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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. waitasec

    “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.”

    misguided....?
    the audacity the arrogance...

    no wonder i detest religion so much.

    so what it about atheism that undermines the fabric of our liberties and freedoms?
    free thought...
    i'm sorry , but no one reserves the right to not be offended...especially religion which isn't a person it's a fallible ideology
    i suggest those who are offended with the idea of free thought get used to it.

    March 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  2. whachootawkin' bout Willis

    I'll be coming representing Dyslexic Atheists of America. We don't believe in Dog.

    March 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  3. B-Man

    It seems most agree with what I’m about to say which is that if an Atheist is going to argue GOD isn’t he himself arguing for Atheism? I may not believe that there is a GOD but i don’t try and change people’s mind about it or a mass majority. No one is forced to believe but they are forced to be an individual and think for themselves. I get tired of hearing people argue the "pledge of allegiance" or the fact that GOD is listed on our currency. I have no problem saying the words nor do I have a problem spending the money. It doesn’t make you less of a person or a religious person. As much as I believe that organized religion is a hypocrisy so is a person trying to take the word of GOD out!

    March 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • haha

      Theism can and very well may destroy our government.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I don't know how one would "argue GOD". Argue with, for, or against, God, perhaps.

      Atheism is generally a lack of belief in god(s), nothing else.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  4. M Houston

    As a nonbeliever in anybody's divinity, I have to say that Silverman is giving a bad name to to all of us who are atheist.
    The dude should just shut up...

    March 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • haha

      I am conflicted over this. Yes its arrogant, annoying, and essentially goes against atheism not being a religion. BUT, I believe that it may be a necessary evil to assure that the screaming christians are not the only voices heard.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • M Houston

      Silverman seems to be not much different from the "believers" who feel a need to trash those who disagree with them.
      If it weren't "atheism" (If he were an animist, for instance) he'd be out there trashing the "non-animist" crowd...He comes off as nothing more than a blabbermouth to me...

      March 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      M Houston....He is trying to make it a little easier for those atheists (like myself) who are tired of either hiding our beliefs (living a lie) or face discrimination because we refuse to live a lie. You may be ok with Christian beliefs being pushed upon you, but most of us are not. If someone like Rick Santorum were to become POTUS, I think you would feel differently.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • M Houston

      tnfreethinker, if a creep like Santorum gets himself elected POTUS, then we are ALL(believer and nonbeliever alike)
      going to be in a world of hurt. If I thought this guy, Silverman, was going to have a positive roll in keeping turkeys
      like R Perry, Santorum, Paul, or other "etch-a-sketch" people out of the White House, I'd be all for him. Unfortunately
      all he's doing is confirming what a lot of the "republican Taliban" already believe: All atheists are "AntiAmerican"...

      March 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      M Houston...He's not confirming anything. To confirm something, it must be true, and all atheist are not Anti-American. I can't speak for all the atheists out there, but the one's I know, are better Americans than any religious person I ever met.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  5. haha

    You have NO SOUL/GHOST/SPIRIT and will be nothing more than dirt/ash in a few thousand days if you are lucky to have that long. Debating whether or not there is a god or which god is correct is moot (at this point in our understanding of the universe).

    March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  6. haha

    Supernaturalism is a silly foundation for reaching any conclusions about ourselves and the universe. Ancient peoples had no methods or tools to explain what they experienced, resulting in a seemingly reasonable anthropomorphic view of just about everything. We have much better information now.

    March 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      naturalism, on the other hand, explains only WHAT we are – a mere organism. But at some point, humanity asked "WHO am I? ". Darwin was interested only in the evolution of the organism – a mere body. Jesus said " The flesh is useless. It is the spirit which gives life." Jn 6

      March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • haha

      Ion fluxes gives consciousness/"life" in the brain. Without a shred of evidence the belief in a soul is just a fear of death.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @catholic engineer

      The question "Who am I" is an attempt to assign an amount of self worth. It is a deeper form of self awareness than most other animals have. But this in no way gives credence to the thought of a "soul", it merely shows what happens when more energy is used to run a brain that is quite large in relation to the size of the organism.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Hoonose

      There are methods to discover the spirit. You just dont know them or arent willing to try. If you are really open to truth then you have to be open, curious, experimental, discrminating, and without assumption.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  7. Pipe-Dreamer

    Always does ritualism's tenuristic-like pragmatisms swoon and betell the rate(s) of ritua-bargainings and for what? The limelights of psuedo-endorsements being the feeding frenzies of fishlikednesses? Without metered gestations of the pen/pencil/keyboard, people would be pointless embassadors suckling up to the spokeness of lonely word(s). Catching a glimpse of otherly wordisms to rally around or against is the parlored games' naughtiness! 🙂

    March 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Oh flundered gruntbuggly,
      Thy micturations are to me
      As plurdled gabbleblotchits
      On a lurgid bee
      That mordiously hath bitled out
      Its earted jurtles
      Into a rancid festering [drowned out by moaning and screaming]
      Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles
      Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts
      And living glupules frart and slipulate
      Like jowling meated liverslime
      Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
      And hooptiously drangle me
      With crinkly bindlewurdles,
      Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon
      See if I don't.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • M Houston

      yeah...yeah...yeah...whatever...

