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. Sean

    Learned long ago that atheists do not believe in faith. Faith is what you believe in. If atheists believe that that there is no faith to be held, that belief in no faith IS their faith... and, in turn, voids their humanistic, narrow-minded views. To be atheist is to be a living fallacy.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • MaryM

      Is that YOUR belief Sean?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Majwarix

      Distorted logic. Keep your @#$3'ing religion to yourself and stop your @#@#'ing fighting and killing over your j@#$@' ing religion. Tell you God or Gods or Easter Bunny to "leave" the rest of us alone. I'm won't push my non-religious beliefs on you, DON"T you dare push your fantasy @#$ on me.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • JakeAZ

      the burden of proof should be on you, not someone who isn't making a claim. you claim god is real. all i say is that i don't believe your claim. i'm not making a new claim. if i was to say, "no, your god is not real, but i believe in the flying spaghetti monster, he is real." then you could say i am living in fantasy land.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      No, faith is a PROCESS for arriving at conclusions, decisions, or beliefs. It is the very worst of all such processes, way, way down the list of reliability below logic, reason, confidence, trust, chance, obedience, and hope. Indeed, we call it a "process" only in the most honorary sense, because all it does it accept assumptions at the input end and send them straight thru the decision engine untouched to emerge unchanged at the output end, kind of like creamed corn when you've got the flu.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      "Faith" is the act of believing. I believe the Cubs will win the World Series this year.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • jgthinker

      With all due respect for Dictionary.com:
      1.
      confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
      2.
      belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
      3.
      belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
      4.
      belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
      5.
      a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
      6.
      the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
      7.
      the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
      8.
      Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

      Faith to an Atheist is lack of belief in any God. If things are proven facts, to believe them would not be faith but knowledge or to know the truth. Mind you we are talking about faith as it relates to a God. An Atheist could still have "faith" in someone's abilities. There are no Atheists who can positively prove that no God exists. However, they have looked at many truths (facts based on physical evidence) and non existent physical evidence of any God and have made a personal decision that the existence of any God is highly improbable and defies almost all logic.

      So a lack of faith does not imply that we "have faith" that our lack of faith is correct. It is a decision based on lack of empirical evidence or convincing argument that a God can exist. This does not make it a religion in itself. We have no spiritual connection to this lack of believing in the improbable and unseen that defies known physical laws.

      I don't have "faith" that a certain form of the element carbon exists. I know it exists, as I've seen it and it fits our known knowledge of the elements. I don't have "faith" that Batman doesn't exist. I am very confident in my rational thought that lacking any physical proof and lacking any scientifically based reasoning to suggest that he may exist, I do not believe he exists. That requires no "faith" on my part. Get it?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:37 am |
  2. NYC

    Atheists are angry because they are minority lol 👿

    March 24, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • JakeAZ

      yeah its kinda annoying to live in a world where the majority of adults believe in fairy tales. i stopped believing in the tooth fairy when i was 6. time to grow up.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • logan5

      We may be the minority now, but that is changing fast. And that scares believers. Or else why would they react so negatively to what a tiny "minority" of mere mortal humans has to say.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      JakeAZ – if believing in the tooth fairy means I get free loot without working for it, then I wanna believe in a tooth fairy! WHo can turn away free loot, man?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • jgthinker

      Christians weren't too pleased when they were a minority in Rome and were lion food. Does that make your argument make sense?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  3. braden

    “We are OK with people believing in a “good” God if that is their choice”. Is just as important as promoting “We are OK with “good” people NOT to believing in a God if that is their choice”. This principle alone is key in a free society. To promote the abolishment of one or the other is a very dangerous step and we have history to tell us that story.
    Now, Silverman claims it is not his goal to abolish religion, but then spending millions on billboards which true goal is to infuriate believers is equally as damaging. Do this>>> Google Religious persecution in Albania and read what wikipedia has to say, then compare what they did with what Silverman is pretending he is Not doing.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • dao

      Indeed, sir.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • jgthinker

      Not all Atheists believe that Silverman talks for us. I think he says some outlandish stuff.
      I believe the point of the signs was to tell to those people without belief in those predominantly monotheistic communities that they are not alone. It would be foolish to think a sign would make someone "drop" their religion. (Though based on the booming bumper sticker market, you'd think bumper stickers were responsible for most people's opinions in this country.)
      I don't think the signs were a positive move, but it's a free country.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      What the heck is a "good" god? If god were "good" he would not be god. for god to be god he would have to be all-encompassing. "good" is a relative human term! Jeez. This is why we atheists feel compelled to correct you theists sometimes!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  4. Atheist mother

    2.3 billion Christians worldwide will never disappear unfortunately.....

