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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.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Islam • Judaism

soundoff (1,757 Responses)
  1. undecided

    If God does not exist, then does that mean the history of Bethlehem and Jerusalem all a lie too?

    March 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • momoya

      That depends on what you're referring to by 'history.'. Certainly those towns exist, but just because the bible says that a particular thing happened does not mean that it happened.. Most of the history in the bible is wrong/inaccurate.. A god who is interested in human affairs probably does not exist–for all sorts of reasons.

      March 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • momoya

      Also, see the vide I posted at the beginning of this page (close to the top or bottom depending on your settings)

      March 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • undecided

      Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I didn't mean history just based on the bible, but more of the history spoken by the people who live there. I have had the opportunity to visit both. When asking the question of the background/history these places everyone I spoke with started their answer with Jesus or God. Does this mean all these people are wrong or liers? Who is to say who is truly right or wrong.

      March 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How would ordinary citizens of any town be reliable authorities about something unseen and unproven?

      March 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • md2205

      The only people who would say that is a lie are the ones who want to take the Land of Israel away from the Jews.

      March 12, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • md2205

      What are your standards for believing that something happened in ancient times? That 30 people say they saw it happen? 3,000? 300,000? How about 3 million? If you were told that 3 million people saw something happen and recorded it and wrote it down and we have that information, would you believe it happened?

      March 12, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • md2205

      3 million Jews saw Moses receive the Torah from G-d on Mount Sinai after they left Egypt. They also were told to start doing certain Passover observances, which were also passed down generation after generation to us, meticulously, such as eating matza.

      March 12, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • md2205

      You can't say a person came one day to the Jews and told them G-d said they have to do these certain Passover observances because G-d took them out of Egypt a few hundred years ago and told them they have to do this. They would never believe him, obviously, because they would say it wasn't part of their history. They hadn't been doing these observances. They were never told by their forefathers they came out of Egypt. It would be an exposed lie, and no one could pull that one off.

      March 12, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • md2205

      Do you realize that many people believe in Darwin's theory of evolution, including the part about species evolving from each other, even though no fossils have been found to substantiate that? If they want to believe in something that hasn't been found yet, they have to believe in the historical accounts that were passed down meticulously from one generation to another, even though archeological artifacts may have not been found. And there were plenty of archeological artifacts found that do substantiate a great deal of what the Torah says happened.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • md2205

      Historical accounts are the best explanation we have of how and why the world is what it is today. If you do not believe that G-d gave the Torah to the Jews on Mt. Sinai after they left Egypt, then you cannot believe that anything happened because you have to apply the same standards of belief to each. You cannot believe that Julius Caesar existed but not Moses.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • md2205

      J. told people G-d spoke to him and told him certain things, but that no one saw that happen. There were no witnesses who saw the actual thing happen. Mohammed said he went to heaven and G-d spoke to him, but no one saw that happen. Why didn't he say there were witnesses? Because if he would have said there were witnesses when there were none, he could have been found out as an imposter. Here you have billions of people believing in things that no one saw but one person who said it happened.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • undecided

      They were born there, raised there and their parents, born and rasied there. So on and so on. They have shown me more proof through their history then disproving by just saying..........I can't see him so therefore he does not exist. Did someone just wake up one morning and decide hey I'm going to make up God. Where do you draw the line.

      March 12, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • momoya

      For undecided:
      .
      .
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg

      March 12, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Rose

      Rath De Ort
      Bail o Dhia Ort

      Good for you!!!!! Learn from both sides, then go with what you feel in your heart. Nobody has the right to tell you that your choice is wrong. For anyone to question what you choose simply means they themselves question their choice. Whatever you decide, I hope you find peace.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "No fossil record." Nonsense. There is more evidence that evolution did occur, is occurring, and will continue to occur than there is evidence of an invisible being having 'created' the universes.

      When people like you write this crap, it just undermines any arguments you make.

      March 12, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course we can believe Julius Caesar existed because he did. There are coins with his likeness, statues of him, writings from many contemporaries who give accounts of his reign.

      March 12, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You might find many accounts of Jesus existing as a person, but most weren't written until decades after his death. Furthermore, the existence of Jesus does not equal proof of God.

      March 12, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • graytiger

      Jezus could have been a historical figure. One of the many preachers of the time. But that says nothing about the existence of a God. Let alone the existence of a christian God.