      March 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Sorry, Doc, but what exactly do you mean by "rancid"?

      March 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  8. HawaiiGuest

    Just a few weeks ago I was able to make some Jehovas Witnesses run away from my house lol. Almost got arrested to, so who wants to hear it?

    March 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • J.W

      Me

      March 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Having trouble posting it. Trying to find the word that they don't like.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Well I saw them park on the road, so I figured I had about half a minute, maybe a little more. First I took off my shirt, threw on a leather jacket, and grabbed a pair of hand-cuffs my former gf left at my house. Then I threw on some har.dco.re BDSM po.rn on really loud right as they rang the bell. Made a loud sla.pping sound with my hands, turned off the po.rn, then threw the door open with the hand-cuffs in my hand and screamed "What the fu.ck do you want?!" They backed off real quick and pretty much ran to their car. They also ended up calling the police lol. They laughed like he.ll when I told them the story.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • wow

      Ok that's funny. I don't think I could be so bold, I am too nice. LOL! You would be famous on Youtube if you had recorded it. LOL!

      March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • J.W

      LOL wonder why they called the police. You can do whatever you want in your own home, as long as you aren't murdering people or something.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • M Houston

      Now that we've heard it, there is only one response that you deserve: YOU LIE!!!

      March 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      It was the kind of BDSM where there's screaming and pain and stuff. I wanted to freak them out as much as possible, and I figured that kind of po.rn would do a nice job of it. Hence the leather jacket and cuffs.

      @M Houston

      You don't have to believe me, that's up to you. I am sad that I didn't have anyone else at the house to record it.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Very good, HawaiiGuest!

      March 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Thx

      March 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • M Houston

      Now I believe what you just said. You are, indeed,...what?...sad? we don't even need you to admit it.
      You're sad alright...

      March 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @M Houston

      Oh what a witty comeback you have. Tell me did you post other things first so that you could have time to come up with your obviously intellectual post based on a deep understanding of my inner psyche? Or perhaps, and I'm just guessing here, you're just an idiot....Hmmmm....I think I'll keep my opinion to myself, I'm sure others will chime in as well.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Why would you have that kind of filth on hand ?

      March 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • bear

      scaring the JW's is the first time I'v laughed so hard at what was posted. You are a true roit.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @pevert alert

      It's the internet, not finding something is like saying you don't know where you foot is.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Internet? I think your whole story is made up bull sh it. You would have to have a mile open viewing to be able to do all you said you did in the time it takes someone to approach your house.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @pervert alert

      Like I said to M Houston, believe me or not I don't really care.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • sam

      lolling forever...

      March 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  9. haha

    Surveys designed to overcome the understandable reluctance to admit atheism have found that as many as 60 million Americans — a fifth of the population — are not believers.”
    Mark Poprocki / iStock

    March 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  10. Brian

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vUFUujSNpEU

    March 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • greg

      I think that video was supposed to be insulting to Atheists? They use a lot of big words that are illogical together, get upset when religion is mentioned, drive a Prius and like Starbucks?

      I guess I walked away not sure if it was supposed to make religious people feel better about their beliefs, atheists bad, or just had no point...

      March 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      And stuff. Sometimes. Maybe.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      I like rallies. And turtles.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Jesus

      -You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!~-

      March 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • just sayin

      I count it all joy that the absolute Truth that atheism is not healthy for children and other living things is being spread and used even by atheists themselves. Let freedom ring across Washington with the same phrase for their"gathering". Praise God for answered prayer.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is good for plants

      March 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • just sayin

      Plants? Or pants? I pray in my pants all the time.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • just sayin

      I like to capitalize Truth so that it sticks out. I like to stick things out.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • AGuest9

      More proof that just lyin and atheism is is the same person.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • just sayin

      everybody wants to be me.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • waitasec

      you know what isn't healthy?

      the abandonment of critical thinking...

