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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. RillyKewl

    Wow, its seems like a lot of people on here are very threatened or insulted by the rally, or atheism in general.
    Its too bad. People can be so cloistered.
    Be open to the possibility that there are other ways of thinking.
    That everything you've been taught isn't necessarily fact. Ask questions.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      Dude I am sure if there were atheist pamphlets they could burn, they would. They'd have a big bonfire tossing in the Koran, all the atheist/abortion/left-wing pamphlets they can find, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, then dance around and rejoice with a heart-filling hymn.

      Ze questioning of ze beliefs is kaput! Hmmm, who was like that in history...

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

      Hogan's Heroes, I think.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  2. Tommy123

    Atheism is the belief that there is no deities.
    Agnosticism is doubt there is any deities.

    Those are two different groups.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      That's one way to look at it, but I generally go along with the analysis offered by George H. Smith in his book "Atheism: The Case against God". He says that they're really 2 separate questions. Theism vs. atheism is about the CONTENT of what you believe (or don't), while gnosticism vs. agnosticism is about the degree of CERTAINTY you have about whatever it is you believe. Thus there are 4 possibilities:
       • gnostic theist (KNOWS God exists)
       • agnostic theist (isn't sure but think so)
       • gnostic atheist (KNOWS God DOESN'T exist)
       • agnostic atheist (remains unconvinced but open-minded)
       
      I myself am an agnostic atheist with respect to all the old-timey Greek, Norse, Egyptian, etc. gods but a gnostic atheist with respect to the ultimate-powered monotheistic ones, because they're logically impossible.

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

      belief has no place in atheism.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Tommy123

      Why is a ultimate-powered monotheistic logically impossible. Maybe you can give me the definition of logically impossible while your at it.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Tommy123

      Atheism is a belief, period.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  3. Thepacific

    We should have a presidential candidate who claim to "give no sh***t about religions" I love to vote for him.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Me too.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • mandarax

      I think Obama comes pretty close. He is forced to talk the talk because that's what our electorate demands, but I get the sense he's not much of a believer.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Gokubi

      Wouldn't it be great if that were true? The best we've got so far is Obama who is religious the same way a lot of people are but he's still religious.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  4. ytuque

    Taking out Judaism and Christianity is easy. I respect him for going after Islam as well since that is difficult and even dangerous.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Thats what the new atheism is all about.
      Dismantling the fictions that other cultures cling to, to the detriment of their adherents.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  5. 1225

    I don't care what religion anyone does or doesn't practice. It's a great category for discussion, just state your beliefs or reasoning, but don't shove them down my throat.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Isn't that the most obnoxious part about religion? The fact that they want to get in your face with it?
      If they'd just remain private, and quit shoving it down our throats, maybe we wouldn't need a movement.

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

      RillyKewl – evangelical atheism is just as obnoxious as evangelical theism. We really do not need to tell them they are wrong. We need to use their beliefs against them. If we can force xtians to act like tru xtians, then life would be so much easier for everyone.

      David Funk – I am antheis and I don't believe in a spirit – much less being spiritual. Does that make me a bad atheist? I also have to admit that i can and will accept presents from anyone – even god.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • RillyKewl

      You're certainly not a bad atheist at all. Lots of us don't feel spiritual.
      The thing about fighting these christians is, to me, a waste of breath a lot of the time. They're extremely rigid. Especially the ones who care to engage in debate. But you're in good company wanting to hold them to their beliefs. That's the way the Horsemen like to do it.
      I'll debate them, because they are so annoying, but its a pain in the butt.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  6. David Funk

    Many atheist are far more spiritually evolved that many so called "good christians" in my opinion and experiance, At least they the atheiest's have moved away from dogma and opened their hearts and minds to if you can prove it to me and I can experience it then maybe I can except the presents of GOD

    March 24, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  7. RillyKewl

    I love the idea of putting the bible outside the hotel room as a protest. That is too brilliant.

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

      The hotel will just put it back when you leave. A better bet is to go to EvolveFish(dot)com and see if they've got any of those stickers that say "WARNING! Belief in the contents of this book may be hazardous to your mental health." Order a batch and use them WHENEVER you stay in a hotel room. Then you'll be helping any future customers of that room.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • RillyKewl

      That's kind of funny. But I don't want to deface somebody else's property.
      Especially because they might want me to pay for it.

      But I would love to snap a picture of a whole floor full of rooms with that book sitting outside of every room.
      C'mon. It would be iconic.

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

      I usually just stick their Bybull in the toilet.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Maybe what we need is a well designed book cover. Tasteful, and clever to wrap the hotel bibles in, everywhere we go.
      Just to make a statement. And to start a meme.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  8. .

    THUNDERSTORM here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH

    March 24, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      Thor and The Pink Unicorn are causing the lightning, not God.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  9. Ashrakay

    @ Ituri, Ha, you beat me to it.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  10. 1225

    Just a guess, but there are probably more Agnostics than Atheists. There is a difference.

