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Atheist organizer takes ‘movement’ to nation’s capital
American Atheists president David Silverman in Washington, planning for Saturday's rally.
March 23rd, 2012
11:04 AM ET

Atheist organizer takes ‘movement’ to nation’s capital

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Sitting in a chilly hotel hospitality suite in a suburban Maryland hotel, David Silverman plans his attack. As the frequently quoted president of the American Atheists and a constant thorn in the side of religious organizations, attack mode comes easily to him.

At the moment, it isn’t the religious right or the “horribly misinformed,” a term Silverman uses for certain religious people, that are in his sights. Rather, it’s a menu.

“Spinach or Caesar salad?” Silverman, 45, asks to no one in particular. His dinner guests, a logistics consultant, a Marriott hotel representative and Silverman’s new administrative director, eat through a few courses before discussion turns to dessert.

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“In the beginning, God created chocolate,” Silverman says, his eyes scanning the table for reaction.

Laughter ensues. But this is a business meal. From choosing salads for a fundraising dinner to studying the timing of the Washington transit system, Silverman has been spending less time recently on the big question of God’s existence and more time immersing himself in the nitty-gritty of planning what he promises will be the largest-ever atheist gathering.

On Saturday, Silverman hopes that from 10,000 to 20,000 atheists, agnostics, doubters and secularists of all stripes to converge on the National Mall in Washington for what his group calls the Reason Rally.

Silverman is especially proud of the event’s speaker’s list, dropping names like a proud father. He beams when noting that the man he calls “Dawkins” – Richard Dawkins, the scientist and author of “The Blind Watchmaker” and “The God Delusion” – will headline the rally.

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“We have people busing in from as far west as Ohio, as far south as Florida and as far north as Maine,” Silverman says. The weekend will also play host to the American Atheists’ annual convention, to be held at the Maryland Marriot where Silverman is debating salad options.

Silverman is billing the weekend as a watershed movement in the atheist “coming out,” of recent years.

“We want people to know we are huge, we’re everywhere, and we are growing,” he says. “The goal is to advance the position of atheists in America.”

A nice guy combatant

Silverman, a professional inventor at Bell Labs who has 74 patents under his name in the area of telecommunications infrastructure, worked his way up the ladder at American Atheists.

He started as a volunteer in New Jersey in 1996, moved up to be the state’s director and then jumped from national spokesperson to vice president. In 2010 he became president of the organization, which counts 4,000 members, has a $750,000 annual budget and has become the organizational face of a burgeoning American movement of atheists.

Silverman has taken the group in a much more outspoken direction, reflecting a national trend among atheists.

“Ed is extremely intelligent, better educated than I am… I think I have more fire than he had,” Silverman says of his predecessor at American Atheists, Ed Buckner. “It shows itself in the billboards; it shows itself in the press; it shows itself in our corporate attitude.”

In November 2010, weeks before Christmas, American Atheists placed a billboard at the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel that showed the three wise men heading to Bethlehem with the message “You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate Reason.”

The sign earned national media attention and stirred so much controversy that it prompted the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil rights to respond with a pro-Christmas billboard at the New York end of the Lincoln Tunnel. “You Know It's Real,” the sign said. “This Season Celebrate Jesus.”

Silverman says that atheist billboards started popping up in the 1970s but then mostly disappeared until the Secular Coalition for America started raising billboards around the country several years ago.

Silverman has taken the billboards to an aggressive new level. Earlier this month, his group paid $30,000 to post two billboards - one in heavily Muslim Patterson, New Jersey, and another in a heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood - that read “You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice.”

The signs were admittedly in your face, says Silverman – all the more so because they were in Arabic and Hebrew.

“What I am doing is not giving religion respect that it wants but it doesn’t deserve,” Silverman said. “I respect people; I respect humans. I do not respect religion. And I do not respect the idea that religion deserves respect.”

That attitude has made Silverman a bogeyman for religious groups, especially conservative ones who discern a secular assault on American religion.

“These people are vicious is what they are,” says Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. “They stand for nothing. Their only existence is to be against people of faith.”

And yet some of his faith-based enemies say Silverman treats them with respect. Donohue says Silverman “is a nice enough guy” and that on the occasions they’ve met, the atheist organizer displayed geniality and a sense of humor.

Alex McFarland, the Christian director of Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University, holds regular public debates with Silverman about God and the place of religion in American culture. Though they “disagree on God and a lot of the great issues of life,” McFarland says, he has “great respect for David Silverman.”

“I enjoy dialoguing with people like him that are misguided,” McFarland says. “I feel a duty to give a response to people that are holding positions that undermine the fabric of our liberties and freedoms.”

Silverman speaks highly of sparring partners like Donohue and McFarland. “I don’t see them as evil people, I see them as wrong people,” Silverman says.

But he believes they overlook one major aspect of atheism – that its numbers are growing.

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.

“Atheism is growing in all 50 states,” Silverman says. “What people don’t seem to understand is all we demand at American Atheists is equality. We don’t want the obliteration of religion; we don’t want religion wiped off the face of the earth.”

From Hebrew school to disbelief

As a kid in Massachusetts, Silverman was the only atheist he knew. “I’ve been an atheist all my life,” he says. “When I was a kid, I had to get on a bike, I had to ride 2 miles to the library to find the one book that had to do with atheism.”

Silverman was raised Jewish. His parents sent him to Hebrew school and he had a bar mitzvah, even after telling his mother that he did not believe in God.

“I remember it clearly, getting up on stage and everybody in my life was in front of me. Everyone,” Silverman says, recalling his bar mitzvah. “And I stood up there, and I looked everyone in the eye, and I lied. I lied. And I hated it.”

For Silverman, it was a turning point, a moment when he resolved not to lie about his disbelief. “It was one of those experiences… it saddened me,” Silverman says, the disgust showing as he contorts his face. “And I didn’t really do anything about it. I just did it.”

Silverman studies computer science at Brandeis University, a predominantly Jewish school that helped him cement his non-belief and honed his debating skills.

“I was the fodder of debate,” Silverman says. In the lunchroom, he proudly used the non-Kosher trays and relished debates with religious friends.

“Even the people who had gone to school to become rabbis could not put together a reason to believe in God,” Silverman says.

At Brandeis, Silverman met his future wife, Hildy. “Very early on when we dated, it was more of an issue because I was Orthodox and he was atheist,” Hildy laughs. “We were actually apart for a few years because we couldn’t see how that would work.”

Two years after graduation though, Hildy called him and said that she was doubting her religion and needed a non-religious weekend. Silverman picked her up from the airport and six months later the “mixed” couple, as Silverman calls them, was married.

“Religion is not a factor in our lives to the point that is causes strife,” Silverman says. Hildy stills attends Orthodox synagogue sporadically.

“I am a very strong supporter of separation of church and state,” she says. “My husband has no problem with people believing what they believe. I am proof of that. He just doesn’t want it foisted on him. And I am totally in line with that.

“I think he is extremely brave in what he does,” she says.

The couple has one child, 14-year-old Rayanne. She was introduced to Judaism at a young age and attended a Hebrew school in New Jersey. When it came time to plan for a bat mitzvah, however, Rayanne let her parents knew the truth.

She didn’t want one. She was an atheist.

Silverman says he didn’t want his daughter to be an atheists just because he is, but his pride in her decision is clear. For him, she is the future of atheism.

“I am very confident that we will win within 20 years,” he says. “I am saying that we will have a substantially more equal presence in 20 years.”

No issue too small

Back at the hotel, Silverman has turned his focus from the monotony of salads and soups to more pressing issues.

“What are we going to do about the Bibles in the room,” Silverman asks the obviously surprised Marriott event planner. “We do not want the Bibles in the rooms.”

It is Marriott policy not to remove Bibles in guest rooms, but Silverman won’t back down.

“We need to do something with them,” he says, ticking off ideas with his assistant: Recycle them, give them away, put them outside the doors, perhaps even destroy them.

The event planner sits back in her chair, struggling for words.

“What we don’t want to do is be disrespectful to the hotel,” says Silverman’s administrative director, Amanda Knief, putting an end to the discussion.

Yet Silverman plans to encourage atheist guests to place Bibles outside their doors in protest.

For him, each battle - whether over the presence of a cross at the World Trade Center memorial or Bibles in a hotel room - is worth having.

After the latest American Atheist billboards went up in Patterson and Brooklyn, Silverman said he reported death threats to the police. His attitude: just par for the course, another day in the life.

“We ask the tough questions,” he says. “We say the things that are politically incorrect if they need to be said.”

“We will win the big picture,” Silverman says, twice in a row. “(Being) the Marines of free thought means that we are going to fight the unpopular fight, and yes we are going to win.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • DC • Politics

soundoff (3,330 Responses)
  1. AtheistSteve

    I keep reading people who say that we choose to believe in God or not. I could no more choose to believe in God than I could choose to be another skin color. Can anyone provide even one compelling reason to believe in God? Just one?

    March 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • captain america

      We are one nation under God. We do not need foreign instigators undermining the Biblical foundation of our Country. Screw up canada, leave US to US. There's your sign

      March 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      As always Steve, ignore this delusional bigoted Non-American ass!! It screws its own country every time Mommy takes the duct tape off its mouth and it spews its stupidity to the world. It tends to forget that Canada is the USA's biggest ally and has no real clue as to what being American means. If only it knew that we'll be at that rally..hope to see it there!

      March 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      btw: Captain Just Spewin Atheism Is Not: Your country was founded by deists, not theists and is NOT a christard nation. Stop skipping school and pay attention in history class and you might actually know this!

