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. LMD

    I dont think the atheist is asking anyone to follow them,they are just looking for the same thing as organized religion does-acceptance and tolerance. Nothing wrong with that.As for those who believe that atheist are spawns of the devil,maybe you should take up reading more about them,as most atheists have learned quite a bit about religion.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Chris

      Thanks LMD!

      If atheists are evil, of the devil, lacking morals, etc. Then you'd expect our prison system to be brimming with them. But instead, 98.8% of prison inmates claim to be 'religious'.

      Go figure!

      March 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  2. Rudedog

    He does no more harn to Christianity than Ayatola Santorum. Santorum may yet be the biggest recruiter for the atheist movement.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  3. Definitely Real

    Well now this is a fair and balanced article worthy of Fox News.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  4. Kevin

    The point is not trying to force people to believe the same as the atheist; the point is to respect all people, allow them to live as they believe best, and do not allow people in positions of power or government to force their religious beliefs upon others. I think we can all support those ideas.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Rudedog

      You are right but if you do not repent I will burn you at the stake. Of course I am kidding. Too many use religion for evil n call it good.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Chris

      Your a troll!

      March 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • ammamaw

      what if 'prayer changes things' because we BELIEVE it will? What if our belief in it changes the way we approach life so things work out the way we prayed they would? So really, WE were the ones creating the results? Just something to think about.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  6. thegadfly

    "America's top atheist agitator"? Funny they don't refer to Rick Santorum as a "Christian agitator".

    March 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • COlady

      Thank you!! Why is it if you're an Atheist, you're an agitator, but if you're a Christian you're called "devout"?

      March 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  7. Greens

    Who has more to lose? Someone that lives life as a Christian and dies finding out there is no after life, or an atheist that dies to find out there is God.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • momoya

      That's what the muslims say.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Funky

      Nice of you to Judge him. Been to Church lately? lol

      March 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • thegadfly

      Pascal's Wager assumes the two possibilities are equally probable, and that we have no information one way or the other.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Kane

      The people caught in the middle of ignorance, hate, and bigotry.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Funky

      Astute – gadfly

      March 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • LesT

      If you are a good person according to human morality does it matter? A good god will accept such person and I want no part of god that wouldn't.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Definitely Real

      Well, if god is as forgiving as the bible evidently says he is, then the Christian. Surely god can forgive an atheist, if he can forgive a contrite murderer.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • poopmeister

      Great question Greens! I would think the Christian would have more to lose but if they just die and that's it (no conscienceness), they wouldn't know what they lost. If the "non-believer" makes it to the afterlife, I guess that person would probably be going to hell. I would personally take an eternity of hell then having to say that I believe in God. I could be right in front of God, telling him that I don't believe in him. I'd rather live the life of my own truth and die by that truth, as I assume a christian's stance would be as well.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Benzin

      Sure, if the choices were only religion or atheism. But what about Islam, Judaism, Hinduism? Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism? Greek, Roman, Persian, Assyrian, Sumerian, Egyptian paganism? Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, ancestor and hero worship? Catholicism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Quakers, Shakers? Pastafarianism, Rastafarianism, Voodoo, various Native American religions? Mayan, Incan, Aztec, Olmec beliefs? Hundreds (or more likely thousands) of pre-historic belief systems?

      Pascal's Wager falls apart when you incldude the infinite "possible" gods.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Nii

      PASCAL'S WAGER 2.0
      God doesnt exist, ethical people happy, unethical people sad here, no afterlife
      God exists but is unethical ethical people happy here, unethical sad here, everyone enjoys afterlife.
      God is ethical. ethical people happy here, unethical people sad here n ethical people happy after.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Don'tBelieveTheLiesOfReligion

