cute that one has to use deceit to defend mythologically-based morality systems.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • pirate

      Well that is ignorance. Stephen Hawking, in his different type of foxhole, one of the most brilliant minds trapped in a useless body, is a proud atheist too!

      March 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  20. Elliot

    Most people are agnostic but just afraid to say it in fear that their annoying friends would waste all their time trying to save them.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • John

      A vaild fear.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Kurt Kammeyer

      Why limit your billboards to a safe locale like Patterson, NJ? I would like to see the athiests expand their efforts to Mecca and Tehran, and see what the response is. Go ahead, I dare you.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:47 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.