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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. Free Thinker

    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.

    Building bridges? Is that what the Jewish religion does? Like the time when my girlfriend's mother threatened to disown her if she didn't break up with me because I am not Jewish? Was that the Jewish notion of bridge building? Because I call that polarization. Actually, I call it what it really is; plain and simple racism, bigotry and hatred.

    March 3, 2012 at 3:11 am |
  2. Free Thinker

    So many interesting religious statistics thrown around in these comments. Can anyone give me a statistical breakdown of lives taken in the name of each major religion over the course of history? I just tried to search for this info and the volume of data returned actually shut down Google across the entire North American continent.

    March 3, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • Nathan173

      People always blame religion for wars and deaths. There are two large examples of governments that tried to squash religion in the last century–The Soviet Union and China which were two of the most murderous regimes in the history of mankind.

      March 3, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      the difference is that those governments don't perform their evil in the name of atheism, the way theocratic governments do heinous acts in the name of religion. those governments are a cult of personality. replace God with Kim Jung Ill. atheism is not an ethical system, it is simply a rejection of any and all gods. if you want an atheistic ethical system, look up Humanism. much better than the bronze age ethics offered by the bible.

      March 3, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  3. martint

    In this country we have this little thing called freedom of religion, which includes the right to abstain from religious dogma and ancient mythical beliefs. It makes me laugh when religions cry because Atheists put up some billboards that question religion and it's hold on mankind when those same religions have attacked atheists, even killing many over the years, for centuries.

    March 3, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”It makes me laugh when religions cry because Atheists put up some billboards that question religion “

      I thought these billboards were put up to help identify and help closeted Atheist to come out. Are you disagreeing with the guy who is putting up these billboards? Sounds like you and him are not on the same page.

      >>>”those same religions have attacked atheists, even killing many over the years, for centuries.”

      I am African American, is it ok for me to attack a random White American because of the attacks, enslavement and lynchings of my African ancestors?

      Rats, I forgot the Buffalo Soldiers fought and killed many Native Americans …. arrggh.

      Martin... I forgot … there is a radical militant Feminist group that want to talk about all that was done to women throughout history.

      I take it that you are a male also.... so I guess we need to pay for the sins of our fathers and grandfathers...etc.

      Martin, if you choose the path that you must take revenge for injustices then even down to our gender, there will always be someone ready to take revenge upon us for the sins of those that came before us.

      March 3, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  4. Reality

    For the next billboard:

    THE FINAL KIBOSH

    • 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 Bud

    (only specific rebuttals for each point will be considered before the contracts are finalized)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    March 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  5. momoya

    Folks, if there's an atheist ideology (or "religious values" if you must) this is it:

    1. Use critical thinking whenever possible and try to apply the scientific method as correctly as you can to a given challenge. (Use not dogma as the heathens do!)
    2. None of the gods proposed by humanity so far seem very likely, so there's no reason to believe on any of them until further evidence comes in. (Believe not in magical beings[gods], body parts[souls], and realms[hell'rheavens] as the heathens do, until such time as they can be tested and verified according to rule number 1).

    March 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      I would swap out the word "heathens" with the word "religious", and I consider it part of a paradigm and not an ideology, but otherwise it isn't too bad a summary.

      March 3, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  6. momoya

    @ Marks from Middle River

    Yes, I've been in churches quite a few times when disagreements arose about what interpretation was correct. If it were a scientific discussion, we could have used hypotheses and experiments to slowly arrive at more and more verifiable knowledge. Because the discussion was spiritual, we kinda all realized that we didn't have a verifiable method to test each interpretation/opinion and arrive at any conclusive answers. What we did was this: Each person decided that he/she was the one studying most correctly with "the spirit" and let everybody else think the same. It worked out ok.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  7. momoya

    Atheism is not a religion.

    http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutatheism/p/AtheismReligion.htm

    March 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  8. Blackman

    got to give it to the atheist at;east they are fair and balance on all religions not just christianity, finally a group that doesnt coward under Islam like those white blue-eyed liberals. ROCK ON

    March 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • cb2

      actually christians have been at the receiving end from them for the most part.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  9. Atheism is a Religion

    Central to this religion is the message

    there is no GOD

    How stupid is this religion how can one ever make a negative assertion on a positive statment.?
    Fools!