      March 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Thanks Truth...as usual I ignore the troll CA unless he actually participates in the discourse. So as for for my question....does anyone have a single good reason for believing in God?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Brad

      This statement is accurate: "I could no more choose to believe in God than I could choose to be another skin color." I don't think anyone can be compelled to believe in God, except by God.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • captain america

      We do not need either your ignorance or misspellings on this side of the border. Keep stupid in canada where it belongs. We are a Christian nation, founded as a Christian nation by a majority Christian congress, just as Canada is a Christian nation. There's your sign
      Seems neither country has any use for your bull sh it

      March 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Thomas

      Btw, Captain, "Under God" was added to the pledge in 1954. A mistake that bears correcting.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Brad
      Rather convenient. So by your account God has abandoned me.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      CA: You're not an expert on anything. Once again, Canada is the USA's biggest ally. You live in a secular nation! In God We Trust was not imprinted on your money until 1954. CNN is an international website and thus, allows international users to comment! We refuse to leave or stop commenting because you have some stupid delusion. As for our country, you have no clue as to who we are or who our friends are, nor would that be any of your business. So are we seeing you at the rally?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Brad

      AtheistSteve-

      Abandoned you? So it would seem, for now. I was "abandoned" for almost 40 years. I am curious myself as to why some are called to believe and others not. You're probably familiar with the term crux theologorum. Theologians struggle with the problem too.

      BTW – let's all ignore captain america.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Agreed Brad...ignoring is the norm.
      But to your comment...I don't think I was abandoned. I care that my beliefs are true. If information is absent or incomplete I suspend my belief until new information is presented. Science is built on this principle. Religious belief is stuck with ancient unchanging doctrine. No new information is forthcoming. So again I ask....what is one single good reason for believing in God? Clearly there must be many reasons for so many to accept his existence. I just want one good one.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      AtheistSteve....from my personal experience (99% of the people I love are believers), the most common reason is FEAR of hell. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I understand what you are saying, but what if there is a god?" To which I respond...

      “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
      ― Marcus Aurelius

      Like someone else pointed out....You cannot choose to believe.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @tnfreethinker

      Good point. So believing in God is contingent on believing in hell. But what you're really saying is that belief in God requires a belief that we have a soul. Because if we don't have a soul then what would be the point, right? I see no reason to believe that we have a soul that isn't entirely dependent on the supposed word of God. Strange how the answer is just as vacuous as the question and is a perfectly circular argument.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • fred

      Atheist Steve
      You are correct you cannot simply choose to believe in God. My personal experience is that God had been calling in what seemed very indirect ways yet it took losing all my toys and in a moment of desperation catching a glimpse of an old Bible under a car seat. Miracle?
      Old Testament people of Ninevah and others believed when God moved among them.
      Nicodemus came in the dark of night to see Jesus and Jesus said that is not the way. You must be born again of water and of the Spirit.
      When the Jewish Priests demanded a sign from Jesus and none would be given except the sign of Jonah in the belly of the fish.
      The Apostles walked with Jesus almost 3 years and could not see God in full until later when the Holy Spirit came upon them.
      Saul of Tarsus had to be blinded by the light and knocked from his horse. The early converts were all empowered to believe by the Holy Spirit. The earliest Jews out of realization and brokenness for what they did to Christ and others simply being overpowered by the Holy Spirit.
      In short Steve have you ever asked Jesus for help in understanding how one can see the things of God? If not you could be knocked off your high horse like Saul if God is calling. Hammering the Bible like a text book never works how many people will suddenly need a savior when there is no need. I did not know I needed saving so no savior was required. I did not need forgiveness for sin because I was an ok guy and did lots of good things. Once I was hit over the head however I realized I was a sinner and needed saving. It was no problem at that point to beg for help. God put a Bible in just the right place 3 years before I would need it and even bent the right page open for me.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Bob

      Fred, it is readily apparent that you likely were 'hit over the head', but that wasn't a divine act.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of religion in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      March 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • fred

      Bob
      If Tinker Bell waived a wand and you saw legs and arms grow back would you be a different person? How long do you think the new you would last and would your change of heart impress Tinker Bell?

      March 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • wow

      "If Tinker Bell waived a wand and you saw legs and arms grow back would you be a different person? How long do you think the new you would last and would your change of heart impress Tinker Bell?"

      Tinker Bell doesn't exist just like your god so your question is moot.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • fred

      Wow
      I used tinker instead of God because I did not want to answer other questions regarding the existence or non existence of God. The issue is that if legs suddenly grow back as a result of some miraculous act it would not change who you are. It also would not make you any more or less valuable in the eyes of the miracle maker. Jesus did a lot of miracles and the people quickly forgot.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • rick

      Good for you Fred, I'm glad to see someone out there is a God fearing man. This guy Steve is an idiot if he thinks he can convince anyone that God does not exist. What proof does he have that he doesn't. "In God We Trust" is written on all our money, maybe he shouldn't spend any of it. If he is right when he dies, he looses nothing. But if he is wrong, then he looses everything. He claims to be a good person but he obviously doesn't respect any one who chooses to believe in God.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • fred

      rick
      Steve is actually one of the nicest atheists on this board. If Jesus ever gets a hold of him Steve can do a mighty work for the glory of God. I pray for Steve on occassion.
      On these boards it is most likely borderline Christians will see the holes in religion rather than atheists see anything holy. It is like one of those sticky mouse traps where your foot gets stuck and go to get free and next thing ya know your whole head is stuck. Run Rick run

      March 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • ....

      "This guy Steve is an idiot if he thinks he can convince anyone that God does not exist. What proof does he have that he doesn't. "In God We Trust" is written on all our money, maybe he shouldn't spend any of it. If he is right when he dies, he looses nothing. But if he is wrong, then he looses everything. He claims to be a good person but he obviously doesn't respect any one who chooses to believe in God."

      pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      March 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Fran

      "This guy Steve is an idiot if he thinks he can convince anyone that God does not exist."

      He convinced me.

      March 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • fred

      Fran
      This is why I pray for Steve. It is one thing to not believe or reject God it is another to lure others away from Christ. Mankind has always had a need for God and if Christ is removed that void will be filled by something else.

      March 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Mankind has always had a need for God and if Christ is removed that void will be filled by something else."

      That's why religion has killed more people in human history than any other group. We need to get people out of your destructive cult.

      March 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • T. Lee

      How much time do you have for the explanation in relation to all those alternate THEORIES (no there isn't just one)?

      "THERE IS NO GOD" – proclaim those looking through meteor fragments for signs of life (or standing in a muddy pond or diving around deep-sea volcanic vents) – or – come to think of it as already stated, there IS no "theory" of evolution – just multiple "THEORIES" – each and all of which is just as unlikely to explain the origin of life on earth once you get past all the hyperbole and quantum leaps in faith THEY have just as those having faith in the preacher on the corner claiming "God did it"

      😉

      March 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • JD in Illinois

      Steve – and those who think and believe as he does – have no future to hope for beyond he blackness of NOTHING when they die.

      Better to live in hope of a future life through "God" (belivers) than to live in resignation to returning to "nothing" (atheists).

      March 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Mark

      thruthprevails, theres few of us in America left with brains so i'm sorry for the bible huggers here- i for one praise logic and reason over a book of mythology written by mankind- and i appreciate the Canadians helping the Us and England in WW2 and for being good neighbors

      March 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      JD in Illinois
      That there is nothing to fear in the darkness is what we tell very little children. Surely you're not a frightened child scared of the dark? My only concern with death is how my loved ones will fare without me, so I live my life as though every day may be my last, preparing them. We all die, but I'm at least comforted with the knowledge that I've done my best to make my passing easy on people, and with that I can go to the grave in peace.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Dude, believing in anything is a choice. I choose to believe that the Cubs will win the World Series this year. Some people choose to believe in a bearded dude or beardless lady or blue elephant-headed due or flying spaghetti monster in the sky. We all choose our own delusions so that we can feel better about ourselves, and really, there is nothing wrong with that. Except for the Southsiders who choose to believe in the White Sux. Now those guys are seriously deluded and just plain wrong.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Ji Tran

      God is love.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • God

      No. I don't exist.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • DaoistSteve

      AtheistSteve,
      How are you?
      I do not believe in the god of Abe nor any god with a name. I have had subjective experiences that prove to me that there is a spirit and a creator. There is nothing I can say to prove in the existence of a god. If your original question is rhetorical then please disregard my comment. If you are truly open to the potentiality of the unknown then there are ways to discover, for yourself, the truth behind this question. There are prerequisite traits and methodologies. Honestly, curiosity, diligence, insight are all necessary to begin. Certain meditations can reveal to you subtle realities not perceivable during regular consciousness. The thinking mind cannot rationalize these realities, much like a few well known cosmological processes. You can however witness these realities in your own consciousness if you can quiet the thinking mind. As it is difficult to rationalize it can only be experienced.

      You can find the practices in pre-monastic, a.k.a. esoteric Daoism. It is often said that Daoism is not a religion. That depends. Monastic Daoism is perverted with iconoclasm and strange rules and misguided morality like all religions. Previously it was a flavorless system of spiritual exercises without ideology, based entirely on practice and results. Though if you lack virtue you will never achieve great results as your habits will not afford you the lifestyle necessary to obtain these realities. There is no faith in esoteric Daoism. The only driving factor to practice is curiosity and the results that you will experience. Esoteric Daoism is still alive and well today and is evolving alongside and intertwined with cosmology and medicine as it always has been. It is a spiritual science. If there is a spiritual truth, it should be mechanical right? It is. Only those who work for it will find out and it cannot be given to anyone in a comment box. Some of the physiological results can be discussed rationally with peers though. It isn't easy, but it's worth it. Good luck!

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

      yeah.. and why is god a male... why does he have a dic... not one mythic can tell me why....
      why is the creator a male... when a male without a female is pointless....
      males do not create.. females do..

