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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. Tony

    God lives and his only son Jesus died for our sins I feel sorry for all those who don't believe Because all unbilievers will know Jesus lives .Like it or not jesus is coming and I believe this to be true.Amen

    March 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Your kind has believed that Jesus would come back to you for the past 2,000 years... And nothing. You know, I do admire Jesus. He was the greatest charlatan to ever live, and I cannot think of many others who had the capability to fool such a large amount of people for such a long amount of time. His ability in that regard was obviously very impressive.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I believe in the Easter Bunny. So?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  2. Patriarchae

    Reading the comments here, it is pretty clear to me that the belief in a higher power creating everything only exists within human thought as a mechanism against the unknown. This is pretty evident when you ask a believer for proof of creationism or a higher power and the answer is ALWAYS something along the lines of "I don't know how this happened so it must have been god" or "I can't imagine how this could have happened so it must have been god" or "We haven't figured out how this happened so it must have been god". Very predictable and very flawed.

    For a frame of reference, if you were to go back in time pre-Copernicus and tried to explain to someone that our solar system is heliocentric, they would likely have the same reaction we have towards those which we do not understand today, such as the beginnings of our universe, because they simply did not have the sufficient knowledge to comprehend such things.

    It's a cycle. One day we will discover for certain how our universe began. When that happens people will simply find something else that is unknown at the time and assign it to the magical powers of their god, until science discovers how that works and the cycle restarts.

    When you understand this, there really is no reason to put "faith" in a higher power. It is illogical and will one day cause one's beliefs to be outdated and obsolete. If you cannot comprehend how something happened, do not assign it as the work of your god, but rather wait for science to answer the question (or work with science to answer it yourself), as it inevitably will. Anything less results in one living in the filth of ignorance.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  3. aglup86

    I'm sick and tired of these charlatans who insist that their beliefs are the ultimate truth. The only thing they believe in is "almighty $$$$$" More believers/followers = More almighty $$$$$ in their already fat bank accounts. They just cater to people who don't know what to believe in and can easily become their prey. Be and let others be...or believe!!!

    March 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  4. Irish

    6,000 members LOL! That's the size of decent size Any Town, USA church.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  5. nogod

    someone can re-write a book for their own believe and said that god speaks Just like King James bible

    March 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  6. Washingtonian

    Thunderstorms in D.C. right now 🙂 Muhahah!

    March 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And? Did you imagine that the fact there are thunderstorms was significant somehow? We had thunderstorms during the night last week. Was that some sort of "sign", too, you feckwit?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Real Deal

      Dramatic background music and a nice light show to go with an important launch of realistic thought.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    Alejandro Berganza The material proof of the existence of God is the universe itself.

    How so? If that is the case who created god?

    March 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • The real world

      Since, as Christians love to tell us, a creator was necessary for the universe, then the creator needed a creator as well. And that creator needed a creator. And so forth, ad infinitum. Ridiculous

      March 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Brian

      No one created God. By definition, God is not created. The "who made god?" argument is similar to asking about square circles. When we go backwards to try to figure out the origins of the universe, we are going to have to commit to something or someone. We can commit to something material – the universe – or something immaterial – a god or some sort of force. And we're going to have to commit to an absolute something or a contingent something. And this something is either personal or impersonal. The only answer that makes sense is an absolute someone who is immaterial but capable of making material things. The "who made god" argument shows that atheists are not being reasonable. Perhaps they should ask themselves, "Who selected natural selection?"

      March 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There is no 'god'.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why, Brian, do you think it necessary to state that anyone or anything "selected natural selection"?

      Why do you morons think there "MUST" be something or someone acting as the puppeteer of events?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      @ Brian

      If you are perfectly fine with believing that a god does not need a creator, why is it so difficult for you people to accept that the universe doesn't need a creator either? Your logic is utterly flawed, as is most creationist "logic".

      March 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      ok, then. The universe or the world developed from a Big Bang...

