Hebrew atheist billboard gets bumped in New York
The American Atheists' president acknowledged that the pair of new billboards will likely cause a stir, and the did.
March 7th, 2012
02:51 PM ET

Hebrew atheist billboard gets bumped in New York

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–A controversial billboard from a national atheist group was scheduled to go up in a heavily populated Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn on Tuesday but was bumped when the owner of the building objected to the advertisement.

CNN first reported the billboards were targeting Muslim and Jewish enclaves with, “You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice,” written on billboards in Arabic and Hebrew.

The Brooklyn billboard was in English and Hebrew. To the right of the text on the Hebrew sign is the word for God, Yahweh.

American Atheists president David Silverman said he went to the Brooklyn location when the billboard was scheduled to be put up with reporters and was surprised to see it was not being erected. “We sat there and watched and the billboard didn't go up,” he said. "The Jewish landlord of the building saw the billboard and refused to let it go up," he said.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Silverman said it was a clear case of religious bigotry. "It was very disappointing to me because I was raised Jewish," he said by phone from New York. "They've been the victims of religious bigotry and now they're the purveyors."

When reached by phone, Kenneth Stier the owner of the building that rejected the billboard in the heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, offered a polite “no comment” on the matter.

Silverman said the billboard has been moved out of the residential area and put up in a pricier spot off a major highway at no additional cost. He added that while it was nice to have more visibility, his group was specifically targeting that Brooklyn neighborhood.

Jim Cullinan, vice president for marketing & communications for Clear Channel told CNN in an e-mail, “We found space for both ads and this contract is being fulfilled,” but would not comment on moving the billboard out of the residential area in Brooklyn.

“It is against our policy to comment on any of our advertisers' campaigns,” he wrote.

Silverman said he was disappointed by the development. “We wanted to get into the residential neighborhood because so many Hasidic are closeted atheists,” he said.

He said they received over a dozen e-mails from closeted atheist Hasidim who thought they were alone until news of the ad campaign broke.

"This is why atheists need to come out of the closet," Silverman said.

Silverman again reiterated the signs advertise the American Atheists’ upcoming convention and an atheist rally, called the Reason Rally, in Washington scheduled for April.

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 told CNN last week he knew that the pair of new billboards will cause a stir.

“People are going to be upset,” he said. “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.”

CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Islam • Judaism

soundoff (1,757 Responses)
  1. Maff

    what kills me is how people puff up their chest just so they can spew some "fact" they are simply repeating, and call someones religious beliefs fairytales...When they themselves have no clue how anything (including themself) exist at all.
    honestly, how many fairytales to you think you believe in. Im betting alot. If you dont know for a fact how or why you exist your whole life is a fairtale. So shutup

    March 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      It's true that no one knows exactly how we came to be or why we are here, but that doesn't mean that all explanations are equally reasonable or supported by observations. I don't know why we are here, but that does not mean the idea that giant pink butterflies put us here to grow flowers for them makes more sense than the idea of biological evolution. Millions of observations indicate that one of those ideas is much closer to the truth than the other. It's not just a matter of faith and worldview.

      March 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Maff, you are spewing nonsense. One does not have to know how or why there is life on Earth to know that their life is real. Unless you can come up with objective, factual, independent and verifiable evidence for a god (just one would be fine), you have to admit that the probability of there being any gods is virtually zero. Without a proven god, religion remains and always will be, the world's greatest fairy tale.

      March 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why is nearly every 'believer' unable to even approach anything resembling an intelligent response? Maff, you're just as dumb as a bag of hair.

      It doesn't matter if we KNOW where we came from. Not knowing doesn't mean 'goddidit'. It simply means we don't know yet.

      Really, dude. Get a clue.

      March 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      There is a "how" to our being here, but who says that there has to be a "why"?

      March 10, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  2. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  3. lunchbreaker

    Myth is accurate as it is defined as a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. A fairy tale is a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins).