      My answer is that the religious believer is the loser. He wastes huge amounts of time on pointless activities, suffers emotional harm under a bizarre worldview that accuses him of being inherently evil, and feels forced to throw away significant amounts of money to fund the perpetuation of the belief system his is enslaved by. You really need to think a bit deeper than the superficiality of a Pascal's wager argument. If you think causality is true at all, there are no such things as uncaused suspensions of physical laws ("miracles") and therefore no possibility of the sort of miraculous events all religions claim as basic to their dogmas. And, you DO believe in causality – you live your entire day-to-day life dependent on your belief in causality. So, WHY do you suspend your believe in causality when you face questions of "meaning", "purpose", and the duration of your consciousness? For emotional reasons only, I say. You simply can't or won't face the fact that all evidence points to the facts that your conscious self is solely the product of your physical existence, that you are limited and temporary, and that there are no such things as gods, souls, heavens, hells, etc. Welcome to reality.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Zach Bundy

    What's bad about this rally is that it only causes tension between people and encourages hate.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • thegadfly

      Well, at least in that sense atheism is just like any other religion.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Funky

      gadfly -> BAM!!

      from 3-point land

      March 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • poopmeister

      oh snap! Absolutely right, religion has been promoting hate for thousands of years.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  9. Dave

    Okay, here's where I take exception to BOTH sides of this argument. All the atheists in these comments are claiming a monopoly on logic and reason. All the religious comments accuse the atheists of being fools who can't see the signs in nature and will burn in hell.
    May I please proceed to take a step into the middle of this battlefield? I am religious.I believe God not only exists but is active in my life and has provided ample evidence of his existence and his love for me and all people of all races, religions (or lack thereof, if you prefer) and political orientations. I also have education and training in formal logic and science. I would appreciate atheists not accusing me of being devoid of logic and reason for holding to the beliefs which I believe I have ample for holding on to.
    On the flip side, I know many atheists. Contrary to the comments of the religious people that have been very vocal here, I know many of them to be good and decent people. I do not think they have it out for me or my religion. I do believe that they have arrived at incorrect conclusions, but I've definitely done that plenty of times in my life. I also do not think they are fools nor do I believe they are destined to rot in hell (I'm quite glad that the burden of judgement does not lie on me when it comes to comparing people's actions against their knowledge of the implications thereof).
    So I guess what I'm trying to say is this: there is a right way for religious people to help those around them come to know and follow God, should they so desire, but yelling at them about fire and brimstone is not really acceptable or in good taste. And to those atheists, denouncing all believers as devoid of logic and reason is patently wrong, and if you disagree, I invite you to debate me on the topic, or on any topic either religious or otherwise and decide for yourself whether I am devoid of logic and reason.
    Just everyone, please stop associating a difference of opinion with stupidity, because that only serves to demonstrate your own.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Funky

      Religion is THEORY Mr... Educated...

      as I'm sure you are aware, from your higher Education as well as Judgmentally Omnipotent rantings, that:


      Everything you vouch for is Theory, please don't answer, you will only make me get technical.... There is no Victory for you here, Tonight.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Funky

      btw, Atheists are too narrow-Minded IMHO, I am NOT Atheist (technically not even possible in this context)

      March 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • poopmeister

      I fully appreciate, Dave, that you took the time to evaluate both sides. That is the true sign of reason and logic. The question is, would an atheist be more prone to conceed to certain religious arguments compared to a christian/catholic conceeding? I've personally spoken to several people from both aisles and usually found that christians could not step past the teachings of the bible. They always seem to be bound by what they were taught or read. Atheists are void of believing so they tend to go with the reason and logic of a given situation, not bound by texts written thousands of years ago. I'm personally a Buddhist, so I do not worship a god but I do appreciate the benefits of religion. Buddhism deals more in a definitive way of reaching enlightment, where as followers of the bible tend to have to interpretate it in their own manner. This is where religion can fail, too many followers and too many interpretations. Atheists deal with what the physical world delivers, so they might not have any sense of something bigger than man and have no ultimate purpose. No matter what someone follows they have to be able to question even their own faith to gain their own truth. If they are not willing to do that, then their life will have gone to waste.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Euplman

      You may or may not be devoid of logic Dave, but I'm guessing you're probably ignorant. If you believe in miracles (like your car starting because you prayed), then you don't understand engines or probability or basic statistics. If you believe in special creation, then you are uninformed about genetics, development, anatomy, and the fossil record. If you think the Big Bang was God, then pick up the latest cosmology book by Stephen Hawking. I could keep going . . . And thunder is not angles fighting.

