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. MK

    Daniel Pearl, a Jewish reporter who was killed in Pakistan was “baptized” by the Church of Latter Day Saints without the consent of his family because they believed his soul couldn’t be saved because he was Jewish! Another article was about a gay woman who was treated like dirt by her own priest at a church that she was completely devoted to. He denied her communion and walked out when she read the eulogy at her mother’s funeral!
    If this doesn’t prove that the religious think they’re special, I don’t know what does. Religion is like this: “God doesn’t love you because you’re (fill in the blank). But he loves me because I’m (fill in the blank).”

    March 2, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Robert Brown

      God is love and God loves you too.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • RogerThat

      It's all part of God's master plan.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So the treatment of a Lesbian at her home church is one of your best examples. Sorta Christians hate Gays and Lesbians?

      Question, since we are aware there are Gay and Lesbian churches and Clergy serving in mainstream churches.....do you think she would have had the same treatment at a Gay and Lesbian church or a church whose pastor is Gay or Lesbian?

      March 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Primewonk

      Robert Brown wrote, " God is love and God loves you too."

      Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death.

      Robert Brown wrote, " God is love and God loves you too."

      You should not let a sorceress live. 

      Robert Brown wrote, " God is love and God loves you too."

      If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed

      Robert Brown wrote, " God is love and God loves you too."

      Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death.

      Robert Brown wrote, " God is love and God loves you too."

      Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed.

      Robert Brown wrote, " God is love and God loves you too."

      But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death

      For a god who supposedly loves everyone, he sure commands you guys to kill a lot of them.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Mark – so this grieving woman should have moved the funeral foor her mother from her mother's home parish to a church not of her mother's faith?

      If I remember correctly, if a Catholic uses birth control, they shouldn't be given communion. Research shows that 95% of Catholics use or have used birth control. I wonder why this priest was not inspecting men and women for residue from condom usage? I wonder why he wasn't demanding bloodwork from every married female looking for changes in hormone levels associated with BCP use? Why wonder why he wasn't inspecting all unmarried females over the age of 10 to make sure they have intact hymens?

      March 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"....they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death. For a god who supposedly loves everyone, he sure commands you guys to kill a lot of them."

      John 8.3

      3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

      4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

      5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

      6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

      7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

      8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

      9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

      10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

      11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

      You might need to take your charge up with our Jewish Brothers and sisters cause as Christians we got our command about such directly in John 8.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Primewonk

      See, Mark, this is why you guys get into trouble. You can spin your bible to say whatever you want it to say. Because your very own Jesus also says that: "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law." And since earth is still here, the OT laws are still in play.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • momoya

      Jesus' behavior with the women caught in adultery isn't surprising; god rarely does what he commands. Don't kill, but go commit genocide to steal land for us. Love your enemies; I'm going to fry mine in a firepit forever.

      It's no wonder so many christians act in ways contrary to the bible (divorce for example); god and jesus both provide many examples on how to do just that.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wonk, I do not understand. You get to use Biblical references and tell us your interpretation of what the text says ….but when I post one of the most basic and simple commandments from Jesus himself you accuse me of “spin”.

      Wow dude.. really just wow... I guess you expect me to play by different sets of rules that are in your favor.

      Question, where in John 8 does Jesus deny the law and say that are not still in effect? This is one of those Bible instances where your statements echo those of the those attempting to trap Jesus.

      March 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • DrMatrix

      Robert Brown said, "God is love and God loves you too."

      ... And if you don't love Him back, He will lovingly condemn you to suffering and torture for all eternity.

      March 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  2. Scott

    Religion could be eradicated in just one generation if we could put an end to the indoctrination of children.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Crad

      You are naive if you think religion could ever be eradicated, it is in the heart of men. Even if all god based religions were gone, wed have a world full of athiests who fight with each other over components of their religion and start wars and fragment into denominations. Its already happening in the athiest community.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • well

      Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Robespierre all tried and failed. Maybe they just didn't kill enough people.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Scott

      You are naive if you think atheism is a religion. Do you really think anyone would choose to believe something which is obviously man made if they'd been brought up to think critically? I'm not saying there would be no war without religion by the way, but it's pretty hard to imagine secular democracies going to war with one another don't you think? As a rule democracies tend not to wage war on other democracies.

      Woah there! I'm not talking about killing anyone. I'm talking about not poisoning the minds of children with bronze age myths.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |

      March 2, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • jimtanker

      Pol Pot was Buddhist.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • momoya

      Religion isn't the problem; the problem is the opiated masses who can be controlled by any sufficiently structured dogma. It's not just believers who lack the ability to consider any proposition that they perceive as harmful to their worldview. It's amazingly sickening to watch zombies stumble around yelling "braaaaaiiiiins!!" as the less affected try to assert that everyone is really a zombie but some are just in denial.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Scott, that statement has been said so many times throughout history and it always comes to the same bitter question. What will you do with those that hold to their beliefs, lifestyles or even cultures in general. Good grief will you punish folks that hold on to their beliefs or cultures with incarceration or are you a "Final Solution" type of person?

      March 2, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • momoya

      There are people alive today that hold to a "flat earth" theory. They know that they're in the minority, and they don't expect anyone to take their views seriously. I'd like to see god-believers relegated to the same fate. No illegality, no "dealt with" problem, no second-class citizen status (like atheists in many communities), no campaign against the beliefs--just shame in clinging on to such silly, outdated ideas.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Patrick

      Stalin did not try to end indoctrination. He was trying to create a new Russian Orthodox church and the indoctrination that went with it.

      If we are going to reject any system of belief that has been associated with violence, we don't have anything left.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Patrick

      I don't think religion can be eradicated, or if that would even be desirable.

      Now, ending indoctrination – that is a goal worth fighting for! Let's teach our kids to choose for themselves and give them the tools to do it critically and with wisdom.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      That's a very interesting desire you have there. I heard a radical Lesbian in a lecture make a similar vision of the future where the insti'tution of women having any personal relationships with males would be viewed as odd and not the norm. Basically that all relationships...that mattered to her... in society would be Lesbian in nature. Even other Lesbians on the panel that day took issue with her vision of a perfect future.

      Why is it that for some the Utopian vision of the future is less of the opposition. I mean in some ways I guess I am the same in wanting yall on the extremes of Atheism and Faith to both be marginalized but at least I have the hope of a President who might be Atheist and a Vice President who might be Catholic where everyones beliefs are seen as equal.

      Ecch.. I am just a FoxNews guy that is in touch with his Univ of California Berkley co'ed side every now and then.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Patrick, the indoctrination of children is a interesting idea. You hear anti-Gay and Lesbians state that the schools and society in general are indoctrinating our children to accept the Gay and Lesbian lifestyles. That is why your "goal worth fighting for" post was so interesting to me because I have heard that same type of call from the 700 club folks in society for years.