    March 24, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • mandarax

      Until the rapture, that is. Right?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Unless the 2.1 Billion people who comprise the other "great" religion have their way?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • QualisTempus

      So many christian so few lions!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  5. Openitup

    Im glad these people are doing this.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

      It's people like this that gave us our National Social Doctrine called the Affordable Care Act. Along with its secular clergy to tell us what is in it and agencies to ensure our compliance.
      The trouble is that the clergy and agencies change with the transition of political power. So, we now believe that benevolence will be the outcome of this. But what politician or bureaucrat ever misses an opportunity to impose there will or to fleece the system?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  6. Atheist mother

    USA

    Christians:~80%
    Judaism: ~2%
    Islam: ~0.6%
    Not member of religion: 16% (Of those, 2-3% Atheists/Agnostics)

    March 24, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Majwarix

      Your "facts" are WRONG. Did you just make them up? Atheism is the fastest growing "non-belief" with more than 10% as true atheists and another 35% as agnostic. There, you see. ANYONE can make up statistics!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Those statistics are consistent with what I have seen reported elsewhere.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • jgthinker

      And your point is?......
      We should establish Christianity as the State religion?
      That if 80% believe something, it's true? (100% of inmates believe they are innocent, let's open the cell block right away!)

      March 24, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  7. b4bigbang

    Tom: "*sigh*, No matter how strongly you believe something, it does not become a fact until you prove it. So prove it if it is a fact."

    You're wrong Mr atheist. See below:

    Fact: Origin:
    1530–40; < Latin factum something done, deed, noun use of neuter of factus done, past participle of facere to do1

    Fact, def #5. philosophy – a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fact?s=t

    March 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Yes, b4bigbang / chad. Try to study up on what a fact is.

      Now, about those textbooks...?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • jgthinker

      I noticed you left out at least four other definitions of "fact".
      You only included the one related to philosophy. There are "hard" facts out there. Would you consider arguing that coal does not exist?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  8. 2Ashley

    What is reasoning exactly? It just seems so broad to me. A term for anyone to determine what is right or wrong according to them.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

      It starts with a foundation of common sense. But that too has become taboo.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Kyle

      Reasoning is the ability to think critically. To observe something and come to the correct conclusion. Reasoning is how you see a man with a hole in his chest and another standing with a smoking gun and the MOST likely conclusion is the man with the gun shot the other. While there can be an endless possible conclusions, reasoning is what picks the most likely to be true. Sadly reasoning is not a well developed skill for most people.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

      Kyle – What you describe is arriving at an assumption based upon the information available. It does not mean that the assumption is true or correct.
      The primacy of science is to make assumptions then try to see if it validates the assumption. The fact that it does not disprove the assumption does not always mean that the assumption is correct, but that the expected results were obtained.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  9. dao

    Atheists already have rights. In spite of the call for reason, the behavior of the their zealots are every bit as off putting as a religious fundamentalist. I understand and agree with many of their points, but the behavior is much like PETA.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Abolitionists were strident. Suffragists were unladylike. Blacks were too loud. Gays were too flouncy.
       
      Yup, bigots can always find some irrelevancy to complain about while ignoring calls for equality and justice.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  10. MaryM

    Ok, lets try this. Just for a moment, forget you ever heard about God or Jesus. Just Imagine what you would think if someone starting telling you are the stories in the Bible. You know and I know you would think the stories are fairy tales.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Tom

      How do you know they are fairy tales?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • MaryM

      correction: all the stories in the Bible

      March 24, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • MaryM

      Tom, did you even read my comment

      March 24, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • JakeAZ

      @ Tom – because they are ridiculous and written during the dark ages.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

      The concept of God goes all the way back to when we achieved a concept of Self.
      Knowing ourselves so well, we could not help but hope that there is something better than ourselves to aspire to or please.
      Te believe is considered to be weak minded. But so is denial.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • b4bigbang

