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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. !

    IN GOD WE TRUST..... just letting ya know

    March 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • rr

      In Dog I Trust.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • *sigh*

      All I know is that I certainly can't trust you.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      "In God We Trust" (Quran 7: 89) And it's referring to Allah. Just letting you know.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Ashrakay – the "god" of the quran, the torah and the xtian bible are all the same fictional dude aka. Abraham's god. Those three major religions which are in conflict are all children of the same god. They all want to prove that they are daddy's favorite. Evangelical atheists who try and convert people to atheism are just like those three babies, except evangelical atheists want to hurt daddy while the three other babies just want to hurt each other. True atheists don't give a $4!t about a mythical daddy in the sky.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Ashrakay

      @gavilansalvaje, not telling me anything I don't know. I just like to remind xtians of it since they have such a hard.on for muslims.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Ashrakay

      @gavilansalvaje, Although, I"m not sure why you think atheists are trying to "convert" people.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  2. Kirk

    Brian.
    Saying the word "god" doesn't prove that you know he's the one who created "moral standards." The god you believe in was created by men, and written about, who also murdered children and women in the name of their god. Jesus himself something about coming not in peace, but to deliver the sword. The god you believe in is so radically lopsided and morally contradicting, that it's better to believe in a god of love, that is unwritten, but simply breathing in the over soul of the universe. The "creator." But, clearly you've been indoctrinated since childhood, so you believe you must recite the bible, as written, to "prove" morality. The first commandment of the bible is to NOT believe in any other gods. Any god who would say that is A) a control freak and B) jealous and C) admitting there are OTHER gods. But, the fact is, 1st commandment, not a moral commandment, just a dictatorship-like demand.

    Let's just admit we don't know the true origin of any "creator" and understand that morals, ethics and our human nature come from a deeper nature than we probably understand, but more likely from a desire to continue the human race, survival.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Man created gods to fill in the blanks so that life need not have been as scary as it truly is. We are accidentally alive on a ball or rock and gas and we need to have something to believe in so that we can get out of bed in the morning. Theists believe in a god to help them through their days, while I believe that this year, finally, will be the year that Chicago Cubs win the world series and I renew this belief at the at the start of every season.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  3. Cooper

    This is an incomplete story without mentioning Sam Harris. Actually, it's a 'FAIL'.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  4. TJ Ferreira

    Silverman should claim an atheist public holiday. April 1 will work well for him and his kind, it is April Fools Day and only a fool can believe there is no GOD

    March 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • rr

      You believe in Unicorns too, don't you?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You do know, don't you, that Muslims say the same thing about Allah? So do you believe in Allah? Because if not, then you're a fool, too (according to people just as deluded as you are).

      March 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Holidays are derived from "holy days". We want nothing to do with them... except for the 4th. And Christmas, coz we know christmas is all about the loot!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  5. Jazzy

    I don't understand why those people don't want to go to heaven?! I can't imagine what kind of brain they must have to not believe in God ??????????????????

    March 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • *sigh*

      An honest and peaceful brain.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      A functional one.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Eric

      wanting something to be true doesn't make it so.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      If a belief in a heaven makes you a better person on earth then I hope more people would believe in heaven. If a belief in a hell makes you a better person on earth then I hope more people believe in hell. What ultimately counts is how you comport yourself in the 70 or so years that we have on this rock. let's be nice to each other – regardless of the motivation- okay?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  6. rr

    Or more importantly, if we're the offspring of Adam and Eve, are we all not the product of Incest?

    March 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Since there is a historical genetic bottleneck, we are indeed to some extent the product of incest.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Eric

      and don't forget the second bottle neck at the flood.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  7. Atheist

    I had an Atheistic bumber sticker at my car and it lasted only few minutes at the parking lot. I got pointed the finger several times and people honked the horn at me and yelled from the window :/ It's hard to be a nonbeliever in America... I live in New Jersey BTW.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • *sigh*

      Stay strong brother -we're all behind you. The truth is with you too.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      It is easy to be a non-believer as long as you don't do what the theists do. What is the point of a bumper sticker proclaiming that you don't believe in something? The only bumper sticker I ever wanted to put on my car was "My kid can beat up your honor student".

      March 24, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  8. NJ

    I hope there is thunderstorm, hail, tornadoe that hit the atheists..... kill them all and we'll be all happy! They will go to hell anyway sooner or later!!