      That is why the middle can be so enlightening because we hear both sides and each echoes the other to a point you can not tell who is ...for this instance... shouting the charge against indoctrination.

      Just makes us ask, who gets to decide when it is indoctrination a view and when it is educating a view, because it does not appear we can trust either side.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Patrick

      Mark, good question and the answer is simple:

      It is indoctrination if you prevent people from thinking freely. As long as you do not teach them what to believe, you are golden.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • momoya

      Beliefs aren't equal, and they shouldn't be respected as such. Religious myths that can't prove their worth over any other religious myth should see each other as equals in a sense. If religious myth disappeared today, people would still have the same morals and go on doing what they think is right just like they do now. Religious myth is just one color and shade of the many stories we each tell ourselves in order to make sense of our reality.

      For me, a former believer with many decades experience, the issue comes down to the power of manipulation. Manipulation is a part of life, but it makes me sad to see people manipulated because of the "will of god' of the myth they were indoctrinated to believe in. When you willfully hold to irresponsible ideas it locks down your brain with "amgoddogma" which claims: I am so sure I'm right that I will actively oppose any idea, no matter how sensible, that I perceive as dangerous to my worldview. I am so right that I will yell about Jesus' love in one post, and in the next one laugh about god torturing people in hell and people who don't think like I do being killed.

      Dogmatic thinking can be a good thing, but only if one has critically evaluated the reasoning for such dogma. When it's force-fed to children and held as the ultimate judge and dispenser of neverending pleasure or pain–I think it's time somebody challenge it. When a brainwashed sl.ave doesn't realize he's a brainwashed sla.ve, sometimes a slap will do the trick.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Religious myths that can't prove their worth over any other religious myth should see each other as equals in a sense.”

      The common response is that while one can not be proven over the other you walk smack into that no one can disprove any as well. For this it is hard to see how your argument can have it both ways. Just as impossible to prove it will always be impossible to disprove.

      Now to your manipulation argument. It is sad to see people manipulated one way or another but the use of the word in itself is the same as the indoctrination arguments. If I present to you a belief or a view and you fully accept the same, both us will say that I enlightened you to a new way of thinking. Now to a third party who does not share or agree with that view, to them yours was a mind that was weak and I indoctrinated or brainwashed you into accepting my view. It is the same for the term indoctrination, it all depends on which side of a view or belief a person is on.

      >>”When it's force-fed to children “

      Yep, that is the same thing the 700 club crowd says about a great many issues. Like I said, its getting harder and harder to tell you folks apart. Its as if folks like you and Pat Roberson believe that unless you agree with all their lines of reasoning then you never had a chance to make an informed decision.

      >>>”Beliefs aren't equal, and they shouldn't be respected as such”

      Double Wow..... didn't some Evangelical say the same thing when they compared Romney's Mormonism as not being an equal belief to mainstream Christianity?

      Said it before and will say it again.... from the middle the words and speeches of the extreme Atheist and the extreme Faithful so much echo themselves.

      March 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  3. jennygirl

    atheism is a religion, too.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Primewonk

      If atheism is a religion, not collecting stamps is a hobby, and bald is a hair color.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • well

      Not a religion, but several. There are the Rational Materialists, the Secular Humanists, the Social Darwinists and several other sects.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • YeahOk

      Theism – Belief in the existence of a god or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures

      Religion – The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods

      Atheism – NO Belief in the existence of a god or gods /// NO belief in or worship of a superhuman controlling power

      I can see how you could believe they're exactly the same. (you're just kidding, right?)

      March 2, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • well

      Where exactly did you get your definition of religion??? Atheism comes in several sects, but fits the first and primary definition of religion quite well. What sect do you belong to?
      1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
      2.a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
      3.the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
      4.the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
      5.the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • momoya

      Atheists don't share any explicit beliefs. They only have one non-belief in common–the rest is up for grabs. (All atheists share a missing element–belief in a deity).

      If atheism is a religion, then so is blindness. (All blind people share the same missing element–sight).

      March 2, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Psssst over here

      You're right. Atheist have secret buildings underground where they sing songs about a god that doesn't exist.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Atheists don't share any explicit beliefs. They only have one non-belief in common"

      Ok, then can not I, as a Faithful, make the same statement in that all Faithful do not share a common explicit belief because some of us are Christians, some are Muslims, Jewish, Buddhist ..etc? Is not our one thing in common the same degree as the Atheist in where you stand on Faith and Belief?

      This is why Atheist is seen by some as the next new Religion,...and seeing such articles as this with the billboard ... yall will fit in very nicely. 🙂

      March 2, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Carl from Craig County

      the next new Religion

      And they meet every Monday. What's up with that?

      March 2, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Patrick

      "Ok, then can not I, as a Faithful, make the same statement in that all Faithful do not share a common explicit belief because some of us are Christians, some are Muslims, Jewish, Buddhist ..etc? Is not our one thing in common the same degree as the Atheist in where you stand on Faith and Belief? "

      You can say that, but it would have no relevance. The reason is that the "faithful", as you call them, have another element that qualifies them as a religion that the non-theists do not. They collectively subscribe to a belief system that accepts supernatural elements as tenants.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Patrick

      "Fitting in nicely" is our goal. It has been rough being thought of as the moral equivalent of rapists.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  4. well

    The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Socrates

    March 2, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  5. Leo

    In Matthew 24 the Disciples asked Jesus what would be the sign of his coming at the end of the age.

    For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:7-14

    Nation will rise up against Nation and what do we see Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc!!

    Earthquakes The rise in earthquakes has been measured and studied in the last century and in the last 7 years we have had 4 of the world’s top 10 earthquakes ever recorded. With death tolls of 230,000+ Indian Ocean 2004, 79,000+ in Kashmir 2005, 68,000+ Sichuan China 2008, and 222,000+ in Haiti 2010.

    They will deliver Christians up and they will killed because of Jesus’ name. 105,000 Christians are murdered each year for being Christians. This does not include victims of civil wars or wars between nations. It is the number killed simply for admitting that they are Christians!

    Earthquakes The rise in earthquakes has been measured and studied in the last century and in the last 7 years we have had 4 of the world’s top 10 earthquakes ever recorded. With death tolls of 230,000+ Indian Ocean 2004, 79,000+ in Kashmir 2005, 68,000+ Sichuan China 2008, and 222,000+ in Haiti 2010.

    At that time many will fall away – This is happening look at all the people just on these posts!

    Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. – Sound Familiar?

    But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved!!

    March 2, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • well

      Mark 13:32
      "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows."
      So, Leo, you have wisdom that Jesus himself was not aware of? Impressive.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • well

      1 Thessalonians 5:2-4
      For you know quite well that the day of the Lord's return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18

      That was 2,000 years ago. We're still waiting....

