home
RSS
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.

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

“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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

“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. brako

    Deuteronomy 25:5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband's brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her

    Leviticus 20:21 If a man marries his brother's wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.

    you will find this kind of garbage in no other religion except jewdism

    March 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      Deuteronomy 22:28-29
      King James Version (KJV)

      If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

      Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • brako

      roflmao dam

      March 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      The ugly, illogical, immoral faults in the Old Testament are especially obvious. But the New Testament incorporates them. The Bible is not just the New Testament. They didn't excise the old bits from the "Good Book." Indeed, Jesus commanded that we must follow the old law (the Hebrew law of the Moses era, laid out in the Pentateuch, including the disgusting Deuteronomy and Leviticus).

      March 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • GAW

      Maybe this is an argumentum ad Hitlerum but I have to wonder if Adolf would use the same kind of reasoning? I assume you are refer tot he the faith and not the race (Which for some people cannot be separated)

      March 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  2. Larry

    As an atheist myself, I must admit 'organized' atheism is about the STUPIDEST thing I have ever heard.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      As an atheist myself, I can attest to the power of organized atheism. It gives a voice to those who are a politically and socially disfavored class. It encourages people to know that there are many others like them, and there's nothing wrong with not believing that the patently absurd, self-contradictory writings of illiterate, Iron Age desert tribesmen are the divinely inspired (and scientifically inaccurate) word of the creator of the universe.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • GAW

      The danger is that oppressed can at some time become the oppressor. Gotta love human nature..

      March 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      GAW, you have to be kidding me. That's like saying that gays are oppressing straights because they want marriage equality. Professed Christians have all the political, social, legal, economic and military power in this country and stand 0.0% chance of being "oppressed" anytime soon. That kind of false speech detracts from conversation about the real issues.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • GAW

      Andrew Howard It's a general observation that can can happen to any group. Religious to religious, religious to non-religious or vice versa. And by the rhetoric of many of the new atheists are concerned many of them would want nothing more than for all forms of religion to be eradicated. Thus I have grave concerns for the new atheists as I have for the religious right.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  3. Jonathan Brouillette

    Blessed John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
    Encyclical « Dives in Misericordia » § 8 (trans. © copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

    "You know me and also know where I am from?"
    The Paschal Mystery is Christ at the summit of the revelation of the inscrutable mystery of God. It is precisely then that the words pronounced in the Upper Room are completely fulfilled: "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14,9). In fact, Christ, whom the Father "did not spare" (Rm 8,32) for the sake of man and who in His passion and in the torment of the cross did not obtain human mercy, has revealed in His resurrection the fullness of the love that the Father has for Him and, in Him, for all people. "He is not God of the dead, but of the living" (Mk 12,27).

    In His resurrection Christ has revealed the God of merciful love, precisely because He accepted the cross as the way to the resurrection. And it is for this reason that-when we recall the cross of Christ, His passion and death-our faith and hope are centered on the Risen One: on that Christ who "on the evening of that day, the first day of the week, . . .stood among them" in the upper Room, "where the disciples were, ...breathed on them, and said to them: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained' " (Jn 20,19).

    Here is the Son of God, who in His resurrection experienced in a radical way mercy shown to Himself, that is to say the love of the Father which is more powerful than death. And it is also the same Christ, the Son of God, who... reveals Himself as the inexhaustible source of mercy, of the same love... more powerful than sin.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  4. brako

    jewdism is the most filthy cult, in bastrd tora youll find murdering pregnant women, crap eating(literally), brother sister incest, cannibalism etc

    jewdism is the dirtiest of all

    March 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  5. Learn to Fish

    “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.” So he wants people to respect atheism but not religion, what a loon. So we are to believe in the non-belief?

    March 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • GAW

      Thus this is the new generation of atheists who can be just as intolerant as the worse forms of fundamentalism. The vast majority of Americans have no desire to become any part of a group who behave like jerks.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  6. Spelunker4Plato

    Check out this fun video on youtube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZpJ7yUPwdU

    March 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • me

      flawed as usual, God is NON-physical, period.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  7. To BE-lieve or not to BE-lieve, that is the question!

