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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

    The first step on the road to reason, is questioning.
    Once you start noticing some contradictions in your family's religion, as it is being handed to you, your eyes begin to open.

    It takes years for some people to realize how inane some of the rituals are, and how brainwashed some of their brethren are. For some of us, its not that hard. For others, its kind of painful.
    Sooner or later though, I think most people come to question what they've been handed.
    That's when the real fun starts.
    Just be open.

    March 24, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Moncada

      See what happens if you truly believe in God? If it makes me happy then I have already found the truth to my life.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Gokubi

      True

      At one point after going to so many dumb services at synagogues and davening all the time I looked around and just watched for a second and thought to myself, "if there is a god, this must be his sense of humor to watch a bunch of moronic humans constantly standing up, sitting down and bowing" I mean honestly, they look SO stupid.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Ji Tran

      It is right to question. However, asking wrong questions may lead time wrong answers. It is similar like business. There are many solutions to a problem. However, the correct one will make profit and the bad ones will bankrupt.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • RillyKewl

      @Moncada, nobody says you need to be unhappy.
      Freeing yourself from religion is a pretty good feeling too, once you get your time freed up + don't have anything left to fear. Do what you want, as long as you aren't hurting anybody else. This rally is about respect + equality in the public discourse.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Mec

      Questioning is always fine. It leads to answers. It just annoys atheists that people don't come to THEIR answers all the time. I don't PUSH religion on people I meet, but I've seen some VERY pushy atheists, almost like they have something to prove. That gives me more answers to my own questions.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • Bill

      I agree at looking at all the possibilities. But I see no reason to rule out the possibility that god exist regardless of what our families do or say. If a book or a Christian say the wrong thing that does not erase god from existence.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Gokubi

      @Mec

      It's fine that you want to be a christian and if you can respect me being an atheist and won't try to convert me or make me follow the christian code of ethics then we have no beef. I have to say though, that th e"pushy" atheist you speak of are people who have for long been on the defensive that sometimes it can get taken out on people who aren't going after them. I will say this though, being an atheist in this country, hell in most of the world, is a dangerous thing to be sadly enough.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • RillyKewl

      I'm with you Gokubi.
      Ji Tran, not so much. I reject the comparison.
      Belief isn't, or at least shouldn't be, thought of as a commodity. Its a feeling. A deeply held belief.
      So, once you realize you've been had, or sold a bill of goods, thats the first realization that this stuff is nonsense.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Mec

      Rilly, the problem is, there's no reason to respect anyone or anything if this is all you have and there's nothing left. It's actually interesting how much atheists adopt religious social values in their effort to harass believers. There is no reason at all to think that believing in nothing will make everyone respect each other. In fact, there's more evidence to point to people being more selfish instead. So I don't buy atheists and their, "Do as much good" or "Don't hurt anyone" antics. When you get to the base of non-belief, there simply is no reason not to just live for yourself.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      The first step on the road to reason is realizing that reason is a human construct and therefore not absolute. WE humans make stuff up as the needs arise.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • Gokubi

      @Mec

      There's your first problem and why you probably find a lot of those pushy atheists.... atheist do believe in things, religion is just not one of them. THe other thing is, atheists aren't adopting christian, jewish, muslim, etc... values to bully the believers, we pick and choose in order to live in a more harmonious society. Just because I'm an atheist doesn't mean I'm so sad, and alone and hate everyone and blah blah blah... It just means I don't need religion to be a good person but choose to be one anyway... get it?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • RillyKewl

      And Mec, there may be some pushy atheists around, I don't doubt it. Yet there are many, many times more overbearing religious people who want to control not only the conversation, but the whole country.
      Have you heard the republican candidates? They try to outdo each other to be preacher-in-chief.

      Did you notice the Spanish Inquisition was brought into congress to tell women they can't have birth control coverage?
      Have you seen the state laws being passed to subjugate women and to spy on Muslims?
      Have you seen the hate speech on this thread (mostly from earlier)?