      What developed the things that caused the Big Bang; and What developed the things which developed the things which caused the Big Bang..?

      All your atheists are doing is exchanging one absurdity for another (since you say religion or the ideas that God exists is absurd).l

      March 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @Patriarche:

      The universe "needs" a creator because the laws of cause and effect which govern the material world demand it: something has to happen before something else can happen... Christians only hold that the Absolutely first thing that happened was caused by God.

      God would not need a "creator" in the sense of material manifestation, because He is independent of "material" existence...

      March 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @Tom Tom the piper's son:

      Are you serious?

      Does the word "selection" imply an uncalibrated, uncalcualted behaviour or response? Or does "selection" imply a calcualted behaviour?

      What part of the chaotic, universe you suggest has the potential to "select"?

      Identify the uncalibrated, unthinking, mindless influence that "naturally selects" the path that is most creative and beneficial to the largest number... I see one such influence; YOU.

      Did you go to school? Can you read a dictionary... you atheists seem to be inherently stupid.

      My question is:

      Do you deny God because you are stupid, or is because you are stupid that you deny God... which is first, the chicken or the egg?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Alejandro Berganza

      Voice of Reason; the god we talk about in all these discussions is, by definition, outside our quadrivectorial universe. The creator of the universe cannot be thought of as being part of the universe. This would be the same as saying the God created himself or herself. God, if he exists, is the only reality that is. No time no space. Just God. Nothing is outside of God. There is nothing: no planets no galaxies, no time no space: there is only one being that IS and subsists eternally: God. The universe in which we live, as you know, will be no more in a few billion years. This is the 2nd law of thermodynamics. So, the question of "who created God" is based on an assumption rejected by all parties in the discussion: we speculate about a "superior" being who transcends all determinations of our space-time universe.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  8. Alejandro Berganza

    The material proof of the existence of God is the universe itself. If atheists prove that something can come from nothing, that is, if they invalidate the overwhelming evidence of the universe, then they can rest their case. In the meantime atheists must admit that they have more faith than believers, for it requires much faith to believe that a rabbit can be drawn from a previously empty hat or that the universe may be drawn from nothing.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • momoya

      No.

      Atheists don't "have faith.". We are just willing to say we don't know the answers to some questions.. Atheists don't claim to know what started the big bang; we say we don't know.. Atheists don't claim to know why we're here; we say we don't know.. Atheists don't claim to know what happens when we die; we say we don't know..

      God believers don't have any better answers than the atheists, they just claim that "big magic daddy did it with magical incantations" without one bit of proof.. I think that their answer is stupid, and it makes more sense to say "we don't know."

      March 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Alejandro Berganza

      Nomoya, to say "I don't know" is a valid answer, but, then, you would not be an atheist. I am referring to atheists who deny the possibility of a creator of the universe.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • mandarax

      You can tell that argument is meaningless by the fact that you could replace "God" with any other word and it would still work just as well (or just as poorly):

      Zeus created the universe. The material proof of the existence of Zeus is the universe itself.
      Magic hamsters created the universe. The material proof of the existence of magical hamsters is the universe itself.

      Circular, meaningless, failed reasoning.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Alejandro Berganza

      Mandarax, we are not discussing about the name of God: Zeus, Jupiter, Ra, Thor, etc, but about the possibility of ot the existence of that being, whatever his name is. What I say is: the universe is material evidence that YYYYYY exists, where YYYYYY= the name of the god of your preference, as long as long as 'your preference' is a creator of divine nature. Of course, you can disregard the material evidence. I don't.

      March 27, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      If something can't come from nothing, where did your god come from? It's not fair to say that he's been around forever, because it's easy enough to counter that the universe may have been around forever, expanding and collapsing for eternity.

      So where did your god come from?

      March 27, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  9. .