    March 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • momoya

      Most atheists do NOT claim that "there is no god." Some do.
      Most atheists claim "I don't believe in unicorns, santas, tooth faireis, gods, bigfoots, chupacabras, etc"

      The most dogmatic thing about atheists is their rule to never be dogmatic and always question the hypotheses that remain unproven. the only atheist dogma is: Never use dogma.

      Feel free to call that "religion." Believer's wrong assertions have never meant much in light of the facts. (creation/evolution)

      March 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Atheism is a Religion

      God is above science.

      Prove that Faith is scientific, love is scientific.

      Science and Faith are mutually exclusive.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Atheism is a Religion

      That last sentence should read:
      Science and Faith are Independant

      March 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Atheism is a Religion
      "God is above science."
      So, as long as you can imagine a place where God could be hiding, he can't be found. That about right?

      Why don't we say that there are an even million versions of the universe and, in one of them, superheroes are real. You can't prove that this place doesn't exist because it's hidden from human science by magic. We could also claim that the earth is hallow and inhabited with dinosaurs, but that super advanced alien technology is keeping this place hidden from our science. We can invent any number of similar places and things and just build into their description the part that they're hidden from science, but that's a trick of fiction writing and nothing more.

      Think of it this way, how does God know that he's actually omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient? He may THINK he's all of these things, but can he be sure that some other god isn't even more powerful than he is, powerful enough to fool him? Can he be sure that no place is outside of his reach. If there were one, he'd never know, right? It's as impossible for God to be omni anything as it is for science to look everywhere for him.

      March 3, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Religion is a Joke

      Yes it's true

      March 3, 2012 at 2:42 am |
  10. momoya

    @ Jared

    Theism and atheism deal with belief in god. Gnosticism and agnosticism deal with spiritual knowledge or not. People don't abide by the definitions and I don't care what label you use for me or any other nonbeliever.

    Atheists don't agree on causes of our existence because most of us like to keep thinking of various ideas involved in the expansion and motion of the universe. There's no more dogma among atheists than among scientists pondering different specifics. But again, if you insist on believing atheists are dogmatic, you're not going to change your mind because of this post from me, so have at it.

    Atheism does NOT believe in a "purposeless cause for existence." Most atheists I know describe an existence where WE the ones doing the experiencing, CHOSE purpose and fill our lives with it since there may not be any other existence other than this one. Atheists don't go to a myth book to find purpose, we go out into the world and then think about our experiences and then decide how to purpose our lives through our philosophies. But again, if you insist on believing atheism is a religion, you're not going to change your mind because of this post from me, so have at it.

    NOW::

    WHAT'S YOUR F.U.CKING POINT?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?

    What's your obsession with naming atheism a religion? How does insisting on your label help your argument–and what exactly is your argument?

    March 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • TR6

      It's because they want to drag us down to their level. They want to be able to say we are as bad as they are.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • momoya

      I can't figure it out. So if they win their argument were as BAD as they are? As ignorant? As willing to blindly follow a commandment just because of who supposedly said it? Frankly, I wish atheism were a religion for several reasons, but wishing don't make it so.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  11. Home Heating Systems

    I cant find a link where i can subscribe to this blog, webmaster how can i follow your blog?

    Teddy Tschicke

    March 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Not the moderator

      Did you try the E-mail Alerts hyperlink at the bottom of this page?

      March 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  12. momoya

    @ Leo

    No, when I see a watch or clock I can pretty much tell that a man made it

    March 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • momoya

      I can often tell when something is man made but that object doesn't tell me much about the maker such as what he needs and wants. I could assume that the maker has desires similar to mine, but I can't be sure.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • momoya

      When I see a birds nest, I realize that it could be manmade, but I usually think a bird made it

      March 2, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • momoya

      Do you have a few non-god made objects I could look at? I'll also need a sampling of more examples of stuff made by god. I'll consider them and the universe and then make my judgement call.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • momoya

      Of course, it would have been a lot easier to think the universe was made by the god of the bible if the cosmology and biology matched with his chosen myth. Since he's invisible and won't let himself or his will be verified we'd really have to have more information to determine if certain things were made by him or not.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • momoya

      Sorry for the multipost. I kept typing 3 and 4 long paragraph posts and they wouldn't post. >.<

      March 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  13. momoya

    test

    March 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  14. Awesome

    I'm #2

    March 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  15. graytiger

    @momoya Thanks. The advantage of living in a small language-divided country, I guess. But still, lots of good beer!