    I always love these types of articles, they always bring the best and worst out of us!

    Mr. Silverman has every right to believe whatever he wants; and although I may be diametrically opposed to his position (as I have a very strong belief in God)... this is the coin of life, the two opposing sides.

    For those who are not aware (no condensation meant); God DID NOT create religion, man did... and yes, it has screwed up human history quite significantly. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, because I CHOOSE to be, and I belong to NO organized church or religion, because I choose not to.

    The decision for me was simple, because my revelation of God was meant for me and no one else. I would talk to anyone who asks or inquires about God, but I will never 'push' God on anyone... He IS a personal relationship!

    One segment of this particular argument comes down to one simple thing... Faith in God... We either have it or we don't. And the meaning of our human life on this earth all comes down to a single moment in time too... when we die.

    We will all find out whose right and whose wrong... the only thing one must decide here and now is... Are we ready and willing to accept what happens when we are no longer of this earth?

    The most intriguing question I can think of (for me to have answered), is to anyone who is not a believer in God, is: If you find that what you hold on to as truth, here on earth, is NOT the same truth in the afterlife... would you be willing be 'bet' eternal life on it, if you knew that was the consequence?

    Sorry if this comment seems too long for some... but it is my opinion and my sincere desire to learn... Thanks!

    March 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      Belief in god can be very dangerous. 911, spanish and roman inquisitions and the crusades are proof of what religion can do. Islam is also a very violent religion.

      You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      March 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      Look up "Pascal's Wager" on the internet and see the well-tred criticisms of your idea.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • The truth

      As an atheist I can tell you that when we both lie 6' under and there isn't anyone knocking on your coffin either I wish you could hear me laugh then.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Zach Bundy

      Jebus Zombie, don't forget that the biggest killers of the modern era, Hitler, Stalin, and most of all Mao Zedong, were all atheists. People don't kill other people because of a belief in most cases. Leaders are ambitious and willing to kill others to fulfill those ambitions while using an ideology as a shield from actual morality. In the inquisitions you mentioned, for example, it made political sense for the Pope and Queen Isabella to kill Muslims and Jews. It would solidify Catholic unity and preserve Castillian supremacy. Therefore, it's not belief in God that is dangerous. For leaders, it is ambition. For followers, its any ideology that you have been preached to about, such as Communism, Serfdom, Imperialism, and even Democracy. Wars and death will always happen.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • The truth

      "The most intriguing question I can think of (for me to have answered), is to anyone who is not a believer in God, is: If you find that what you hold on to as truth, here on earth, is NOT the same truth in the afterlife... would you be willing be 'bet' eternal life on it, if you knew that was the consequence?"

      EVEN A BETTER QUESTION
      Have you just realized that "fear" has led you to believe this after life illusion ?
      Are you not a reasonable human being?
      Can you see the connection between your perceived faith and the real reason why you choose to believe?
      It's call fear my fanatic friend!
      Wake up..... Regain you reason....... Make up your own mind...... Don't follow the crowd...... Stop being a sheep

      March 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  8. J. X. Mooncalf

    Why are there quotation marks around the word "Movement" in the headline? Are you trying to say that this is something less than a real movement? Whatever one thinks of atheism, it's clear that there is huge distrust and prejudice, fully unfounded, against people who simply don't believe the myths that many people believe without any evidence for such beliefs.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      Great point.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Zach Bundy

      It's not because a person is atheist that I might distrust them. It's because they're different from me and therefore I have no idea what their inner nature will cause them be.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      And Trayvon Martin wasn't killed because he was black; it's because he may have had other cultural viewpoints that caused unfamiliarity.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  9. John Jacobs

    Who the h#ll cares who worships and who don't? How about mind your own d#mn business? Hey there's an idea. Maybe get a life while you're at it..

    March 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      Not till you flush your toilet paper book down the toilet.