    David I am sorry if the world wasn't kind to you. But you are going down the path of hatred and anger your only going to make enemys doing this. It will change you and you will become even more embraced in the negativity you have created. You have free will and your choosing to make war instead of peace? Life is meant for us all not one way or the other. Reaspect and live with the choices of others instead of fighting them. There is so much love on this earth yet you want to fight its biggest ally? The creator himself? David this will only end bad stop now before you lose yourself.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  10. waitasec

    the times they are a changin'

    good.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  11. A W Messenger

    20,000 broken minds, filled with hatred toward their fellow man, congregating in one place: Sounds like a pre-game pep-rally for the after-life of lost souls.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • momoya

      Most atheists are not "filled with hatred" toward anybody.. We certainly don't think it's a good idea to torture people's souls forever and ever in a pit of fire and we don't trust a non-proved being who would think that idea was a good and loving one.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      A W, as soon as you can produce any evidence that any 'souls' exist, that any 'souls' are 'lost to eternity', that atheists are 'filled with hate' or any of the other craptastic nonsense you posted, do alert the media.

      I can hardly wait, you lying sack.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • waitasec

      hate?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • dkm

      sounds like a gathering of evangelicals or holy rollers....these people have just as much right to assemble as these religious groups do...that's what America is suppose to be all about "Freedom to believe in whatever you wish"

      March 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  12. forwardmarch

    There is no god. We're all stuck here on this ball of rock and iron until we die and decomposed back into the dirt. We don't magically transport to another dimension and get halos, wings, harps, and a cloud to lay on for all eternity. We don't go to hell for punishment either. Religious people are religious because they are afraid of death and their belief of a mythical afterlife helps them deal with it. When we die we don't go anywhere – we just cease to exist. That's all folks.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      I'll give that a standing ovation AND an amen!

      March 24, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Woody

      Good post. As Mark Twain once said, "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

      March 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Atom

      We do not necessarily cease to exist, we existed for a very long time, ever since the big bang but have different combination of subatomic particles than other things. I feel like organisms and planets are small chemical reactions that occur before reaching equilibrium (death) in the scope of the universe.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  13. John

    This is a new religion.
    David Silverman is a profit.
    They have their "Holy Men" who are revered by their members. James Randi, Richard Dawson, Charles Darwin
    They have religious services with a sermon.
    They are preaching to the "non-believers"
    They have there "holy books." Origin of the Species. (A very good book)
    They are trying to convert they masses.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Patriarchae

      Nope. Using hyperbole doesn't make what you say true. By your logic, any organization for anything is a religion.

      The fact is that atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. No more, no less. Just because atheists are a minority, and so naturally have a desire to seek out fellow freethinkers, does not make atheism a religion.

      I'm not surprised that you seem to lack any logic whatsoever.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Jebus Zombie

      hey troll here are some of my fav. quotes from your holy bable and you wonder why people are leaving christianity:

      Genesis 1:16-17:
      "God made two great lights the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth."
      You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7

      March 24, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Nat Q

      Logic by John...

      Football is a new religion.
      Roger Goodell is a prophet.
      They have their "Holy Men" who are revered by their members. Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow...
      They have weekly religious services with a pregame show sermon.
      They are preaching to the "non-believers" to get them to watch
      They have thier "holy books." NFL Rulebook, Sports Illustrated, etc
      They are trying to convert they masses.

      Democrats is a new religion.
      Barak Obama is a prophet.
      They have their "Holy Men" who are revered by their members. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid...
      They have religious gatherings with a sermon (speech).
      They are preaching to the "non-believers"
      They have their "holy books." Dreams from my Father, My Life, etc
      They are trying to convert they masses.

      You can pick ANY topic and apply John's hyperbolic blustering to it...