      March 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Hello

      that was a typo.;. Should have been
      One nation without gods...

      it will be corrected soon.. secular governments are not under gods.. just under looser leaders who claim to be and act like gods...

      just wait till be have a pope for president.. you will then see what a theocracy will look like when we go back to the dark ages...AGAIN.. .if they have their way.... when they want to put women back as property and breeders for men and gods.

      when we get to 50b illion on this planet... and the menu will be recycled humans.. maybe our massive over populations will wonder how we lived without human burgers and and fries.

      March 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • QwikB

      Hi Steve,

      I don't believe there are any now. But the ones that had hold of me for a while were:

      1. My first reason was to be good. Initially, I honestly just wanted to be good and from culture and upbringing, I had absorbed that the way to do that was to be a Christian. The fist time that was seriously presented to me as an offer, I accepted because I thought that was the only way.

      2. For lonely and/or desperate and/or outcast people, a church (or group) can provide a place to belong and be accepted, and believing in God (or fooling yourself that you do) may seem the price of admission. I was pretty much a lonely outcast at that time.

      3. An invisible God that cares about you and is everywhere gives you someone to talk to and plead with if you are lonely or desperate. Because that became a habit, I sometimes miss that there is no one to share my thoughts with at night. If I make a bad mistake and I'm awaiting the consequences, which I'm hoping are not catastrophic, it sucks that there is no one to plead to.

      4. In times of truly horrific loss or despair, such as the death of a loved one, it is comforting to think that you will see them again in an afterlife and believe that they didn't just cease to exist. Believing we came from stardust and to it shall return is nice and slightly helpful, but not nearly as comforting.

      I now think adults must accept the reality that there is no God, in the way that an aging child must accept that Santa Claus is not going to bring him his/her ultimate present(s) each year. Or in Carl Sagan's words, "It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." The evidence against a god, once one examines it, is crystal clear if you're open and honest.

      We atheists are kidding ourselves and being disrespectful of believers, however, if we claim that there is no or little cost to abandoning one's faith. Particulary in the horrific loss situation, there is a powerful emotional need involved. Most believers aren't stupid; just in a different place. We should take the "planting seeds" approach and not expect to convert believers to atheism with a hammer! (Not implying that you are; that last comment was aimed at some of my more sarcastic atheist brothers/sisters).

      March 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • QwikB

      Particularly, not particulary. Oh, and one more:

      5. It is comforting to believe in a dispenser of cosmic justice (i.e., to think that the good people whose lives sucked will be given something better, or that a horrible person will be given punishment). If a serial killer tortured my wife or child to death, I would want so much to believe that he would be punished! If a rich con artist stole my mother's home and livelihood while he dined on steak and lobster, and my mother died broke and miserable while he lived a life of ease, I would find that intolerable. Belief in an Abrahamic god would satisfy my desire in this area.

      We atheists simply have to accept that life is unfair. The good here, is that we should therefore be more motivated to make things better and fairer, here and now.

      March 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  2. Jim

    this movement is about as useless as wiping before you poop

    March 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • NutGrinder

      lol I am an Athiest, but I agree with your statement! Let the religions do the preaching... i don't like to stoop to those lows.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Hello

      muzzies are taught from infancy that the must use the left had only to wipe... wonder ? what do lefty handed muzzys use or are they forced to be right handed.... just wondering.. and when the wipe the babies behind.. are they forced to do it with the left hand too..
      strange how some myths really get into the details on how one must do EVERYTHING in life....
      not sure why they even have a brain if they are not allowed to use it...
      i can't imagine a male superbeing watching me to make sure I use the correct hand to wipe the krap off my azzz.. but you know gods, they got to know everything and make you mind or they will send you to h3iii if you don't

      another reason.. myths are for stupid people..

      March 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  3. Muldoon in Ohio

    My question to athiests is – what would it hurt to live your life as though there were a higher intelligence, such as a god? All our secular laws to protect persons and property were written as though a god existed, and apply to both believers and non-believers alike. Except for your free-will option to believe or not, we all live our lives according to these laws.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      And what would it hurt for you to live your life not believing?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Thomas

      Really Muldoon? Speed limits with God in mind? BAC of .08 because the bible says so? Immigration laws? FDA. FCC. We have a supreme court because God wanted it? I also love the new twist the right is putting on manifest destiny. Purporting that, in the eye's of God, this country is more special than any other. American Exceptionalism is not a new idea, but the current batch of republicans want to paint it with a shiny, new, bible brush.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • haha

      First free will may be an illusion, second believe something without proof damages ones logic and reason (what makes us human)

      March 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Ken

      There are too many reasons not to believe there is another being in the sky. Did you ever see him?

      Plus there are people using religion to make money, think I got the reason for religion...

      March 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > My question to athiests is – what would it hurt to live your life as though there were a higher intelligence, such as a god?

      What would it hurt? Let me start off by listing a few things it could hurt. Let's say I believe in the Christian God.

      Personal Accountability: I would believe that I'm going to sin, and as long as I go ahead and ask for forgiveness, I'll be relieved of all responsibiity for it. The slate will be wiped clean. The hurt is that I'd lose part of my own personal accountability for the things I do.

      Hatred towards others: I would believe that gays are sinners and that they should not have the same rights. I would believe that people who didn't think like me would be bound for eternal torture. I don't think I need to point out the harm here...

      Arrogance: I would believe that my faith is the only true and correct one. As such, I wouldn't accept others ideas or look for additional answers. The harm would be that my mind would be closed on certain issues.

      Logical Thinking: Believing in something that cannot be shown to be true is not logical. The harm here is that I would lose a part of my rational mind, making me dull witted and even stupid. And a hell of a lot more gullible.

      The list goes on and on, but I'll leave it at these.

      > All our secular laws to protect persons and property were written as though a god existed, and apply to both believers and non-believers alike.

      No they were not. Many laws were writen in defiance of God. Freedom of speech being a perfect example. It allows heresy. The right to choose your own religion is also against God.

      > Except for your free-will option to believe or not, we all live our lives according to these laws.

      The Christian God's nature does not allow for free will. If God is all knowing, we cannot take an action he has not forseen. Therefore we cannot choose differently. There's only the illusion of free will. And if God made us to follow a path that he foresaw, we're not even responsible for our actions. Much like how a gun is not responsible for shooting someone, the person holding it is.

      This is a perfect example of the harm I listed above, lack of rational thinking.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • heinz57mlb

      I don't necessarily believe in any god, but I do live my life by the golden rule – I don't believe in an afterlife, I believe that you should be good to your fellow human beings right now! I don't worry about what happens to my soul. I know many "Christians" who put their kids through private Christian schools who are so much more hateful that I am. And I must say, I point it out to them. I think a hypocritical part of Christians is that they can confess or beg forgiveness for their sins in order to go to heaven, when what matters more is how we live right now, right here, and how we treat people on a daily basis. This whole afterlife thing reminds me of the people who think they'll have all those virgins waiting for them when they reach the other side. Get over it and just live with your fellow human beings and get along with each other!!!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Carole in Ohio

      It hurts because to me it's a "lie" – and I prefer not to lie. I'm an atheist, have been since I was 5 yrs old. I just don't believe any of it. Uneducated, practically stone age folks, tried to explain the natural world (3000 to 5000 BC) in the only terms they could come up with. Jesus Joseph & Mary Myth? Mary was a teenage girl who like many this day, got pregnant out of wedlock (you don't think that happen'd back then? You prove my point that Christians are usually illogical) and back then they would be stoned to death. She was trying to keep from being killed for being pregnant. Next then, we have the immaculate conception – brilliantly executed, but that's because of who her family was (royal blood). Jesus was not divine, the Council of Nicea decided to make him divine, back in the 12th Century. There are hundreds of similar examples full in the Bible. So no, it hurts to try to believe something that is utterly false & ridiculous to me – just as I don't believe in Zeus & Apollo, I don't believe in God & Jesus being the "son of god".

      March 24, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Hello

      it hurts humanity because those who are selling the myth are getting rich for telling and enforcing lies..
      they make others assume they are better than the rest of the human population when they are REALLY no better of different.
      They control pass judgments, k1!! and enslave others because they claim they are god talkers..
      they make murders of others to support their myths....
      so whats the harm? perhaps you might spend a few hours watching the 911 videos. Or watch the news on the endless k1!!ins for Allah... take a stroll in the history books and read of the k1!!ing of the jews and others.. how about going over the take over of Mexico by the Catholics and how they stripped their population...How the millions of native populations were destroyed...and murdered for god.

      go to the Secular web site and find a copy of Robert Ingersoll's book "Why I am and Agnostic" and see how it is to be free of mythic dogma.. in his poem... The Joy of Freedom...

      it starts:

      The Joy of Freedom

      When I became convinced that the Universe is natural — that

      all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain,

      into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling,

      the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the

      dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bars, and

      manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave.

      There was for me no master in all the wide world — not even in

      infinite space. I was free — free to think, to express my thoughts

      March 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  4. James

    I don't get it...There is going to be a large gathering because these people believe in nothing superior to them? And they are offended by Christians trying to share their beliefs on them when we live in a country where almost 85 percent believe in a God. Move! Start your own community....Build a town....but marching for something that you think isn't there is nuts....

    March 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • haha

      They are marching and being vocal to get people to think. How many children will see this and have their minds opened before they are shut by indoctrination and brain washing? The louder they are the less sheltered ignorance is able to hide.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Al

      So, minorities should just move away then, is that your reasoning?

      March 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Thomas

      Why did women need to march? Why did black people need to march? Why did gay people need to march? Or should they all just have moved?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Jim

      moved back where they belong.....at the back of the bus

      March 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jim

      i heard gays like the rear anyway. now if women would stop being so stubborn

      March 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      Jim: You sound like a racist bigot! Ignorance is bliss!