    @momoya (but also meant for Jared) I saw that in one of your posts you wrote that we as atheists only share a non-belief. To me, it seems that atheism entails rational, free and critical thinking. If that is the case then, to be consistent, it should also entail certain positions on democracy and other political views and on the way one treats other human beings. So maybe a bit more than just non-belief?

    March 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • momoya

      I've talked to a lot of atheists with some really whacked out ideas, so I don't consider atheists to have anything solidly in common with eachother except than non belief. Of course most atheists have similar opinions on rational thought and fairness, but I have no idea what the ratio would be. I've known atheists about as backward and ignorant as a person can be; no group has a monopoly on intelligence or rational thought.

      March 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • graytiger

      You are right, there is no monopoly and idiots are everywhere, also on the atheist side : ). But still, I think it is important to discern unjustified from well justified ideas. To do that one needs rational and critical thinking. Given time and means (ideas) one has more chance to arrive at the atheist side than the deist side. In this way I feel a connection can be made. Add consistency between ideas and actions and there you go : ).

      March 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      >>>"I've talked to a lot of atheists with some really whacked out ideas"

      Hmm..... I heard a deeply religious Christian try to understand Mormonism and she made almost the same statement. You pull out "atheist" and drop in ...well pretty much anything .....

      Another view from the middle how you folks on the extremes just sound so alike.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Marks

      I was talking about fellow atheists, not pointing a finger at someone of a different belief. Also, I include myself; I think about whacked out ideas all the time; it's not an insult.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      momoya
      "I've talked to a lot of atheists with some really whacked out ideas"
      Maybe the difference is that fellow atheists will likely not hesitate to point out just how whacked out any idea is, even when coming from one of their own. Believers, however, tend to be less confrontational about whacked out ideas in others because they have their own dear whacked out ideas. So they're more likely to respectfully humor the other guy in order to gain the same consideration for themselves.

      March 3, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  16. Jared Jammer

    Why is it that every time I see atheists proselytizing, it's always negative attacks against religion? I can't recall any instances of atheists promoting the positives of atheism, which would surely be the more fruitful tactic. Is it that there are no positives of atheism to promote? It certainly seems that way.

    As for the question of whether or not atheism is a religion: By itself, no, atheism isn't a religion, no more than theism is, in and of itself, a religion.

    However, atheism clearly rises to the level of religion when its adherents have dogmatic views on:

    • The existence of, well, existence (purposeless and unintentional).
    • The existence of our universe (purposeless and unintentional).
    • The existence of Earth-based life (purposeless and unintentional).
    • The existence of human life (ultimately purposeless and unintentional).
    • Morality (no ultimate foundation; based entirely on [evolved] reason).
    • The (absence of) an afterlife.

    …and who:

    • Frequently read atheistic literature.
    • Proselytize for atheism (including on the Internet).
    • Attend church-like atheist sermons...err... conferences.

    The above scenario fulfills all the requirements of any reasonable definition of religion, and these people should be considered religious fundamentalists. For example, members of American Atheists, the organization promoting the above billboards, are religious.

    Remember: Belief in God is not a requirement of a religion. Those who claim otherwise are either lying or ignorant.

    Remember: Belief in God is not a requirement of a religion. Those who assert that it is

    March 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Leo

      Great post and excellent points!!

      March 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Jared

      Atheists aren't dogmatic on the things you claim. As to the rest of your points, they can be equally applied to bird watching clubs or any number social communities. Going to conferences and reading literature does not make a religion. (Again, are bird watchers religious groups?)

      But logic isn't going to satisfy you, I can tell. You'll go on insisting that atheism is a religion, despite logic and common sense. Who cares? What does that classification do for you? Why do you find it so necessary to classify atheism as religion?

      March 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • graytiger

      Probably because in the US the atheists are a discriminated minority. You can't blame the atheists for fighting back.

      March 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Leo

      You know those "excellent points" you like. They're flat out wrong. Atheists ARGUE amongst themselves and with anybody else about existence, life, morality, and a possible afterlife. Perhaps it's really comforting for you to believe that atheists are as dogmatic as your religion, but that has to do with your psychological imperatives, not ours.