      March 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • waitasec

      i suggest you get used to it

      March 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      I'm an atheist, but I've never given a single cent to any atheist organization, and I've never bought any of Dawkins or Hitchens books (I checked them out of the library instead). If a charlatan wanted to get rich by being an atheist leader he'd have to be cracked, and that would be the tip off that he probably wasn't a real atheist to begin with.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  14. JGN

    I've been a vocal anti-theist (or atheist) all my life, never having to snap out of any religious brainwashing from early years. I see the absolute absurdity of churches and religious belief for what it is; people afraid of facing what they believe is 'nothing' on the other side of the coin. Reason and self will isn't the same as 'nothing' at all! It's incorrect when atheists are accused of not believing in anything. We just don't believe in fairies, space aliens and gods walking among us.
    As RIcky Gervais said "I thank god I was born an atheist!"

    March 24, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Jebus Zombie

      We are all born atheist. At some point in our life we were brainwashed by either our parents, society or priests to believe in religion. Morality does not come from religion and certainly not from the bible or koran, both are hateful bloodthirsty books.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  15. priestnking

    As regarding the Big Bang: Consider the coincidences of the first few minutes, and later as planets formed and cooled, coincidences that led to life and consciousness. From a ball of energy that turned into rocks and water, we get the consciousnes of a thought. And all by random, unthinking reactions. Even to an athiest this lie of reasoning must seem a bit forced! Why not choose to believe and humbly acknowledge that God is behind all this?

    March 24, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • momoya

      Why believe in a myth perpetuated by the culture in a certain geography.. Your certainty sounds just like the muslims'; and you both offer the same amount of proof for the myth you grew up in–NONE.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @priestnking says..."Even to an athiest this lie of reasoning must seem a bit forced!"

      No, actually it does not. It makes perfect sense unlike the dribble you propose.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Jebus Zombie

      hahaha.. christian troll telling us how universe was created by that hateful jehovah. christian god doesn't even know that moon does NOT have its own light, rather the moon reflects light of the SUN and christians want to tell us how the universe was created.. hahahaha.. what a joke..

      Genesis 1:16-17:
      "God made two great lights the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth."

      March 24, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Nat Q

      There isn't a single "coincidence" involved. Can you cite one?

      Rather, there were natural physical laws that natural, physical particles and forces reacted to in natural, physical, predictable ways. That is not the definition of "coincidence."

      March 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Atom

      you my good sir/madam have to do more research on the matter beacuse there is much much more logic, science and evidence behind how planets and life came into existence.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  16. Mark Plus

    I grew up in “rapture ready” Tulsa in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and I wish I could have joined an atheist group in my teens just to have some sane people to talk to. In fact I envy people who grow up as atheists because to me they seem like characters from an advanced, futuristic civilization out of science fiction.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • BobbyTN

      Think how much further advanced we might be right now if we hadn't wasted about 1000 years in the Christian Dark Ages?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  17. YHWH is Laughing

    It is funny how some people think they can compete with the Eternal.

    March 24, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Nat Q

      What's funny is that some adults still can't go to sleep at night without talking to their invisible friend first.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's funny is some dweeb thinking it knows about an 'eternal' that doesn't exist.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Jebus Zombie

      The "eternal" joker called jehovah would rather kill all non christians. your god is a coward, that if he evens exists in your fairytales.

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7

      Kill anyone who refuses to listen to a priest. Deuteronomy 17:12-13

      Kill any false prophets. Deuteronomy 18:20

      March 24, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  18. T C Cooper

    It is obvious that man did not just appear here on earth and some may believe that science has a big part to plan with the evolution of man and all creatures that share and co exist here on earth. I am fortunate to be a Christian and have a personal relationship with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I believe that God created heaven and earth and know that prayer, meditation and the wise words that he gave the prophets of the bible are gifts to aid us who believe while we are living here on earth. I do believe that organized religion and being a Christian who has a personal prayer and thankful relationship with the good lord is two different subject matters. From what I understand of the Atheist belief , god is quesitioned and prayer does not change things. I am not here to judge and can only live my life by an example of my own true beliefs which are God is real and every knee will bow and every tounge will confess that Jesus is Lord. I do also belileve that all who claim to be Christians or have a belief in God are not sure what to believe because of a lack of studying to show themselves knowledgable of the good book (bible). I do believe that meditation and prayer help to bring one closer to guidance , peace, patience, clarity, self worth. I do believe that we are not here to judge one another but we are here to inform, give kindess, and bless someone everyday if only with kind words. I will say that if you do not believe in God, and only believe in self, man was created in the image of God, so would you not say that you still believe in God. It all boils down to making sure that you are not harming anyone with your beliefs nor imposing your disbeliefs on those who may not understand what to believe. All should seek the truth for oneself and understand that the beautiful spirit that dwells within each of us is holy and must be nutured appropriately so that we can all focus on helping others. Peace and Blessings to you all