      March 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • abbyt

      almost 65% of people in this country are overweight... perhaps all of the skinny people should move out and start their own community as well.

      there should be small communities for all of the minorities. we'll turn a nation that was once so proud to be so diverse into secular little units, that don't have to show tolerance for differences in others.

      perhaps once all of the white christians have kicked everyone else out of their country they'll be happy

      March 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by 'James' contains a variety of common fallacies and other logical flaws, including the ad hominem and circu-mstantial ad hominem fallacies, and a veiled instance of the ad populum fallacy. The root post then concludes with a Straw Man argument.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  5. sielingfan

    You KNOW he's a fraud. This season, keep your money.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Thomas

      I recommend Christopher Hitchens "god is not Great-How religion poisons everything"

      March 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • just sayin

      You recommend the dead guy? why not join him before you hurt people like he did?

      March 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @just spewin: who exactly did he hurt? Your feelings because he told it as it is?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Bob

      Christopher Hitchens was a brilliant author and debater. 'just sayin' simply lacks the guts to show him respect.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of religion in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      March 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > You recommend the dead guy? why not join him before you hurt people like he did?

      How did he hurt people. By exposing them to new thoughts and new ideas.

      What does that say about your position?

      March 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  6. TheRationale

    You can easily demonstrate that the God of the Abrahamic faiths is not real, as with the gods of other religions – that's not the issue. It's getting people to actually think about it.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Actually, he's just another whiner that is spiritually dead as he walks among us as he makes his bucks off of Jesus.

      You think about it Rationale.

      Amen.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • TheRationale

      I didn't say anything about Silverman. I actually find his billboards rather annoying. But whether he's another charlatan or not doesn't change what I said.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @heRationale "You can easily demonstrate that the God of the Abrahamic faiths is not real"

      =>ok, how would you do that?
      🙂

      March 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      Define what God is first. 😉

      March 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al "Define what God is first"

      =>what?
      The God of Abraham, the "I am that I am", Israel, prophets, Jesus, etc...
      not sure what you are asking, it would seem obvious, after all, the original claim was that it was easy to demonstrate that the God of the Abrahamic faith wasnt real.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      "The God of Abraham, the "I am that I am", Israel, prophets, Jesus, etc..."
      And the God who revealed himself to Muhammad and gave the world the Qur'an? The same God who later revealed himself to Joseph Smith and gave the world the Book of Mormon? Abrahamic faith extends this whole way and far beyond. Is it all the exact same God?

      Let's start there, OK?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al "The God of Abraham, the "I am that I am", Israel, prophets, Jesus, etc..."
      And the God who revealed himself to Muhammad and gave the world the Qur'an? The same God who later revealed himself to Joseph Smith and gave the world the Book of Mormon? Abrahamic faith extends this whole way and far beyond. Is it all the exact same God?"

      =>Oh, I get it.. you're trying to mash all of them together somehow, then try to make a case that "well, if you dont believe in those, why believe in yours?"
      LOL
      Your task is to falsify the God of Abraham as revealed in the Old and New Testament. That's what TheRationale claimed could be done. If you want to back away from that, that's a smart move on your part 🙂

      If you are trying to say "well, if you think their gods are false, then why is yours real", you are merely attempting to shift the burden of proof to me. "TheRationale" made the claim that he could falsify, so either do so or dont.

      Let's start there, OK?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      Why the Old and New Testaments, but none of the others? How did you "disprove" these? What proof did you use? See how easily you shifted into that degree of atheism towards these other versions of God? Should I just assume that you discount the Jewish God who doesn't have a son, or separate parts, as well? Aren't you really talking about the Christian God?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al "Why the Old and New Testaments, but none of the others? How did you "disprove" these? "

      LOL

      as I said, you are attempting a very transparent shifting of the burden. Either falsify the God of Abraham as revealed in the Old and New Testament, or dont.

      very common among atheists.. they refuse to defend their position. why? what are you so scared of? if you cant defend a position, why hold it?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      It's my personal position that people have to prove that God doesn't exist for themselves, just as they have to prove that he does exist for themselves. It's a philosophical question, really, because no physical proof is ever going to be the final word, it seems. Some super-Jesus riding a twenty foot horse and shooting laser beams out of his eyes could pop onto Mount Megiddo today with an army of the undead and a whole lot of people wouldn't believe that THIS was God any more than a giant bearded face suddenly appearing in the sky. Everyone imagines God differently.

      In just this simple exchange you've displayed your belief that these other versions of God don't exist, right? If we pressed on you'd probably narrow the field even more by dismissing all the versions that don't match your particular denomination's and we could keep right on going, because no two people can agree on God completely, right down to you as an individual. This leads us to conclude that God is just an idea, personal to everyone. How could TheRationale, me or anyone else prove something that you get to define personally? It'd be like trying to convince you that the "green" you see is different from the green I do.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al "In just this simple exchange you've displayed your belief that these other versions of God don't exist, right?"
      @Chad "My view on whether or not Islam/mormonism is based on a real god or not is irrelevant. TheRationale said he could disprove the God of Abraham, you chimed in and tried to shift the burden of proof to me.

      again, can you disprove the God of Abraham who is revealed in the Old and New testament or not? Sounds like you have agreed you cant, which would mean you disagree with TheRationales statement that he could.

      ==============
      @Al "This leads us to conclude that God is just an idea, personal to everyone"
      @Chad "Utter and complete nonsense. Just because different Christian denominations disagree on theology doesnt mean they are referring to a different entity.
      Just because Christians feel that the Messiah has come and Jews dont doesnt mean they are referring to different entities. For that matter, just because Mormons believe that Jesus gave them a golden plate, doesnt mean they are referring to a different entity, they are just ascribing something to the God of Abraham as revealed in the OT that He didnt do.

      so, can you disprove the God of Abraham as revealed in the OT/NT or not?
      God doesnt exist just in our belief system, He exists.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      "Just because Christians feel that the Messiah has come and Jews dont doesnt mean they are referring to different enti.ties."
      Does the God that Jews pray to have a son / trinity composition? No, so you may call what you worship the same God, but from the Jewish perspective it isn't any such thing. It's like trying to say that the vampires in Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dracula are all the same creature, but they cannot be no matter how much you want to argue that one might be the real kind and the others fake. The Old Testament, when viewed alone as the Jews do, describes a very different being called "God" than the one described by the Greek-influenced writers of the New Testament.

      From your perspective the two flow together, but there are inconsistencies even within the New Testament. John 10:30 has Jesus claim "I and my Father are one." but verse 14:28 states "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
      How can they be the same, and Jesus be inferior all at the same time?

      In the Old Testament Moses actually saw God
      "And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my backparts." (EXO 33:23)
      "And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend." (EXO 33:11)
      "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (GEN 32:30)
      But, in the New Testament, this has always been impossible
      "No man hath seen God at any time." (JOH 1:18)
      "Whom no man hath seen nor can see." (1TIM 6:16)

      Also, the God that Adam knew was easy to hide from, quite unlike the omniscient God of the New Testament. There are many other differences, but I think you get the point. There is no God of the Old and New Testament. The Jesus followers might have began with the Jewish God, but they developed a different one once they started thinking of Jesus as divine. If you are arguing for an actual, existing God then he basically changes over time and, if he does, then who is to say the the Muslims and Mormons aren't also right after all?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • BobbyTN

      @Chad
      You can claim that He exists, but can you prove it? No weaseling out of the question either. How do you know that God exists for certain?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      We can't disprove the god of Abraham because we cannot design a good enough experiment because no one, not even the three abrahamic cults, can agree on what the god of abraham is.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Al

      gavilansalvaje
      Exactly, and part of that definition appears to be God's ability to never be disproved, which makes it a philosophical question centered on the value of believing in God, not the key issue of whether or not he actually exists.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al “Does the God that Jews pray to have a son / trinity composition? No, so you may call what you worship the same God, but from the Jewish perspective it isn't any such thing.”
      @Chad “completely incorrect, Jews just feel that Christians have incorrectly identified Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. Christianity is a messianic Jewish sect if you will. Christians feel that Mormons have incorrectly ascribed to Jesus, certain activities (delivering the plates for example).
      You need to understand that the word “trinity” appears nowhere in the bible, it is a term coined by the church.

      ===================
      @Al “The Old Testament, when viewed alone as the Jews do, describes a very different being called "God" than the one described by the Greek-influenced writers of the New Testament.”
      @Chad “completely incorrect, Jesus Christ (the Messiah) permeates the OT, after all, Jews are still awaiting a Messiah, right? Additionally, this incorrect notion that the God of the OT is cruel and judgmental vs the loving kind God of the NT is just based on a completely inadequate reading of both. I’m happy to provide voluminous evidence if you choose to argue that point.
      The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
      slow to anger, abounding in love.
      9 He will not always accuse,
      nor will he harbor his anger forever;
      10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
      or repay us according to our iniquities.
      11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
      so great is his love for those who fear him;
      12 as far as the east is from the west,
      so far has he removed our transgressions from us” – Psalm 103 (OT)

      ===================
      @Al “There are inconsistencies even within the New Testament. John 10:30 has Jesus claim "I and my Father are one." but verse 14:28 states "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. How can they be the same, and Jesus be inferior all at the same time?"
      @Chad “Clearly Jesus is not claiming He is the same entity as God, because in the same sentence he refers to God as His father. He and God are one in mind, authority, spirit, etc. Where does it say Jesus is inferior?

      ===================
      @Al “In the Old Testament Moses actually saw God
      @Chad “and in the NT, Stephen sees God standing at the left hand of Jesus. – Acts

      ===================
      @Al “But, in the New Testament, this [seeing God] has always been impossible
      @Chad “no, see above. What they are seeing however, in both OT and NT, is a representation of God. The point being made in both John 1 and 1 Tim 6 is that God has never been fully comprehended by man.

      If you try reading the bible instead of just trying to assemble a negative argument based on context-less stuff from infidels.org, you’ll get a good picture of the entire narrative. If you want to really criticize something, you first need to completely understand it, right?