      You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      March 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • John Jacobs

      I am atheist and you're a total moron.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • lordpet

      You wouldn't turn to a dentist from 5000 years ago for a toothache would you? Why would you turn to ancient ideas on metaphysics to get through your day? How many gods have come and gone throughout history? God = Zeus; the saints = the rest of the pantheon. Nothing has changed. I'm going to pray to my apt god now.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • zander rose

      its funny how atheists talk to not blindly believing what others say and then post up things others have said without fact checking any of it...the exodus scripture speaks "He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the Lord alone, shall be utterly destroyed" it doesnt' say anything about you personally going out and killing anyone. Now on the other hand the Deuteronomy text does state about destroying nonbelievers but only in the context of them trying to press their non belief on you not just going out and killing them for funsies. -special note i think its horrible to kill them for any reason- just pointing out that your posting inaccurate information and committing blind reasoning.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Zach Bundy

      Nice job copying and pasting your anti-manifesto Zombie

      March 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  10. Oracularman

    A wise human being indeed created "God" with the sole purpose of law, order and peaceful coexistance. There were no cops, courts, lawyers that existed then. Thre were less words to communicate. The words "cops", "police", "law", "order" had not yet been invented.So, lo and behold, the wise one thought "How do I stop people from killing each other, abusing or stop being so bitter to each other?" He thought how do I make sure people just reproduce and coexist peacefully . Answer: Something everyone will fear and called it "God" purely from a practical standpoint. It did not help so then came groups called religions. It did not help so came Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna and in some cases many more. We have evolved all the way from a wheel to a modern automobile but the way we use our mouth, ear, nose,eyes, sense of touch and feeling has remained unchanged. So much for experience and not evolving or evolving from a monkey. Some believe in creationism. "God" is indeed an outcome of creationism :-). For the Atheist, think about how God helps maintain law and order in today's world. Let's understand meet in the middle.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • druffmaul

      Thanks, but I'd rather face the harsh truth than believe a comforting lie.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • The truth

      Wow, somebody actually uses their brains around here, I tell you what there is no school that will teach you what you have just written, there is no book to read it from or preacher to hear it from. I guess the BS filter works a lot better on atheist than it does for fanatics.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Chris

      Bingo! What you just said I learned in an undergrad Marxian Economics class (way back when...) Thank you for bringing the brains.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  11. Nofah Kingweigh

    No benevolent god would allow the atrocities we regularly inflict upon one another. The mere existence of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and "the Situation" is proof enough to me that if there is a god, then he's on crack, and unworthy of my worship!

    March 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      Love your name!
      Fun for all.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  12. Blooper1

    By the way. You do know that Jezus was an Jew/Arab .. OK ?

    March 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      thats if the zombie even existed. the gospels contradict on this maniac as well. youtube "christopher hitchens on jesus" and watch the 7 min video, it exposes this palestinian magician.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  13. J. D.

    Mr. Silverman's campaign against religion seems silly. Weather you believe in God or not, drop $30,000 on feeding the poor or building wells in Africa, instead of billboards to seem to only irritate people. Frankly, someone's belief is there own business, not Mr. Silverman, spend money on things that benefit, not waste!

    March 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      Its not a waste to gather support, and encourage people to rally together in order to enjoy their commonality.
      You're the one who seems angry.
      Feel free to do whatever you want with your money. Who's telling you how to spend your time and/or cash?

      March 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • David in Cincinnati

      Now J.D., surely you realize it would be a benefit to eliminate the Papal opposition to condoms in Africa, to eliminate priestly abuse of children, to free the U.S. of irrationality of the likes of Santorum.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      J.D., more than $30,000 (inflation adjusted) was spent implementing the Civil Rights Act, desegregating schools and dealing with the violent aftermath in Selma, etc. Would that money have been better spent if they just gave every black person a few bucks?

      March 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • The truth

      Really? The guy is wasting his money in advertising? last time I saw the Vatican there was plenty of wealth there that can be turn over to help the poor as well. think a little ahead next time

      March 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  14. GAW

    The most anyone could ask for is for Religious folks to have the freedom to believe without discriminating or imposing on non-believers. I would hope the opposite wold be true for non-believers as well. To do otherwise would make the adherents of one or both sides guilty of extremism. The policies of your country must protect both sides

    March 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      GAW, non believers don't follow a hate manual, unlike the bible thumpers...