    March 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Maff

      You dont know how or why you exist. So why listen to you or anyone like you?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      And you're an intolerant ass, so why should anyone listen to you?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      He may have an idea of why and how he exists. Sure, it probably differs from what you believe, but why is your opinion any better than his?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      What's funny is Maff assumes I belong to a specific group because I know how to use a dictionary.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Maff

      read between the lines you dummies! I said why listen to him or anyone like him. He is a human who does not know the truth or his existence.... Just like you! Just like me! so no you dont have to listen to me either.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Maff

      And lunchbreaker, I do know what group you belong to.... The Human race. That makes you as ignorant as the rest of us. So who cares about what you call a fairytale or what you call fact. If you dont know the answer to foundational question of how everything exists...then everything you say can be called into question if you really think about it.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      I don't know if you've realized this, but lunchbreaker is saying that myth is the correct term, and fairy tale is not the correct term. He is not calling anything a fairy tale.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Maff

      true true, guess I threw him in with the rest of the people who "think" they know. Regardless, it needs to be said. Nobody knows enough, to tell anyone else what to believe. Especially those who claim to believe there is no God. Every belief is based in Faith.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      You are mistaken in saying that every belief is based on faith or that we are all equally ignorant. I go to a doctor because she is less ignorant than I am regarding medicine. And her knowledge is not based on faith (at least not if she is a medical doctor), it is based on the rigorous testing of ideas.

      March 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  4. IslandAtheist

    It better be a myth, or l need to stoned to death.

    March 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Silverman should not have used the word "myth". He should have used the word "lie" or the predictable "fairy tail".
      Myth is a very sophisticated term. Myth represents humanity's earliest attempts to explain himself. Myth represents a mental step upward from mere instinct. Silverman apparently is still operating at the instinct level.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      So that's why Pat Robertson is pushing for pot to be legalized.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      The Bible is a book of myth. Claiming it's without error and contradiction is a lie.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  5. Pure Gold

    Hebrew gets bumped in her New York by atheist.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  6. Mike from CT

    to be a subject of "religious bigotry" do you first have to come to the realization that your organization qualifies by the definition of a religion?

    March 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Bigotry is defined by who commits it, not who they commit it against.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      "Bigotry" and "Intolerance" are often used interchangeably. I have noticed that the less thinking one does, the more tolerant he can afford be. Tolerance saves him from the inconvenience of examining distinctions between concepts or ideas. Like a sheep he can believe whatever popular culture tells him to believe, than applaud himself on his own broadmindedness. We Christians are often called "intolerant". But we have no obligation to tolerate nonsense.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • momoya

      @ PrimeNumber

      You'll tolerate what the law tells you tolerate.. What are you going to do if something goes on that you refuse to tolerate?. Are you going to commit illegal acts because you feel it's not appropriate?.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  7. NutGrinder

    Religion flies planes into buildings!

    March 9, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      Have you heard the expression "Guns don't kiil people. People kill people."?

      Well, then. Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people.

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

      Yes, people kill people; often, after having been indoctrinated into religious dogma claiming that their reason for killing makes it a righteous and moral act.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Primenumbers.. yes, but the gun does not tell you to kill people.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      "Well, then. Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people."
      Then why is Charles Manson in jail? He didn't actually kill any of those people but, by the joint-responsibility rule, he was found liable for directing his "children" into murdering. Religion, if it incites people into killing, also shares joint-responsibility for murder.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Yup. When any form of speech is specifically intended to incite violence it is no longer protected speech. And if illegal acts are commited because of that speech, then the speech giver shares responisbility in the outcome, and can be charged accordingly.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  8. PrimeNumber

    Silverman launched a direct, agressive attack on the Jewish religion. Most people would call this bigotry. When Kenneth Stier refused to put up these bigotted billboards, the matter is twisted so that Mr. Stier is accused of bigotry by the atheists. Mr. Stier was simply refusing to cooperate with a bigotted atheist.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Primewonk

      Aggressive? How in the world is this aggressive?

      Have you seen the billboards that the ignorant fundiots are putting up? Now those are aggressive.

      Cry me a freaking river.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Melaknee

      Free speech is an enemy of religion. Sad that religion is still around to fight it.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Religious views are opinions, like political views. Would it be bigoted for someone to criticize someone else's political views?