      March 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  2. USMC

    Sunday mornings used to be a knock at the door from a Jehovah witness, then Mennonites. Now people from Freedom from Religion.
    It's time to get a Dog!!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  3. chicky

    I did not realize how many idiots are on this planet untill now.....................scary

    March 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Henny

      You're one of them and you don't realise it? You must be on the extreme case category.

      March 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Roosty

      ""The Jewish landlord of the building saw the billboard and refused to let it go up,"

      "Silverman said it was a clear case of religious bigotry. "It was very disappointing to me because I was raised Jewish,"

      And Silverman is definitely belongs in the most extreme case category, if not in the hopeless case.

      March 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • medic

      oh Henny, but you are my leader

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

      Hey chicky.................it's all good. unless you agree with what they say..........their only response is to show their lack of intelligence.

      Be Good!!!!

      March 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • eDwaRd

      Pity for those who claimed dominion on intelligence and reasons but couldn't grasp that saying "NO" is one of our basic rights.

      March 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    March 11, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope

      March 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • nope

      nope

      March 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • 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 12, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  5. rick the goyum

    I just wonder why he only chose to include jews and muslims and not cristians in his quest for fellow athiest.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • The One True Steve

      They did a billboard for Christians at Christmas in Manhatten. See everybody all together now ... It's a myth ... You have a choice.

      March 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  6. enlightened_one

    http://anenlightenmentsymposium.blogspot.com/2012/03/in-case-you-have-been-locked-in-your.html

    I wrote a blog regarding the billboard controversy in Pa involving Bible verses and slaves.

    March 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  7. Yes

    "But we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found
    Luke 15:32
    The beauty of faith. For even non-belivers, if you search for it you will find it.

    March 11, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  8. Zaphod

    Why is this controversial?

    This is no different then putting up a billboard that says "Accept Jesus into your heart." in two languages in a bilingual community.

    March 11, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  9. AGuest9

    "On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, American Atheists erected a billboard on the corner of 33rd Street and Broadway, the heart of a Muslim community in Paterson, New Jersey"

    March 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Aguest9

      That says, "Praise be to Allah".

      March 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  10. Gotti

    After reading most of the comments on this blog I have to ask, what is the deal with some of the rude and simply childish remarks? It all seems to stem from some of those who are Atheists. You disagree with believing on God, fine. Move on. You only make yourself look foolish. The owner of the building choose not to allow the billboard to go up. Done. End of story.

    March 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • AGuest9

      "It all seems to stem"

      I guess you haven't read much.

      March 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • chicky

      I guess the truth hurts

      March 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Henny

      Or maybe, everyone has the right to say NO.

      March 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  11. Muneef

    My choice is that I stick to believing in GOD and that GOD is no myth but rather all real in faith of the unseen;

    "Surely, this Quran guides to the most upright way 
    and gives good news to the believers who do good deeds, 
    so that they will have a great reward" 
    - al-Isra’ 17:9

    March 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Can you prove that God even exists?

      March 11, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • md2205

      Actually, everybody is a believer. Even those who claim to have no faith are believers. For to “believe” means to accept and acknowledge something that cannot be known. There are things in the world which cannot be known, or can only partially be known. Yet we do accept their existence. For we understand that human reason is not the only criterion for deciding whether something exists or not. And we accept its existence, not because we can prove it absolutely, but because it is very plausible, and indeed evident, beyond denial. In this respect, reason may go far to make the existence of G-d plausible and highly probable. It is extremely improbable that G-d does not exist.

      People who deny His existence say that they do not believe. But this formula is simply wrong. They do believe: they believe in the non-existence of G-d. And just as I believe in His existence and try to make this plausible and highly probable - virtually evident - so too a person who believes in the Creator’s non-existence must equally find ways to support his view with ironclad arguments. He too must explain the origin and organization of the world. He too must find causes for the survival of the Jewish people. He cannot evade this task.

      It is not enough for him to declare that science will eventually explain all this. And if he does declare this, he merely shows that, in this way, he too is a believer.

      March 11, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • md2205

      the survival of the Jewish people is a mystery. According to the laws of sociology, the Jewish people should have ceased to exist long ago. Over and over again, throughout their history, they have been exposed to powers which should have destroyed them spiritually and physically. Nevertheless, in spite of all this, the Jewish people exist, thanks to a Preserver.