      You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      March 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • GAW

      What you fail to understand is the diversity of beliefs in America ranging from organized to privatized religion which may or not depend on beliefs based on a texts considered to be sacred. Your reply was intended to evoke propaganda against anyone who does not believe as you do (atheism assumed) Plus I don't see an effort on the part of most Christians to eradicate non-believers. Somehow I smell some straw man in the room.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • GAW

      Thus it goes to show that many atheists can engage in simplistic proof-texting just like their fundamentalist religious counterparts. lol

      March 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      GAW, the problems with your point are twofold: (1) Anyone who does not believe the disgusting words in 2/3 of the Bible, instead opting for a selective cherry-picking of things that sound nice (Sermon on the Mount), are not actually following the Word of God. They're just nice people reading a part of a book that says something nice and conforms with their preexisting values. That isn't really Christianity; it's willful delusion by people who can be good without God. (2) Atheists are not trying to eradicate anyone. There is a straw man, and you built him.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  15. nope

    One one, see difference between you and me? I called him braindead and I offered argument with reason, your reply is complaining whining about my argument and offering NOTHING. No ones gonna take you seriously except primitive minded fools of your like

    March 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      You can't figure out how to use the 'reply' link, but you're calling someone else primitive? LOL

      March 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • nope

      alpa chino, when you read my other arguments and offer anything to disprove then complain.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • LMAO

      "One one, see difference between you and me? I called him braindead and I offered argument with reason, your reply is complaining whining about my argument and offering NOTHING. No ones gonna take you seriously except primitive minded fools of your like"

      But you just did the same thing... so you're primitive too. LOL!

      March 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • nope

      to "LMAO" at least i offered an argument which none of you were able to disprove, just the same whining crying ..typical

      instead of quoting my words disprove me on anything or stop humiliating yourself

      March 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  16. Blooper1

    By the way. You do know that Jezus was an Arab .. OK ?

    March 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      Bill Maher exposes jebus every week on HBO. Jebus was a palestinian magician.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  17. Mark

    The greatest commandment as said by Jesus is love. I don't see how a religion who preaches to love one another and your God bad in anyway. We are all God's people and of course in every religion there are bad apples, but loving one another is the core of Christianity. Anyone who says other wise is mislead and is not a follower of Jesus.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      Hey Mark cry baby.. here are some hateful quotes from your shiit book bable..
      You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      March 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • One one

      Sorry, but the core of Christianity is you must believe or burn. Just look at the first 3 of the 10 commandments. Not believing rises to the top of the list of "sins". What does that say about Jesus's priorities?

      2 Thessalonians, 8-9:"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

      March 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Mark

      Those are old testament chapters. Read the new testament if you want to hear the truth. Also keep in mind the bible was written by man and every man is flawed. I don't believe in everything in the bible, but pretty much everything Jesus has said makes more sense then any human could ever tell me. I feel sorry for you the hatred you feel. I hope one day Jesus touches your heart, but if you read the new testament you will be amazed how much he loves you.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • sybaris

      Yeah well you don't need a mythical person to be a good person or to love your neighbor.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Mark

      I don't believe you will burn in hell unless you are truely evil. I have friends who are atheists who are wonderful people and are confused on the idea of a God. But once again the bible was written by man and man is flawed. You have to believe what you feel is right, however Jesus was real this is a proven fact. Even Islam believes he was a prophet. Jesus does love you and you are forgiven for your sins but you have to repent and I believe those who don't repent when alive will have to repent to the Lord after death. I don't think any honest good person is going to hell, but life is a whole lot easier knowing that someone loves you and is looking out for you. God Bless