      Oh, and if you think there is "evidence" for god, read western philosophy. Aquinas and others tried logical proofs for the existence of god and failed. They FAILED, Dave. Descartes and, especially, Kant deduced that god was outside of the realm of knowledge (meaning there is no possibility of "evidence" for god's existence). Kierkegaard followed that up with THE greatest book ever on faith – you NEED faith to believe in god because there is no logical proof and no evidence. If you had evidence, you wouldn't need a leap of faith.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Dave

      @Funky.... Actually, theory is exactly what you debate. Facts are, by nature, non-debatable. You use facts in your debate of theory, but you cannot debate a fact, because if it was indeed debatable, it would be a hypothesis. And since you wanted to get big on being technical, 'theory' has a different meaning than the one you ascribe to it. Theory is a tested, proven conclusion (i.e. a hypothesis becomes a theory once it is proven or accepted as truth, such as the theory of relativity, computational theory, etc. But nice try anyway)

      March 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  10. thegadfly

    1. If there is a god, most religious people are going to hell.

    2. If there is a god who would send me to hell after the hell I've already been through, he surely deserves no more love, fear, or respect from me than the devil does.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Funky

      I'm agnostic, however I am Educated.

      The Buddhist's have an interesting take on "suffering', so-much-so that I can relate to it, you should check it out.

      One of the main reasons I liked to read of Buddhism back in the day is; They de-emphasize God, instead emphasizing Humanity. <3

      March 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • John

      Funky, I like the way you think. Actually I am an Atheistic Busshist. I follow his teachings and regard him as 'enlightened,' in that his world view was right on the money. I don't follow him as a god, but I do believe that by following what he taught that inner peace in our mortal being is possible.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  11. Eddi

    Oops...typo...that's lightning!

    March 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  12. TransitDave

    This guy has issues, and they have nothing to do with religion, or lack of same...........atheism advocacy makes a convenient outlet for compulsively anti-social tendencies, vainglorious fantasies, and other traits best ignored......

    March 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  13. Eddi

    Just saw the weather report for Saturday, 90% chance of storms in D.C....coincidence? If I were an atheist I'd be real careful of the lightening!

    March 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • zander rose

      its comments like these that make us all look like morons...sigh...

      March 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Funky

      I think you should be more careful of crack too!!

      1 word...


      March 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Ian

      brilliant. haha

      March 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  14. Dan

    Why is this even a story? There are at most 20,000 people participating which is the same amount of people that go to an NBA game on the weekend. The first amendment is pretty clear people should have the right to what ever belief they chose and freedom to say what he/she wishes. He doesn't believe in God, so be it. I'm not sure why he has such a problem with others having faith, worse case scenario is that they spent time praying to someone that doesn't exist and everyone will end up being worm food. As far as the case for religion being the evil that athiest think it is, history is proof that religion has little to do with evil and more than anything else. Stalin was an athiest and one of greatest evils this world has seen. Many Pope and Kings used the church to kill and conquer foreign lands. And then there was Hitler, who grew up Chirstian and used religion to gain supporters, but once in power stated that there was no place to religion in his new world. Evil come down to people trying to gain power over others and the expense of others. Its power is greed regardless of what approach has been taken. Maybe instead of spending all this time trying to tear down everyone that doesn't buy his religion he should spend his resources trying to use his religion of science and naturalism (which is what atheism really is) to come up with something to better this world.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Dan

      The middle sentence should have read: As far as the case for religion being the evil that athiest think it is, history is proof that religion hasno more to do with evil than anything else.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • momoya

      You're misunderstanding the point, Dan.. There's millions and millions of churches on every street corner, and you're begrudging them one little meeting where they'll actually be around like-minded individuals for a few hours?