      "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled."
      – Luke 21:32
      The biblical definition of a generation can be found in Psalm 90.
      "The years of our lives are 70; and if by reason of strength they be 80 years, yet most of them are labor and sorrow; for life is soon cut off and we fly away."
      26 Psalms 90:10
      This is confirmed in the Gospel of Matthew.
      "Therefore all the generations from Abraham down to David are 14 generations; and from David down to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations; and from the Babylonian captivity down to messiah, are 14 generations."
      – Matthew 1:17
      Matthew is using the Psalm 90 definitions of Generation in order to tell a specific chronological story.

      That was 2,000 years ago. We're still waiting.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Leo

      “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Matthew 24:32-33

      March 2, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Leo

      Thanks Doc for fulfilling one more for us.

      Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3

      March 2, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • well

      In A.D. 950 Adso of Montier-en-Der wrote a "Treatise on the Antichrist" which was a response to a number of mid-century crises that had provoked widespread alarm and fear of an end-time apocalypse.(5) Five years later, Abbo of Fleury heard a preacher in Paris who announced that the Antichrist would be unleashed in the year 1000 and that the Last Judgment would soon follow.(6) At about the same time a panic occurred in the German army of Emperor Otto I because of a solar eclipse that the soldiers mistook as a sign of the end of the world.(7) And when the last Carolingian dynasty fell with the death of King Louis V in 987, many saw this event as a precursor to the arrival of the Antichrist. King Otto II of Germany had Charlemagne's body exhumed on Pentecost in the year 1000 supposedly in order to forestall the apocalypse. Both Halley's comet in A.D. 989 and a super nova in A.D. 1006 were interpreted as signs of the end. About the same time, the Moslem caliph, Al Hakim, destroyed the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem prompting apocalyptic fear in the west as well as violent anti-Jewish outbursts.(8)

      March 2, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • jimtanker

      Mark 13:32
      "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows."

      So, if Jesus is god then god doesnt even know. Just more B S from the babble.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • well

      Jim, you're not going to get into the trinity thing now are you? That makes my head hurt.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Justin

      Leo, in regurgitating these passages and corelating them to current day affairs, then pushing it forth like so many truths, you have yourself become one of the false prophets.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • well

      Justin, I nominate you for best post of the week!

      March 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Leo

      I am not saying any specific days, but am called to preach the Good News and warn those that these events MAY be upon us!!

      We will see who is wrong in the end!! The sad thing is the Atheist Great hope is a dirt bed and mine is in the Almighty God the Creator of all things who promises eternal life to those that will follow him!!

      If more detailed events start occuring as those in Revelation you will still have a chance to turn and be saved!

      March 2, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • just sayin

      What so many miss is that scripture is related throughout the Bible. It is so easy to take a passage out of context and think you've made a point. Example : Doc Vestabule is intent on showing that a "generation" has passed since the time of Christ. No duh ! What Doc conveniently forgets to include are the passages in the book of Daniel that underscore the events Jesus is referring to.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "If more detailed events start occuring as those in Revelation"

      Tell you what – the day I see a 7 headed dragon spewing torrents of water while hunting pregnant women or a swarm of armour clad locusts with the face of a man, the hair of a woman, the mouth of a lion and the tail of a scorpion all wearing tiny little crowns, I'll repent and turn to Jesus.
      Until then, I'll lump your end times warnings in with the long list of others, likewhen:
      George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
      William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
      Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
      Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
      Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
      Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
      Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
      Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
      Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
      Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • YeahOk

      You spew for numbers saying they mean something, and make claims that of increases of violence and of worse earthquakes than ever before. Please show me not only the current data you present, but the past data that proves what you are saying.

      As far as earthquake data goes, we only have good data that only goes back not even a 100 years. To make claims they are more frequent or of higher magnitudes, you have nothing.

      Apparently you don't follow the news because you would have seen recent news articles about the decline in violence in the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/22/world-less-violent-stats_n_1026723.html

      And even though violence in the world has decreased, there are still 1.6 million killed by violence each year. By statistics, some of those are bound to be killed cause they are Christians. But are there more now than before? Show me the data.

      Your numbers are useless and your fear mongering pathetic.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • YeahOk

      "You spew for numbers "

      You spew YOUR numbers...

      March 2, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Leo

      Facts are facts period. How many Atheist's were murdered for their Faith in the hope life started from non-life?

      March 2, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Primewonk

      You fundiots have been predicting the end of the world for 2000 years. Each and every time you have been wrong. Hell Harold Camping was wrong so many times that your god sent a stoke to shut him up.

      If you want, you can go online and find lists of hundreds of these failed predictions.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Leo

      I can feal your pain and hatred in your posts, as well as the attempt to twist and decieve even what I said. Pretty weak!

      March 2, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • YeahOk

      I could claim that there were 93 fatal shark attacks last year and that was the highest ever recorded in history. But, without providing past data for comparison, is my claim a fact?

      If you can't provide proof that your "facts" are actual facts, and not just spewing them, then you're going to look pretty silly don't you think?

      March 2, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Leo

      FYI the Greek word for Generation is GENEA which can mean a single generation as well as fathered, birth, nativity, that which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family


      March 2, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Leo

      Not sure why you all need to use words like spewing, regurgitating, etc. but It really shows something just aint right....


      March 2, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Attributing seismic activity to divine interference is a bit offputting for rationalists.
      Google "boobquake" for a rather flippant debunking of the principle

      March 2, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • YeahOk

      Ok, you provided a link to the Largest Earthquakes in the World Since 1900. What does that tell me about any increase or decrease in frequency or magnitude for the past 2,000 years. Are there more, less, about the same?

      March 2, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • TR6

      @Leo:” For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3”

      This was just Peter unsuccessfully trying to cover his ass after people started to notice that jesus was not keeping his “1 generation and I’ll be back” promise
      And christians have been unsuccessfully trying to explain away that little foible ever since.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  6. Valorie

    All who think these billboards somehow "shove atheist beliefs down your throat" let me tell you something. An overwhelming majority of Americans, especially those raised outside of a major city, have had other's religious beliefs shoved down our throats OUR ENTIRE LIFE!

    I am absolutely amazed at the number of people who cling to the bible and I wonder if they are really serious or feel pressure to conform, as they have their entire life. It's brainwashing. And that is sick.

    I am going to the Reason Rally and the convention because, for the first time in my life, I want to know what it feels like to be around 100's of people whom I don't consider crazy. It'll kind of be like church- the Church of Modern Day "Aints." (We ain't going to take it anymore).

    March 2, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Gree

      Well said, Val.. If I have to see billboards of how I must repent, believe that "life begins at conception," or any other rhetorical religious statement, then I believe that these billboards have their due space within our society, too. I am tired of having to hold my beliefs inside publicly lest I be crucified by my "peers," for being a "heathen."