      March 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      Pinch a shyster, nagger.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • blap blop

      Prayer changes time only. If you pray for two minutes, the time is two minutes later than before you prayed. If you think that praying has any other effect, try find an amputee, and start praying for his/her limb to grow back. When done, try setting up a proper study, with control groups and do a double blind test. When you have the undisputable evidence for the effect of praying, await a nobel price.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  12. Ed

    I ope the Ateist enjoy their rally. Have fun hope its a noce weekend for you.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Ed

      should have proof read that comment. I hope the Atheist enjoy their rally, hope its a nice weekend for them.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • J.W

      I will pray for them to have a nice weekend.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • gsm

      thanks Ed, for the revised version!

      March 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  13. Nonimus

    Mr. Merica,
    Good article. Thanks.

    Mr. Silverman,
    Good luck with the event.
    Wish I could attend.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  14. jj

    I bet the Jehovah's Witnesses regret knocking on his door.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • M Houston

      I'll bet those JW's laugh their behinds off at a fools like HawaiiGuest.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • wow

      "I'll bet those JW's laugh their behinds off at a fools like HawaiiGuest."

      Nah, they were running because if you don't believe as they do they think you're possessed by an invisible evil dude. Now that is worth laughing at fools like that.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Oh boohoo M Houston thinks I"m a fool, oh whatever shall I do, however shall I live after this?

      March 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • wow

      Laugh at Mr.H's foolishness. LOL!

      March 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  15. catholic engineer

    I suspect most attendees will be highly left brained people. They will be highly sensing, i.e., their entire take on reality comes though their senses and is processed by their brains (as opposed to minds). They have absulute confidence that their senses take in all possible data, and their brains are able to accurately process the information. And of course, their reasoning is flawless. Higly cognitive people. Thinking machines.
    But most people who believe in god are highly intuitiive rather than sensing or cognitive. As Dr. Carl Jung observed, a person in whom intuition was dominant, an "intuitive type", acted not on the basis of rational judgment but on sheer intensity of perception.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • jj

      I bet your a real blast at a party....not.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Nonimus

      First, what's your point?

      Second, is not intuition also a function of the brain and cognition?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "But most people who believe in god are highly intuitiive rather than sensing or cognitive."

      Yeah and the person you are trying to describe is also void of conscious recourse to thought, observation or reason.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • haha

      You are your brain, no more no less.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I know my senses don't take in all possible data. And the data that is taken in is processed by my brain relatively poorly. That's why the scientific method was created. But that doesn't mean there's a god. It just means evolution has a ways to go. Have you ever scientifically seen anything happen that is outside the laws of physics? Neither has anyone else, your god most likely does not exist.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  16. jj

    Seems like a lot of work to not believe in God...why not just do it quietly.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • haha

      Most would if christianity would stay away from our government. This is not an action but a reaction.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • David

      It takes a lot of "work" along with a lot of courage to resist a bully. And conservative Christians are the biggest bullies in town.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • AGuest9

      I'm not sure why so many think that reality is so hard to deal with. I guess delusion and fantasy is easier, but I still don't understand the need.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      jj
      Believe it or not, it seems like a lot of work to believe in God too, but once you do, you can't help but want to share your belief, right? Seeing the world as we do is freaking awesome! 🙂

      March 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • greg

      I know a person that completely believes the bible and teachings he has heard to the letter. This means he is convinced anyone that does not believe will go to he-ll. If someone believes that it could be considered cruel not to try to pull in friends and loved ones. So he pushes very strongly,

      This is one thing in personal relationships, but I think it becomes dangerous when it is pushed to be included in government. Belief in something that cannot be proven or disproved is fine by me in personal life, but it works against freedom when it goes too far. A lot of people feel aspects of it are going too far, thus stories and conflict like this.

      Live and let live...

      March 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 1, Verses 18-23:

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (atheists), 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image (the mammon or God of capitalism and materialism) made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    Beside the creation God gave us a second revelation of his divine love: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    If for you the creation isn't enough evidence of God's love for you and the mankind, then regard the gospel: God gave his Son for you. This is the clear proof for his love. If you believe that and get baptized (infant baptism is valid, just refer to it) you return into the confident community of the loving God.

    MAN CREATES, GOD CREATES

    If you see a simple car, you immediately know that it was assembled by workers and designed by engineers.

    If you would claim any car emerged just by evolution, people would send you to nuthouse.

    Nearly nobody sends you to nuthouse, if you claim creation emerged by evolution, whereby the works of creation are much more ingenious, than a simple car.

    Isn't that a discrepancy?

    Don't float with the current, but just use your reason.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • haha

      Car assembled in a few days... life took a few billions years and does have a designer its called natural selection.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Silly analogy. Cars don't breed, swap genes, and reproduce themselves like living things.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • gsm

      OK "haha", but who designed natural selection?