      God's protectors are some rough customers, is all I'm saying.
      And this rally shouldn't offend any lover of free speech.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Bill

      gavilansalvaje, How do you know that humans made up reason? If god exist, he could have created us to be able to reason.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Mec

      I do, but with respect you have nothing to stand on to maintain or support that ideal in the long run. Religion has structure, rewards, consequences, etc. Atheism has a set of untested and untried ideals that simply have no evidence that they can be sustained. They rely on assumptions that humans will act in sustainable support of the community without any reason to do so. If I didn't have religion, I wouldn't want to be constrained by lack of money or any of the things I went without as a child. I would want those things since this is my only go at life. Yes, atheists are not evil. But I've never met one that had a real case for how it would be better than religion aside from the presence of extremist groups.

      So, I do understand the stance, but nothing has been shown to me that it's sustainable or anything than just an aggressive ideal that really has no reason to come to fruition. By evolution, those who can breed, will. It doesn't say, by all of us in respect of each other will survive. If anything, it creates the concept of strife for that mate.

      So, that's what I would need from atheists to truly believe their stance is more than just anti-religion. I need evidence that their Utopian social system would actually come to pass instead of degenerate into a fight of the fittest.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Mec

      My above message is to you Rilly. Sorry I didn't call out your name. 🙁

      March 24, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Sorry Mec, I didn't see your last answer. I didn't know your argument would devolve into that kind of simplicity.
      You don't think atheism has any morality? Come on now. You said you knew atheists. Where they thieves, killers, cheaters?
      Did they party all night?
      Or were they as good a friend as any other?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Mec

      and I do definitely agree that not all of God's followers are good examples of the walk. On that we agree. Religion almost supports the concept of vocal support and demonstration. Where contention happens is when a belief collides with a modern ethic. Women, sin, any number of things. One of the core problems is understanding how a religion is affected by a global change in ethics and ideals. Certain concepts way back when were acceptable, but they are not now. To then say that it needs to be changed invites us to re-write religion into something it wasn't.

      That's where the questions need to be asked and answered. We can't simply rewrite religion because of a new fad of ethics. But we also can't let religion trample over what may be a new set of evolving ethics. It's a fine line that's for sure.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Okay (and we should probably move this to the next page, as everybody else seems to have moved on), but I don't see anybody actually expecting a utopian existence. Far from it.
      Just an acknowledgement that religion is not for everyone, and that many respectable Americans choose to reject it.
      Christianity + the other big two, have caused all sorts of strife + misery in this world. Centuries of it.

      911 is only the last thing to have happened here, but religious wars continue in Israel/Palestine + all across the globe.
      The christians aren't make life too successful for nonbelievers nor believers of other faiths now.

      Education + opening questions, beat theocracy hands down.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Mec

      I didn't say that atheism doesn't have morality. But the amount that is espoused as a viable alternative to religion doesn't sit well with me. One atheist said that if was on a falling plane, unlike the religion people who would just be sitting and praying, he would be looking for his last good deed to do. That is something that he simply cannot claim as a viable reason why he's better than them. It's simply not concrete enough to believe that religious people would do nothing as he, the atheist, would actually be seeking out people to help. I would have a strong belief that some religious people on the plane would be trying something as well.

      It's this mentality that I don't believe in. I do believe atheists can be good. I believe religious people can be good. I also believe that they can both be bad. However, I don't believe that atheism as a whole will produce a superior society morally. I simply don't see any evidence for that assertion. Granted we have a lot of oppressive religious countries; that I do not discount. But to make that claim, as atheists have to both me and to sites like this, there simply is no reason to believe it. They can suggest it, but I never see that. I see factual declarations of superiority. A form a elitism and doesn't bode well for seeing them as harbingers of humanity's non-mythical good. I don't see people fully vested in the idea. I see fans.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:49 am |
    • Mec

      Very true Rilly. However, with that, I must sign off for bed. It was good having a discussion with you.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  2. avinesh

    Us Hindus laugh at the absurdity of your monotheism. Only one God?! C'mon, that is ridiculous.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      And a blue elephant-headed deity isn't ridiculous?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  3. Joey

    Christians will never get it. They inheriently do not use logic, so anything counter to their instilled belifes must be a lie.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • MOCaseA

      And theat is exactly the black and white thinking that will only lead to hostilities and strife.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Moncada

      My belief is that I believe in God and to me he exists. Every person has a right to their beliefs. And I accept most Science and agree that the Universe started at the Big Bang but that God set it all off.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Bill

      What makes you think that Christians do not use logic. Issac Newton was a Christian. I think the inventor of calculus had at least some understanding of logic.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Transcendant

      Joey–evolve–do not refute the very god that you claim to not believe in.