      March 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • mandarax

      The faithful are so accustomed to having everyone bend over backward to accommodate their opinion that they feel enIitled to say whatever they want (you are going to hell, your life is sinful, you are lost, etc), but then take such offense if anyone dares to question them. Their feelings get so hurt over being questioned that they see it as an act of aggression. Much like a spoiled child, they get outraged when they no longer automatically get their way.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      They love what they believe. Actually love it. Jesus, Muhammad, the Torah, they're like actual loved ones, which is why they get so offended. It's also why they are blind to the many faults in their beliefs, and are hopelessly unable to objective about them.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      Wonk, but what of those who are of Faith that also think the Reiligous signs are of bad taste? Are we all the answer for that one group that did it? When showed those signs as an example I was shocked but for one of them the website goes no where and the other two were just like Silverman, in that they were almost one man shows. I am interested to see how wide spread these signs are because I have never seen anything like them.

      March 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If simply questioning someone else's religious beliefs is bigotry, then each of the 3 major religions are guilty of bigotry.

      March 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  9. False Dichotomy

    Posted by Jeff below "So, after an economic meltdown when an armed stranger is approaching you on a dark road and you are taking food home to your hungry family, who would you rather the stranger be: a Christian who believes stealing is wrong and that God is watching, or the atheist who sees a need and points his gun at you as he adapts his ethics to suit the moment?"

    You know, the more I think about this prejudicial scenario, the more utterly offensive it becomes. This sounds like something racist white people would have said about black people in the pre-Civil Rights south (just exchange "white" for "Christian" and "black" for "atheist" and you will see what I mean). And you wonder why non-believers are beginning to stand up for themselves?

    In your whitewashed depiction of the earnest pious Christian vs. the dishonest violent atheist, you are conveniently overlooking a Christian history that also includes ra.ping children, subjugating women, and lynching black people – and that's just in the last few decades. You are not better than others, you are not morally superior, you are not more enlightened, and you are certainly not more tolerant. So don't try to soft-pedal your smug morally superior bullshif to me or anyone. This is prejudicial stereotyping in it's typical ignorant, ugly, self-serving form.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      @Jeff – sorry, didn't mean to suggest this was your scenario or your sentiment. I understand you were only pointing it out, and were critical of it too.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      I believe that you, False, would have been worked nealy to death in a gulag or starved in Auchwitz, all the while complaining about how bad the Christians are. The scientific developments of the nineteenth century, with no input from Christianity, were turned into the meat grinder of the Great War. You would have layed in a shell hole, blown to pieces, contemplating the bigotry of Christians. Had you been one of the 12 MILLION Ukrainians starved to death by Stalin, you would have complained about religious hypocrasy while counting your own ribs. Had you been a survivor of Hiroshima with radiation sickness, well, you'd blame religion too. Ignorance is one thing, but the atheist capacity to blind himself is astonishing. I never realized it until this blog.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • manda

      Word. This is exactly why atheists are becoming more vocal, and should be.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • derp

      If you were standing near an abortion clinic and saw a man approaching with a backpack on, would you hope that he is an atheist, or a christian?

      March 9, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Melaknee

      Brilliant question, Derp.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      PrimeNumber: congratulations, you missed the point entirely.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • AGuest9

      I'm not sure why you assume that someone who is atheist would adapt his/her ethics "to suit the moment"?

      March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Jesus

      ~~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~...

      March 9, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Don't bother praying there is no god.

    March 9, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      there is no God? But there is a god. Without God, the new center of the universe is YOU. How's that going for you?

      March 9, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • BRC

      How do you conclude that someone who doesn't believe in gods believes that they themselves are the center of the universe?

      March 9, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      @BRC "How do you conclude that someone who doesn't believe in gods believes that they themselves are the center of the universe?" It's unavoidable. You can see the universe from one point – your own consciousness. You are your own god.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • BRC

      How about we agree to disagree. I can't understand why you believe in gods, and you can't undersrtand the atheist world view. I can tell you this much, I have been an atheist my whole life, and while I am always learning more and more and more about life and the universe, and I have never been the center of either.