      March 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Chris

      If you don't understand why this is important, then you sir are an idiot.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Funky

      I am Agnostic, I don't care what others believe... to each their own.

      I do believe there needs to be accountability for those that shape NATIONAL Laws under the mold of Religion...
      (Abortion Laws)
      How about this sweet-cheeks....
      Once I see the Extremists stop fighting for Everyone, I imagine that yo will see less of this kind of Extremist.

      Just a humble Agnostic's non-judging view.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Maliaki

      Keeping ignorant religionists from pushing laws based on their religion IS bettering this world.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • John

      Did you even read the article? He doesn't tear down peoples religion. If you think that him questioning qhy you believe is an attack on your religion, maybe you aren't as secure in your religion as you think. Also, science and naturalism is not a religion. We don't worship at an altar to science, we have faith in science as far as we know it to be true. There are very little paralells between religion and science.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  15. susanbellnc

    I just wish CNN would hire a proofreader. It's getting shameful.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  16. Chris

    I learned just the other day, that there are people who believe the earth is really flat. These people believe it's all just a big conspiracy.

    Respect their beliefs? No! The time has come that ignorant beliefs are met with reason whenever we encounter them.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Euplman


      March 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  17. paul

    hi. atheist here.

    can someone please tell me why we need an organization? that's like having a club for people who don't play bridge, or a support group for people who aren't alcoholics, etc etc.

    it's pointless and it just makes us look worse.

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

      The organization, at its heart I think, is about gaining equal recognition for our views, and also attempting to stop the spread of biblically inspired laws being proposed and supported by the religious majority. Silverman may not being going about it in the most tactful way, but that doesn't diminish the thought behind the actions.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Chris

      Try running for office!

      You couldn't get elected as city dog catcher as an "out" atheist.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • TC

      Regardless of beliefs – his tactics are not palatable.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • David1958

      Athesist need an organization in order to spread they're religious beliefs. Yes, Atheism is a religion. Its a religion that beleives the lie the Devil told the first human woman. If she disobeyed her creator, 'that she would be like God, knowing good and bad' Being able to decide for herself what was right and wrong. Yes, Atheism, is a religion that worships 'humanity' and unknowingly, worships the former Angels the Bible calls Satan and the demons.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • eric

      I'm an atheist too and understand your point. I would only counter that without some form of organization our position will continue to be marginalized by politicians and believers, especially those who continue to thrust religion upon the country without respect to the separation of church and state.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • LesT

      I do not agree with all Silverman's methods I do believe atheists and agnostics are discriminated against. Just saying he is an atheists brings an evil connotation while saying a "god fearing man' is something good to aspire to. For that reason I do not disclose my agnostic beliefs at work or around my neighbors (I do not want my 9 year old daughter to be discriminated against). I do not know if I am a coward, pragmatic or I just do not care about this issue enough. Also how can you deprive a kid of Santa.

      I think there are a lot of people like me who keep the tradition but not the belief.

      March 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  18. brako

    2 Samuel 13:14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he r@ped her

    amnon son of david r@ped his sister


    March 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Jerry

      Now go read verse 29 to find out what happened to Amnon. If that happened to all rapists they would stop that.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  19. TC

    Interesting Silverman doesn't want religion foisted upon him but he wants to foist his views in others. Reality is that if I say what I believe it will be interpreted that I am foisting my views ON YOU. I think maybe we are all just a little too sensitive.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  20. Ian

    Good to see him.....proselytizing??? his belief. I thought atheists didn't do that????

    March 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Lone

      Give the mic to anyone with a self-righteousness axe to grind and it all sounds the same, regardless of the pulpit. Any well-rounded person, religious or not, can see through Silverman's veil of of Indian-giving rationale and cracked foundations.

      March 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
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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.