      By such lines of thought we can reach the conclusion that there must be an Eternal Being, for otherwise, life is incomprehensible and meaningless. And starting from the findings of theoretical physics, we can understand that which was already formulated a long time ago in Judaism, and especially the teachings of the Chassidic masters - that the Generator-Super-organizer-Preserver is beyond time and space, and is all-embracing:

      “Man and matter are not composed of tangible substance, but of entirely elusive processes, without a clear boundary between spirit and matter. Scientifically, it appears that spirit and body, time and space, universe and atom are all aspects of one Reality, which to an ever increasing degree, appear to be one great Thought.”

      This is a scientific formulation of what we have expressed over the centuries in the words "G-d is One."

      March 11, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • graytiger

      @md2205
      Maybe everybody is a believer in some very theoretical sense. But what matters to atheists is that some of what you call 'beliefs' are proven, meaning that they can be verified by neutral obsevers, be repoduced in experiments,and so on and so on. We call this scientific knowledge. While other beliefs cannot be proven at all. Such as your belief in G-d. So some beliefs are very justified while others are not or very weakly justified. Your belief in G-d is as justified as a the belief of a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim, ... So to make your point you commit the error of making a gross oversimplification of forms of knowledge. It's a bit like saying: all these creatures have eyes, pointing to fishes, lions, and men, so they are all human beings.
      That the survival of the Jewish race is due to some special protection by G-d is an unproven statement.
      Nowhere does physics claim that behind all reality there is a great thought.
      That the Jewish people are somehow special in the eyes of God, well I don't think you will find many believers outside of the Jewish people who would accept that. And with all respect it gives an impression of some kind of reversed racism.

      March 11, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      Generally, we call believers those who rely on "faith" to believe something. Things that have ample evidence to support them can generally be called things we "know". God is not something that we "know" exists. Individuals may believe that they know he exists, but it is not a generally accepted thing we can call a fact.

      "For we understand that human reason is not the only criterion for deciding whether something exists or not."
      Interesting that you should say this because, just before, you also said
      "There are things in the world which cannot be known, or can only partially be known. Yet we do accept their existence."
      which is something that you "reasoned" out, yes? So, in the end, it all requires human reason. Sure, a god may actually exist, but beings vastly more fantastic than God may also exist despite their not being imagined yet. God, then, isn't part of the "unknown" that may exist. God has been imagined and, if detected, will likely disappoint many who imagine him differently.

      Finally, why do you assume that it's highly improbable that God does not exist? Why not say that for any of the thousands of gods and goddesses humanity has worshipped, or any other creatures we consider mythical? I imagine it's because God (your version of him, and not some rival religion's version) is the one you hope does exist, right? Is it logical to just assume that your favorite, or even the most popular god nowadays is the most likely to actually exist? I don't think so, I'm afraid.

      March 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • md2205

      To graytiger: You may have missed my point. My point is exactly as you say: Some things cannot be proven. You cannot by the senses prove that G-d exists, because He is not physical. And science only comes to explain the physical. So it cannot prove or disprove G-d. So when a person doesn't think G-d exists, that is not something he can prove. If he cannot prove his position, he cannot require that someone who does believe in G-d prove it. Therefore, a person who does believe in G-d has as much right to his position as someone who does not believe in Him without feeling inadequate that he cannot prove it. Of course he cannot prove it, as the atheist cannot prove He doesn't exist.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • md2205

      To graytiger: In addition, it says in the Torah that 3 million Jews saw G-d give the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai after the Jews came out of Egypt. 3 million eyewitnesses make an event a historical occurrence. They experienced it and passed this knowledge down throughout the generations meticulously to our times. Some people want to say that people came later and told this to the Jews and the Jews accepted it as part of their history, but that is illogical to have happened. This is the conspiracy theory and it doesn't work. The Jews were given the observance of Passover right as they were leaving Egypt, and one of the observances was to eat the matza they brought out with them. This as well was passed down throughout the generations to our day. You can't logically say that someone came and told the Jews that hundreds of years ago they left Egypt and G-d told them they have to eat matza etc. because of that and then they as a nation say "oh, that's right! No one ever told us this before, it isn't part of our history, and we never did matza before, but since you are telling us this, we are going to say we came out of Egypt and we will start eating matza." That is illogical. They would realize he is a liar. You can't just make up conspiracy theories and expect them to work, because it doesn't.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • md2205

      to graytiger: And if you don't believe that 3 million people saw G-d give the Torah to Moses, which it says in the Torah 24 times, then you can't believe that anything it says in any history book about ancient history actually happened. You have to apply the same standards of belief in each case. If Moses didn't exist, then Julius Caesar didn't exist. If he didn't get the Torah from G-d on the mountain, then Julius Caesar didn't do what the history books say he did, and no one in history existed if it says they did, and they didn't do what it says they did.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • md2205