    March 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • *sigh*

      Won't happen, dude. Because your wrathful god does not exists.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      Funny, but the last batch of killer tornadoes hit Kansas, a very red state, God has cruddy aim.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • *sigh*

      Hey Todd, maybe he has really good aim.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Chillin in Purgatory

      How very unchristian of you.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      I refuse to go to a hell because I don't want to spend eternity with a bunch of hypocritical theists.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  9. gavilansalvaje

    Do you know what is just as bad as an Evangelical theist? You know, the guy who pushes his belief in his God in your face and asks you to believe as he does? Evangelical ATHEISTS who push their belief in the non-existence of God in your face and asks you to disbelieve as he does.

    I am an Atheist. I don't believe in a Bearded dude, or beardless lady or blue elephant-headed creature or flying spaghetti monster in the sky. More than that, I really don't care enough to spend any time thinking about him or her or it.

    Why an Atheist would devote so much time fighting this imaginary god makes me feel that this Atheist has a personal connection with this imaginary god, and that he is sore because this imaginary god did not bail him out when he asked for help.

    In short, I see evangelical atheists as disgruntled theists. I bet they believe in the presence of god so much more than the dudes who spend their Sundays (or Saturdays) in their respective houses of worship but really are more interested in the sports scores than they are in singing hallelujah.

    If you really do not believe in god then why waste the energy?

    Unless you are a disgruntled little baby who had his feelings hurt.

    And who wants his daddy, or mommy, or blue elephant-headed thing to notice.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • TJ Ferreira

      You are pushing your non-believing in our faces FOOL

      March 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      TJ, please read the post.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • robert tatic

      well put g.s. when i was younger i was i guess you could say a militant atheist. but as i grew older and realized that i was no better than those people who try to shove their beliefs down your throat. so i backed off.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  10. *sigh*

    To all the Atheists reading this story. This was a great moment for us. Silverman is right – we need to bring our community together and FIND OUR VOICE. The loonies with beliefs from the middle ages are taking over our country. We need to stop being so tolerant and fight. Look at this whole election – it's all money and religion. WE all know that ideas and truth mean more to Atheists than to religious people (who are happy with fairytales). Here we go! WE ARE THE FUTURE.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • rr

      Can I get an Amen..........or whatever is appropriate.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Don't speak for me dude, as I an a Atheist who thinks that fellow atheists who call theists "loonies" or misguided are protesting too much. Why should we care what people need to believe in anyway? We know they are wrong, but what does it cost us, or the, to allow them to believe in their fairy tales? Why should we care?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • *sigh*

      They are invested in undermining the separation of church and state – that's why we should care. Only one politician in congress dares to admit that he's an Atheist.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Sigh – "separation of church and state" is misunderstood. What the founding dudes wanted was to have a country where there was no state religion and everyone could worship as they pleased. Of course this didn't apply to the Mormons who had to fight running battles just to escape the East Coast and make it to Deseret.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  11. Shelley

    Why would humans need one or more gods to instill a sense of moral standards? On the contrary. It's not at all clear to me that the god of the Bible is in any way "good" or fair. I happen to be an agnostic and thnk that atheists' beliefs are too strong. However, I feel that what Silverman and his organization are trying to do is make it acceptable to believe that there is no god. Our society is very god- and prayer-centric. From what I understand, many of our soldiers are harassed if they choose not to pray, worship, etc. That's wrong. Silverman is married to a believing Jew, for goodness sake! Tolerance of others' beliefs or lack thereof is the goal. I like Mat's comment: "David has every right to (not) believe in whatever it is he thinks is right. I believe in God. If the number of people who dont believe grows, then so be it. It shows the GOD i believe in are not making Robots." Very refreshing, Mat–thanks!

    March 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Humans need something to believe in in order to get through their days and nights. Theists believe in a fairy tale parental unit. I believe in... the fact that we all just need to get along so human DNA gets propagated throughout the universe. If some dude's belief in a flying spaghetti monster makes him a better human, then why not let him continue to be misguided as long as this makes him act in a manner that makes life easier for him, and hopefully make him more amenable to being nice to this neighbors?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  12. Moshe/NY

    I am Jewish and I am embarrased that David Silverman is Jewish and nonbeliever. This is ridiculous and I feel bad for his parents... he was raised bad 🙁 Please do not think this guy is normal.... he makes our people look bad

    March 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • *sigh*

      Yeah, right. Chosen people and all that bunk! Go fight the Christian and Muslims and leave Atheists alone.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Kathleen

      Actually, what "your people" do to the Palestinians does more harm than any thing else.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      Oh Moshe... Moshe, Moshe, Moshe! Lemme tell you something, Moshe.
      I too, am an atheist of Jewish cultural + ancestral heritage. I'm also right here in NYC. There are tens of thousands of us.
      And I think you know that. Get off your high horse + look around you.