      In all things, to thine self be true.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Over It

      Bill,

      Isaac Newton was also heavily into alchemy, the occult and numerology... perhaps even more so than science.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton%27s_occult_studies

      March 24, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Mec

      Idiot view joey. The same condescending view that my atheists acquaintances present to people of religion. Seems like you all have an ax to grind or something... oh, I know... a defensive nature! That usually comes out when someone WANTS to be right but can't be truthfully right. So they then make everyone else around them miserable and wrong.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • mrj

      can you please explain what you mean by saying that Christians don't use logic? if they don't use logic according to you, then what do they use? Also want to know if you believe one takes the Bible at face value without studying it further? There has been cases where people, who don't believe, actually challenged the claims yet discovered that the claims are valid. If you want more information here is some books.http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Demands-Questions-Challenging-Christians/dp/0785243631

      March 24, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Bill

      Over It, So.
      He was a Christian and showed great reasoning skill and some say he was one of the greatest scientist of all time.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Logic, just like religion, is something that humanity made up.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  4. X

    maybe all the atheists will march to Washington D.C. and stay there.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • R

      Will you ever realize that with every post like this, it just makes you look more and more like a whining child that knows absolutely nothing? Probably not.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • X

      II kinda feel the same way about these atheists and their articles

      March 24, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Mec

      R, you simply have nothing of value to offer yet you condemn those whom you believe have even less. I'd go back to the Sports section if I were you. More pictures there.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Transcendant

      We fear that which we do not understand.

      X–make a solid argument–or get lost.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • R

      Mec, you continue to try and belittle me and make me sound unintelligent, yet you haven't put together anything with substance. I get it, you're trying to validate yourself and your views. I've actually put together logical arguments and you've come back with nothing but childish comebacks. On a different note, I can assure you I have a far superior intellect. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure that one out. 😉 See what I did there?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:17 am |
  5. X

    THE VILLAGE CALLED THEY WANT THEIR IDIOT BACK

    March 24, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  6. Bob

    Believe in God, but not religion.

    Religion is the source of all evil.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • R

      God may exist but the modern day religious lunatics have completely distorted any rational explanation of what God could be. Maybe IT is something that isn't conscious and doesnt give a sh it. And is simply a starting point.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      People made up gods and people made up religions. Does that make people evil?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  7. Moncada

    Cant we just respect others beliefs?

    March 24, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • bobcat

      Moncada, I am an atheist and you and me can at least.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • MOCaseA

      According to the Christian religion, no. They must "save" everyone from their delusions of science and fact.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Mec

      This would be pretty good, if it were possible. Atheists believe religion is the root of all evil. Various religions believe certain particulars are good and bad and can fly in the face of other religions. Some atheists believe that since this is all we have, there's no morals and no reason to respect anything and thus live however you want. The problem is, each belief affects the others either actively or passively. Sadly, overall it's not a viable ideal.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Mec

      MOC, saving people from eternal fire actually sounds like a noble thing. I know Christians that actually cry thinking about their family / friends that might be in torment. Thus, Christians want to save others from that fate. It's quite a decent thing to do, but sometimes it isn't executed via the best means unfortunately.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Respect is earned. Show some, and you'll get it too.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Moncada

      Yes, see I have a Muslim friend and I don't go off saying that he should be Christian. Instead we learn about each others religion.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Mec

      Then you don't care about that friend. Which is fine, you don't have to care about everyone you meet. Frankly, I want to see all my friends in Heaven instead of watching them burn in Hell. -shrug- People think religion is something you only do in your house, or closet.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Mike

      That would be fantastic if we could put it into practice.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Moncada – you and your muslim friend are practicing the same religion, and you are worshipping the same unnamed god of abraham.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  8. QualisTempus

    Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace

    You, you may say
    I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
    I hope some day you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world

    You, you may say
    I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
    I hope some day you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    March 24, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Mec