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

    Wow! 4000 members is now a burgeoning nationwide movement. They could all fit in a single service of decent sized church.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Ituri

      There are millions of atheists in the USA, and your average church has a population of less than 100 people. Only a megachurch has 1000+ members. Stop whining uselessly. Even if only 2-3% of the USA is atheist, thats still tens of millions of people.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • JakeAZ

      yeah their small number must mean they're wrong.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  12. The Age of Aquarius

    I prayed for some blow earlier via a telephone. Ten minutes ago a Mexican dude named Jesus showed up in his SUV and gave me what I prayed for. I gave him some money because I didn't want to be afraid to die. Now I am filled with a the warm embrace that only blow can provide.

    Isn't this basically what religion is? Except that I used a telephone, not a bible.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • RillyKewl

      You'll be here typing all night.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • The Age of Aquarius

      Nah I am getting bored. It's like trying to explain how an airplane flies to a four year old. All of the Christians I've encountered here have turned me off of religion because they're so vengeful and hostile.

      I guess God did make Christians in his image. God is a térrorist, using fear to get his point of view across. Just how his followers now use the threat electrocution by lightning and eternal damnation for not accepting they're point of view.

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

      Debating the small-minded does get exhausting. I'll give you that.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  13. dilberth

    Here is a little clip that should be of great interest to all Christians. Enjoy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4dSiHqpULk&context=C47bd21dADvjVQa1PpcFP8psi6nHdK3rqk4T6rmYa96AzhmMl55cM=

    March 24, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  14. 1225

    These Monks and Nuns who hide themselves in cloisters, pray to God everyday and avoid the world – Do they think they are more righteous than your everyday person who works each day, goes to Church regularly and contribute to society ?? Do they think they will get to heaven right away before the lay people and get the best treatment from God? I think they are selflish. The Bible says to go and spread the word, not hide in a cloister and shelter yourselves from life.

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

      How do you feel about home-schooling your kids? Sounds like hiding from the world to me.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  15. Zena

    Wow 2-3% atheists in America.. big deal. The minority is always ignored in everthing anyway, especially when they don't believe in God.

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

      Actually more like 16%. Though probably hundreds of thousands more, that feel less comfortable talking about it openly. That's why this rally is so important. People need to know its safe to be able to speak freely about your doubts + disbelief.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  16. Pig

    Silverman looks like the devil...... enjoy the lightnings and t-storms tomorrow baby 😀

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

      And what, exactly, does "the devil" look like? Anyone you happen to not agree with at the moment?

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

      You name suits you well. Good pick.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • alphabatt1

      And I bet you think that God is a bearded white guy sitting on a cloud. Do you see the problem that Christianity presents?.....illusion.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  17. RichardSRussell

    Anyone interested in the number of people who belong to various churches, etc. (including "none") can find a compendium of numbers for both the US and the rest of the world at adherents(dot)com.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  18. partysstink

    He doesnt bother me i have my ideas and belifes he has his. What does bother me is both sides tring to shove what they belive down each others neck.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Mike V

      Now you understand why atheist organizations feel the need to hold "rallies" in Washington, D.C., etc.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • alphabatt1

      And Santorum, Gingrich, Pat Robertson and the rest of the Theocons don't? You just have'nt been paying attention.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  19. LA

    4000 angry atheists HAHA they must be misrable and have no life.... they better enjoy the thunderstorms in DC tomorrow 🙂

    Good Night.... Prayer goes to them

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

      Prayer goes to them, my butt. Don't try to sound all warm and pious immediately after gleefully wishing them misery. Hypocrite.

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

      Because calling people you don't know (and clearly don't care to know) "miserable" and "having no life" is what will make us better people? Far better to be a happy, well adjusted atheist than to be an assumptive je rk like you. You can keep your pseudo-prayers as well, with that opening its clear you don't know what praying for others is all about.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  20. Tommy123

    An atheist is fanatical about their belief that God does not exist. They have no proof; yet they strongly believe it. They are not atheistic out of reason, but out of belief. Science has nothing to do with it at all.

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

      Keep telling yourself that. I'm sure believing that is very convenient for the rest of your beliefs as well.

      Btw, one doesn't require proof that something does NOT exist. One requires proof of something that DOES exist. Let us know when you have evidence of whatever deity you prefer over the thousands of others, and then we'll talk.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Tommy123

      Ituri, I didn't say I believe in God. What I am talking about is logic. You do not know if something does not exist. I am saying you can't have proof that something does not exist. It could always be somewhere you did not look. I am not talking about a belief of my own. I am teaching logic. The convenience is irrelevant. I need no proof to talk about the logic involved whatsoever.