      March 2, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  7. Frank Pendle

    good for the atheists. welcome to America – everyone gets a say.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  8. Leo

    Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    March 2, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Leo

      In II Thessalonians 2 Paul wrote in regards to the second coming of the Lord in the last days. There are 2 primary events that must occur before his return.

      The First is the Apostasy which is the falling away from the truth.

      The Second is that the Man of Lawlessness would be revealed.

      We are seeing the Great Apostasy before our very eyes and this is just the beginning.

      Because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Fred

      Didn't Jesus say that people in his time would still be alive when the end came? But thay are all dead by now! Talk about not seeing the truth!

      March 2, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • well

      Fred, many who were alive to hear Jesus were alive when the end of the Jewish world came. The total destruction of Jerusalem, burning of the temple and dispersion of the Jewish in 70 AD was taken by many at the time to be fulfillment of his prophecy.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Primewonk

      Thank you for posting random meaningless verses from your holy book. In the interest of fairness, here are some random verses from my holy book, the Primewonk bible. I think my random verses make a lot more sense than yours.

      ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That, Through a Process Know as "Tunneling," This Post May Spontaneously Disappear from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Random Place in the Universe, Including Your Neighbor's Domicile. God Will Not Be Responsible for Any Damages or Inconvenience That May Result.

      PUBLIC NOTICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW: Any Use of This Post, in Any Manner Whatsoever, Will Increase the Amount of Disorder in the Universe. Although No Liability Is Implied Herein, the Believer Is Warned That This Process Will Ultimately Lead to the Heat Death of the Universe.

      Einstein 16:24 Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

      Gould 1:15-16 Human consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in its long history. Let us hope that we are still in the early morning of our April day.

      Bohr 2:11 Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.

      Szilard 88:16 I'm all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius.

      Sagan 22:1 For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

      Feynman 110:55 …it doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are - if it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

      Hawking 41:61 A machine that was powerful enough to accelerate particles to the grand unification energy would have to be as big as the Solar System-and would be unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.

      Hippocrates 14:5 Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.

      Galileo 12:16 It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved

      Carlyle 2:2 It is a mathematical fact that the casting of this pebble from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the universe.

      Fermi 1:1 The weak nuclear force does not change over time.

      Oliver Heaviside 62:3 Shall I refuse my dinner because I do not fully understand the process of digestion?

      C. P. Snow 5:3 Innocence about Science is the worst crime today.

      Paul Valéry 3:6 One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall.

      A.C. Doyle 14:8 It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.

      Clark 19:17 Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

      Roddenberry 68:12 We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  9. Reality

    For the next billboard:


    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    March 2, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • well

      Even a very basic understanding of physics and cosmology shows that the odds of a universe existing capable of supporting life is many many billions to one. Therefor either there are many billions of universes, we are exceedingly lucky or there is a cosmic intelligence behind it all.
      If you choose to believe that there are billions of universes, you are expressing a faith unsupported by any experimental or observational scientific data. This is no different than the religious who do the exact same thing.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Eric G

      @Well: You are correct. Your views and beliefs on the creation of the universe are based on a VERY BASIC scientific understanding of physics.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • well

      Eric, do you have a deeper understanding that in any way disproves my statement?

      March 2, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ well
      And a better understanding of physics show that its impossible for there to be an intelligent being capable of interfering with this universe no matter how it started. If a god does exist, then it is physically impossible for it to be a personal god. And once you show that only this universe is able to hold life I'll be able to show you there is no god. Because to get the odds of a universe that could contain life you would first have to compare it to one that doesn't. Which I doubt you know of any.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • well

      Best-What knowledge are you basing your statement on? We live in a universe in which we actually know what only 3% of matter and energy are even composed of, and if classic string theory is correct we perceive only three of our universes11 dimensions. Are you really going to tell me with knowledge of 3% of physical reality and 27% of possible dimensions, you can begin to say what is possible? Really?

      March 2, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Umm.. yes. No matter how large or complex our universe is, its still bound by 4 basic physical laws which don't allow for outside influence of any kind. God cannot exist.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • well

      So the universe cannot be effected by forces outside of any kind? your words. Before the big bang, time did not exist and all that is our universe was in a timeless stasis. Then it changed state.. By your statement, there can be no outside influence, yet the universe changed states before time even existed for this change to take place. If there are multiple universes, some effect from an adjacent universe has been theorized as the catalyst, but without multiple universes, then what?
      Either way according to your belief, this could never happen, and the universe could never come into existence.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • well

      Best-No matter how you want to slice it, when you challenge me to prove God, that is just silly. I am agnostic on the subject. I just find atheists who use science to support their belief to be as deluded as young earth creationists. We know so little there is no way to make a determination. We are like two bacterium in the gut of a round worm in a rat intestines, that is hiding in the hull of a ship in the middle of the Atlantic. You are the bacterium that knows that the universe is made up solely of endless worm feces. I am saying we just don't know shlt.

      The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Socrates

      March 2, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Crad

      Best, you say the universe is bound by 4 laws everywhere? Where are you getting your information? Thats about as wring as wrong can be. First off, there could be many universes, and even in our own, there are places where laws and logic break apart and time stands still..

      March 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I got caught up in a meeting so sorry for the later response...

      But I made no claims about the beginning of the universe, just that now it is impossible for outside forces to interact. One theory about the beginning of the universe has to do with m theory which says that two higher dimensional branes bounced off each other giving the necessary energy for the universe, no other universes needed. My point is since god can't possibly interact now, and even one theory that doesn't require a supreme being to start the big bang its ridiculous to even as.sume that a god exists. So a personal god is obviously impossible and so the only one that is is a god that started the universe which is less likely than many of the theories that are out there. It's just ignorant to say a god must exist because of the big bang and just plain stup.id to say a personal god exists with what is known about science.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ crad
      By laws I meant forces and they do hold together everywhere. Except maybe inside a black hole where no information can escape so its irrelevant. And sure, there could be many universes, but that doesn't change what goes on in this one. Our forces work only in this universe. And if there is another universe, those forces will only apply to that one, there is no overlap. No supreme being can reach into ours without altering the very fabric that holds this universe together.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • well

      Sorry, I hadn't seen in your post that your belief system is that while before the Big Bang, other universes could interact, but that afterwards a wall of separation was in place. Regardless, in Eastern concepts of God, God is a universal force present in all places and all times at once.
      On the quantum level, this is quite possible. Every bit of energy and matter in the universe was once a singularity, therefor every bit of energy and matter in the universe is entangled at the quantum level with every other. If God is a consciousness resulting from or the cause of this reality, that would be kind of cool. Not likely but possible.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Not likely is an understatement. Next to impossible is better but still doesn't cover it. And branes themselves can interact at any time. Not only before the big bang, even now. These branes could easily be coming together about to touch another time and creating another big bang. Let's just hope it doesn't because it would probably destroy the universe that is already there I.e. this one.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • well

      So the multiple universes (which a purely theoretical, yet you have faith in) can interact, but they can't unless they can? Umm, Okay.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      They are purely theoretical but m theory has a much better chance of being reality than god. The forces inside each cannot interact, whereas the physical higher dimensional branes themselves can, but any interaction between two such branes would result in energies equivalent to that of the big bang.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      If you're still having trouble, think of it like two cars. No matter what you do in one, its not going to effect what happens in the other. No energy can be transferred between the two. But if the crash, or bounce off each other all that energy is going to ho from one to the other.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • well

      You are stating as fact that M theory has a higher probability of reality than God. Exactly what are you basing your probability equations on? What are the variables involved? Or are you just choosing the reality that fits with your world view as being more likely?

