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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. Cashun Please

    Well, for me personally I do not believe there is a "god". I just cannot find any reason whatsoever to believe that there is some higher power in charge of anything. Where is the proof??? So many so called "christians" are the worst of the worst people you ever want to meet. They are very fake, shallow, judgemental, dishonest, etc. They run to the church and use the bible as an excuse for everything thats wrong with their life. No one wants to accept the truth and that is......You are responsible for you, and all the decisions, mistakes, accomplishments, faults, goodness, honesty, etc.....its all on you. No one is gonna save you from you. If you wanna go out an do something dumb, god is not going to swoop in and save the day like superman does in the movies. It just does'nt work like that.......

    March 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Yep, you got it. Religion is all about 3 things:

      1) Allowing one to shun all responsibility
      2) Creating complacent and ignorant machines who will believe what they are told and do what they are told
      3) Gaining money and political power for church leaders

      March 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Sabrina

      Religion can be good in the sense that it can bring out an inner strength that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. When someone has no support or nothing left, they can always say "Well, Jesus still loves me" and push through. However, I find this sort of a cheat-code for life. When things get to hard, turn to God/Jesus and you can somehow muddle through. I find it both a strength and a weakness, because without the religion, they are weak.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  2. shabeer Ahmed

    hi, dude so you won't believe in the god exiting,i can remind you about the famous philosopher Francis Bacon,

    Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God. If you translate this into Arabic, it is La illaha illal la, There is no god, (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake god) but God (with a capital ‘G’).

    March 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Really now? Care to explain why 90% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences are atheists then?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Sabrina

      I can't believe you actually posted something this offensive, on the public CNN blog....

      March 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Bandwagon argument coming from Patriarchae?

      March 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • AGuest9

      85%-93% are the figures being used. I can't speak for my brothers and sisters on the "other side of the house", and have never asked on "my" side.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  3. Chad

    So what exactly is atheist's argument against the existence of God?

    Some guidelines for you when answering:
    – "Christians are stupid" or some form thereof, isnt an argument about God
    – "People make stuff up all the time, they made up God" – it's true people make stuff up (atheists for example have made up a tale that God doesnt exist), however, that doesnt bear positive or negative on the actual existence of God.
    – "Jesus wasnt real" – isnt an argument that can be taken seriously, see wikipedia on Historicity of Jesus. If you want to argue Jesus' divinity, that's a good argument, but not his historical existence.
    – Leonard Mlodinow has stated that "Since science relies on the existence of laws, it can not ever disprove God", so arguments that science has explained everything and nothing else is left unexplained are incorrect.
    – "Religion has done terrible things to people throughout history" is an argument about man, not God.

    March 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Now let's turn that (incredibly stupid) post upside down and list the arguments for the existence of god!

      – Because a book written by bronze-age goat herders says so
      – Because I just have faith in it!
      – Because Jebus himself snuck into my window and whispered into my ear at night (totally not schizophrenia bro!)
      – Because I'm not intelligent enough to comprehend how the world works so it is easier to just say "goddunit"
      – Because god's totally a good dude, man! (just ignore all the suffering and misery in the world, that's because they're dirty godless heathens)

      And finally, the most compelling argument:
      – Because I want an excuse to be an ignorant bigot and no rational way of thinking will let me be so

      Totally compelling, huh?!?!?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Chad, it is actually much more simple than that.

      Every purported piece of evidence for magic (including divine magic) in all of history has eventually been explained by something other than magic (including divine magic). There is no historical precedent that anything we don't currently understand is the result of divine magic. None at all.

      There is not objective evidence whatsoever, and never has been, for anything like a supernatural being. That's why.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      There is, however, overwhelmingly abundant evidence that humans construct supernatural explanations for things they don't understand, and have formally made up over 2,000 different gods in the course of written history. I think even you would admit that 1,999 of those 2,000 have not been real. The evidence for you version of God is not any better than the evidence for any of those others.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @False Dichotomy "Every purported piece of evidence for magic...."

      you arent allowed to say "People make stuff up all the time, they made up God" – it's true people make stuff up (atheists for example have made up a tale that God doesnt exist), however, that doesnt bear positive or negative on the actual existence of God.

      ==========
      @Patriarchae "Christians are stupid" (paraphrase mine)

      "Christians are stupid" or some form thereof, isnt an argument about God

      still waiting for your evidence...
      Atheism is really a self refuting position, it is impossible to prove that God doesnt exist.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Well, actually I am allowed to say that.

      But, that's not what I said, I said "Every purported piece of evidence for magic (including divine magic) in all of history has eventually been explained by something other than magic."