      March 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Al

      gsm
      Why would you even suspect that natural selection needed to be unnaturally designed?

      March 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • greg

      Are you saying people build cars therefore God created people? Does the same logic hold true because people create weapons, drugs, and McDonald buildings?

      March 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • greg

      Are you saying people build cars therefore G od created people? Does the same logic hold true because people create weapons, drugs, and McDonald buildings?

      March 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  18. think4urself

    Silverman = hypocrite

    Sorry but it is what it is................and he is one.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Nonimus

      how so?

      March 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • think4urself

      When yo think about Atheists are a religion (so to speak) however they believe there is NO God. He's really not that different from a leader of faith. How can you discredit any group for their faith when your doing the same for you group....non faith. There is a group called Freedom from religion. I received info on them in the mail. One thing that got to me was how they feel people of faith are all about money for their churchs... they went on to say religion should be free and so on...... at the bottom of their pamphlet, they gave info on where you could send them donations. A little hypocritical.

      I won't push my beliefs on "you" don't push your non-beliefs on "me"

      Just my opinion

      March 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @think4urself,
      Most Atheists that I've met are in the category of a lack of belief in god(s), not a belief in *no god(s)*. This may seem like spliting hairs to you, but if you understand why someone disagrees with your preference for a particular ice cream flavor because they lack the ability to digest lactose, then you may understand the difference.

      There are some nuances to the definintion of Atheism/Agnosticism and generally only the Strong or Positive variation is consider a statement of belief, as oppose to a lack of belief. None of which can be considered a 'religion'; "b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance"

      March 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      I noted apologists like to say it takes more faith to be an atheist than a believer. Thinking about that my faith allows me to believe in what cannot be seen or proved by science. Do atheists have the same faith that their belief (no god or materialism) is true? I would think so. Given that Christians have 25,000 manuscripts, personal experience with a living God and a strong support group of fellow believers we need less faith as our position is overwhelmingly supported. Atheists not so much support in the community and no proof at all that there is no God perhaps must have more faith.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Saying there is no proof that there is no god is a lazy argument. There's no proof that theres no leprechauns, vampires, werewolves, pixies, or a myriad of other gods from other religions. By your logic all these things exist since they haven't been proven false.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • fred

      HawiianGuest
      Agreed, however that is the point we have proof that is acceptable to us atheists do not accept our proof yet believe in the absense of proof. The writter of Genesis heard about the flood and wrote about it. I have faith that God is revealed through that accounting today and was revealed through that accounting thousands of years ago. I know the act and the accounting was Divine by faith and the fact it kicks up a firestorm is even greater testament that the hand of God is there,. The atheist discounts all aspects of the accounting based on faith in geology, evolution and physics. This "fundie" faith in science blocks out all other value intended for the atheist in that accounting. That is one strong faith.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Personal experience, unverifiable accounts, and faith are not proofs. All those things are up to subjective interpretation. Geology, evolution, physics, all these things can be measured,confirmed, scrutinized, and shown to be with merit through independent scientific inquiry. The three things you listed do not stand up to scrutiny, and any evidence espoused is purely heresay evidence, unverifiable for any independent source.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiinGuest
      Your not suggesting you gathered zip out of the flood account in Genesis are you?

      March 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  19. WASP

    you know as being native american ancestory, i iwished everyone from europe and asia would have believed whole heartedly in the bible and never crossed the ocean to enslave and attempt to exterminate my ancestory. you would have had all your answers and no need to pursue anything else, just sit and wait for your end, while my people flurished and enjoyed what we had been doing for ages.......living in peace with nature. 🙂

    March 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      WASP, I have an adopted sister who is Oglala Sioux. She practices both her native spirituality and Catholicism. I admire the sense of peace her native traditions give her. I'm one of those Europeans whose people floated over in the 1890's. My people were starving back home. But it seems to me that this entire culture is built on soul-less business and materialism. Very tiring.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • gregg

      I watched a good movie depicting what the native americans went thru on Netflix. Everyone should see these movies.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Val Kilmer

      Everyone should see Thunderheart.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • gsm

      Amen, peace to you.

      March 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • eagle eye

      People are the same all over the planet. Ask the Huron, toba.cco and neutral if you can find any after the iroquoix got thru with them. Or the three fires and the sioux killing each other for hundreds of years. The oglala migrated across the missippi to the plains and pretty much tried to destroy all the other tribes already there. I could go on and on but the point is people are people and your ancestors are no different. Read your history.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  20. NutGrinder

    Arguing about religion is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • My child has Downs

      What a horrible and insensitive thing to post !

      March 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.