      I would advise care with assumptions and generalizations, what you think you know about other people's perceptions and thoughts is more often then not going to be very hard to apply to theany population at large. Also your use of the word innevitable, while forceful, provides absolutely no accuracy or support.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • BRC

      Apollogies, you said unavoidable, not innevitable. Same comments, does nothing to explain why.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • momoya

      The reason that PrimeNumber and other christians are so sure that atheists are their own god is because christians are their own god.. Believers use their holy text to justify their own desires and opinions by interpreting scripture in whatever way they wish to interpret it to strengthen their own perspective as "God's Will.". Subconsciously, each christian knows that s/he is her/his own god, and even if their precious god were to be disproved, they would still feel as if they are the center of their universe..

      Believers ARE their own god.. They don't have any other approach to their religion.. That's why they claim that atheists are their own god–it's the only existence they can conceive of–with or without their beliefs.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • fred

      The difference for me was in att-itude of my mind/heart changed when I had a conversion experience and became a Christian. I cannot say the real world around me changed though it may have. What I could not see of God or what I thought pure rubbish in the Bible took on a different meaning. The words did not change they simply came alive and I understood the meaning behind and in those words. Call it a new perspective at its least but I see it more of a complete transformation or “born again” of the spirit.
      Before conversion I did not see myself as center of the universe but simply added to my perspective the greatness and eternal nature of God. That was a game changer as now there was greater purpose and that purpose was outside of self. So I would agree with you that instead of acting primarily for self interests (includes family and friends) I began to ask what God would have me do. Over time God became the center of my life and purpose.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Pat

      "So I would agree with you that instead of acting primarily for self interests (includes family and friends) I began to ask what God would have me do. Over time God became the center of my life and purpose."

      No there is no God, you simply finally got what is known as self confidence. Even though your subconscious is telling you things to do, it's still you doing it. Your weak self esteem couldn't cope with who you were because you didn't love yourself enough, now that you do you're call it a God.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • fred

      I guess to a certain degree you are correct. As Christians we are to give ourselves to Christ and become like Christ. Christ then gives us the Holy Spirit that becomes part of who we are and guides us in all truth. No wonder so many people on this site say I am arrogant. I never realized that I believe I am becoming more like Christ every day (Christian process of sanctification), I believe God answers my prayers and loves me.
      Ouch, thanks momoya when I look at myself from your perspective I have elevated myself to the center and lifted myself up to new heights.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Comment by 'Prime Number' is an instance of a False Dilemma fallacy.


      March 9, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • fred

      I think you are onto something. I have low self confidence and low self esteem. Suddenly after conversion I had a new strength and confidence. Yes, I needed that and did not know it. Would it not be ok for those of us who really need Jesus to hang onto to our beliefs? Not everyone has the ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.
      So, here is an interesting tid bit. Jesus says where you are weak I am strong. Guess what even Jesus agrees with you in that I am weak. That is who Jesus came to die for, sinners and those who are lost.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • momoya

      @ fred

      Yep. You're your own god.. Every believer is.. That's why two different theologians can have radically different interpretations of the same scripture passage and both of them can claim it's the word of god.. For the individual, their translation is the final authority on god because there's no higher power to confirm their position than they themselves..

      Hence, the believer's stupid claim that atheists are their own god..

      March 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • fred

      Not to be conceited but iron sharpens iron. Two theologians with differing thoughts on scripture are no different than two atheists that differ on say the shape of the universe. The atheists must agree on the basics of underlying laws and knowledge as does the theologian. The conclusions must fit available evidence. Theologians that reject the basic doctrines are in a field of their own as are atheists that reject a known law.
      When theologians go outside the basic laws of God or take a tangent outside of the Bible we end up with greater nonsense such as the magic underwear of Mormons. Just as science has tools to test your latest theory on the shape of universe being the shroud of Christ we have tools to test the veracity of magic underwear.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • momoya

      @ fred

      The difference is that scientists have methods to test their hypotheses and determine which hypothesis has more evidence and is closer to the truth.. Apologists and theologians have no such method.. It's all just opinion because there's no way to find out whose doctrine was correct until death (supposedly)..