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

      Tommy..Why is stating that god does not exist fanatical..or do you consider any group getting together to discuss some thing fanatic.. like a dentists convention, or nurses, stamp collectors? We use reason to look at something then we can use science to test it ..it is the best tool humans have to understand their world. Science is a way of testing ideas. the ones that the religious have told humanity do not bear up under this scrutiny, sorry if you can produce the god you say exists do it.. .it will not offend me at all... thats all atheists are saying.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Ituri

      "You do not know if something does not exist." This is no basis for altering our entire lives. I don't know that the One Ring of Power doesn't exist, but I'm not going to find a place named The Shire to hide out in out of fear it does. Sure, something COULD exist. Thats beside the point. You can harp "logic" all you want, you are not the only one with it. It is not "logical" to base your life on something that appears not to exist, and this is not a stretch either.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Ashrakay

      @Tommy123, How many times does this one have to be answered... Do you need to be fanatical in your belief that Harry Potter doesn't exist? You don't have proof he doesn't exist, yet you strongly believe it. Great argument for a 7th grader.

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

      @Ituri, Ha, you beat me to it.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Mike V

      Atheism is a lack of belief in a deity, not an outright denial. This is a common misconception.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Tommy123

      EvolvedDNA, I did not say God exists. Here is one definition of fanatical: "excessively enthusiastic about a particular belief." Some atheist are trying to start a movement based on a random belief that God does not exist. They are spending money and creating law suites that are very expensive sometimes for the government. So we have some enthusiastic actions connected to a belief. I do not see any connection between science and atheism. Atheism is a guess without proof. That does not sound scientific to me at all.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Ituri

      Tommy, you seem to have a relatively limited concept of what atheism is, what atheists "believe," why they act, and the guess that they believe "randomly" is just odd of you to say.

      Your lack of understanding that many atheists reach out to science to explain the things naturally that religion tries to guess at answers of is yet more demonstration that you don't "see" what you don't WANT to see. Atheism and science are not directly related, but they do often correlate. Learn about distinctions sometime.

      And btw, I've yet to meet a "fanatical" atheist. I'd love to hear some references you have for that claim.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      So, are we to just automatically believe in everything that has only a very remote chance of being true?

      OK, I believe that Rick Santorum would make an excellent president! 🙂

      March 24, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Tommy123

      Ashrakay, I do not have proof that Harry Potter does not exist. All I know is that there is a fictional character in a book named Harry Potter. The author has clearly stated it as fiction.

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

      @Tommy123

      You said, "Here is one definition of fanatical: "excessively enthusiastic about a particular belief.""
      There's part of your problem. Atheism isn't a belief, it's a disbelief.

      You said, "Some atheist are trying to start a movement based on a random belief that God does not exist."
      Even if they believe (positive claim) that no gods exist, it isn't "random". It is based on the fact that there isn't a single shred of evidence that there are any.

      You said, "They are spending money and creating law suites that are very expensive sometimes for the government."
      Lawsuits, while often expensive, are sometimes a necessary evil to correct a wrong.

      You said, "I do not see any connection between science and atheism. Atheism is a guess without proof. That does not sound scientific to me at all."
      Your ignorance is on full display, you don't really have to explicitly remind us.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Tommy123 – You are talking about "Evangelical Atheists". Don't lump us atheist with those dudes who are just as much goofballs as you theists.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Tommy123

      Ituri, You are really trying hard to twist the meaning of my words to argue against me. I am talking about the definition of words. IF you say you are an atheist, then you do not believe god exist. If you are agnostic you don't know if god exist. If you don't know if god exist say you are agnostic. My beliefs are irrelevant to everything I have written here. I am teaching logic.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Tommy123

      LinCA, I was very unimpressed with your response. Disbelief is a belief just like false = not true. Your parsing my words in an illogical way. You do not say why I am ignorant. What is your definition of ignorant? I suspect it someone that disagrees with you.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • LinCA

      @Tommy123

      You said, "I am talking about the definition of words. IF you say you are an atheist, then you do not believe god exist."
      There is a difference between:
      Believing there is no god, and
      Not believing there is a god.
      They are both forms of atheism, but the first is a statement of belief (making a positive claim) while the second is one of disbelief.

      You said, "If you are agnostic you don't know if god exist."
      Yes, but even if you don't know whether ay exist, you can still disbelieve they do.

      You said, "If you don't know if god exist say you are agnostic."
      True, but agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

      You said, "My beliefs are irrelevant to everything I have written here."
      The fact that you capitalized "god" in an earlier post hints at where you stand on the issue.

      You said, "I am teaching logic."
      Please don't. You don't appear to comprehend the material.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • LinCA

      @Tommy123

      You said, "I was very unimpressed with your response."
      I wasn't trying to impress you. Whether you were is inconsequential.

      You said, "Disbelief is a belief just like false = not true."
      No, it's not believing the claim. The claim in this case is that there is a god.

      You said, "Your parsing my words in an illogical way. You do not say why I am ignorant. What is your definition of ignorant? I suspect it someone that disagrees with you."
      Not everyone that disagrees with me is ignorant. But you appear to be ignorant of basic English. You fail (again/still) to grasp the difference between:
      Believing there is no god, and
      Not believing there is a god.

      You appear to not distinguish between the two, and lump every atheist in the first category, while most actually tend to be in the second. Your entire argument is one of ignorance.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:51 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.