      March 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Leo

      Mo, Do you believe that life was started from non life or Abiogenesis?

      March 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Snow

      Idiotic post.. and here is why..

      for a religion to make a claim about the existence of life, world and universe, it just takes a dude to sit in a darkened room with a bottle of wine and let his imagination run wild – make up the crap about some super daddy creating everything/everyone..

      but for an atheist to make a claim, he seeks independently verifiable observational or experimental proofs that also does not contradict any well established theories. At times they would need to rewrite the well established theories as well in light of new data. If accepted, it becomes what is called a "theory".. notice that even the talk about gravity still is referred to as "Theory of Gravity".

      Now lets see, one takes a dude with vivid imagination and a bottle of wine.. the other requires years of hard work on open ended questions and peer review. And you want to wonder why a simple man goes for the prior one? hmm..

      psst.. cop out!

      March 2, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Leo

      I don't know how life on earth got started. I think about different ways it might have happened, but I recognize that nobody has any idea and at this point they're all just hypothesis.

      I know that's a longer answer than "Magic sky daddy did it," but that's my answer.

      March 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • momoya

      sorry "hypotheses"

      March 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Leo

      Mo, so when you look at a watch or a computer the thought would never occurs in your mind that it just happened by random chance right?

      Then why when you look at the awsome complexity of life (Which is far beyond anything else), or the laws of the universe and then come to the conclussion random chance or it could not have been created?

      You see you and others suppress this very clear evidence, but deep inside you all know it is true.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      >>>"Probably because in the US the atheists are a discriminated minority. You can't blame the atheists for fighting back."

      If you choose to say fighting back then this style is of fighting is the same as Malcohm X Nation of Islam before his Hadj. Think about it, you state that you are fighting back against discrimination and your chosen tactic is to mimic the actions of groups such as the 700 club, and the rest of the radical Christians. The person, in this article, stated that he did not care whose would feel slighted by his signs. That is a one of the first signs that parts of Atheism has crossed into the same territory as all the talibans, evangelicals and other radical groups.

      I am a African American and I have had family members and other African American aqauntances that feel that their only way to fight discrimination is to fight all of White America. The problem is that we have some White Americans that are closer to the African American community than a few within the community. If these same twisted relatives can not see that there are White Americans that would be more of their allies and just drop their blanket hatred for a more targeted hatred... the world would be that much better of a place.

      You state that Atheist have been discriminated against, and I agree with you on some of your claims. Is your hatred and desire to fight back directed at just those that target you as an Atheist or are folks such as me your enemy as well?

      Mom- "Atheists ARGUE amongst themselves and with anybody else about existence, life, morality, and a possible afterlife. "

      Hmm... ever been to Bible Study where interpretation of scripture almost brings people to brawls in the church? 🙂

      >>>"but for an atheist to make a claim, he seeks independently verifiable observational or experimental proofs that also does not contradict any well established theories."

      ...and in all these years the same number of verifiable proofs that God exist equals the same numbers that say he or she does not exist. Zero. ...but its interesting that Atheist feel their zero carries more weight than ours.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • graytiger

      @Leo. You seem to believe that evolution rests on mere chance. That is a very common misconception by people who oppose evolution. There is an interaction between chance and the natural selection by the environment. The emergence of complex systems through this interaction is proved a. o. by computer simulations.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Snow

      Have you any idea how old the universe is? 14 BILLION years.. and how vast the universe is? even the mapped star systems are ginoromous. can you imagine how many instances there are for things to happen by chance? and you are surprised this chance caused some single cell life to form? and this found conducive climate to evolve here on earth.. over a few more BILLIONS of years?

      Before you argue why it did not happen on other places.. do you know that fossilized virus was found in asteroid fragments? where is the need for a god in all this?

      March 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      >>>"The emergence of complex systems through this interaction is proved a. o. by computer simulations."

      ...and yet the writer of Genesis came pretty close for a person in that time, in the first few pages and he didn't even have wikopedia or google. 🙂

      March 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • graytiger

      @Marks. If you read my posts above and below this one, you will see that by 'fight back' I don't mean agressive action but rational discussion. I have nothing personal against religious people, some are friends of mine. But that doesn't exclude a good discussion. And yes, in a country where an atheist can't become president, atheists are certainly discriminated against.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Snow

      @Mark.. lets dig deeper into your argument that ".and in all these years the same number of verifiable proofs that God exist equals the same numbers that say he or she does not exist. Zero. ...but its interesting that Atheist feel their zero carries more weight than ours."