      ===================
      @Al “The Jesus followers might have began with the Jewish God, but they developed a different one once they started thinking of Jesus as divine.
      @Chad “you really need to read the bible…. The Messiah has always been viewed by Jews as divine..

      March 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Chad

      @BobbyTN "You can claim that He exists, but can you prove it? No weaseling out of the question either. How do you know that God exists for certain?"

      Evidence for God:
      – origin of the universe
      – the fact that the universe obeys laws
      – origin of life on earth
      – fact that the "gaps" in the fossil record correspond exactly to the life forms detailed in the bible as being direct creations of God (Fish, land animals/birds, humans)
      – The nation of Israel
      – The bible
      – the life/death/resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      Now, turn about is fair play. What is your support for your contention that God does not exist? Some guidelines for you when answering:
      – "Christians are stupid" or some form thereof, isnt an argument about God
      – "People make stuff up all the time, they made up God" – it's true people make stuff up (atheists for example have made up a tale that God doesnt exist), however, that doesnt bear positive or negative on the actual existence of God.
      – "Jesus wasnt real" – isnt an argument that can be taken seriously, see wikipedia on Historicity of Jesus. If you want to argue Jesus' divinity, that's a good argument, but not his historical existence.
      – Leonard Mlodinow has stated that "Since science relies on the existence of laws, it can not ever disprove God
      – "Religion has done terrible things to people throughout history" is an argument about man, not God.

      looking forward to hearing your arguments 🙂

      March 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      The expected messiah is just supposed to be a man, not divine. All the other messiahs were just men, and there is absolutely no room for YHWH to have a "son", or be part of a trinity in the final Torah.

      Jews are still awaiting a Messiah, but not some guy rising from the dead after 2000 years.

      Psalm 103? Try Jeremiah 13:14 "I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike, declares the LORD. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.'"
      Sounds like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi speaking, doesn't it?

      "He and God are one in mind, authority, spirit, etc." but not an equal part in the trinity? They use to label people who felt this was "heretics" in the early days. Some still do.

      "The point being made in both John 1 and 1 Tim 6 is that God has never been fully comprehended by man."
      And how do you get this interpretation? Something made up to spin Jewish scripture to fit Christian ideas?

      "If you want to really criticize something, you first need to completely understand it, right?"
      My point exactly about creationist's concerning evolution. They clearly do not understand the theory.

      "The Messiah has always been viewed by Jews as divine."
      How could this be if their concept of God was as one, indivisible, and any messiah having to be anointed by God? What was God going to do; anoint himself and come in person? The only possible "Jews" who might have considered a divine messiah were the Essenes, and they were definitely not mainstream. If you want to make a case for Jesus being linked to them you might be on firmer ground.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al “The expected messiah is just supposed to be a man, not divine. All the other messiahs were just men, and there is absolutely no room for YHWH to have a "son", or be part of a trinity in the final Torah.”
      @Chad
      a. There are no “other” messiahs.. you might be thinking of prophets.. read the bible first before attempting to criticize it please 🙂
      b. The expected Messiah was expected to be divine, sitting on the throne of David
      c. There is no reference to a trinity in the bible, why does Jesus call God the father?

      1 The LORD says to my lord:[a]
      “Sit at my right hand
      until I make your enemies
      a footstool for your feet.” Psalm 110
      Some homework for you, who is talking to whom there?

      ==============
      @Al “Jews are still awaiting a Messiah, but not some guy rising from the dead after 2000 years.
      @Chad “Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days.. not 2000 years, if that’s what you were trying to say.

      ==============
      @Al “Psalm 103? Try Jeremiah 13:14 "I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike, declares the LORD. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.'"
      @Chad “" You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" (Matt. 3:7 and Luke 3:7)
      Your attempt to somehow show the God of the OT and the God of the NT as somehow different fails terribly. There are abundant examples of God’s mercifulness and his sternness in both books. Again, you need to first get familiar with something before attempting to criticize it.

      Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off” Romans 11

      ==============
      @Al “"The point being made in both John 1 and 1 Tim 6 is that God has never been fully comprehended by man."
      And how do you get this interpretation? Something made up to spin Jewish scripture to fit Christian ideas?”
      @Chad “sigh.. this is standard stuff, clearly consistent with Jewish rabbinical thought, from the Jewish Talmud: “The assertion that God is invisible made him unreal for people accustomed to identify reality with concreteness. But the rabbis disputed this. Thus it is related in a Talmudic anecdote that the Emperor Hadrian had said to Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah: "I desire to behold your God." Rabbi Joshua explained to him that it was impossible. When the emperor persisted, the rabbi asked him to stand in a fixed gaze at the sun. The emperor found the sun too strong. Thereupon the rabbi exclaimed: "You admit that you are unable to look at the sun, which is only one of the ministering servants of the Holy One, blessed be He; how much more beyond your power of vision is God Himself." Rabban”

      ==============
      @Al “"[creationists] clearly do not understand the theory.”
      @Chad “which part do you feel is misunderstood?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Chad
      Why are any of the things you listed "evidence" for God? The origin of the universe, life on this planet, and physical laws all appear to be completely natural. Just because we don't understand them completely yet is no reason to lose confidence with science. What gaps are in the fossil record? There are plenty of transitional fossils to establish evolution as the way life developed. Why is the nation of Israel any more a proof of God than the state of Utah, or Vatican City? Why is the Bible any more reliable than the sayings of Confucius, or the works of Homer? Why is the life/death/resurrection of Jesus Christ any more compelling than those of Dionysus, Odin, Orpheus, Krishna, Ra, Osiris, or any of the other "Dying Gods?" These "proofs" aren't even weak; they're laughable!

      – "People make stuff up all the time, they made up God"
      People have supposedly "made up" thousands of other gods and goddesses, so what makes God the exception to the rule?
      – "Jesus wasnt real"
      Jesus may have been real, but what proof do you have that he was a god? The words of a book? Lots of ancient books had gods as characters. Are they all as reliable as the Bible?

      – "Religion has done terrible things to people throughout history" is an argument about man, not God.
      In this I will agree, but if God is a man-made character as I suspect, then he's an idea of man that has caused some harm.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Al

      Chad
      "There are no “other” messiahs"
      Cyrus the Great, amongst others, is listed as a messiah, or "anointed" of God.
      Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whom he has taken by his right hand to subdue nations before him and strip the loins of kings, to force gateways before him that their gates be closed no more: I will go before you levelling the heights. I will shatter the bronze gateways, smash the iron bars. I will give you the hidden treasures, the secret hoards, that you may know that I am the Lord. (Isaiah 45:1-3)

      "The expected Messiah was expected to be divine, sitting on the throne of David"
      How can Jesus be descended from David when his real father was supposed to be God, not Joseph? Besides, where do you get the idea of messianic divinity? Verse please?

      "There is no reference to a trinity in the bible, why does Jesus call God the father?"
      What does sitting at someone's right hand have to do with being part of a trinity God? Sounds more like God just inviting someone to sit close to him as an honor. If I invite my cousin James to sit beside me at Thanksgiving it doesn't mean that we share a body. Weak, very weak!

      "Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days.. not 2000 years, if that’s what you were trying to say."
      Jesus is dead. Jews are expecting a live person to be the messiah.
      .
      Jeremiah 13:14 "I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike, declares the LORD. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.'"
      " You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" (Matt. 3:7 and Luke 3:7)
      John 4:8 states that God IS Love. He sure seems to have mellowed a whole lot from Genesis to Jesus. He seems to have mutated into a different species as well, a kinder one with multiple parts. Would the followers of Abraham have recognized Jesus description of God as their own?

      How, exactly, does your Talmud story clarify whether God can, or cannot be seen?

      From Judaism 101 website:
      "The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as "mashiach ben David" (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being."
      http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

      “which part (of evolution) do you feel is misunderstood?
      For one, you apparently have some trouble understanding transitional fossils as you mention "gaps" in the record. How big do you imagine the gaps to be? Big enough to disprove the whole theory? Fossilization is a very rare event, so it's just silly to argue that we need to have many, many examples of every species to effectively demonstrate evolution.

      March 25, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Chad

      @BobbyTN "The origin of the universe, life on this planet, and physical laws all appear to be completely natural. Just because we don't understand them completely yet is no reason to lose confidence with science"
      =>the atheist anthem "We cant explain it, but we know it wasnt God", why are you discounting God a priori?
      Why would you say they "appear" to be completely natural, what evidence are you using to come to that conclusion?

      ================
      @BobbyTN "What gaps are in the fossil record"
      =>for example, how many evolutionary changes would be neccessary to get from invertebrate to fish? Millions?
      why do we have millions of invertebrate fossils, millions of fish fossils, but none in between?
      Same with birds, land animals and humans..
      You dont find that extraordinarily odd?

      ===========
      @BobbyTN "Why is the nation of Israel any more a proof of God than the state of Utah, or Vatican City? "
      => name another group of people that has retained a religious and national ident.ty for over 4500 years, despite being displaced and dispersed from their country numerous times.

      =============
      @BobbyTN "Why is the Bible any more reliable than the sayings of Confucius, or the works of Homer? "
      =>LOL
      Demonstrably fact, not fiction. History, not just a collections of "wise" sayings.

      March 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Chad

      ===============
      @BobbyTN "Why is the life/death/resurrection of Jesus Christ any more compelling than those of Dionysus, Odin, Orpheus, Krishna, Ra, Osiris, or any of the other "Dying Gods?" "
      =>sigh...
      "Most modern historians agree that Jesus existed and was a Jewish teacher from Galilee in Roman Judaea, who was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire. [23][24][25][8] Scholars have offered competing descriptions and portraits of Jesus, which at times share a number of overlapping attributes, such as a rabbi, a charismatic healer, the leader of an apocalyptic movement, a self-described Messiah, a sage and philosopher, or a social reformer who preached of the "Kingdom of God" as a means for personal and egalitarian social transformation. – wikipedia

      you need to at least enter the realm of serious discussion at some point...