      March 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Chad

      @False Dichotomy "I said "Every purported piece of evidence for magic (including divine magic) in all of history has eventually been explained by something other than magic.""

      =>ah, ok then, how was the universe created?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      I know where you're going and that is my point exactly.

      We don't know how the universe was made (or even if it was), but that is not evidence that it's the result of magic. Which bring us back to my original point: the fact that NOTHING we have ever not yet understood has EVER turned out to be magic in all of history, indicates that there's no reason to expect it to be magic in this case either.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @False Dichotomy "We don't know how the universe was made (or even if it was), but that is not evidence that it's the result of magic. Which bring us back to my original point: the fact that NOTHING we have ever not yet understood has EVER turned out to be magic in all of history, indicates that there's no reason to expect it to be magic in this case either.:

      +.Let me get this straight, you're saying that everything that science has been able to explain, they have explained. However
      there still are things unexplained.

      And, the things that the bible describes as actions by God, are on that unexplained list.

      ok, got it.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      No, you don't have it, but I've been down this road before and I'm not interested.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      I'll leave you with this, and then if you want to have the last word, you may. This is the same concept, worded differently:

      In the 5,000 years of written human history, not one thing we ever thought to be the result of magic has ever turned out to be the result of magic.

      Never.

      Not even once.

      When we do eventually comprehend things, they turn out to be explained by natural processes we did not yet understand. Every time. Why is that so hard to grasp?

      March 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Chad

      @False Dichotomy "When we do eventually comprehend things, they turn out to be explained by natural processes we did not yet understand. Every time. Why is that so hard to grasp?"

      =>right, I got it. Science has a great many things that were thought at one time to be who-knows-what.
      however, all of the things ascribed to God, are still on the unexplained list, right?

      I know you hate to admit that.. but it's just true right?

      March 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  4. Sabrina

    Atheism, to me, does not mean tearing apart the religious communities. For me, it simply means that I do not need a higher power to guide my life. I don't need to be told that I will burn in hell for eternity if I kill someone, for me to know I shouldn't kill anyone. But where is does clash with religious communities, is when we have large groups of people believing that I am going to hell for eternity simply because I do not believe in a higher power, and that I need to be shunned, and silenced because of it. That is what this rally is about, for me.

    March 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  5. swaf

    Atheists always cry about people proving that God exists, yet cant prove that he doesnt, you can only prove the falibility of human error in text or semingly incorrect information. While at the same time we can say the same thing that atheists put thier faith in, science. If you think science has explained it lets look at its history and falibility, just like we look back and see how science was errored or incorrect, in the future they will do the same things about our science. But what does it matter, everyone gets old and dies so we will find out in the end anyway, wont we.

    March 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Science is meant to change and theories are simply our best guesses given existing data. That said, science has provided the computer that you used, the car that you drive, and the medicine you take when you are sick. What has religion provided?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Atom

      No, we can't prove it exists because it has no relation to any scientific law that reality follows. A SCIENTIFIC hypothesis HAS to have the ability to be tested or it is not science. The scientific laws that reality follow has been corroborated intensively by itelligent scientists throughout the world and have not been able to disprove them through testing. Science is about understanding the reality, it's difficult and people who come up with scientific observations are not perfect but science CHANGES and improves unlike relegion which does not. Science goes through natural selection. Science HAS cured disease and progressed humans beyond the wildest dreams of theists 200 years ago.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Good job, you just proved that science is better. As you just admitted, science adapts with the times and admits and corrects any mistakes it makes. Your bronze-age fairy tale on the other hand, is still just that: a bronze age fairy tale.

      And by the way, the whole "you can't prove he doesn't exist" spiel doesn't work anymore. Your god is so illogical that there simply is no scientifically sound way of proving or disproving it. That should be a red warning flag that it more than likely DOES NOT EXIST. And even if it does, the burden of proof is on the believers, not anyone else. Otherwise it would be like me claiming that pink unicorns exist and then asking you to prove that they don't (hint: you can't prove it).

      Moron.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Chad

      @Atom "No, we can't prove it exists because it has no relation to any scientific law that reality follows. A SCIENTIFIC hypothesis HAS to have the ability to be tested or it is not science."
      =>so, how does science prove that I exist?
      Clearly, I do exist.
      However, I have decided not to participate in any "scientific trial" designed to prove that I do in fact exist.

      so, given that situation, how does science prove that I exist?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      @ Chad

      Did you really just ask how to prove that you exist? I'm not surprised that you're a complete moron.