      Believer: There is Zero proof that god does not exist. So, there is a god
      Atheist : There is Zero proof that god exists. So, there is no god

      you are the one who pulled a god out of nothing (Zero proof) and you are saying Atheist proof claims his zero has more weight? would you say "since there is no proof that this bag of cherries does not contain a coconut, the coconut must be in the bag?" what are you smoking, dude..

      March 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • graytiger

      @Marks. By the way, because I post here as an atheist, doesn't mean I agree with everything in the article.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Snow

      @Mark.. lets analyze your next gemstone .. "...and yet the writer of Genesis came pretty close for a person in that time, in the first few pages and he didn't even have wikopedia or google"

      so you are equating a study of genetic engineering for years, followed by research into computer simulations with a dude claiming " and then god said let there be light and there was light.. and let there be vegetation and there were seed bearing plants .. and let there be living creatures and there be living creatures"?

      Do you really think those two are comparable?

      March 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I think the following is closer to how most atheist see things:

      Believer: There is Zero proof that god does not exist. So, there is a god
      Atheist : There is Zero proof that god exists. So, there might be a god but the probaility is so low (virtually zero) that it is not likely any god exists, and to say that there are no gods is not much of an exaggeration, and just shorthand for saying "the probability of there being any gods is so low...).

      Believers will not move off "there is a god" because as soon as they admit there might not be a god, there believe system begins to seriously crumble.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • captain america

      This is America hotair we don't give a sh it what you do in canada, keep your bull sh it there, here we are one nation under God. We have our own idiots to deal with. There's your sign.

      March 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Jared Jammer

      momoya,

      Many atheists are very dogmatic about the things I mentioned, which is why they're atheists rather than agnostics (please don't pull that strong/weak atheism/agnosticism conflation b.s. on me).

      As for bird watching: Bird watching isn't a belief about the cause of existence (our universe and anything beyond it), thus it fails to meet the most crucial requirement of a religion.

      On the other hand, atheism is a belief about the cause of our universe and life. In denying an intentional, purposeful cause for existence (God), atheism logically entails belief in a non-intentional, purposeless cause for existence. This is the belief that puts atheism on the same level as theism. Whether or not that atheism rises to the level of religion depends on the factors I mentioned in my original post. The same goes for theism, which is why not all theists are religious.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • momoya

      I replied at the top of the page jared.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Jared Jammer
      When you claim that your faith is the ONLY true one on the planet, as many Christians do, then any proselytizing you do is actually an attack on all non-Christian beliefs, not just atheist ones. How many Christians consider this when they proclaim their beliefs publicly? Perhaps the intent with these billboards is to show you what you have been doing for decades?

      March 3, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      HotAirAce
      You missed the part where there is a remote chance that ANY god may exist. It could be one of the gods we know from recorded mythology and religion, or one we haven't heard of yet, but it could be any god, or goddess.

      So there is an even smaller chance of a real god being THE God, and even if it was THE God, is he tribal YHWH protective of his Jewish favorites, or is he the Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit, or is he Allah? If he's the Christian God then what if only the Mormons, or the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Catholics have the proper definition of who he is. None of the other believers will accept this being as God because it isn't their idea of "God." More than likely, if he just showed up in one form to everyone on the planet at once, many if not most believers would end up being skeptical because God doesn't exactly match an idea of "God" in their imaginations.

      March 3, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Snow, the basics are that the claims of the Biblical or any Holy text did or did not happen. If you believe them to not have happened then we fall into something close to 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Did the building come down because of pre-existing explosives or because a large airliner crashed into the upper floors. Did a plane really go down in Shanksville? Was it really a airliner that crashed into the Pentagon?

      Did someone pull these things out of the air? All of the mysteries that science and man have failed all of these years to explain.

      >>>”and yes, in a country where an atheist can't become president, atheists are certainly discriminated against.”

      You know my Grandmother went to her grave a year and a half before Obama was elected believing that a African American could not become president. This is a lady who was born in 1912 in the deep South. She went from knowing someone (relatives) who were slaves and films such as Birth of a Nation to seeing shows such as the Cosby Show and African Americans in leadership roles in the Government. Unfortunately she just could not make that leap to the Presidency. She was wrong in her view...could you also be wrong?