      Either way, you state that one is more likely than the other. Likelihood is very different than proof of fact. I am sure you understand this.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      And everyone has to have some faith in how they think the universe began since we know so little about it. But putting that faith in a supreme being that has never even had the tiniest of evidence to show its there is childish. At least m theory and string theory explains how the universe works up to the point we can test.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • well

      Your car analogy is useful in explaining your belief. Much as 50 years ago one might say that two cars could not interact except by contact. Today, of course information between cars is exchanged constantly in the form of cell phone communication.
      To say that we know that multiple universes, that we have only theoretical knowledge of can only interact in the fashion that our extremely limited understanding declares possible is about as baseless as any religion you could name.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • well

      Putting your faith in a theory that has little or no experimental data to support it, that depends on multiple universes that cannot be detected is, to me equal to putting your faith in a higher consciousness. One must almost certainly be true, though neither in any way disproves the other.
      There could be a universal consciousness, with or without multiple universes and there could be multiple universes with or without God. Though if our universe is the only one, God is an almost certainty.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Since it is impossible for a god to interact with our universe it shows there currently isn't one, and we know that this universe runs fine without one. This being the case, It's just bad science to add one to the big bang theory. And I know that just because something is less likely doesn't mean its not the way it works. But believing in the less likely answer as if its fact just shows ignorance and stupidity.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @well: You said, "Putting your faith in a theory that has little or no experimental data to support it, that depends on multiple universes that cannot be detected is, to me equal to putting your faith in a higher consciousness."

      You can call it whatever you want. The two key points you're missing are a) that for an atheist, his "faith" doesn't require him to live his life in a manner prescribed by that "consciousness," and b) we don't assume that we can never find out the truth experimentally.

      What you consider our "faith" is nothing more than our acceptance of our current experimental limitations, not that it's permanently unknowable or untestable.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      You state that if this is the only universe then a god must exist. I'd as.sume you mean because its suitable for life. But we don't know of any other universe to compare it to so we don't know how different a universe could be and still contain life. Constants that are true in our universe may have been completely different and the universe still could have been able to harbor life. Your almost certainty claim is just as irresponsible as me saying my version of the big bang is almost certainly right. But I know its just as possible as any theory that matches what we currently know of physics and explains the big bang. Which are all still more logical than that of a god doing it.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • well

      Again, you state your belief that universes can't interact as fact almost as dogmatically as a Young Earth Creationist claiming Adam lived with T-Rexs. But even if your belief system (A that there are multiple universes and B that they can not interact in any way not supported by an unproven theory) is correct, s doesn't disprove God in any way.
      According to your chosen belief system (M theory) our universe has 11 dimensions of which we perceive only 3. What exists at the higher dimensions? We could well be like two dimensional beings on a flat plane, with you declaring as fact that there can be no higher intelligence able to effect our world. An intelligence could well exist in a form imperceptible to our extremely limited senses. Will you now say that you know what the other 9 dimensions are like?

      March 2, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • well

      Just so I get you right, you are saying that God is highly unlikely, but challenge my statement that a life sustaining universe as an uncreated, but singular event is highly unlikely?

      I did not say that ours being the only universe would be proof of God. Only that it would make God an almost certainty. The odds of our universe even existing beyond the first micro seconds of the big bang are exceedingly small. Then all the universal constants, the balance of matter and anti matter, the amount of matter in relation to energy and a dozen other variables need to be just exactly right for a life supporting universe.
      I don't claim this is proof of anything. Every day somebody wins the lottery. Highly unlikely things do happen.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • well

      Sean, no matter how you want to justify it, to be an atheist is to believe an unproven and unprovable dogma as fact. This is no different than a Theist.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      You said: " Then all the universal constants, the balance of matter and anti matter, the amount of matter in relation to energy and a dozen other variables need to be just exactly right for a life supporting universe."
      You don't know this at all since there isn't another universe to compare our to. All those variables could be completely different and that universe could still support life. And I go be m theory because it makes most sense to me but I don't dismiss other scientific theories. What I do dismiss is the idea that a god did it. I dismiss it because there has never been any proof of this god but there would have had to be because the only way for this god to do anything would be to break the laws of physics which, as far as we know, not only has never been done, but is in fact impossible. To believe otherwise shows poor logic, bad science, and overall ignorance of physics.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • well

      poor logic, bad science, and overall ignorance of physics.?
      Please explain how the universe even exists if the balance of matter and anti-matter were equal at the big bang as would be expected. How life would exist in a universe in which there was too much matter and it collapsed back to a singularity? How life would exist if there were too little matter for gravity to form stars. Or if gravity were slightly stronger or weaker causing no stars to form or all to become black holes? Or countless other variables. Your faith seems to blind you and prevent you from conceding even basic facts that don't support you belief that there is no God.
      You like to throw words like stupid and ignorant around, yet seem to have only the slightest grasp of what you are talking about. You remind me of a fundamentalist Christian in this regard.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • well

      Well it's been fun. Gotta go, but the takeaway for you is that your belief that there is no god is as provable as your stated belief that you are "the best". I know that this has made no more effect on you than my conversation with a creationist last week. Some people have too much faith in their chosen belief system to consider any other possibility.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      In the theories of the big bang, most claim that there was an equal amount of matter and anti-matter in the beginning. Although some antiparticles decay into two or more reagular particles. Particle physics explains this quite clearly. Matter and energy are intercheagable, which anyone familiar with physics should know, and therefore a universe with too much matter is also a universe with too much energy and can still go either way, expand faster and faster, or collapse into a singularity. Your stars example is the same thing, if there wasn't enough energy/mass to form stars then there probably wasn't enough to create a universe to begin with. With gravity being different, it could be slightly more or slightly less without creating too much of a problem. If it was different enough to cause every star to become a black hole or not become a star at all, then you are right, I doubt any life would form, but there would still be a very large range of values that this could be without making it impossible for life to form. My point is you can't say if this is the only universe then god most likely exists because of the variables. For all we know, the variables that are constant in our universe only play very small roles in whether or not it can sustain life and they could be wildly different and still work just fine.