      Well, here's how we prove it: we look at you. Do you look like a human? Do you act like a human? Do you have the internal anatomy of a human? Is your DNA that of a human? Assuming that robots haven't advanced far enough to impersonate humans yet, then bam! We just proved that you're a human!

      Now if only we could do that with your precious god... Oh wait, we can't because he doesn't exist!

      March 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • swaf

      atom – using your logic you can not prove that God doesnt exist, but following that same law of logic you can not prove that he doesnt exist either. If God whether real or not is somthing that is so outside the bounds of reality then you can use that same logic to show that you cant prove that he doesnt exist either.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Patriarchae "Well, here's how we prove it: we look at you. "
      =>I decline to be in a location where you can look at me

      @Patriarchae " Is your DNA that of a human?
      =>I decline to allow you to sample my DNA

      so, question still there, how do you prove I exist?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • swaf

      CORRECTION – atom – using your logic you can not prove that God (DOES) exist, but following that same law of logic you can not prove that he doesnt exist either. If God whether real or not is somthing that is so outside the bounds of reality then you can use that same logic to show that you cant prove that he doesnt exist either.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Commenter

      swaf,

      In the absence of definitive proof one way or the other, the default / fall-back stance is NOT that it IS true.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Atom

      I actually laughed reading the replies to my comment. XD

      March 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  6. swaf

    So these atheists are becoming what they hate, pushy believers of something that they cant prove is what is true or real?

    March 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Our they are standing up against an increasing vocal and delusional minority of fundamental Christians who want to destroy America's scientific standing in the world and eliminate a woman's right to make her own choices.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • ticktockman0

      When atheists have our own version of Rick Santorum running around and being taken somwhat seriously, then maybe you would have a point.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • swaf

      you say your standing up for what you believe, trying to push your weight arround, recruiting/growing at the same time religeons have been saying doing the same things, the very things that you normally would reject and contend against. You know, that, dont push on me what you believe stuff, YOU HAVE BECOME WHAT YOU HATE, how does it feel to be a organized "religeous" movement, not for a god but against any god. The God-less religeon.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  7. Jem

    In the beggining, god became necessary....as all gods have been, to explain away things that man did not have the answers to; floods, earthquakes,drought, death etc. ad infinitum. Later on god became a very convenient means by which some of us could fleece others AND have power over them i.e. Constantines conversion of the Roman Empire AND thereby most of the civilized and uncivilized world. Since time immemorial religion has been a way to claim answers and grasp power.
    Most human beings are simply uncomfortable with the notion that our world is a very chaotic and random place, why do bad things happen to good people? Well isn't it much more comforting to believe its gods plan?? Rather than the truth, that it is a random event that could happen to any of us, even our loved ones. People like the illusion of control over their world even though the truth is we have NONE but if we pray hard enough to a god he will make it alright and protect us.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @JEM:

      Absolute crap! Why?

      You assume that ancient civilizations did not have credible knowledge, which is the cause of your inadequate thinking. Ancient civilizations rather verify that man has been interacting with Higher Intelligence from the beginning.

      a. their ability to grow and sustain crops proved that their knowledge was effective
      b. their ability to construct and design demonstrates that they were very well capable of interpreting reality and transferring concepts logically.
      c. Their medicinal practices, such as the use of herbs, demonstrate that they had keen knowledge of their bodily structures and operations.

      So when these nations and civilizations assert that (a) God exists; they may very well have had real experiences or were making valid deductions.

      You would have sounded more intelligent if you said the belief in God resulted from ancestor worship... but since Christians hold that God was the first living being they would be correct.

      Another SENSIBLE suggestions : "God" is a character that ancient men saw in their dreams (which would actually be a convenient place for a God to reveal himself, so that the perceiver doesn't suffer mental complications from the shock of the experience).

      March 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  8. EX atheist

    Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things....

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate!

    †† Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator ††

    March 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • ticktockman0

      Written flatulence. Obviously someone not interested in discussion, and will influence no one. But, it is your time to waste.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, the poodle-brain that posted this is not quite... normal, to say the least.

      It's probably not qualified to groom a poodle, much less debate with one.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Sabrina

      I really hope your comment was intended as a joke, 'Ex Atheist'. Everything in your list of the reasons why atheist is terrible, are the exact reasons why this rally is taking place. The very first thing on your list, is that atheism is a religion that makes your stupid and blind. Okay the very name 'Atheism' means 'no religion' or 'non-religious', so it is NOT a religion. The part about atheism being stupid and blind, is exactly what we are having this rally to prevent. We are here to spread knowledge, not faith.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • exico

      I was going to ask for sources to your assertions regarding atheists but then it hit me, you're someone who believes that a guy fathered himself in order to send himself to earth in order to kill himself in order to appease himself for the very sins he himself convicted mankind as retribution for having fallen for a trick effected through the agency of a talking snake then has the audacity to claim to be the "mentally healthy" one.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Val

      I'll bet you say that you "leave judgement to the "Lord" don't you? Hypocrite.