      >>>”so you are equating a study of genetic engineering for years, followed by research into computer simulations with a dude claiming "

      Snow, maybe we need the original text but what I speak to is the comparison to what was revealed in the Bible and other Holy Books that took mankind hundreds of years to realize with science and theories. Something as simple as Genesis 1:2.... “And the earth was without form”. In grade school science we are taught that the Earth just didn't come out as fully formed planet. The Earth was this blob of molten rock floating after the “Big Bang”.

      So take a bit of the “three men in the cave” story from Philosophy class and imagine God revealing the creation of the Earth to some everyday person who to him the Earth was not even seen as a planet let alone that it did not just come into instant being. When this same guy gets home and writes what he saw... this huge blob of molten rock floating …. how would he describe what saw?

      After the “Let there be light” text we then read that it was revealed:

      “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:4

      Now when we see light and darkness we understand that we are speaking of the cycle of day and night... basic rotation of the planet. That it was written that it happened in the order of just after the planet was formed, may just be a coincidence.

      Your quote about
      Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself.

      Was not one of the first noticable, to the human eye, forms of life ...plant life?

      Notice that the very next form of life mentioned was the waters filled with life (Genesis 1:20) ….in the evolutionary steps was not animal life began in the waters that grew from single cell to multicellular? Another coincidence?

      Einstein said ““Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.” Imagine if the Bible had just said the Earth was there, man and everything God just made appear all at once. Somehow whoever wrote these passages in Genesis, almost step by step described evolution... way before Darwin and others that would come years and years later.

      That is why I do not have a problem with evolutionist because Genesis comes very close to matching Evolutionist findings ...and did it way ahead of its time. So yes I do feel they are very comparable.

      March 3, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Perhaps the intent with these billboards is to show you what you have been doing for decades?”

      By your own admission, all Christians do not do what you claim. So is this not the same as Alqueda stating that their fight is just with those that they feel are at war with Islam … then detonated a device or flew planes into buildings simply attacking all of us?

      There are those of Faith that have been cool with Atheist for years and for some lifetimes, they have lived to “not” do what you claim others have. Now a radical Atheist throws up a billboard that attacks them as well the others.

      How do you answer those of Faith when they say that they are cool with you being a Atheist while at the same time championing what you feel is the billboard's intent, which is basically revenge?

      March 3, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Mark from Middle River
      And this is just one small group of atheists in one corner of the country. They certainly do not represent all of us in any way, and I appreciate the level of coexistence amongst us in many places. I would not call this "revenge", however.

      If this is just a part on the ongoing campaign against Christian groups then giving people a dose of their own medicine is often the only way for them to tap into the empathy required to stop hurting people. By in large many Christians appear to be completely unaware (or uncaring) of the fact that their bold, public theological statements declaring Jesus to be God and Christianity as the only "Way" basically calls everyone else's faith, or lack thereof, false. From my experience Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and other religious folks don't challenge other people's beliefs publicly even remotely as much. Many Christians are arrogant in their certainty. If they realize that as a result of this group's use of the same tactics that would be a good result.

      Left unchallenged by anyone these Christians will likely just get even bolder, wouldn't you say?

      March 3, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Mark, re: "the basics are that the claims of the Biblical or any Holy text did or did not happen. If you believe them to not have happened then we fall into something close to 9/11 conspiracy theorist." You have it exactly backwards! Believing in The Babble, a (any) god and/or the jesus myth is the same as believing in a 9/11 conspiracy. There is no factual, verifiable, objective and independent evidence to support the claims of the existence of any god, just as the there is insufficiant (so far?) to support a 9/111 conspiracy.

      March 3, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  17. momoya

    @ Chad

    I might have been wrong; perhaps you are as dumb as Crad. You and I both lack a belief in the goddess Athena. Do we share a religion? By the logic you keep using to show atheism as a religion, we do. It sounds stupid because it is.

    March 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  18. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIzpAJArL6Q&w=640&h=360]

    March 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  19. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIdfrKJv1VI&w=640&h=360]

    March 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  20. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWfwK3Xc_Y4&w=640&h=360]

    March 2, 2012 at 5:57 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.