      March 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • TR6

      Fred:” Two theologians with differing thoughts on scripture are no different than two atheists that differ on say the shape of the universe. “

      Nope, two atheists can differ on any or every scientific point and both be perfectly good atheists. It’s only when an atheist changes to believe a god exists and still claims to be an atheist that he would come into conflict with other atheists over atheism. Very much unlike your two theologins.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      I gotta agree with momoya on this one. The difference is that science is a method for evaluating competing ideas based on strict rules of evidence. That's why it is so effective. There is nothing other than fred's opinion that makes magic underwear any more silly than magic gr.ape juice and cra.ckers. Theologians have nothing but opinion to argue about, with no hope of ever resolving anything definitively.

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

      Its hard to argue with the "atheist" as a christian, because atheist dont actually belong to a set of beliefs... but rather one disbelief. As a christian you have to be careful not to assume too much about the atheist. To say "atheist are their own God" might be accurate, but you will catch hell everytime. Most atheist who believe in evolution, to be more specific, can be considered Secular Humanist. If we are no more than highly intelligent monkeys, and there is no God... We ourselves become god. Our worldview, society, Laws, those we follow become our gods.
      Even though it takes faith to believe in evolution, these people choose to treat it as absolute fact. Why? maybe it suits the lifestyle most attractive to them. Worship of either self or nature...sometimes both.
      the fact is, no one knows how or why we exist... no one knows for fact how or why anything exist. So what we CHOOSE to believe in, is our choice.
      Some choose to believe in that which is seen, measureable, observable (which accounts for like 0.000000000000000000001% of all that is out there)
      Others choose to believe in the evidence of that which cannot be seen (which could be the missing piece of the puzzle to make all this possible)

      March 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, right, Maff. Instead of actually acknowledging that we don't know something, it is SO much better to pretend that Goddidit and just no worry our little heads about it.

      March 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      It doesn't take faith to accept evolution, just confidence in the science behind the theory. Now, if you were to take away all of the fossil and other evidence supporting evolution and leave just the idea that life evolved on this planet then it would be on the same level as the idea that some God created the universe, and then it would indeed require faith to believe in it.

      What do you mean by "the evidence of that which cannot be seen"? Aren't you really saying "the evidence of that which does not leave any evidence"? That's like the proverbial footprints of snakes my friend.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  12. AGuest9

    Well, you know what they say about press. Maybe someone wanting to make a few bucks will allow their building to host the billboard.

    March 9, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 9, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • Jesus

      ~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~...

      March 9, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  14. Jeff

    I do have to give credit to AA, though. At least they didn't single out Christianity. It's important, I think, for atheists and agnostics to be non-discriminatory if they wish to be taken seriously.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • BR

      I apply the same rules to Atheists as I do Evangelicals, Christians, or whomever feels their religion or lack of it is legitimized when you get others to think like them. My beliefs or lack of them are no one's business and not up for discussion, especially with strangers. I find evangelizing highly insulting and judgmental. I get that Christians are supposed to do it, but I wish they'd think about how that comes across. Jews do not evangelize, and I have deep respect for that. The idea that what you believe is the religion favored by God and what ever others believe (Atheism included) is crap is absurd. Quit thinking faith is fact. It's faith, so quit judging others.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • derp

      "The idea that what you believe is the religion favored by God and what ever others believe (Atheism included) is crap is absurd."

      But you are ok with Jews, who believe that they are god's chosen people?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  15. truth


    March 9, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Jeff

      An interesting read...lots to think about there.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:41 am |
    • Jeff

      I read the quote at the bottom of the page on morality, on the above site:

      "So, after an economic meltdown when an armed stranger is approaching you on a dark road and you are taking food home to your hungry family, who would you rather the stranger be: a Christian who believes stealing is wrong and that God is watching, or the atheist who sees a need and points his gun at you as he adapts his ethics to suit the moment?"