      No religion means no need for possessions and instant peace? Man, if I smoked, I would want some of that!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      dude, it is plagiarism if you don't acknowledge the author

      March 24, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  9. b4bigbang

    Imagine if a child challenged his parents to prove they love him. They say we tell you we love you, the kid says you may be lying so that doesnt prove u love me. They say look at all the stuff we provide, food, shelter, toys, etc. Kid says, that still doesnt prove u love me, u may be doing these things 4 another reason, eg, peer pressure. Kid says, show me scientific proof!
    On and on it could go, ad nauseum.
    Kinda reminds me of the atheists demanding for lab proof of God's existence.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Maybe you could explain your refusal to provide proof of your apparenlty fraudulent claims about textbooks.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • QualisTempus

      Right, good point, couple of deltas though

      1. The child was biologically made by the parents
      2. The child can see, hear, touch, feel, and know what love feels like from his parent
      3. The parent actually tells the child (he/she hears this) that the child is loved.

      You believe God loves all of us as if we were the only one, what about the children being slaughtered in Syria as I write this, do they know / believe that God loves them?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Moncada

      @QualisTemples- We would have to ask if their God loves them, most likely they don't believe in the Christian version of God.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Bill

      QualisTempus, That is the oldest argument ever. God would not need to tell you the reason why he does something for it to make sense. If it does not make sense to us, that is not saying much. Humans are very limited. Even Albert Einstein had trouble balancing his checkbook, and got a D in math.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Transcendant

      Your condescending views are like nectar. As much as I enjoy my freedom of perspective, I do so relish in the hubris of the misguided. You are like children, ever confined by imaginary boundaries. Nonetheless, it does seem to keep you all distracted.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Mec

      and the non-believers live in lives of fantasy and freedom and fake assumptions of free thinking. Frankly, an atheist with a gun is a more dangerous foe than a Christian. The atheist doesn't have to worry about the consequences. Maybe they can use evolution as an excuse...

      March 24, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Transcendant

      Mec–Pretty solid response–Making up funny little straw men to make light is right in tune with believing in fairy tales. Great imagination that you have!

      March 24, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • Mike

      Except the kid doesn't doubt that their parents -exist-.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • Over It

      Mec: – "The atheist doesn't have to worry about the consequences"

      Au contraire - The atheist will have natural (and legal) consequences. It's the Christian who just has to "repent" and magically all's well forever after...

      March 24, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      How does a parent prove that he loves his kid? Stop giving him food, shelter and internet access and he'll learn really quick.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  10. cj

    LOL >>> Thunderstorms in DC during an anti-God, anti-belief "rally." That is is hilarious.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Transcendant

      Weather amuses you? Snow most really rock your world.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  11. Bill

    Atheist are illogical. You can't know if god does not exist. Did you look everywhere and not find god? How can you know if something does not exist?

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

      The answer is of course, I don't know if god exists or not, how can you solidly affirm that god does exist? Did you look around everywhere? did you find him?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • Bill

      I didn't say god exists.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Call us back when you've got some facts to show us that your god is somewhere/anywhere.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Mec

      A lot of people that believe in religion have personal reasons or evidence in believing such. So, yes, they actually did find Him in a way. With all the religions in the world, it actually falls on atheists to disprove. The problem is, they simply can't. They can only hope.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • R

      Fine Bill, technically speaking they cannot prove it. However, atheists also seem to be the majority when it comes to putting together intelligent responses and speaking rationally. Not all of them of course, but all I've seen on this board from anyone religious is either the same argument over and over and over and over and over and over orrrrrr personal attacks. And I'm not even an atheist.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Moncada

      @Gokubi, personally God exists for me, so he must exist.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Bill

      RillyKewl, again, I did not say god exist or does not exist.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Gokubi

      Moncanda....

      Ok, great, and which god is that again?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Gokubi

      PS

      Where the hel.l did you find him/her/it/them? I've been looking for AGES!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Moncada

      @Gobuki the Christian version of God.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Raoul Duke, Jr.

      Prove to me that unicorns, leprechauns and tooth fairies don't exist. Oh, that's right, there's more proof for tooth fairies. Whenever I lost a tooth, there was money under my pillow. Proof of tooth fairies!