      March 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Hello

      a god is proof humanity are great liars and believers in those lies.

      March 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Hello

      Al.................oh Al..................
      Read Caesar's Messiah and it will explain all the bible krap to you...

      you will then know the truth of your myth... it is not what you are being told... it is a joke.

      March 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al "Cyrus the Great, amongst others, is listed as a messiah, or "anointed" of God."
      @Chad "that is clearly not the jewish rabinnical understanding of term messiah, that is merely a construction your are placing on that word 🙂
      There is only one messiah, ask any Jew or Christian.
      nuff said on that nonsense.

      ====================
      @Al ""The expected Messiah was expected to be divine, sitting on the throne of David" How can Jesus be descended from David when his real father was supposed to be God, not Joseph? "
      @Chad "See lineages in Matthew and Luke, pretty straightforward."

      ===========
      @Al "Besides, where do you get the idea of messianic divinity? Verse please?"
      @Chad "many, heres one:
      The LORD says to my lord:[a] “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”"Psalm 110

      ===============
      @Al: ""Jesus is dead. Jews are expecting a live person to be the messiah.
      @Chad "Actually, He's alive! see empty tomb.."

      ==============
      @Al For one, you apparently have some trouble understanding transitional fossils as you mention "gaps" in the record. How big do you imagine the gaps to be? Big enough to disprove the whole theory? Fossilization is a very rare event, so it's just silly to argue that we need to have many, many examples of every species to effectively demonstrate evolution."
      @Chad "big dogs can turn into little dogs, and little birds to big birds, but invertebrates havent been shown to turn into fish have they 🙂
      The largest gaps in the fossil records just happen to correspond to the living creatures described in the bible as creations of God, fish, birds/land animals/humans.?
      Odd that 🙂

      March 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Chad
      If there were a supernatural explanation, why does it have to be God who's responsible? There are thousands of creation myths, all of then just as likely to be true if you insist upon a magical origin to things; so what makes the Jewish myth the correct one by default for you?

      They "appear" to be completely natural because all the evidence that has been gathered since Galileo first peered through a telescope has shown us a far grander universe never dreamed by the writers of myth, including the Bible. Those folks only had their natural senses to draw upon, so of course, the world appeared flat, the sun appeared to circle the earth, and stars appeared to be just holes in the sky, as described in the Bible. What's more, they make sense as naturally occurring precisely because they follow set laws and have predictable qualities. The stages of star development, "growth" and death are easily viewed and understood. No unnatural force is needed to explain what we see. The universe operates all by itself, and almost certainly began that way to. We have no logical reason to suspect otherwise.

      The first step in fish evolution was the development of a rigid, internal structure most likely to protect the spinal cord. Pikaia show the developing structure and Haikouichthys is perhaps the first fish ancestor. I highly doubt that it would have taken a million steps in between. It's like watching a movie, and you want to pinpoint when the beginning of the end of it is. You demand simplistic answers to things that are not so simple. Nice try, but that kind of thing only works on country rubes.

      "name another group of people that has retained a religious and national ident.ty for over 4500 years, despite being displaced and dispersed from their country numerous times."
      Well, that precisely describes Israel except for the centuries when the Jews were not a nation, and the fact that Judaism evolved over a very long time, and continues to evolve. 4500 years is probably about 1500 or more years too long. A passing reference to the house of David is the first archeological evidence for ancient Jewish settlement.

      "Demonstrably fact, not fiction. History, not just a collections of "wise" sayings."
      The Gospel of Thomas is just a collection of Jesus' "wise" sayings. Proverbs likewise. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a story/history, from Sumeria dates from about 2150-2000 BCE, whereas the Torah was only written about 500 BCE. Some of the Egyptian writings are the oldest religious scriptures yet discovered. What is actual, reliable history is highly debatable.

      Now, again, how can you claim to know that God exists for certain?

      March 26, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Al

      Chad
      Messiah beans "anointed one" and this passage refers to Cyrus the Great.
      "This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:" Isaiah 45:1
      Thus he is counted as one of God's messiahs. We know why Christian Bibles are deliberately fuzzy about this translation, don't we?

      "See lineages in Matthew and Luke, pretty straightforward."
      Ah, the nativity myths, which contradict each other and depend upon the "eyewitness" testimony of an elderly Mary, if she was still alive at the time of their writing. Was Joseph Jesus' actual father? No, right? Therefore, according to Jewish tradition, Jesus was not of David's line, and as a demigod, not human, so not a messiah. Besides, there's the old question of why Jesus would be said to be "of Nazareth" if he was born in Bethlehem. The whole story smells of a coverup.

      Once again, what does sitting at somebody's right hand have to do with being a part of somebody? Riker sits at the captain's right side on the Enterprise, but that doesn't mean that he IS Picard. Face it, the trinity doctrine isn't Biblical; it was cooked up by the Church Fathers.

      "Actually, He's alive! see empty tomb.."
      A story, in a book, about as reliable as any other story in any other book. King Arthur pulled a sword out of a stone, and Paul Bunyan dug a river with his axe. Do you believe everything that you read?

      If you line up the fossils for Pikaia, then Yunnanozoon, then Haikouella, then Conodont animals then Cathaymyrus diadexus, and then Myllokunmingia and Haikouichthys. The development of backbones is pretty clearly recorded in the fossil record.

      What are you looking for, something with half a backbone that looks like half of a worm and half of a fish? Something like a mermaid, satyr, or centaur? How gullible do you imagine people to be? Line up all the hominoid species skeletons we have and you see a transition from ape-like beings until we see ourselves. What are you looking for in a transitional fossil, something with a monkey's bottom and a human top half? Ridiculous! That's why you creationists earn such scorn. You bring it upon yourselves.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Al

      Hello
      Much of what we think of Jesus, like the part where he is 1/3 of God in the Trinity, as well as the Bible, was an invention of the Church Fathers creating a standard Christianity for Rome. The model of Jesus as some kind of mythic hero figure took place a lot earlier.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Chad
      There could have been a historical Jesus, completely human, and just a Jewish teacher, but that's not what you're really alluding to, is it? That character is completely believable because there were dozens of such figures back then. What isn't believable is all the god-like qualities people thought he had, the same qualities that those gods I listed have. Funny how Christians have dismissed those gods as mere myths, but can't see that their guy is exactly like them.

      Check out LORD RAGLANS SCALE of common mythical hero attributes.

      The hero's mother is a royal virgin
      His father is a king and
      often a near relative of the mother, but
      the circu,mstances of his conception are unusual, and
      he is also reputed to be the son of a god
      at birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
      He is spirited away, and
      Reared by foster-parents in a far country
      We are told nothing of his childhood, but
      On reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future kingdom.
      After a victory over the king and or giant, dragon, or wild beast
      He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor and
      becomes king
      For a time he reigns uneventfully and
      Prescribes laws but
      later loses favor with the gods and or his people and
      Is driven from from the throne and the city after which
      He meets with a mysterious death
      often at the top of a hill.
      his children, if any, do not succeed him.
      his body is not buried, but nevertheless
      he has one or more holy sepulchres.

      Jesus scores higher than Hercules and Robin Hood on this scale.

      March 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Oh Yeah
      What do you think Chad is imagining exists when it comes to the universe looking artificial? Some giant "made by God" sticker on the moon, or something? He probably still believes Ray Comfort's banana proof of God. 🙂

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0geHA2yHSZI

      March 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Oh Yeah
      I forgot to say, good post! 🙂

      March 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Chad

      @Al "Messiah beans "anointed one" and this passage refers to Cyrus the Great."
      @Chad "look, the Messiah is anointed, not all who are anointed are the messiah. Jewish rabbinical thought is 200% clear on this, there is only one Messiah. Nuff said.

      ===========
      @AL "Ah, the nativity myths, which contradict each other and depend upon the "eyewitness" testimony of an elderly Mary, if she was still alive at the time of their writing."
      @Chad "Not sure where you got that from, John/Matthew were eyewitnesses"

      =============
      @Al "Was Joseph Jesus' actual father? No, right? Therefore, according to Jewish tradition, Jesus was not of David's line,
      @Chad "According to Jewish rabbinical thought, Jesus is the legal son of Joseph. Therefor of the legal lineage of David. He is blood related through His mother Mary.

      ===============
      @Al "Does the God that Jews pray to have a son / trinity composition? No, so you may call what you worship the same God, but from the Jewish perspective it isn't any such thing"
      @Chad "You need to understand that the word “trinity” appears nowhere in the bible, it is a term coined by the church"
      @AL " Face it, the trinity doctrine isn't Biblical; it was cooked up by the Church Fathers."
      @Chad "I think you lost your place in this discussion, I agree, the trinity appears no where in the bible" 🙂

      ============
      @Al "A story, in a book, about as reliable as any other story in any other book. King Arthur pulled a sword out of a stone, and Paul Bunyan dug a river with his axe. Do you believe everything that you read?"
      @Chad "there are fiction books, and non-fiction books. The bible is non-fiction. It's not hard to discern the difference.

      ======================
      @AL "If you line up the fossils for Pikaia, then Yunnanozoon, then Haikouella, then Conodont animals then Cathaymyrus diadexus, and then Myllokunmingia and Haikouichthys. The development of backbones is pretty clearly recorded in the fossil record."
      @Chad "those are all vertebrates, I asked for invertebrate to vertebrate"

      March 26, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @BobbyTN "There could have been a historical Jesus, completely human, and just a Jewish teacher, but that's not what you're really alluding to, is it? That character is completely believable because there were dozens of such figures back then"

      @Chad "Exactly, there were many so called messiahs, many attracted a following while they were alive, but when killed the followers quickly dispersed (exactly as Jesus' disciples were in the process of doing when the resurrected Jesus returned).