      I think the point is considerable, but there's a flaw: I've met quite a few atheists/agnostics who would (seemingly, based on my experience around them) choose death over having to murder in order to stay alive.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:04 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Wow, that's a pretty prejudiced way of wording that question. It practically says "Would you rather be around Christians who are honest and good, or atheists who are immoral, violent thieves?"

      Besides, the fact that atheists represent about 12% of the overall population, and about 2% of the prison population pretty much blows that BS out of the water (but only if you believe in facts, of course).

      March 9, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      @False Dichotomy; I learned from my brother-in-law, who was a security guard on death row in a maximum security prison, that most prisoners don't become Christians until they get incarcerated. The 2% atheist prison population probably are those who have no remorse for their crimes.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Your supposed security guard brother-in-law's opinion – yeah, that sounds like a real valid and reliable sociological analysis.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • momoya

      I have worked with a lot of prison statistics and dealt with many individuals.. Most inmates hold a belief in god, but were not actively "practicing" their belief/religion at the time of their crimes and incarceration.. Like any "backslidden" believer, when times got tough, they began practicing their god belief once again to find solace in the midst of their troubles of prison life.. For some reason, lots of god believers will say that they were "atheist" when they were merely "backslidden," but the fact of the matter is that they've only ever believed in one god–the god they keep turning away from and going back to.. No atheism, just stupidity.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Primewonk



      Using CARM as a source makes as much sense as using AIG in a debate on the veracity of the theory of evolution to explain the diversity of life on earth, or using NARTH as a source on the science of se.xual orientation.

      Sure, you can; but it just shows that that you choose to argue from a position of ignorance.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      I'd love to be around Christians who are honest and good but, unfortunately, not all of them are. This site really does pose a biased scenario.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • TR6

      Just a bunch of straw man arguments.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • derp

      "So, after an economic meltdown when an armed stranger is approaching you on a dark road and you are taking food home to your hungry family, who would you rather the stranger be: a Christian who believes stealing is wrong and that God is watching, or the atheist who sees a need and points his gun at you as he adapts his ethics to suit the moment?"

      Silly pointless non argument that I have already responded to.....

      If you were standing near an abortion clinic and saw a man approaching with a backpack on, would you hope that he is an atheist, or a christian?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • derp

      The ida that christians are somehow more moral than atheists is a joke. Christians behave as badly or worse than any atheists I have ever met. I am an atheist. My wife is an atheist, My kids are atheists. We are all moral hard working law abiding citizens. The difference between a christian and atheists, is that atheists hold each other accountable for their actions right now.

      Christian are allowed to behave as badly as they like with no accountability. They even have a mechanism for it. Sin and forgiveness. You pathetic hypocrites even go so far as explaining that you love the sinner and hate the sin. What the f uck does that mean. Atheists hold the sinner accountable for their actions. Christians forgive sinners and pass it off to some mystical superhero in the afterlife to do the judging. They have a predesigned method for behaving as badly they like and not holding each other accountable.

      Christianity has a built in get out of jail free card for every rotten thing you decide to do. Just repent and you are forgiven. What kind of fuc ked up moral code is that. Nobody is held accountable.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Still, the mere fact that backsliding appears to be so easy for many, if not most, Christians really doesn't say very much for that faith's ability to keep people morally guided, right? It's like a medicine that has only about the same success rate as a placebo, except sometimes there are dramatically opposite effects, like killing because you think Gods wants you to. All we atheists are saying is that it's simpler, cheaper, and far less dangerous just to skip the "cure" altogether, and rely on your own, natural sense of goodness as a guide.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Jeff

    I think a more respectful billboard would have said, "Some say it's a myth. All have a choice." The word "know" should be reserved for statements that can be backed up by the scientific method. No one knows there is a deity, just as no one knows there is not.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      Maybe if there weren't so darned many signs stating (as though it were an actual fact) that those who don't believe in Jesus will suffer for all eternity....

      March 9, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Jeff

      Yeah, the evangelical side of Christianity seems to be a turn off. "Turn or Burn" placards along the roads in Bible Belt country indicate God is more like Kim Jong Ill than Mother Teresa.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      How many messages from believer groups start off "We THINK God exists"?