      March 24, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Bill

      Raoul Duke, Jr. I never said unicorns, leprechauns and tooth fairies don't exist; therefore , I do not need to prove they do not exist. I do not know if they exist or not. Atheist are saying that god does not exist. See my point?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Mike

      Actually, that is a logical fallacy. Atheists are the ones who actually belief their -lack- of belief on supportable logic. Faith, but its very nature, is illogical. It -requires- belief with a lack of proof. What could be more illogical then that?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • gavilansalvaje

      I can prove that I do not have a million dollars in my pocket simply by putting my hand in my pocket and finding nothing but lint. That experiment works because we can agree on the definitions of what a pocket is, what a million dollars and what a hand is. It is hard to design an experiment to disprove the presence of God because no one, not even his most fanatical adherents, can define what he or she is.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • Bill

      gavilansalvaje, If you reach your hand into your pocket and do not find a million dollars, does that mean your bank account does not have a million dollars in it? My definition of God = the creator.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  12. Gavin Ford

    I don't agree with what this article says about bibles in the hotel rooms. Don't leave them outside the door....they really come in handy when you run out of toilet paper.

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

      lol

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

      I'm thinking that we need to leave the bibles with some kind of clever, tasteful, new book cover.
      Something well designed, funny, with a message. Like to start a new meme.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  13. Mec

    blah blah blah go the atheists. "We believe in nothing and so can you!"

    It's just the fad thing right now. Look, nothing matters, yay! You can have that wonderful choice too! Despite the fact that we can't disprove God, nor even that the spiritual realm exists, we still believe it doesn't! How free thinking and liberating!

    Bah. Don't get me wrong, I've known some decent atheists, some great Christians, and bad apples on both sides. However, this nonsense that you have a choice to either believe in something or believe in nothing is laughable. No no, we want people to believe in people instead of God and we'll be better! Yeah right... I have some Evian water to sell them.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Ituri

      That you equate the lack of belief in your personally preferred religion as a "belief in nothing" demonstrates that you don't know any atheists at all. And the ones you might know clearly curb their conversations when you're around, since you're more interested in your base judgements and not actually understanding what atheists tend to actually claim or believe.

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

      I know what atheists claim to believe. I debated a whole club of them in college. Seriously, there was a whole club of atheists that gathered weekly. Sadly, it was quite easy to debate them because they were too simple minded in their goals to eliminate religion simply because they didn't like it. So excuse me while I have a hard time believing a mass of such ignorant people are capable of more.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • R

      @ Mec. Is that really the basis for your argument? You debated a bunch of idiot college kids? Well then, let's all bow down to the genius you are. And you say ignorant why? Because they don't believe in your mythical creature?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • RillyKewl

      You are clearly an excellent debater. I can tell.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Mec

      Better than the atheists back then. Or do you have "levels" of atheism that you try to acquire? Seriously, can not believing in anything seriously have that many levels to it? Maybe there are enlightened atheists while the rest are just infant nothing believers?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Study People

      That is the reason why some of us call ourselves Agnostic's. Agnostic's know you can't prove, or disprove the existence of a God or two, or more. So we don't care. Well until someone tries to prove a god to us. Then we laugh. OOOO and we laugh the same way at Atheists.... Nothing but Believers....lacking any evidence. By the way, my Dog thinks I'm a God. I try to explain to him that what he is thinking is nothing but Dogma... But will he listen?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • R

      Mec, once again you say things that make it easy to laugh at you. Who said anything about "atheist levels". It's a matter of intellect and experience. You sound like a child trying to prove your point by poking fun at someone else's ideas. Here are the facts though so pay attention. You don't know that God really exists, you don;t have any proof, faith is not even close to a valid argument, and last but not least, you'll probably never be smart enough to debate anyone with actual intelligence.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Mec

      One of the atheist topics was "Men Better than Jesus". Incredibly, it only took 3 Christians to completely derail the thought train that 20 or so atheists were hoping was going to be a running strong. They actually asked for us to come back the next week. Their reason? "If we don't have anyone to debate, these meetings become bashing with no defense." Granted, I'm sure some of them enjoyed that. How hard is it to simply say every week, "Religion is a myth! There! We said it! again..."