      March 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • One one

      2 Thessalonians is in the NT. Besides, OT, NT, it's the same god isn't it?

      March 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Mark

      I was talking to the jesus zombie, one one lol Like I said before though I don't believe everything in the bible. No man is perfect besides Jesus so how could I believe the whole book knowing that man is sinful? I believe in the part about Loving each other and that God is a loving and forgiving God not a vengeful God. I believe allah and the christian and jewish God are all the same thing. It is a higher power. You have to have your own understanding of God. Jesus is such a loving person and forgave his killers who put him on the cross. That shows me God is a loving God.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  18. Steve

    I'll say one thing. More people have died in the history of Earth because of religion than for all other reasons combined. Think about that.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • zander rose

      I thought about it and then remembered the black plague...oh ya also all the wars that weren't fought over religion...and everyone who has died from illnesses other than the plague...plus all those tsunamis and volcanic eruptions...those killed a lot of people too. Its a terrible misinformed statement to blindly say that religion has killed more people than anything else in human history...i bet you didn't even look up any facts...probably just heard that somewhere didn't ya....thought it sounded pretty good huh.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Maani

      Uh...sorry, Steve, but not true. According the most liberal estaimtes by well-respected historians and scholars – both believers and non – the number of people who have died as the result of all holy wars, Crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, etc. in all of history is ~50-75 million. Yet Lenin, Stalin and Mao – all committed atheists – murdered or killed over 100 million either directly or as a result of specifically anti-theist policies in just 75 years. If we add in Hitler (who was a pagan, not a Christian, conrtary to his claims, rhetoric and symbolism), we can add another 11 million to that number.

      It is easy to repeat canards like "religion has klilled more people than anything else in history," but you would do well to do your opwn research and not simply regurgitate what you have heard.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Andrew Howard

      I agree with the criticisms of what Steve has said, except for the obvious point that the oft-cited Communist leaders did not kill people "because of atheism." Atheism is a religion like "off" is a TV channel. I don't believe in Santa Claus, but that isn't why I got a coffee this morning. Conversely, religion is an explicit reason for murder. Now, to be fair, I agree with another commenter here that the Inquisition, etc., was really more about personal power than religion, so don't count monarch-led massacres. But you can't say that about the 9/11 hijackers...

      March 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  19. jef

    read Psalm 14:1.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • LMAO

      Read a real history book.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      Hey Jeff baby, read Psalm 93:1: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm . hahhahaha what a joke... in case you didn't know the earth revolves around the sun and it takes 1 full year to do so. .so there.. your Psalm is a bunch of toilet paper.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • David in Cincinnati

      Yes, read it, Jef. Then ask yourself: Is there any reason at all to believe this statement written in ignorance and arrogance by a desert person over 2000 years ago?

      March 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  20. adifferentshadeofblack

    I am smart enough to recognize that i shouldnt believe in everything that i see and that i shouldn't disbelieve in everything that that i dont see.
    Dear Atheists, have you seen your brain ? Hmm, so it doesn't exist ?

    March 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • LMAO

      "Dear Atheists, have you seen your brain ? Hmm, so it doesn't exist ?"

      Yes I have, so it does exist, but I know that will confuse you because you won't get why.... LOL!

      March 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • momoya

      It has nothing to do with one particular sense, like sight, it has to do with evidence.. If no god can be proven, no god should be believed, regardless of the fact that all god-believers have the same sort of fervent belief for the god of their culture.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • bfskinnerpunk

      Yes. Thanks to an MRI. A technology that exists no thanks to believing in an invisible super here.
      Other questions? hmmmm?

      March 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jebus Zombie

      we don't believe in a toilet paper book that preaches hate..

      You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      March 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Randy Lahey

      It is important to know your source, no matter what the argument or discussion. If my sources are texts that have been translated through 10+ languages and over at least 2,000 years I would have to question even the simplest phrases within it. Think of Shakespearean English vs modern day English, even the most highly educated linguist experts still have competing arguments on what certain words and phrases mean. That was only a couple hundred years ago and in 'english,' as opposed to the thousands of years and many translations with the biblical texts. Two words...Human error (is all it would take to mess up the """word of god""")

      March 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • David in Cincinnati

      WHERE do you get the idea that atheists disbelieve in anything outside our six senses?

      March 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Advertisement
About this blog

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