      You absolutely cannot say that whatever I as a Jew believe is the same as whatever anyone from any other religion believes. It says in the Torah that G-d gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai in front of 3 million men, women and children. This is an historical fact. There is no other religion that claims similarly. It was always only one person who said G-d told him something when no one else was there, or one person who developed his system of worship. Not any account of G-d straight out giving what He wants those people to do in front of everyone in those nations.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • graytiger

      @md2205

      It doesn't say in the bible that God gave the ten commandments to Mozes in front of 3 million people. In exodus it is stated clearly that on the two occasions when Mozes recieved the commandments, the mountain was shrouded in a cloud. The first time the Jewish people were even so doubtfull about what Mozes was doing there for 40 days, that they made a God of their own, the golden calf.
      You seem to confound history books which are based on artifacts, stories from different sources, ruins, verifiable facts with holy books. These holy books such as the Thorah and the Bible are writted by partisans, interested parties, believers. Hardly the stuff objective history is made of. You should read some scholars on the history of how these books came to be. Some of it you can find in Momoya's clip.

      March 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • graytiger

      @md2205

      And that is only what the text itself says.Stories that were written 400 years after the, possible, facts. Look up Mozes in wikipedia. You will find in the part on the historicity of Mozes, that the existence of exodus itself is debated by the scholars and that the figure of Mozes himself cannot be substantiated

      March 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  12. GodsPeople

    Atheists want to constantly scream "you have a choice to say no to religion!" well, the guy who owned the building has a right to say no to atheists, and he did, case closed.

    March 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • gummy bear

      Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Gods people.. no screaming..it sounds that way because you have have managed to silence criticism of religion by fear and force for centuries and the sound of questions are louder than you would like. God is no more than an idea that under reason just evaporates. Humanity pushes on despite the horrors of religion.

      March 11, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • GodsPeople

      Blah blah blah, yap yap yap, more hate speech from the supposedly intelligent. *Yawn* your same nonsensical garbage gets old every day.

      March 11, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • UnevolvedApe

      @EvolvedDNA

      And you don't want to propagate or adveritise it by force do you? The owner has the right to say "NO" and he's ent.itled to it, simple as that.

      Would you allow a billboard to be erected that says "Evolution is a product of Darwins LBM, it only take a dose of LOPERAMIDE to stop it" in your backyard?

      March 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  13. Mark from Middle River

    >>>"Don't worry about cause for this night .... Catch me on Monday. I will probably have clicked my compassion back."

    Maybe, I was holding it in too long. What I said about you, I am still up in the air with. You seem like a pretty decent person but at the same time Germany in the 30s was filled with mostly decent people. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, upcoming midterms and a 4 page 12 font single spaced paper and presentation for my Anthropology class that was due Friday morning, or maybe it was just to NOT turn the other cheek or the full moon .... I guess it was a all of the above. Unfortunately Ace caught me on another page and he was so cool with his post I had to calm down a few notches.

    That's why I stated that it was a one night show and basically a "mirror'. I will not lie, it was things I have been wanting to say to those two for a few weeks but like most of us in society we hold those things inside. When I say there is another way, for me there was and last night was a bit of the rocks and gravel of that other way.

    To answer your question, I was raised Methodist but in a majority Catholic community. So most of my good friends that I have known since childhood are Catholic. I carry a Rosary and each year celebrate Lent. This is why I take it sorta personal about attacks on Catholics.

    >>>"It is defined by comparison to the mutually accepted and common ground. "

    Which I do think, with varied communities and cultures, the holding of that God does not exist would be more extraordinary than if not only did you have a rocket in your backyard but you had the star drive section of the first Picard's Enterprise. That is what I feel is Faith. If anything that Faith holds some to fly planes into buildings and the same Faith that also causes some to go rushing into the towers.