      March 24, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • R

      Mec, every post you put up lacks depth and substance. You remind me of myself when I was sayyyyyyy 12? Talking to a wall is always a losing battle.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Mec

      R, actually faith is an legit argument because atheists use faith to say that god DOESN'T exist. (obviously since they can't prove it.) Sorry, but you simply don't have the capacity to debate deep discussions. Maybe you should look up that club, they may still be needing more followers.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • R

      Mec. It's cute that you tried to make it seem like you have a clue (you don't just in case you were wondering). Second, I uhh never said I was atheist nor did I really defend them. I am not an atheist simply because it takes a lot of that crap you call faith. Faith is not a legitimate argument. And no amount of the kicking and screaming can make it legitimate. I don;t usually say this but I am definitely right and I'm 100% positive you're wrong. I pray that you're not over the age of 20 because if you are, you've got a long way to go. Stay well chief. 🙂

      March 24, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • R

      And I'll spell it out for you. When I said pray, I was being facetious. Lord knows you were going to try and bring that one up. Oh look I did it again, hahahahahaha.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  14. MandoZink

    Being atheist saves you the emotional wreckage of having to reconcile the unpredictable actions of a magical mystery being instead of simply understanding what nature is.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • RillyKewl

      It removes the excuse that its all the Flying Spaghetti Monster's fault.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:46 am |
  15. Loffee

    People who believe in god are weak minded. These are the people who kill abortion doctors and get ripped off by scams. Their brains have not developed all the way. In essence, they are still in monkey form.

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

      jjust like you eh

      March 24, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Mec

      Those who believe only what the world show them are even more closed minded than religious people. Glad religious people gave us some incredible scientific breakthroughs. The atheists were probably wondering where they were going to get their next banana.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  16. Hadenuffyet

    Everything from nothing , for me , this is a stretch beyond human comprehension. It's my ultimate question to science that will never be answered because every answer results in another question..

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

      Why this assumption of "nothing?" Why must there once have been nothing?

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

      So because YOU can't answer it, you get to insert whatever reality you PREFER exists? Yeah, thats been an effective policy so far in mans history. (Note the sarcasm.)

      It takes an amazing amount of arrogance to insert your own preferred answer simply because the answer as yet is "I don't know." Why can't you just admit you don't know something?

      Btw, the "everything from nothing" bit is the RELIGIOUS argument, not the scientific one. How much more "out of nothing" can you get than "God created X at X time"? With science, the assumption is not that "nothing" existed at all, only that things existed differently than they do today. Learn the science before you talk down about it.

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

      Isn't that the beautiful thing about science and the quest for knowledge? Sorry if you feel that you need to have all the answers before you die, but I guess I've got to be the one to tell you this, you will never, ever know everything and every scientific discovery will yield more questions.

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

      If you're doing your science right, every answer should lead to MULTIPLE additional questions. Think of ignorance as a vast endless sea of darkness and knowledge as the circle we've managed to illuminate so far. Every time that circle gets larger (more knowledge on the inside), so does the boundary (the outer limits where we're working on the next questions).
       
      Religion, conversely, claims it already HAS all the answers, so it's stopped looking. All human progress comes from better knowledge, and religion is an utter failure in that regard.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Study People

      Yea, and before someone decided on sailing around the World, your type would say.... The Earth is Round? No it's not, "this is a stretch beyond human comprehension.".

      March 24, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • humanbean

      Did god come from nothing as well?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • RillyKewl

      @RichardRussell, your description is beautifully put. Nicely done.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  17. mrj

    it always seems that anytime a believer in God states they will "pray for this person" an Atheist or non-believer will always attack and ask either "well there is no proof that God exists. if you can prove it show me" or "it dont matter what you say, dont shove your religion at me.." and then go on and say something negative. I want to ask, with respect, what would be considered "proof" in order for you to believe? I have dealt with many people who always want that "proof" yet when its shown, its still not enough. therefore we are not charged to give proof because proof has already been given. we are to simply share the good news of salvation. Love shown by death on the cross and rose again the third day. please forgive my bad spelling.