      I may remind you of a fundamentalist Christian, but your lack of accepting that physical laws, experimental data, and theories based off these is a better and more logical view of the universe and how it began reminds me of the same about you.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @I'm The Best!: You said, "I may remind you of a fundamentalist Christian, but your lack of accepting that physical laws, experimental data, and theories based off these is a better and more logical view of the universe and how it began reminds me of the same about you."

      What does it for me is well's insistence that, because we don't currently have answers, we must give (not insignificant) weight to some idea of "god."

      Any "agnostic" that spends that much time arguing against scientific inquiry using religionist terminology probably isn't being completely honest with their actual position, whether or not they realize it.

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

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

      March 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Reality

      Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab by astrophysicists and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this chaotic, stochastic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-garies of its local star.

      And keep in mind that there are ~6 x 10 E23 stars in the universe..

      And we continue to find exo-planets, a few apparently capable of supporting some form of life.

      March 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  10. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    Added assistance for a great endeavor:

    o http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
    Religion………………………… Adherents

    Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

    Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

    Irreligious/agnostic/atheism..... 1.1 billion

    Hinduism 900 million
    Chinese traditional religion 394 million
    Buddhism 376 million
    Animist religions 300 million
    African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
    Sikhism 23 million
    Juche 19 million
    Spiritism 15 million

    Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

    Baha'i 7 million
    Jainism 4.2 million
    Shinto 4 million
    Cao Dai 4 million
    Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
    Tenrikyo 2 million
    Neo-Paganism 1 million
    Unitarian Universalism 800,000
    Rastafari Movement 600,000

    March 2, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • well

      Gotta love how you try to lump irreligious and agnostic in with atheist to give your numbers a boost. I am an agnostic and don't buy into your unfounded belief system that there is no God. I would appreciate if you would not try to claim me and my agnostic brethren as part of your club.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @well: You said, "I am an agnostic and don't buy into your unfounded belief system that there is no God. I would appreciate if you would not try to claim me and my agnostic brethren as part of your club."

      Your agnosticism should (most likely) result in belief in a pretty wishy-washy god. Much more deist than theist, and so poorly defined as to make the entire concept of god meaningless.

      So...why bother with it at all?

      If, on the other hand, you do adhere to some sort of dogma and at the same time acknowledge that you can't ever know if it's correct, then you're just attempting to portray yourself as more enlightened than you are. It just means you believe wacky crap and admit that it'll never be proven.

      Once again...why bother with it?

      March 2, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • well

      Sean, I believe, and have a pure, almost dogmatic faith that we don't know shlt. Atheists and Theists alike try to prove their beliefs to be fact, when there simply is not enough data.
      Maybe someday, God will come rolling in to say "Hi" or we will find the theory of everything that shows conclusively that there is no God. I'm not holding my breath for either.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @well: And yet...you still capitalize the 'G' in 'god.' Methinks thou doth protest too much.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • well

      Bah, I would right "God or gods or universal consciousness" every time, but that is way too long.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  11. Nii Croffie

    Mark, there r several. The first is de story of Creation. The second is de story of Adam n Eve. de story of the Burning Bush. The Gospel also contain the story of healings. Then Paul's conversion by de Daamascus road. The Resurrection is also one. I overcame this as I learnt 2 develop my sixth sense

    March 2, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • MarcTTF


      When you say you overcame them, do you mean that you just accept them to be true, even though you’ve come to the conclusion that they’re implausible or downright false, because believing them is fundamental to Christianity, or did your ‘sixth sense’ reveal something to you that somehow made the stories believable?

      March 2, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Mark as I began 2 love my neighbor as myself in thought n deed they began 2 seem plausible as ppl began 2 report good things happening 2 them cos of something I did 4 them. I also began 2 deliver accurate prophesies like those in de Bible. After reading THINK AND GROW RICH, I believed it.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Also some science texts helped me. For example the now defunct Encarta gave me a Psychaitrist agreeing with Jesus that humans are emotional rather than intellectual or rational beings.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • MarcTTF


      So because of the way you started treating others you now believe that the first human was created from dirt and the second from the rib of the first and that those two individuals are solely responsible for all the diversity we see in the human race today? If there is any truth to your education credentials, you have to be an intelligent enough person to see that is simply not possible, and if something as fundamental to Christianity as the story of Adam and Eve is false then would it not stand to reason that loads more, if not all, is equally false?

      March 2, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Hello! Koine Greek of Jesus time was a pidgin. It evolved from Attic Greek n both r different from Medieval n Modern Greek. Contextual reading says Christ was asked about the fall of Jerusalem and the End of His Age in Matt 24. A more accuraate rendition is given in The Living Bible.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Mark I think u r 2o hung up on de word impossible 4 ur own good. Science studies of possibilities n eliminates improbables. Improbables have been revived 2o. The fact that current knowledge something n de Bible says another is inconsequential. Obedience gives emotional maturity. Adam n Eve works.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • MarcTTF


      Was that last post directed at me? If so, and if it was supposed to answer either of my questions, I missed what you were trying to say. Can you please clarify?

      March 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • MarcTTF


      Ignore my last post; I was referring to the post that talked about Koine Greek.
      I’m not hung up on the word impossible. You can call it anything you want, but how can you call yourself a rational person if the Adam and Eve story works for you?

      March 2, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Adam n Eve is a story used to explain the human psyche. It may be Mosaic because the Tabernacle design is based on it. If it is historical fine if it isn't it still helps. The fables of Aesop have vital lessons too. Adam n Eve won't kill either. Even if the Bible is not true it fulfills its design.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • MarcTTF


      Could it not fulfill its design without all “do as I say or you’ll go to hell for eternity” stuff? It may have worked thousands of years ago, but the collective knowledge of our species has increased dramatically since that time, and if it’s not true then it simply has no place in modern society other than alongside the works of Aesop, Homer and company. If people need a book on how to act toward others, there are plenty of capable authors that could pen such a book. Clinging on the myths in the bible as truths, only hinders progress, increases divisiveness, and creates prejudices that lead to undue suffering. It's time to learn what you can from it, and let it go as the myth it is.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  12. Awesome

    I'm #1

    March 2, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  13. an atheist

    There is no such thing as ghosts/souls/spirits. This makes god moot to most. Arguing what is greater then the multiverse is pointless.

    March 2, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • well

      Thank you for your statement of faith.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Crad

      No, telling people to believe you, just because, its actually pointless. There is a ton of research going on with ghosts, thinking they are energy traces naturally left over from human lives. Its a scientific approach to what millions of people have experinced. And you people ask for proof of god? We have this much proof of ghosts and you laugh off a very reasonable and common experince. You sound like an aduly child who has made up his mind and crossed his arms in a huff..