      March 9, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      Muslims do not go out of the way to post any signs to convert you.We believe you have your right to believe in what you want but at the same time this sign is carrying it a bit too far in our own neighborhood.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  17. Former Atheist

    Personally I don't mind Atheists' voicing their views – let them. That's the beauty of free will. It does not challenge or offend anyone's faith, certainly not mine. I am a product of Soviet atheist propaganda (born and raised) and yet I found faith and God in a very reasoning, conscious way. I can smell dogma and propaganda a mile away, whether religious, political or social.

    But "religious bigotry"? The owner of the building has a right to act in harmony with his beliefs. If the roles were reversed and the owner was a raging Atheist, would he allow a Jewish religious billboard? Anyone is free to exercise their free speech, but not on my property. By claiming "religious bigotry" Silverman clearly reveals the nature of Atheism – it's a religion, a faith (which is why I spelled "Atheism" with capital A, see what I did there?). Not only that, but this particular Atheist chooses a radical approach – claiming persecution where there is none and claiming offended sensibilities to justify being radical.

    I personally know and respect a great deal of atheists (including my parents), typically scientists and other learned folk. Their beliefs do not offend me, we have interesting conversations. Usually they are also not dogmatic, even if set in their ways. They are not threatened by my beliefs. But the dogmatic raging Atheists are no better than any religion's fanatical radical zealots and they do a disservice to the reputation of science, for in science there is no place for dogma and denying God is a dogma. A true skeptic would never say "there is no truth" or "nothing can be known", for those too are dogmas.

    When Yuriy Gagarin went to space he said that he "didn't see God in the sky". When Americans went to space and saw the Earth... one of them radioed back a quote from Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth".

    Most of today's Atheists... the only thing they can quote is "the internet".

    March 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Real Deal

      Regarding the broadcast of the reading from Genesis on Apollo - one of those astronauts, Bill Anders, who was once a devout Catholic, said that he found his experience of space made a mockery of his beliefs and he gave up religion.


      March 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I am a former christian and I can quote myself: I don't believe in god because there is no rational reason to believe in god. Humanity has created, worshiped, replaced and rejected literally thousands of gods throughout history. There has never been a single ounce of evidence to support the existence of ANY of them, not even the christian god.

      I don't fear death or hell, and don't desire heaven. When you remove those things, you realized faith is simply an emotional response to the unknown. Religions serves the same purpose as a night light. I don't need a god because I'm not afraid of the dark.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • fred

      I believe in God and have had a personal experience that revealed God in such a way I will never forget. Religions seem to get caught up in themselves and Jesus blasted the religeous leaders of his day so I stick to the words of Jesus mostly and the rest of the Bible where it is consistent with what Christ revealed. What Jesus said no one would make up. He was either God or he was crazy.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Ken Oberman

      We can quote the bible equally well. In fact, we know the bible better than the christians. And we know the koran better than the other guys, etc. Why? Because we research. No atheist ever turns into a believer unless he or she never bothered to read religious texts without bias. In short, you blindly folded your cards without ever looking at them first.

      Shove your religion up your stupid ass.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
      Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.
      Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God.
      Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • momoya

      tallulah13 and I and others; we're slowly turning the tide!!

      March 9, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  18. Hirran

    American Atheists needs to calm the heck down. I don't go for the religious stuff either, but I'm not preachy about it. Evangelical Atheism doesn't help anyone.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Jeff

      Good point. Everyone is so addicted to being right. Or to not being wrong.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • Ken Oberman

      What's to help? We're all on the same sinking ship. It would just be nice if believers did something productive instead of dumping water in the boat. But, they're idiots. What do you expect.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • BR

      Neither do Evangelical Christians.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      This group doesn't speak for me, and I'm probably fairly typical, so please don't paint us all with the same brush, OK?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  19. Silver

    Religion is so not-even-last-millennium. Mmmkay???

    March 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  20. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    The following new billboards are currently under consideration:


    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror like 9/11.

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.


    Billboard #2

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there are no longer any claims to being tax-exempt religions.


    March 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
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.