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

      Good question

      "proof" is undeniable fact, for instance if I were to pray for frogs to start falling from the sky and *gasp* it happened, that would be a good indicator. If a loud, booming voice from no where started speaking claiming to be god and doing miracles that defied scientific explanation, then you have proof.

      I'm as.suming the proof you have, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that the proof of either someone asking for god to help them quit drinking, smoking, etc... or they hoped for some sort of weather pattern that occurs the next day.... this is not proof but either coincidence or giving credit where it isn't deserved.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Ituri

      Its called the Scientific Method. Even a la zy god could demonstrate itself to mans satisfaction if it existed.

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

      @ mrj. I respect you for trying to be respectful, but you lost me when you said proof has been given. It hasn't, period. And whatever "proof" you try and give will surely be easily dissected by the bright minds on this board. I am not even an atheist, I'm in fact an agnostic. However, the God you try and speak of and prove exists, does not. The furthest I would go is a simple energy source at the beginning. It is not a conscious being, it does not care to be worshiped, and it definitely will not make it rain at a rally, that's just chance. The faith that is observed in America is spiritually lazy on every level.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • X

      they want 'proof' yet the foundation of Christianity is faith. If you have proof you don't need faith.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • mandarax

      Hey Gokubi! Say hello to dad (Zenji Hiroguchi).

      March 24, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • R

      @ X. Quick, to the point, and absolutely true.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Ituri

      X, if you rely entirely on "faith" for your beliefs, do not whine when other people reject you for your beliefs being lazy and self satisfying. When someone asks for evidence of something, "faith" is never going to be the answer.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • R

      @ X. Sorry guy. I thought you were making a valid point when you're in fact just another angry Christian that believe everyone else is ignorant. As I now understand what you actually meant, I realize you're a dime a dozen that thinks blind faith is a good thing.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Gokubi

      Hey Mandarax

      Sorry, I can't! Zenji* is already gone and I'm some sharks belly.... goddam.nit.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • X

      @Ituri if someone 'rejects me for my beliefs' they can go straight to hell (no pun intended). I get it, lots of people want 'proof'. The bible says "we are justified by grace through faith" and "whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life". I didn't write it I'm just reading it.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Gavin Ford

      It isn't your spelling that's bad, it's your logic.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • X

      @R I don't think it's necessarily blind faith. I think God reveals himself in ways Christians claim to see. Just in my experience, it's required far more faith than 'proof'. In fact, I can't think of anything that 'proves' God's existence. If you want that, the bible says to look at creation.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • mandarax

      @gokubi:
      I appreciate the asterisk after Zenji* Nice detail.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  18. Hadenuffyet

    Maybe some just don't want to hedge their bets...

    March 24, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  19. X

    athiests are as bad as emos.

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

      and annoying as hell

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

      They're annoying because they're challenging the bulls hit you try to peddle as absolute truth. If you truly had any brain cells, you put together an intelligent argument. Instead you decide to call people names like a child. You just make Christians and all the other religious lunatics look stupid.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • X

      a well deserved name. Think about it, they really are similar. Both doing anything for attention, etc.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:46 am |
  20. Tomb

    Can't wait to see the look on his face when he has to kneel before God at his last judgement.

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

      Typical arrogant zealots response.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Might be the same look you have when you have to kneel to Anubis. 🙂

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

      What makes you think you'll have a good view?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Okay2Doubt

      The difference with atheists is, we'll be the first to say we're wrong if you can present evidence. Faith isn't fact, thus the basis of it's appeal to evangelicals since it gives an inner peace to believe what can't be proven and therefore seems "untouchable". I don't get offended it you tell me you think Jesus is the son of God. I may not agree with you, but I don't go off the rails in defensiveness if you challenge my world views. I'm open to a rational discussion. The problem is, religion isn't rational.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • ingatuma

      JFC, what part of DEAD do you not get? He is Dead, he is NOT coming back. Its would be much easier to bring back a dinosaur that died 65,000,000 because thanks to science we can still find some fossils with DNA and probably clone it....your jesus was a magician that played a trick magic trick and failed, and was buried in some cave where he could not get out of....and 2000 years later no traces of it can be found....Science Helping Humanity Advance and Ruining Religious Myths since 1543!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:48 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.