      March 2, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  14. The Agnostic

    Seems to me the atheists are trying to prove the negative, which is a well-known logical fallacy. However, I don't understand what the big deal is. If you don't want to believe in G-d, then fine, don't believe. If you do want to believe in G-d, then that's fine too. Whatever makes your socks go up and down. Just don't try shoving your belief down someone else's throat. Believing something to be, whether it's true or false, that alone doesn't necessarily make it whatever you want it to be. Atheists and Believers should just each go their own way and stop bothering everyone else (like me, for example).

    March 2, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • An Evangelical Agnostic

      True dat. Of course i find the whole atheist mindset amusing. I have more respect for the believer who admits their beliefs are a matter of "faith". The atheist will insist his belief that there is no God is founded on rational thought and science, yet the is no evidence for the belief in or denial of a God. Atheism is by definition a belief in an unprovable dogmatic faith.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • LinCA

      @The Agnostic

      You said, "Seems to me the atheists are trying to prove the negative, [...]"
      They are not. There is no evidence in support of the existence of any gods. That makes their stories fables or myths. There is simply no rational reason to believe them.

      While contradictory parts of these stories prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that these parts are incorrect, it doesn't prove that the gods don't exist. But just because I can't prove the gods don't exist, doesn't mean that it is reasonable to assume they do.

      You said, "However, I don't understand what the big deal is."
      Me neither. It's not like every time a church advertises their doctrine that CNN runs an article, yet it appears that anytime atheists do, it's front page news.

      You said, "Just don't try shoving your belief down someone else's throat.", and "Atheists and Believers should just each go their own way and stop bothering everyone else (like me, for example)."
      Are you bothered by the billboards? Do you feel that they are shoving beliefs down your throat? If so, what makes these billboards different from advertising done by churches? For instance, advertising like the church signs featured in the right sidebar on every page on the belief blog?

      @An Evangelical Agnostic

      You said, "Of course i find the whole atheist mindset amusing. I have more respect for the believer who admits their beliefs are a matter of "faith"."
      I can respect theists that acknowledge that their beliefs are a matter of faith. Even so, I still think it's pretty silly for adults to claim to believe in fairy tales, but I can see that it may be difficult to shed the comforts of the myth one grew up with.

      You said, "The atheist will insist his belief that there is no God is founded on rational thought and science, yet the is no evidence for the belief in or denial of a God."
      It is based on the fact there is no evidence in support of the existence of any god, let alone any one in particular. It is based on the rational thought that if there isn't any evidence in support of a claim, there is no reason to believe it.

      Do you require evidence to reject the existence of the Tooth Fairy? Do you believe it is unknowable whether Harry Potter exists until it is proven he doesn't? Do you believe there is a half decent chance every god ever worshiped is real? If you don't, why? If you do, how do you reconcile that with common religious claims that their god is the only one?

      Every theist rejects thousands, if not millions of gods. Even those that claim to believe in the same one can't seem to agree on the correct way to interpret his/her/its word, or how to worship this god. Almost all theists seem to be very strongly atheistic towards every god but their own.

      You said, "Atheism is by definition a belief in an unprovable dogmatic faith."
      Even if that were true, and of course it isn't, it would still be the more reasonable position to take than that of any theist. By far.

      Atheism, for most atheists, is a rejection of belief in gods. Atheists tend to equally disbelieve in all gods, not just any one in particular. It is the exact opposite of what you appear to think.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Patrick

      Bad characterization. Atheists do not accept things on faith. They don't have any reason to disprove anything, as nothing has been proven yet.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  15. Dave

    The atheist "movement" is crazy ironic; it's using the same formula all of us hate when it comes to organized religion: proselytizing! ...and it's doing it worse than any other religion out there, these days, by directly confronting the opposition and disrespecting their beliefs. It's not about what you can do, legally, and what you want to do, ultimately, but who you are going to hurt in the process. I can't fathom why a "movement" (which is ironic unto itself – isn't party of the reason one gets away from organized religion being unaffiliated with anything organized?) that claims morality has nothing to do with religion wouldn't factor in the feelings of all people when attempting such a feat. I guess if you believe in any higher power, your feelings don't matter.

    When atheism turns into an organized movement and follows the same formulas and makes the same mistakes that organized religion has been making over many millennia, it does itself a huge disservice, as it is. It becomes everything everyone hates about religion.

    March 2, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      In fairness, this group claims to be aiming these billboards at the non-believers already living within those faith communities. Nobody should really doubt that these people do, if fact, exist. Plenty of us atheists know this because that was, or still is, our situation, but the att.itude towards disbelief is so strongly negative that it's far safer to just pretend to believe. Do you have a better way to reach out to those people and tell them that they're not alone?

      March 2, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Primewonk

      Perhaps atheists, like our gay brothers and sisters, are just sick and tired of theists – especially fundamentalists – shoving their version of god into all aspects of our lives? Perhaps we're sick and tired of being da.mned to hell and being told we're worthless scu.m. You have a right to hold what ever beliefs you want. But when you try and force those beliefs into our laws and our public schools and our governmental offices, you should expect that we are going to fight back.

      Recently we had a 16 year old girl in Rhode Island get death threats because she told her public school to take down a Christian prayer banner that was hanging in the school. And you wonder why we hold these fundamentalists in such low regard?

      We just had the legislature in Georgia vote 161-0 to require hanging the 10 commandments in every school. Seriously – did not a single solitary one of these cretins read the SCOTUS decision Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980)? Especially this section: The pre-eminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one's parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord's name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Do you have a better way to reach out to those people and tell them that they're not alone?"

      Yes, they reach them just the same way all groups do by just saying you are not alone. Its all in the wording. For example all you have to do is look out into the communities this time of year for the signs for youth and rec council Spring sports leagues.

      How are they worded, do they say :

      "You know soccer is for *girls*, you have a choice ... join the Little League Baseball team"

      Or ..

      "You know Baseball is for *future steroid users* , you have a choice... join the soccer team today"


      "You know that Girls soccer is for *Tomboys/future Lesbians* , you have a choice... join the gymnastics team"

      ...Do you see signs like that in your community? I can not claim that I have lived everywhere but I have lived in and visited a fair share of communities and this style of promoting or reaching is not done, not even on the level of children. Not even the Jehovah's Witnesses go the route. In some ways this guys billboards and his reasoning is pure Bin Laden style of trying to reach folks.

      "You know that anyone that does not practice Islam the way we do are *infidels*, you have a choice join Alqueda"

      Think about it, these billboards are attempting to reach Atheist but at the same time they are reaching them by radically degrading everyone who is not. The man even stated that "it is not his concern" ... That's pure Malcolm X pre-Hadji. How about this sign:

      "New York Area Atheist Society open house gathering this Sunday at New Town Recreation center. Various speakers and displays. Bring your families and friends"

      Does that sound any way better to you?