    March 24, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      You do not need religion or god to accomplish what you seek. You are missing out on the now for the after life that is not proven.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • final

      Lol, who cares that in practice, people who pray with faith get what they want? Who cares that for 2 millenia wonders have been shown to the world from Christianity? I mean, on paper its not proven right? Who cares about real life? Paper is more important.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Patriarchae

      @final

      Oh really. So I guess all of those who are suffering from terminal illness, poverty, abuse, and starvation in this world aren't praying hard enough then?

      You're a sick individual. If there really was a god, I guarantee that you would be sent straight to hell. Oh, the irony.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • BobbyTN

      final
      Statistically, people who don't pray have as many favorable events happen in their lives as those who pray, it's just that the praying people link their actions to what the rest of us recognize as just random chance and hard work.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      While you mention accomplishment; do you know that many or most of the scientific accomplishments made today are influenced by the study of religious/spiritual material? Let me illustrate:

      The theory of the structure of the atom:
      There is an ancient principle "As above so below" which is also apart of the Christians' "Lord's Prayer" (Thy Will be done on earth as in heaven) taught by Jesus. Early scientists deduced that just as the planets revolved around a central son in the macrocosm, there should be a similar arrangement in the microcosm. Hence we see that atomic structure was suggested long before the invention of devices which could detect them. (And even if they didnt refer to such sources, those sources did give accurate information, because atoms are just as they implied).

      The conservation of energy/matter:
      This is an attempt to modify an ancient principle of transcendence of structures, taken from eastern philosophy... that particular principle suggests that the universe is a Mind (the Mind of God to be exact), and God is referred to as THE ALL (as in all that really exists).

      To investigate these principles on your own, you may serach the following: The Kabala, The Kybalion: The Seven Hermetic Principles, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita...

      So be aware that the these men (like Mr. "Silverman") who propose that there is no God, do not have your empowerment and success in mind. They are actually attempting to strip you of power and powerful knowledge to make you easier swayed by their intellect.

      A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS MADE BY THESE ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS, WAS AIDED BY THEIR STUDY AND PRACTICE OF CONCEPTS OF SPIRITUALITY AND CONCEPTS OF GOD... SO FEEL FREE TO LET THEM BRAINWASH YOU.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @VOICE OF REASON:

      While you mention accomplishment; do you know that many or most of the scientific accomplishments made today are influenced by the study of religious/spiritual material? Let me illustrate:

      The theory of the structure of the atom:
      There is an ancient principle "As above so below" which is also apart of the Christians' "Lord's Prayer" (Thy Will be done on earth as in heaven) taught by Jesus. Early scientists deduced that just as the planets revolved around a central son in the macrocosm, there should be a similar arrangement in the microcosm. Hence we see that atomic structure was suggested long before the invention of devices which could detect them. (And even if they didnt refer to such sources, those sources did give accurate information, because atoms are just as they implied).

      The conservation of energy/matter:
      This is an attempt to modify an ancient principle of transcendence of structures, taken from eastern philosophy... that particular principle suggests that the universe is a Mind (the Mind of God to be exact), and God is referred to as THE ALL (as in all that really exists).

      To investigate these principles on your own, you may serach the following: The Kabala, The Kybalion: The Seven Hermetic Principles, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita...