      " “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5

      couldnt have said it better myself 🙂

      March 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      "not all who are anointed are the messiah."
      Wrong again. There were other messiahs, and the Jews are waiting for one to usher them into a Golden Age, a human king, a great warrior and a skilled judge, but not Jesus returned.

      "Not sure where you got that from, John/Matthew were eyewitnesses"
      But who were the eyewitnesses to Jesus' birth still alive at the writing of the gospels? Then again, who was an eyewitness to Jesus' temptation in the desert, and trial before Herod and Pilate?

      "According to Jewish rabbinical thought, Jesus is the legal son of Joseph. Therefor of the legal lineage of David. He is blood related through His mother Mary."
      Which way is he related to David; through Joseph or Mary? I know that there are numerous explanations put forward to account for the divergence between Matthew's and Luke's genealogies, but it's also highly likely that both were invented, which accounts for their later inclusion in written gospels, to answer certain questions about Jesus' fulfilling prophecy. Nevertheless, his actual father was not Joseph, but God which disqualifies him as the expected human saving messiah.

      "I think you lost your place in this discussion, I agree, the trinity appears no where in the bible"
      So, Jesus is not God then? Why do you suppose that people pray to him?

      "there are fiction books, and non-fiction books. The bible is non-fiction. It's not hard to discern the difference."
      How can you tell it's not fiction? Where is the independent evidence that substantiates all of the Bible? Everything before the house of David (which still may not have been anything close to a "kingdom") is highly suspect, and reads like other mythologies. Other ancient people did just that, invented glorious pre-histories to give their people esteemed roots. The Why would you suspect the Jews to be different?

      Pikaia belonged to phylum Chordata, and had the structure that would eventually materialize into vertebrate backbones. Before Pikaia are pure invertebrates. The sequence goes ... invertebrate, invertebrate, invertebrate, invertebrate with beginnings of a notochord, Chordate with notochord, ... and so on until the simple structure becomes what we consider a backbone. It's gradual, maybe over millions of generations (remember that these creatures reproduce much more quickly than humans), not some wonky "missing link" that someone is supposed to say "Why, that creature is half invertebrate and half vertebrate" like a mermaid is half human and half fish.

      March 27, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • BobbyTN

      Chad
      Dozens of tries and one guy manages to keep a following and you consider that some kind of miracle? Who knows what factors eventually led to Jesus' little band surviving. Why did the Buddha's or Confucius' teachings survive? Maybe Jesus had wiser words to say than the others/ Maybe Paul reworking Jesus to appeal to Gentiles was the deciding factor? We may never know, but that's still no evidence that he was divine.

      March 27, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Chad

      Al “Everything before the house of David (which still may not have been anything close to a "kingdom") is highly suspect, and reads like other mythologies.”
      Chad “how is it highly suspect? What is suspect?”
      ==============
      Al “Pikaia are pure invertebrates. The sequence goes ... invertebrate, invertebrate, invertebrate, invertebrate with beginnings of a notochord, Chordate with notochord, ... and so on until the simple structure becomes what we consider a backbone. It's gradual, maybe over millions of generations
      @Chad” “Pikaia does not seem like a vertebrate ancestor, and in fact there is a lot of debate regarding the topic in scientific circles” – wikipedia
      In any case, with all of the millions and millions of invertebrate fossils (which are >90% of the fossil record), it should be extraordinarily easy to provide examples of those invertebrates. “
      ==============
      Al “Dozens of tries and one guy manages to keep a following and you consider that some kind of miracle? “
      @Chad “ a movement surviving isn’t in and of itself proof of it’s supernaturality, but if Jesus was indeed the Son of God, then that movement would certainly succeed. So it is powerful evidence to be added to the other powerful evidence, empty tomb, post resurrection appearances, radical change in disciple behavior.
      ==============
      I didn’t bother answering the other items for the second/third time..
      there is only one messiah
      Jesus has blood lineage to David thru Mary, legal lineage thru Joseph
      “Trinity” is human term not in the Bible, Jesus is worshipped as the Son of God
      There are multiple independent eyewitness attestations collected hundreds of years later in a single book (bible).
      “People invent things all the time, they invented the stories in the bible” isn’t any kind of a criticism, what was invented? You seem extremely comfortable making completely unsubstantiated claims, but I’m going to have to ask for specifics please.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      Everything before the house of David is highly suspect because there is no evidence, archeological or otherwise, to back it up. That, and like I said, it reads like the ancient stories we consider pure "mythologies". Gods, demigods, heros, monsters, foolish kings, mighty battles, ... All common elements of ancient myth, not history. So, why give this one example the special consideration of being believed an accurate history when everyone else's is considered myth? Special pleading?

      "In any case, with all of the millions and millions of invertebrate fossils (which are >90% of the fossil record), it should be extraordinarily easy to provide examples of those invertebrates. “
      Again, what are you looking for, exactly? I give you a creature with a basic rigid structure running along it's back, and you're saying that this couldn't be evidence for the emergence of backbone structures. So, what do you think a invertebrate vertebrate ancestor would look like, or should I ask what you would accept as an invertebrate vertebrate ancestor? Are you actually looking for a sudden appearance of half a backbone?

      "a movement surviving isn’t in and of itself proof of it’s supernaturality, but if Jesus was indeed the Son of God, then that movement would certainly succeed. So it is powerful evidence to be added to the other powerful evidence, empty tomb, post resurrection appearances, radical change in disciple behavior."
      How is it "powerful evidence"? You have a successful group and their story as to why they were successful. That can be translated to any successful group being given carte blanche to write their own factors for success. Remember the Romans? Virgil constructed the poem Aeneid to glorify Roman past. What's to have prevented the Christians and even the Jews from doing the same kind of thing in their scriptures?

      Success + claim of God's favor. Could you not apply that to the success of any actor, musician, athlete who claims to favored by God? In short, is everyone who thanks God for their success the real deal?

      March 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Al

      Chad
      "First, the King James Version puts a definite article before "Messiah the Prince" (9:25). The original Hebrew text does not read "the Messiah the Prince," but, having no article, it is to be rendered "a mashiach ["anointed one," "messiah"], a prince," i.e., Cyrus |(Isaiah 45:1, 13; Ezra 1:1-2).

      The word mashiach is nowhere used in the Jewish Scriptures as a proper name, but as a t.itle of authority of a king or a high priest. Therefore, a correct rendering of the original Hebrew should be: "an anointed one, a prince." (from http://www.jewsforjudaism.com)

      Now, are you going to argue that Jews don't know their own scriptures and language?

      "what was invented? You seem extremely comfortable making completely unsubstantiated claims, but I’m going to have to ask for specifics please."
      The pre-David history of the Jewish people appears to be an invention because there is no evidence to support it. Noah's ark could not have held all the animals it was reported to have. The Genesis creation story doesn't match any of the observed evidence. The entire Exodus account is unsubstantiated by any evidence, and the list, if I had a hour or two to spend on this, would go on, and on, and on ...

      Tell me, do you apply the same standards to other ancient civilizations and their writings that you do the jewish people and the Bible?

      March 27, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      BobbyTN
      Chad
      Have you had a chance to evaluate Jesus according to LORD RAGLANS SCALE of common mythical hero attributes yet?

      March 28, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  7. Brad Vader

    Silverman is just as bad as a religious zealot. Nonbelievers are a minority get over it. Instead of going around putting up billboards asking for donations, how about educate young people. If enough young people would actually study more then one religious scripture and study in school, they usually turn atheist. If they don't big deal but pushing an angenda to anger people is just stupid and gets you nowhere. I am an atheist but I'm not going to go around with a chip on my shoulder just because not as many people think like me and still want to follow far fetched stories that all evidence points in the opposite direction. As long as others don't push their beliefs on me, I won't push the noodly greatness of the FSM and go around dressing like a pirate.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • haha

      Christians were once a very small minority cult.. things change.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • W247

      Yes, Christians are not a minority anymore, however followers of Jesus Christ are..

      March 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Al

      W247
      And you just so happen to be one of those few "true" believers, eh? Bit of an ego you've got there, huh?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • W247

      Al – thanks for putting words in my mouth and making assumptions about me. Smart little spin tactic there.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Al

      W247
      So, you're not one then?

      March 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Brad's right – a zealot is a zealot. And what's worse is a zealot who takes donations for his cause.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Hello

      The Roman Flavian family changed all that by creating the christian myth out of the jewish one...

      you had 2 choices convert of die.. just like the muzzy myth.. they come from the same old rust cookie cutter.. just bend enough to seem like they are different but the intent is the same.. crowd control. and wealth zucking... from the working class. both free and slave (female)

      March 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  8. JT

    I can relate to his story and views on relgion. I was raised in a religious home. Went through confirmation and said all the right things just to get through it. I considered myself agnostic for several years. As an adult, I started asking questions and searching for the truth... not what someone else told me I was supposed to believe. Today, I'm a Christian (a follower of Jesus), but I'm not relligious. Religion can be dangerous, just like politics, money or anything else that humans use to wield power over others. And his agenda is no better than any other world religion.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  9. James

    You want freedom of religion by talking about atheism as if it was a religion.. You are a speck of sand in an hour glass full of believers. Believers of God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, etc. do the math.. Its little mice like you that have a big roar but you are still a mouse . We as believers in religion have as much right to profess, post, gather etc in the name of religion as you have the right to post your non belief. Yet you would try to abolish religion.. Not possible, Souls without God are lost souls, I will pray for you..