      March 2, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Crad

      You have got to be kidding me. These billboards are for athietst? Thats great, that shows exaclty what kinf of shady people these are, that are too afraid to even tell the truth behind their campaign. Any zombie can tell theyre running an antagonistic campaign and these billboard are aimed at believers. And you religious people stupid.. Man..

      March 2, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Chad and Mark – but it's still OK for fundiot churches to put up billboards across the nation da.mning people to hell, right?

      Cry me a freaking river.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • GodPot

      "Cry me a freaking river."

      Nice. That is of course your only defense. You don't want equal rights or religious freedom, you want Christian rights and Christian freedom, everyone else is just a cry baby if they don't accept your God as fact with absolutely no proof. Might as well just come out and say it, you are anti-American and anti-freedom.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wonk, ...please if you learn anything visiting here on the belief Blog is that before assume someones views you might get to know them first. Your belief that I would think it was OK for the Faithful to do the same is insulting because it just means you have never read my post before.

      Its called tolerance and co-existence and I sorta believe that such can and if we have to drag folks like you and Pat Robertson kicking and screaming your heads off into the basic understanding that there are no perfect sides on this and that in the middle might be our only hope as a society.

      Want to know me ... check out my post on March 2, 2012 at 9:15 am and then get back to me on what you feel that I would think is OK.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Mark from Middle River
      That would be fine, but wouldn't it be fair then to criticize religious messages that suggest that what we atheists believe isn't the truth? Sometimes you see benign signs advertising church suppers and swap meets, but more often than not there are postings along the lines of "Christ is Lord!" and all manner of actual Christian belief, with the assertion that it's the truth despite whatever other beliefs the casual passer by may hold. I'm not an advocate of trying to convert people to non-belief, but nobody thinks that these messages are meant just for believers, so why the double standard?

      I will say, in fairness, that I've never come across any signs from Muslims or Jews outside of the "We've got a meeting" variety where I live. Maybe it's different where Silverman lives, but to me this seems a bit uncalled for regarding these communities.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  16. Nii Croffie

    A spiritual Xtian applies de scientific method 2 de Bible. He sees it as theorems which when experimented with r supposed 2 give a certain result. He therefore obeys the Bible 2 see if it'll help him in his quest 4 emotional maturity n clearer thinking. Loving ur neighbor as urself doesn't kill.

    March 2, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      If you really did apply acide tests to the morals found within the Bible then you'd see that many of them have outlived their usefulness, and have essentially gone bad. Many moderate Christians, non-literalists, have picked and chosen wisely.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      And so what? Being a siritul Christian is not about picking and choosing. It is about obeying it if it works. I relly don't care about doctrinal position. That is why I am a Messianic Jewish Anglican. Everything inside!

      March 2, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Nii Croffie
      Yes, "obeying it if it works", but do you admit that a lot of it doesn't work any more? It was developed in a very different kind of society, one where slavery was accepted, women had few rights, science was virtually non-existent, and diversity wasn't appreciated at all. Perhaps it's time to amend the Bible, eh?

      March 2, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Crad

      Ohyeah, still sound relative. Slavery is still accepted, women still dont have rights and commonly get beheaded for speaking. Science is still non existent, and we still know virtually nothing. ( although we claim to know how the universe started, yet we havent even explored our own oceans). You have a very selective veiw on the world. Maybe you should amend your reception.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Does Christianity now oppose the owning of slaves or support it, as it did in most places at one time or another? Does every Christian group follow Paul's teaching on keeping women quiet, and out of church leadership roles? No, because the faith has evolved, was forced to evolve because slaves and women demanded their rights to be treated equally. Same movement is occurring today with regard to the gay community, and already several churches are fully accepting. In the future, only people considered crackpots will be preaching that hom0se.xuality is against Christian faith.

      Science is far from non-existent, or are you still lighting your house with oil lamps, and treating your illnesses with leeches? The depths of the oceans are actually more difficult to peer into than the depths of space, what with there being no light down there and all. Besides, what great mysteries are you expecting to find down there? Atlantis?

      I think it's you, my friend, who has a selective view of things.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  17. Nii Croffie

    I don't see y secular atheists think Xtians don't doubt God. W'out doubt there can't b faith. Atheist believers understand this n thats why most stay put. Having friends who value spiritual ethics is better than having amoral friends. Also spiritual(emotional) maturity enables rational function.

    March 2, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      I know amoral people who are strong believers. Morals have nothing to do with belief or disbelief. How you treat other people and how you act yourself on a day to day basis is what matters.

      March 2, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • MarcTTF


      I asked you this yesterday, but I was away from my computer so if you answered me, I apologize for missing it, but I'm going to ask it again just to save me reading through 50 pages to try to find your response.

      Can you give me a specific example of something in the bible that gave you reason to doubt it? This is a sincere question, because I’m of the opinion that to be faithful, you can’t have any doubt whatsoever.

      March 2, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      TruthPrevails. U n ur gay friends might have succeeded in hcking my website but it just shows how pathetic you are! Amoral Christians indeed! If u ever try to discuss any issue with me I will not respond. Goodbye forever.

      March 2, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I gotta agree with Prevails, I know and been witnessed to a lot of amoral Faithful. I have also known what I feel are very moral Atheist. Should there be a way that we can just accept and understand that there are both good and bad folks on both and all sides of the issue of Faith and Non-Faith?

      March 2, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      There is, however, the somewhat separate issue of things believers consider moral, but non-believers do not, and vice versa. "Morality" is a rather flexible term. That's why the discussion has to remain open.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>>"That's why the discussion has to remain open."

      Ain't that the truth. 🙂

      March 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  18. Nii Croffie

    Spiritual Xtians r increasing by de day as people begin 2 understand de learning of de Bible n apply it rather than debate theology fruitlessly. They r more articulate than evangelicals n more credible n persuasive 2o. Atheism in churches isnt going 2 die. They'll rather evolve into Xtian Mamelukes.

    March 2, 2012 at 5:53 am |
  19. Nii Croffie

    I cannot belabour this point enough. Atheist, Agnostic, Ignostic, Deist, Irreligious, Non-practising Christians exist. The Scandinavians fall into this category. They are very proud "cultural christians" to quote my friend Swedish Erik. Humanism n secularism etc does not cross their minds.

    March 2, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  20. carefree

    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.”

    But then, nobody gave a heck.

    March 2, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • nik


      March 2, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • Crad

      If he was supposedly talking to athiests, why would it cause a stir? But we all know the truth. Its an antoagonistic campaign bent on mocking people with no hope of conversion. Its simply a waste of 15 grand that could have been spent of feeding the homeless or given to charity. Athiests are a walking contradiction.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:49 am |
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About this blog

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