      I love the family traditions, the food + gatherings, even the some of the ceremonial events. But I will never believe in the religion, nor its hypocrisies, outdated dietary rules, misogynistic origins, brutal treatment of baby boys, nor the silly practices + clothing favored by the orthodox, much less the Hasidim.

      Its a lot of bull. All religion breeds is hate + fear. Customs are fine, if you want them. I don't. I don't believe in g-d (did that for you), because the whole notion of a god is just not credible. Hasn't been for more than a century.

      Politically + emotionally I still enjoy my roots. Especially when challenged by haters.
      But that is why I hate the whole concept of religion. Its divisive.
      I defend Judaism when it is unfairly attacked. Yet I'll do the same for other minorities that are treated insensitively.

      But you know, there are tons of Atheists that come from Jewish families. Come on.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Chillin in Purgatory

      @RillyKewl – BRAVO!!!!!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  13. Grandma

    Atheists..... life is too short.... you still have time to convert to Christianity and be saved. Jesus died for our sins!
    God is all about love love love. Don´t be blind and stupid, please convert and be part of us. Heaven vs. Hell – up to you!

    March 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • momoya

      It can't be "love, love, love" and "hell, hell, hell' at the same time.. How could you or why should you trust any being who built and sustains a torture chamber?. You can't believe a monster like that!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Eric

      Jesus didn't die according to your book, so what's the point? He's still alive in heaven. Not really much of a sacrifice was it.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Grandpa

      lol

      March 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  14. RichardSRussell

    For those GIdeon bibles in the hotels, you can get stickers that say "WARNING! Contents of this book may be hazardous to your mental health." Rather than subtract from the information available, that gives people more to think about.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Mopery

      I love those Gideon bibles, they do come in handy when I've run out of toilet paper and don't want to bother the hotel staff.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  15. Dad

    I heard the other day my employee discussing about this rally thing going to it.... next day that jérk got fired. Obviously I gave another reason for it 🙂 Atheists NOT welcome at my job!

    March 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Thanks for the testimony. Pretty much makes SIliverman's case that atheists are the last minority in America that it's safe to discriminate against.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • momoya

      You're the type of christian that follows god's example instead of his commandments; most of the time it's the other way around.. Keep up the good work.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Thegoodman

      Can't you see how bigoted you are? Insert where you said atheists. Are you proud of yourself?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      Please tell the world what company you run. I am sure there are hundreds of civil liberties lawyers that would like to know...

      March 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • *sigh*

      And proud of being a jerk. Nice.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Chillin in Purgatory

      Hey Dad, I just converted to Islam. Can I have my job back?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      lol @ last comment

      March 24, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  16. CRC

    If you don't want to believe in God then great, it's your choice but be civilized, don't act like a jerk. I have absolute faith in Jesus Christ and I act civlized and I'm not a jerk about it. Grow up!

    March 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      You had me until the end where you became a jerk. Does your messiah not state "he who is without sin cast the first stone"? I don't actually believe that he said that, if he did say anything at all, but it is a good rule to live by. And no, I do not claim that I am without sin... but don't believe in "sin".

      March 24, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  17. Aaron

    I think a lot of agnostic/atheist people would be perfectly content to live their lives without making their personal convictions a crusade if the other side didn't make a crusade out of their religious beliefs. You have people like Rick Santorum who say they believe our laws should conform to biblical standards. You often hear religious people talk about "taking America back" or "restoring America". They talk about America being a "Christian Nation", like they planted a flag on it and claimed it for their own.

    How can you expect agnostics and atheists to sit quietly when the zealots try to advance their religious-back beliefs on every from? Why are people against gay marriage? For religious reasons. Why are they against abortion? Religious reasons. Against contraception? Religious reasons. The ten commandments in the court house? Religious reasons. Creationism in schools? Religious reasons. At every turn they are trying to shape the country in the vision of their religion. They often don't see it that way. They often try to hide it and come up with ostensible reasons for opposing the same things, but underlying it is always their religion. They want to shape the country to match their religion.