    March 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Timmy in Minny

      Pray away, Jimmy. Truth is, if praying did any good, everyone would be doing it. As far as your faith is concerned, faith is nothing more than the license believers give themselves when reasons fail. You can no more prove the existence of God then I can prove her non-existence.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • JLS639

      Nonbelievers are not minorities everywhere. For example, if you lump atheists and agnostics into a group, they are more common than Christians in Sweden.

      Of course, some of those surveys do have strange results and need to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, if you add nonbelievers plus Roman Catholics in France from two separate surveys in 2006, they add up to about 112% of the population... (Do Protestants, Muslims and Jews make up the remaining -12%?) This makes me wonder exactly how the questions were worded.

      However, it is clear that in a handful of countries, the nonbelievers are a plurality.

      March 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Trying to eliminate religion is like trying to eliminate stupidity. You can't fix stupid but you can stun it with a two by four (physical or metaphysical).

      March 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Freedom of religion means we are free to not believe just as you are free to believe. Which means evangelical atheists and evangelical theists just need to step off

      March 24, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  10. gofudgeyourselfx

    As someone who doesn't believe in god, this guy kinda makes me not want to accept the label of Atheist...I don't want to attack anyone about anything, I just want my beliefs to not be viewed as taboo or 'bad', I want to be respected as an equal. Attacking the religious is exactly what they want, they want to be victimized....ugh, Dawkins is a brilliant man but I still won't call myself Atheist.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      "I just want my beliefs to not be viewed as taboo or 'bad', I want to be respected as an equal." Do you really believe that will ever happen if we do not speak up?

      Wish I could be at the rally!

      March 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • AGuest9

      First off, there is no capital "A", unless you want to be part of some movement.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Viewing atheism as "taboo" is fundamental to their teachings. It's how they justify their zeal to convert the heathens. Their entire doctrine is designed to manipulate. Carrot and stick in the form of heaven and hell, faith to avoid the need for evidence as doubt is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, sin to assuage the angst of those oppressed or too poor to partake of excesses that the wealthy and powerful enjoy but will surely suffer judgment for in the end. Basically discounting anyone who does not believe as they do as servants or victims of Satan. All in all a very ugly social club.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • captain america

      Is that how it is in canada ? Tough sh it , leave US to US we don't need your dog crap opinions. Go screw up your own country. There's your sign

      March 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      CA: NO NO AND NO!!! WE ARE HERE TO STAY WHETHER YOU FRIEAKIN LIKE IT OR NOT!!

      March 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  11. Truth

    Ahhh the oh so tolerent, logical, rational, intelligent, smart, amazing, awesome, super, atheists are up to the same old stuff again, what a surprise. Go spew your garbage elsewhere......haha they got people as far west as ohio!!! OMG they're going global. Watch out!!!!!

    Seriously though, this guy is a moron.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      Then burn your churches please and stop preaching in the streets. We have every right to a rally, at least any rally we hold is based on evidence and fact, whereas yours would be based on childish fairy tales! This is called freedom of speech.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      I will believe in God when someone can show me how believing in God is more rational that believing on leprechauns. If there is a god he endowed us with reason; if he endowed us with reason he expected us to use it; if reason shows there is no evidence of god then there is no god or He is hiding. God does not play tricks on his creation.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  12. Reality

    A money-making scheme by the Silvermans (the atheist version of the Graham family)?? Probably since internet media networking is doing the same job at no cost and no trip to Washington and $1000 front row seats required.

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS–

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    And then augmented by the following:

    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.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    March 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      The idea that Jesus rose from the dead is as irrational as the belief that Mohammed jumped his horse from Jerusalem into heaven.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  13. PrimeNumber

    On his billboards, Silverman used the word "myth". Atheists use the words "fairy tale", "fable", and "myth" interchangeably.
    A very significant difference exists among the three concepts. Silverman used "myth" when he probably meant the more derisive "fairy tale". If Silverman or other atheists cannot understand the differences between these concepts, how can they dialog on the concept of God?

    March 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Significant differences aside they all represent "made up crap"...

      March 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      So because Silverman didn't thoroughly illuminate the finer semantical nuances between two different forms of folk storytelling, he is incapable of any further discourse? I hardly think so.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      Honestly,is that all you've got?If you believe in heaven, how do you feel about watching several friends and relatives being tortured in hell for eternity?Or,do you just not think that far ahead?Nice concept eh?

      March 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > On his billboards, Silverman used the word "myth". Atheists use the words "fairy tale", "fable", and "myth" interchangeably.
      A very significant difference exists among the three concepts. Silverman used "myth" when he probably meant the more derisive "fairy tale". If Silverman or other atheists cannot understand the differences between these concepts, how can they dialog on the concept of God?

      What a stupid argument. I mean really, is this the best you got?

      He doesn't understand certain words, so therefore he cannot comment on God?

      Let's say the pope doesn't know about the word "juxtaposition". Does that mean he can't comment on God?

      You: "I'm arbitrarily going to pick a word and if that person doesn't know what it means, they cannot comment on God."

      Stupidity. Sheer stupidity.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Prime,

      Everything that humans know is "made up". Science is a made up set of procedures and rules and dogma. Religions are made up sets of procedures and rules and dogma. Economic and social systems are all made up sets of procedures, rules and dogma. There are no "absolutes", only human guesses and human creations. Humanity in general needs constructs in order to survive on this rock for as long as we possibly can. The only absolute is that if humanity dies out, then everything that humanity ever made up amounted to nothing at all – every song or poem or story or good deed or bad deed ever created by humanity will have been pointless if we allow our species to die out.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  14. yannaes

    God Bless him and let him know that Jesus loves him. Like he is the only scoffer that has ever lived? But God bless him, he has a right to believe or not believe.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • gofudgeyourselfx

      may xenu bless your heart dear!

      March 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • haha

      And Mohammad loves you.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      haha – MJ is to Jesus as KB is to Mohammed

      March 24, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 23, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Yes, but only if you pray to Joe Pesci.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • NothingBloomed

      This is exciting news. I look forward to the wealth of evidence which you are prepared to provide.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Just lyin' in 3... 2... 1...

      March 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~`You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. 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 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • just sayin

      The evidence has long since been provided. God bless

      March 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jesus

      "The evidence has long since been provided. God bless"

      More lies on top of more lies.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Haxor

      Faith changes things, not prayer. Whether it faith in yourself, someone else, or even faith in a higher power. Prayer is just an act and is not necessary to faith

      March 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  16. PrimeNumber

    "...attack mode comes easily to him." (Silverman)
    "The signs were admittedly in your face, says Silverman – all the more so because they were in Arabic and Hebrew."
    "Silverman has taken the billboards to an aggressive new level"

    I thought aggression and in your face were images the atheists were trying to avoid. My mistake.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Thomas

      Where was he quoted as not wanting to be agressive? He was not. You just made that up and couched it in a passive agressive voice.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  17. Hehe

    This guy is an idiot. The hypocrisy is hysterical. He's a zealot of atheism as he yells and complains about zealots of other religions, this is exactly why this scrub gets no respect.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Really? So promoting a view where common sense, reason, critical thinking, logic and scientific methodology are foundational makes less sense than basing it on magic, supersti.tion and stories from ancient ignorant cultures? Go figure....

      March 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      If I read you correctly then, you have no respect for atheism or religion, since adherents to both world views tend to be zealous? Cool.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • haha

      He is a needed evil just to barely move the scale and get people thinking.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Paul

      It's almost laughable how two extremes of zealots yell their own solid versions of truth against one another.

      March 23, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      AtheistSteve – it's not the view, it's the promotion

      March 24, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  18. W247

    Very telling about his personality:
    “What I am doing is not giving religion respect that it wants but it doesn’t deserve,” Silverman said. “I respect people; I respect humans. I do not respect religion. And I do not respect the idea that religion deserves respect.”

    It is Marriott policy not to remove Bibles in guest rooms, but Silverman won’t back down.

    “We need to do something with them,” he says, ticking off ideas with his assistant: Recycle them, give them away, put them outside the doors, perhaps even destroy them.

    “We will win the big picture,” Silverman says, twice in a row. “(Being) the Marines of free thought means that we are going to fight the unpopular fight, and yes we are going to win.”

    – wow, for being an atheist, he sure does have a "god complex"

    March 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • jimtanker

      I always play the "Hide the Bible" game whenever I stay at a hotel. Google search it if you've never played it.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • EnjaySea

      It's a mistake to assume that talking about not believing in god, is talking about god, or is blaming god, or is hating god, as though he existed and needed to be rejected.

      How can you have a complex about a being that you can't detect?

      March 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Atheists who feel the need to evangelize seem to believe in a god just as much as theists do

      March 24, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  19. Bob

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of religion in 2012.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    March 23, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  20. AGuest9

    I guess sooner or later it was bound to happen, and in the end, it's likely a good thing. However, since I have no need for a pope, a bishop, a priest, minster, imam or rabbi to tell me what is right and wrong, as well as what to think, neither do I, as a freethinker, need someone from the secular side telling me what to think. This movement may continue due to band-wagoners, but in the end, most of them are just as brainwashed as the "religious" sheep.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • EnjaySea

      All I've ever done in my life is to fight being indoctrinated by Christians, and came to my atheism using my own reasoning. I don't recall there ever being a priest or a teacher, and certainly neither of my parents, out there trying to brainwash me into not believing.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • W247

      EnjaySea
      I am glad that you made the choice that gives you peace in your life. Some find peace in atheism, some find peace in believing in Jesus. You have to make that decision for yourself.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      MOST non-believers come to their non-belief without having ever met another non-believer. In my case, I met my first non-believer about 10 years after finally admitting (to myself) there is no god. Your argument fails!

      March 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • W247

      TNFreethinker-

      "Your arguments fails"
      What arguement are you talking about?

      March 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      W247.....I was responding to AGuest9's....."most of them are just as brainwashed as the "religious" sheep."

      March 23, 2012 at 2:42 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.