      March 25, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  9. ¤Sigh¤

    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son ... Why didn´t you go to DC? I couldn´t make it unfortunately because I´m in business trip

    March 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why should I?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and really? "I'm in business trip"?

      You're "In business trip"? Doing what? Selling cocaine? Meth?

      Lemme know how one gets to be "IN BUSINESS TRIP" you freakin' dink.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  10. Tony

    atheists needs to be ignored... they just want attention from the media and try to make us mentally healthy believers mad

    March 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Does they?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  11. Brett

    Jesus changes lives for the better, heals diseases, sets people free from despair, fear, emotional trauma, etc. I've seen it with my own eyes, experienced it. Religion is man made, can't save you, destroys you. I've been there, done it. Only Jesus is the answer to all the worlds’ problems but unfortunately most people reject Jesus and that is why we have the problems in the world as we have.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, sure. Why are people who believe. who worship, who devote their lives to God still dying of cancer? Why do those who serve your 'god' all their lives still suffering from maladies like Parkinson's, lung cancer, kidney cancer, MS?

      You are an idiot.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  12. Ö

    HAHAHAHA Good Luck getting rid of Christianity from Americas politics, money, culture etc. Good Luck!! 👿

    March 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  13. Ö

    Rick Santorum: I do well ‘among people who take their faith seriously’

    March 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  14. Reality

    money-making scheme by the Silvermans (the atheist version of the Graham family)?? Probably. Internet media networking is doing the same job at no cost and no trip to Washington and $1000 front row seats required.

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS–

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    And then augmented by the following:

    Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ========================================================================================

    March 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  15. Johnny

    Atheists are NOT normal. Proven.
    They are brainwashed and mentally ill

    March 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Proven? Do show any such "proof".

      Oh, wait, never mind. You're an idiot who couldn't produce proof that you're a sentient being.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Keith

      Johnny, It would appear that a volunteer has stepped up and provided an example for the rest of us. Thanks to TTPS for proving your point!

      March 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Irish

    Why are atheists here not on the reason rally ??? Shame shame

    March 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Same reason you're not there to counter them, f3cktard.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • be careful

      The movement that most closely resembles atheism is a bowel movement.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Irish

      Piper's Son.... you should go to D.C. and give Mr. Pig Silverman a blöwjob

      March 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? Wouldn't he let YOU do him? What, are you diseased?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      A bowel movement? I'd love to see you explain how atheism resembles a bowel movement, but i doubt you know much about bowels,your being a high school dropout.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • ticktockman0

      If atheism resembles a bowel movement, then religion resembles constipation. Religious folks need more intellectual fiber.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Irish, first off, many have obligations on weekends to work, family and community. Secondly, you assume that just because one doesn't listen to a pope will jump up and run for any "community organizer". As a free thinker, the concept of listening to people speak at a rally about how to organize to oppose religion doesn't sound very free.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  17. Jem

    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 1:23 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things. .

    March 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  19. Jem

    Atheism is NOT a religion. Not believing in your belifs does not make me BELIEVE in somthing else, quite the contrary I believe in NO religion not just yours.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Irish

      Sure it's not. Atheism IS a religion and will always be until God punish all of them

      March 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yaah, sure thing, Irish.

      Bite me.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Ah, Irish believes in a loving, forgiving god. Must be catholic.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  20. JOSE0311USMC

    HOW DO PEOPLE BELIEVE IN GOD WHEN NO ONE HAVE EVER SEEN HIM ?? HOW CAN SOMEONE BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THAT THEY NEVER SEEN ? no one have seen god ?? do you know of one person that have seen god ??? if god is real ?? why all the killing of men–women–children ??? WHY CAN'T GOD STOP THE KILLINGS ????

    March 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • just sayin

      Why do you not believe the testimonies of the multiple thousands who have seen God?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Because, like you, just lyin, they HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING OF THE SORT. If they had, you freakin' idiot, they'd be able to prove they had. They can't. YOU can't.

      Until you can, no one with any sense will bother to acknowledge you as anything more than a houseplant with a face.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @JOSE0311USMC:

      How do you believe in micro waves and electromagnetic waves if you have never seen them?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Voice of E.Ville, there is a BIG difference between energy and fantasy.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:43 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.