    I understand your premise but where I feel you fall extremely short and I have difficulty following is that you believe that there is anything mutually accepted in this world beyond 2+2 is 4 and 2×2 is also 4.

    I feel that maybe if you can agree that to those that are of Faith that God is as real as the table that is holding the computer that I am typing on.

    >>>"Besides, you state that atheists claim that God doesn't exist, and you demand proof of this non-existence. I don't claim this."

    The prove God does not exist or does exist is as simple as it seems. It is a claim, by making that claim, and as you wrote "So one can't prove that a God doesn't exist." ... does that not disprove or at least puts the claim equal to a person of Faith saying the exact opposite?

    >>>"What I do claim is that the argument for is weak and the argument against is strong."

    Now that I can respect for the reasoning of seeing and experiancing things in life that can not be explained or are major coincidences. I ran into a quote a few months ago from Albert Einstien:

    "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."

    So for me and many of Faith what you say is the same feelings but flipped in that the unexplained and the coincidences are what make the argument that God or Gods do exist extremely strong and makes the arguments that God or Gods do not exist very weak.

    >>>"one of the strong arguments is the argument from evil which demonstrates the logical impossibility,"

    I will try to find that post.

    L'Chaim GrayTiger.

    March 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • graytiger

      @Mark
      Methodist, interesting. Don't think there are many methodists overhere (Europe).

      Not enough time to answer in full now. More later.
      On this thread:
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/18/tending-the-garden-one-person-at-a-time/comment-page-40/#comment-1081178

      in a post by Dr. D., I enter into a discussion on the argument from evil, at least a version of it, with MarylandBill and a guy named Letters...
      They seem to have given up.
      If you also want to argue on that argument, which is considered a 'killer argument' by some. But there are other good arguments. Let's keep it on this page. It's kind of annoying to keep monitoring different pages to see if the other party has replied.
      Take care

      March 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Mark

      You say that for believers god is as obvious as the table, but one of those things can be objectively verified.. God can't be objectively verified, just like unicorns can't be objectively verified.. If somebody believes unicorns are as obvious as the table, they're called delusional..

      If god can't be detected, then the believers in god are the ones claiming something extraordinary and therefore have to proved extraordinary proof.. Proof that table-existence-believers don't have to offer.. God believers are making unrealistic claims; atheists are simply those who don't believe in unicorns or gods without proof.. When an atheist says, "God does not exist," he is saying the exact same thing that you would say about goblins or unicorns, namely, "Unicorns and goblins have an extremely low probability of existing, and until somebody can prove unicorns and goblins exist, it makes more sense to state that they don't exist.".

      Now, see if you can put your lying, miscreant, and petulant behavior behind you and respond like somebody who cares about at least appearing decent and civil.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • graytiger

      Strangely my reply seems to vanish

      March 11, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • graytiger

      @Mark

      first argument
      The core of science is an important and mutually accepted common ground.

      March 11, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • graytiger

      You seem to to try to reduce this to something so unimportant that it has no relevance for the belief in supernatural beings or forces.

      March 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • graytiger

      The reality science describes is on the contrary very important and our, atheists and believers alike, belief in it is too.

      Each time you step onto a plane, or take a medicine against cancer, or trust the results of carbon dating or try to have a rational conversation with someone or trust the effectiveness of your nuclear rockets or even use your computer, you put your faith in science and logic. Many are the instances in which people trust their lives to applications built by science. So you can't dismiss it as insignificant. It describes a very large part of reality and is trusted and accepted explicit and implicit by most men.

      March 11, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • graytiger

      very frustrating to have to cut my reply in several pieces
      I guess it's maybe because I tried to copy a quote
      onwards

      second argument
      The quality of justification of belief in the paranormal world is weak
      You claim that to believers faith in this paranormal world is as real as belief in a table.
      I don't deny this. As you say for some this belief is so strong they are willing to give their lives for it. But that is not the argument. The strenght of faith is not the saame as the jusstification for thet faith. Hindu', Jews, astrologers, believers in alien abductions, ... can have faiths all equally strong. But you will agree that even to you not all these faiths are equally justified.
      Science has ways of justification that are tried and proved, otherwise many people would not put their trust in it's applications. These principles work independent from the fact that the user is a Christian, a Jew, an astrologer, ... They have withstood critical testing and are reproducable.
      People may believe strongly in their religions but the justifications for this, holy books, intuiotions, mystical insights, authority, ... are not comparable in reliability to the sscientific method.
      So claiming that the strenght of faith is a factor is missing the point. It's the strenght of justification that is what's it all about.