      U r 100% correct MaryM, the stories would seem like unbelievable fairy tales. The natural mind does not receive or comprehend the things of God, indeed, it cannot, because the things of God are spiritually discerned.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Basically because they are fairy tales. Actually they're mainly parables. Like give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish.
      Most of these have become outmoded, but some of them are still operable. Many of those tales are sweet.
      Some of the 10 commandments are the basis for our contemporary laws.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Eric

      Yeah, like 2 of them and they have exceptions plus they were already viewed as wrong well before they were "written down". Don't murder, don't steal. the other 8 aren't illegal. Really they can be narrowed down to don't be a dick.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  11. kendallpeak

    All kidding aside. It seems to me atheist miss a certain point regarding their theist brothers. We don't believe in God as if someone said there is a red bicycle behind the garage. We experience God daily, He leads us, we speak to Him and He gives us strength. When you say God doesn't exist, you are saying most of your neighbors are actually borderline insane. This is where you should at least ask yourself if it is more likely that your neighbors are experiencing something you are blind to. Perhaps you are like blind men scoffing at the notion of light? Perhaps your time would be better spent looking for sight?

    March 24, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • 1225

      Wow !! What a crock!!!!!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Our minds are not perfect. Critical thinking must be developed and practiced, and even then it is easy to fall back on magical thinking and biased logic based on unquestioned assumptions. So, yes the majority of people can be sane, but still mistaken.

      A great many people believe magic tricks are real. They really believe that David Blaine is magic, and they are clearly functional and sane. Does that mean that if I see through the deception that there is something wrong with me, and I should try harder not to see through it?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Perhaps you are daydreaming yourself there, kendall. Maybe its you who is delusional. I know some of my neighbors are crazy. Especially the annoying ones. But that's not exactly breaking news.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • kendallpeak

      1225, What a scathing reply. You must have been the captain of the debating team.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      "If you talk to God, you're praying; if God talks to you, you're schizophrenic." —Thomas Szasz, psychologist

      March 24, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • kendallpeak

      FalseDichotomy and RillyKew, But is it logical to think that most of mankind through most of history, that most of the great leaders, were all delusional? Isn't it much more logical to assume they have been experiencing something that is so powerful it cannot be disregarded and dismissed even if I can't personaly experience it?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Most all people throughout history also have believed that the sun rises and sets every day. Most everyone today believes that. They are wrong. The earth rotates every day. Yes, misperceptions can indeed be widespread and long-lasting. That does not prove they are accurate.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Majwarix

      Just admit it! You made it all up. Go on and say it! I promise you lighting won't strike you down. Maybe your irate "Christian" brother will shoot you but the devil won't burn you forever. TRUST ME! TRUST ONLY IN ME! I AM THE SALVATION. DO AS I SAY! Stop believing all that goofy stuff and start living for THIS LIFE! BECAUSE THAT's ALL THERE IS!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Excellent post kendallpeak!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  12. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    To the ignorant poster above: Atheists in the U.S. outnumber Jews about 10 to 1. My husband is proud to be an EX-Jew.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  13. Proud Muslim

    2.3 billion Christians worldwide and growing.
    1.6 billion Muslims worldwide and growing

    = close to 4 billion people believe in Christ.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • 1225

      Your numbers are way off.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Most people believe there was a christ-type guy once, 2000+ years ago. Big deal. That has nothing much to do with who belongs to which phony religion. We're buying it as history because the story has been sold + handed down, published + printed, drummed into everyone's knowledge base. Its not a race for a headcount.

      Truth + fact don't work that way.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Eric

      And just because 4 million people are delusional doesn't really change things.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • logan5

      Proud Muslim, you really should open your mind to learning new things. For example, did you know that just because the majority believe something to be true or right does not make it so. This is a logical fallacy known as "Argumentum Ad Populum" aka the Bandwagon fallacy. For any religious person to crow about having the majority on their side and worse to actually use this as justification for their religious claims is grossly ignorant and WRONG.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Patriot

      Don't forget about all the other religions! Someone must be right, right?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  14. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Hurray for him, and hurray for this movement. My husband (an ex-Orthodox Jew) and I (an ex-Roman Catholic) are also atheists. We are delighted to see atheists and agnostics coming out and getting more attention these days. There are WAY more of us out here than most believers believe. Religion is nothing but primitive mythology.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Alright Lenore! You guys sound like a fun couple. Good for you.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  15. Janine

    I'll rather believe in God to be on the safer side that not. Nobody could ever know if there's God or not. Now shut up!