      So be aware that the these men (like Mr. "Silverman") who propose that there is no God, do not have your empowerment and success in mind. They are actually attempting to strip you of power and powerful knowledge to make you easier swayed by their intellect.

      A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS MADE BY THESE ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS, WAS AIDED BY THEIR STUDY AND PRACTICE OF CONCEPTS OF SPIRITUALITY AND CONCEPTS OF GOD... SO FEEL FREE TO LET THEM BRAINWASH YOU.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  19. $

    Silverman received several death threats from Jews and Muslims over his silly billboards and reported to the police... what a f-a-g.

    March 24, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • momoya

      What should he have done about the death threats??. Are you saying that a person should not call the police when they have information on a crime that is to be carried out?

      March 24, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Jebus Zombie

      The biggest f-a-g is that jehovah and allah. Religion has no place in a civilized society.

      Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

      Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16

      Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7

      Kill anyone who refuses to listen to a priest. Deuteronomy 17:12-13

      Kill any false prophets. Deuteronomy 18:20

      March 24, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • BobbyTN

      Yet, if a Christian pastor got death threats from the same people he'd be a hero, right?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @JESUS ZOMBIE:

      Well, have the rational men of your day done better?

      When you attack another country and install your idea of good government (Democracy), how is that different from killing people who dont share your views?

      THE PROBLEM IS NOT WITH RELIGION NOR GOD; THE PROBLEM IS WITH FOOLS WHO WILL USE ANYTHING THEY CAN TO CARRY OUT THEIR PLANS, EVEN IF IT IS SCRIPTURE.

      And I know that you dont know the implications of what you said about "jehova" and "allah"... I bet you have never picked up a bible and read it for yourself...

      Because if you knew what you were saying, you would have died with those words on your lips or finger tips: "No man having known Him, can turn away".

      March 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  20. Voice of Reason

    I plead to our government of the Untied States of America to tax all organizations that have religious or supernatural underpinnings in their foundations. These groups wrought fraud and dishonesty upon our society and benefit financially. They are at the base of hampering our scientific progress towards the understanding of our natural world and a betterment towards humanity.

    March 24, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • $

      Good Luck with that..... Religious places will NEVER get taxed. In God We Trust will never be abolished.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Sue

      VoR, I'm with you on that quest. Tax the churches and stop them from buying the priests those fancy, expensive dresses too.

      In religion we don't trust.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Sue
      I know, what's with those creepy outfits? Tell me that doesn't wreak of insanity!

      March 24, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Jack

      What on earth are you talking about? Religious organizations have ZERO impact on where science goes. Scientists from all fields can do whatever they want. It's the churches who help people and fight for human rights. It's the Churches who feed the hungry and give up their time to do it.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Jack

      Apparently we are not living on the same planet.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • BobbyTN

      Jack
      How many churches feed the hungry without preaching to them? It's just the toy in the Happy Meal, a way of getting people hooked on the real product by offering a free prize.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, really, Jackazz? Why then was research delayed or halted on stem cells during the Shrub administration?

      March 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @VOICE OF REASON:

      Aetheism is not new and a lot of govenment offical are atheists, but yet they have not taxed nor tried to erase religion as such; do you know why?

      Because the belief in a Higher Being who demands order and justice is central to the continuation of a civil society... In other words, your govenment cannot goven wiothout God. They rely on God even if they dont "believe" in him because "religion is the opiate of the people" (Karl Marx). Without the beleif that God would hold man accountable for his doings, the nations would plunge into anarchy perpetually.

      Why? Because if there is no such "Divinity", then there is no Absolutely true reason to abide by any laws nor principles because life is meaningless, coming from nothing and going into nowhere... so people start thinking, "why not kill and be killed instead of living to suffer"? Abiding by the principle of greater men would then represent a lack of confidence in self and lack of self respect... and if humans are willing to break the laws of a god, why would they obey the laws of a man who cant even tell what will happen to him next?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:23 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.