      March 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • graytiger

      third argument
      The principles of the world of science and logic are in conflict with the paranormal world.
      Since the first is true, or more justified, the second must be wrong

      You don't really react to this argument.

      You do speak of the unexplained and of coincidences. But this reduces your God to a God of the gaps. As science progresses the faithfull have only the unexplained left to kep some notion of a God. Again, there is no argument to prove that the unexplained wil not eventually also be explained by science, as has been the case many times in the past. And there is no proof that the unexplained is God.

      Besides my arguments for the weakness of the religious forms of justification, see above under argument two, there are several more positive arguments against the existence of God. A. o. the argument from evil , see another post. And the argument from an evil God. This last argument states that every argument used to show the existence of God could also just as well be use to show the existence of an evil God. Thereby rendering all arguments and convictions from believers uncertain.

      March 11, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It was very interesting to compare gray tiger's posts with Mark's. Graytiger expresses thoughts clearly and presents logical arguments. About half of Mark's sentences are unintelligible.

      March 11, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • graytiger

      Sorry for the typing errors but a lot of info to type in a short period of time.

      March 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Tom Tom Piper's Son

      Sorry your azz, STEER! Get-up your lazy AZZ an find yourself a better 5th grade spelling teacher.

      Sorry graytiger, I just can't help myself (DROLLING)!

      March 12, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • graytiger

      @Tom,

      I'd like to see you type a little text in Dutch (my native tongue) : )
      But it is true I could have corrected all with a bit more time.

      March 12, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's a troll, gray, not me. Ignore it; it's about as smart as a turd.

      March 12, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • graytiger

      @Tom

      Maybe we are thinking of the same man?

      March 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Possibly. Regardless, you've acquitted yourself admirably. The troll is inconsequential.

      You have Mark beaten by a county mile. Props to you.

      March 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • graytiger

      Tom,

      Thanks, but let's not sell the skin of the bear to soon.
      Question: do you have some kind of automated way of monitoriging these replies or do you check them manually?

      March 13, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  14. gupsphoo

    It's obviously a bad thing to have a choice according to brainwashed god believers.

    March 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      There does seem to be a fear about actually discussing the premise that God may not actually exist. Many of the faithful seem to rely on everyone just taking God's existence as a given, which it isn't. Dangerous territory for them.

      March 11, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  16. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    Billboard #3 now under consideration:

    Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism:

    • 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 10, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • .....

      Hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      March 10, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • md2205

      The best testimony to any event would be that of a large and highly diverse audience.
      There is no more certain event in the history of humankind than the revelation of G. at Mount Sinai. We're not talking about a couple of broken shards, or an excavated building for archaeologists to argue over. We're not talking about the account of a single individual, or of a handful of ready-made believers. We're talking a mass eyewitness account of a wide spectrum of 3 million observers, passed down in an unbroken chain through multiple paths without distortion. We have the consensus of an entire nation for over 3000 years on a single version of that event.

      If one set of witnesses says, "We speculate that it happened like this", and the other says, "We definitely saw that it happened like that", you must believe the second set. The biblical critics speculate - and they all argue with each other on those speculations. Our tradition states with certainty - in a single version.

      Perhaps the story was exaggerated over the centuries? Also extremely unlikely. We have a single version in our hands. To conspire at making the same exaggerations over centuries is even more preposterous than making the whole thing up together at once and fooling the world.

      If a nation tells you that G-d spoke to all of them at once, and they all give the same version, you should believe them. However, search the globe and you will find only one such story. Why? Isn't that a great way for the spiritual leadership to get their flock in line? I mean, there's only so far that you can go telling the masses a story about a single individual who had a dialogue with an angel. Or a small group that heard a divine voice. Wouldn't it be so much more powerful to tell them that everyone eye-witnessed the event? Sure it would. Problem is, as we explained, nobody could ever pull that off. It couldn't even gradually evolve over the centuries. Because it's a conspiracy, and conspiracies don't work. The very fact that no other people ever made up anything similar to the story of Sinai should be enough evidence that it must be true.