    So of course the atheists and agnostics push back. What did you expect them to do when you told them you wanted to "take America back"?

    March 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Hit the nail on the head. Thanks, Aaron.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • CRC

      The reason we talk about "taking it back" is because that is how it used to be. Just do a little history research and you'll see. The agnostics were not very common years ago and they only are getting more common because of what is taught today. People believe what they learn when they are young and they don't learn to think on their own so many more of them are becoming agnostic which is what the world teaches.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      CRC, taking WHAT back, exactly? Slavery used to exist, so did the black plague. Life changes, or you sit and rot. I choose to evolve.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • mandarax

      @CRC: You are like "opposite-man" or something. Are you a troll pulling peoples legs or are you really serious?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      As an atheist who believes in "Choice" (I dislike the idea of abortion but see the need for people to be able to opt for it) and polygamy (marriage should be for any number of consenting adults regardless of gender) and believes that the idea of draconian anti-gun measures is anathema as it takes away an individual's right to live the way he wants to live, I think that if believing in a deity makes a person treat other people nicer then we should leave that person and his beliefs alone.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  18. Lewis Craig

    Hummm. Keep looking of an intelligent comment on either side. Haven't found one yet.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Chillin in Purgatory

      Thank you for your true lack of insight.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  19. anthony poole

    Heres a question for you- If both Adam and Eve were white and evolution doesn't exist, when do the other races come along?

    March 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      The Easter Bunny squatted down and left a tightly coiled pile that we now call 'brown people'.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • CRC

      Start with ICR.org. Adam and Eve were in all probability not white. Evidence shows them to have been like the mid-eastern peoples with enough genetic differentiation content in their DNA to eventually generate the different nationalities we see today which actually did not happen until after the flood. That should be enough to get you on the right track if you are sincerely interested.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      I suspect you know this, but there is every reason to believe the original human skin color was dark. Light skin is an adaptation to lower UV conditions in northern lat.itudes after humans spread northward from Africa.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      ...or you could just go with CRC's "goddidit" explanation.
      (Sorry, CRC, that's just simply not how genetics and inheritance works)

      March 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • CRC

      The reason Adam and Eve were probably not what we would call black or brown today is that the earth did not likely have direct sunlight hitting the ground like we have today. There was some form of canopy made of of a water vapor which shielded everything from the suns harmful types of radiation. That's why scientist believe they were likely similar to mid-eastern in appearance. The different nationalities began taking shape around 4300 years ago after the flood. Unfortunately due to numerous reasons some people believe they existed much longer ago than that but that is not possible.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • CRC

      False D. I know how genetics work. If you want to be a jerk about this discussion you can shove it up your ass.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • anthony poole

      Even if they were a different race, they couldn't have possibly changed, because Christians say there is no such thing as evolution.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • CRC

      You guys are clue less. I'm out of here.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • anthony poole

      Shut up CRC, you're the one thats clueless. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Bible iis severely flawed. Like Noah's Ark, you're trying to tell me that this man got two of Every animal?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      "That's why scientist believe they were likely similar to mid-eastern in appearance."

      Sorry, CRC. I am one of those scientists – literally, biological anthropology – and absolutely no one I have ever met or whose work I have ever read believes anything of the sort. Another case of creationists just lying outright.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • mandarax

      Smackdown. Ouch.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  20. The Age of Aquarius

    Some people are happy believing in religion. They claim a love that is beyond description. Some people are happy not believing. They claim that truth and logic make them happy in way that can only be achieved through a lack of religious interference.

    The important thing is that everyone should be allowed a venue to express their beliefs so that others may join them or have their perspectives changed one way or the other.

    Questioning things is good, you know.

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

      Some people wear tin foil hats to protect them from mind control radio waves they believe are being broadcast by CIA satellites. They often hear voices that tell them how to live their lives. They have just as much proof for their beliefs as Christians and Muslims, yet we generally label them as paranoid schizophrenics.

      So tell me, is belief without any burden of proof more likely to be a sign of sanity, or insanity?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Yes!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Mopery – when physicists need something to balance out an equation, they invent dark matter or dark energy. When a theist needs something to balance his life equation he invents a godhead. Let people have what they need to get through the night and everything will be alright.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:06 am |
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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.