    March 24, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • ammamaw

      ...and god tells you that that's the way to talk to others? "Shut up!"?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • 1225

      I think you may have hit the nail on the head. Many people believe in God because they want to play it safe because they are afraid not to. Does that make it right?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      So fear is driving you to do something? Isn't that the definition of t3rrorism?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Eric

      What if you believe in the wrong god? then you're on the totally f#$%ed side.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • logan5

      Funny how your response is so typical. Truth is, when you say you would rather believe in one of the Abrahamic gods just to be safe you are admitting that you are only willing to believe in god to save your ass. In other words, you are afraid of burning for all eternity. Belief in these gods is suppose to be about more than just the cowardly and selfish pursuit of personal salvation, isn't it?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  16. The Age of Aquarius

    The best argument I see against religion is right here on the comment board. A lot of posts directed towards the atheists are of a violent nature: Christians are wishing for divine retribution at this rally in the form of lightning, followed by an eternity of suffering in a place called Hell. That's pretty harsh. I think the worst comments directed towards the religious are "You're ignorant."

    Religion makes you violent.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • RillyKewl

      That's a reasonable observation. Yup.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  17. Joseph

    Atheists are a minority anyway. LOL 4,000 members only..... that 4,000 member is one of our local church only 😀

    March 24, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Joseph...no.. i bet many of your flock only go because of the shame the others would put them through if they started to think for themselves..LOL

      March 24, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Eric

      Well atheists aren't really compelled to join organizations. We don't go to church every week, we have better things to do.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Joseph

      Sure... I go to church twice a year and still believe in God.
      Believe in God does not mean going to church weekly

      March 24, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Majwarix

      After reading your post.....4,001 and growing. Well done, I'm converted.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  18. 1225

    Great topic for conversation if people can get past their hatred and stubborness. Many religious people I have talked to don't even know much about their faith, only what they are taught by rote. For example, if you ask a Christian to name the 12 Apostles, they can't or 9 out of 10 will say St Pau (and he was not an Apostle). My point again is, you are what you are taught to be and it's just a blind faith for some. So does that make it true?

    March 24, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  19. Shlomo

    LOL 4,000 Atheists vs. 247 million Christians + 6 million Jews + Few million other God believers LOL!

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

      Like David and Goliath.....

      March 24, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • sybaris

      LOL 247M Christians against 1.3B Confucianists and Buddhists lol

      March 24, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Eric

      4000 active members of American Atheists not every atheist in the country. By all accounts there are more atheists in the country than jews and is the fastest growing segment year over year in this country.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • 1225

      LOL at your numbers, try over 1 Billion Christians worldwide.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • RillyKewl

      1.5 billion Muslims. Don't forget them!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Shlomo.. Yes its sad that so many folks cannot think for them selves.. however at least those 4000 folks can get things done while you all pray for assistance.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • p

      There are 2 billion Christians worldwide

      March 24, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      1 Billion retards, 2 billion retards....what's the difference? They're still retards.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Over It

      I checked that [ ]Christian box on surveys for years out of habit and superst.ition (embarrassed). Over it now.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  20. Krokrokoto;

    Someone tell this guy this, there is a difference between Knowing who God and Christ really is and What man says about them. His battles are just abysmally meager because, If he has ever had a revelation of the universe and how the earth as huge as it is yet filled with pride and opinions; if destroyed is not even comparable to a match stick light spark from just a mile away, He will realize there is a Superior being Named Jesus who gives him the free air that he breaths. Lets pray for this fool

    March 24, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Eric

      And you believe this because???

      March 24, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Get outta here! You haven't any better idea of what your talking about than anybody else. Just a bit less credibility.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Krokrokoto...this is a reason rally.. it means that we can back up with evidence and observation what is discussed...you will not understand by the sound of it.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Chris

      Well... technically, if Jesus gave him the air to breathe, he also produced the need to resperate – he needs oxygen to convert organic matter into energy because that's how Jesus designed us. . . so, yeah, giving you air or food or. . . whatever, isn't necessarily a blessing. I wuld ahve preferred some form of photosynthetic skin capable of getting energy for bodily functions directly from sunlight, instead of masticating and swallowing dead organic matter like some kind of cheap coal engine. Humans require a vast food chain and egology to get the necessay energy. Why exactly? I think Jesus could have produced a much more efficent design. . .

      March 24, 2012 at 12:59 am |
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.