      March 11, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      March 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      "Our tradition states with certainty – in a single version." "We have a single version in our hands."
      You realize, of course, that there are four canonical Gospels, and that they do contradict each other and tell differing stories? We also have dozens of other gospels that offer way different version's of Jesus' life and teachings. We also have Paul's views of Jesus, and he never offers any details about the man's life. Within the canon books there are differences in text between the earliest versions and todays'.

      March 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • md2205

      To Oh Yeah: I am only talking about what you would call the Old Testament.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • md2205

      To Reality: Your reality is based on one standard for one set of beliefs and one standard for another. You would reject that most of the people mentioned in the Torah didn't exist. To paraphrase you, one of the biggest proofs for you that the Jews probably never left Egypt is that there is no archeological evidence of it. Now you have to use the same standards for all the rest of ancient history: Julius Caesar didn't exist, and not Mark Antony, not Nero – none of them. Darwin's theory of evolution is based on finding fossils of intermediate stages, which have not yet been found. Therefore, you can't believe in that either.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • md2205

      People unfortunately have a skewed understanding of what the Torah says because it has been so badly mistranslated from the original Hebrew. The Torah cannot be adequately translated into any language because translators have translated only the words, and many times inaccurately. The mistaken translations then don't fit into another paragraph, and so the translators have to manipulate the meaning of that one to try to make sense, when the fault was a mistaken translation done earlier. The English translation of the Bible sounds so awful that of course people can't find meaning in it. There are markings in the original Hebrew that contribute to the meanings of the words and sentences and those have not been adequately translated as well. But an Orthodox rabbi has learned this, and when you learn with him, he will teach it.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • md2205

      There is a good book called "The Bible Unauthorized" which gives a good translation of a few beginning chapters of the Torah. This translation is amazing because you will understand exactly what the wording is, what the content is, and how immediately relevant the Torah is to us nowadays. For anyone who is interested in intellectual honesty, this book will be a real eye-opener and mind expander.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      March 12, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  17. momoya

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg

    March 10, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • graytiger

      Interesting. It is consistent with a number of findings by other scholars.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  18. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KCct4RwLNM&w=420&h=315%5D

    March 10, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  19. graytiger

    @Mark

    in: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/01/atheist-group-targets-muslims-jews-with-myth-billboards-in-arabic-and-hebrew/comment-page-68/#comments

    I tried to have a real discussion with you
    I put forward two well argued points of view.
    You tried to misconstrue my arguments into a strawman atheist viewpoint of your own device.
    Patiently I tried to show why you were on the wrong path.
    You stopped replying.
    On another thread I asked if you would continue our discussion?
    After your last reply you amused yourself with trolling
    And now you start your trolling behavoiur against me. It's obvious that you or are unable to comprehend a decent argument or formulate a decent argument yourself and therefore that you prefer to be a troll.
    Until proof of the contrary I think it is useless to try to argue with you.

    March 10, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Mark the Piddler is an azzhole. He pretends to be this conciliatory, "I love everyone" Christian. He's nothing but a troll. Don't bother with him. There's no "there" there.

      March 10, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  20. Reality

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

    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 10, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Craig

      This tax religions idea is road that atheists need to be very very careful about going down. Not taxing religions is one of the few barriers between church and state. Take that away and you have a bunch of churches that have irrational beliefs AND money invested in the government. Theocracy here we come! Next time, try thinking about this stuff before opening your mouth.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • momoya

      @ Craig

      Two wrongs don't make a right, and we shouldn't neglect to make a law because we're scared of what might happen.. That's called terrorism.. We could even put a rider on the bill: collect taxes from churches and don't allow them to lobby in Congress.. And by the way, churches should be taxed at a much higher rate for the same reason that alcohol and cigarettes are taxed at a higher rate.. They do damage.

      March 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Craig

      @momoya

      You speak of taxation without representation. I remember hearing about a war that was fought over that issue. If I speak of terrorism, you speak of despotism. Like all ideologues, your hatred and anger will be your undoing.

      March 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • momoya

      @Craig

      Most businesses don't have their own lobbyist in D.C., Craig.. No need to equivocate..
      As to the rest of your stupid accusations, my belief is that you are simply projecting your own hatred and anger that you feel may very well be YOUR undoing, but I'm not the type to throw around such judgments.

      March 11, 2012 at 6:27 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.