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. Chewbacca

    Here's my video of the Reason Rally, there was a decent turnout considering the rain and all.

    In the video, there are people arguing at the end.


    March 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • mandarax

      Thanks, Chewie!

      March 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Wish I could've been there. I would have loved to mingle with the xtians.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  2. Jesus Saves

    There is sooooooo much I want to say but I don't have much time so I will leave you with this: This article and atheist comments are devastating and heartbreaking to a Christian woman like myself but also just proving over and over to me of how very real our Lord is and how very TRUE his words are in our HOLY BIBLE which is not a book it's a precious gift and has several warnings in its scriptures about what is happening right here and in this world. So many will deny him, and so many will die and go to hell before giving up their pride and self and believing and trusting in God and his son='( I pray for each an every man/woman/child who are lost tonite without salvation. I love them all just as God does. God sent his precious son to die on the cross for us and our sins so we could be FREE and go home to Heaven with him one day. Easter is soooooo very real and celebrates the day our Lord and Savior of the world Jesus Christ who overcome death and rose again and is waiting to come back to get his children. Oh Lord I pray for this lost people who need you more than ever!! I pray for their souls!! God Bless Amen.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • reason

      Did it work? Anyone out there have their soul saved?

      March 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Jesus

      Dear Jesus Saves,

      Thank you for your prayer and taking time out of your busy schedule to beseech me. Unfortunately, I'm busy polishing the streets of gold and don't have time to perform any miracles. While your devotion to me is kind, you completely missed the point of me coming to earth. Somehow when I intended to set you free from your bondage to religion and get you to start thinking for yourself, you decided I was actually asking you to trade one addiction for another. When I said, "You are the light of the world," I was giving you everything you need to know. Somehow you interpreted that as "Jesus is the light of the world. " Well, I was, and so are you. Please stop wasting your precious moments of life worshiping me. It's creepy and a bit stalker-ish. All of this sycophantic supplicating is really beneath you. If you could learn to love your fellow man more than me, then you'd truly understand what it means to be alive. In short, it's not me, it's you.



      March 25, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Jesus

      [PS] Forgive any spelling or grammatical errors I might have made. I'm having to translate this from Greek into English and the angel that normally does this for me had to go back in time to stop a plot by Hitler where he succeeds and ends up ruling the world in an alternate universe. (Note, this is the 3rd universe this week, so naturally I'm a little irritated)

      – Jesus

      March 25, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • enigma

      @ "Jesus" – You could give a class on disrespectful and while you may take that as a compliment – just do one thing for me. Imagine, just imagine (since theres no belief there) that there is a God and that Christ is really sitting at His right hand. And that Jesus Christ is there because He really is Lord. Now imagine yourself standing before them both – the Creator of all and The One who died for YOU – and They ask you to read the contents of that mock letter you sent to "jesus saves" Suggestion: If that scenario gave you even the slightest bit of discomfort......call a nondenominational church, tell 'em what you just did and they'll know what to do from there. Seriously.

      March 25, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Jesus

      Dear enigma,

      See? This is why I didn't want to die on the cross. I knew that even though I would tell people who I am, there would still be doubters. Since you obviously like riddles, here's one for you:

      If my dad IS the creator of all, then he must have created himself as he is part of all. If dad is omnipresent then he must be everywhere at once meaning he IS all. But that would mean that everything that is, IS my dad. This is a little human paradox I've tried to solve for the last 475 years (trust me, it's not as long as it sounds like).

      March 25, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes socks.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  5. b4bigbang

    One one

    Perhaps you and "Reality" should get together and sort this all out. When you are done tell the rest of us what the "truth" is.

    Hey one one, didya see the Krauss video? 'Something from nothing', i think it's called.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • momoya

      You're a liar and a colossal jerk.. I'm glad when I find out people like you are also outspoken christians.

      March 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      b4bigbang is a demonstrated liar.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  6. LumpenMensch

    Atheism; the Party of No. The problem with most atheists, aside from the fact that they are usually insufferably arrogant and monumentally boring is that they really have nothing to offer besides non belief. Seriously, we get it, you don't believe in anything other than yourselves and your limited existence as you choose to see it. Got it the first five hundred times you said it, is it really necessary to keep repeating yourselves ad nauseam?

    March 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It is when the thumpers attempt to force creationism into the classrooms our taxes pay for. It is when bangers attempt to abrogate rights we have by law.

      Quit doing that.

      And if atheists and agnostics didn't post here, you wouldn't bother to show up.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  7. Moncada

    Early on this thread I posted on how I (a Christian) respected my Muslim friend's religion, a lot of people say religion is the start of war? Well this Atheist posted "then you must not like your friend because you aren't converting him like the Bible says."
    What? Was that person encouraging religious conflict to prove her point?

    March 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  8. Kammi

    Atheist's don't want religion forced on them, but they don't mind denying others their freedom to believe. I'm a Christian. If a 'Book of Mormon' is in my hotel room...I just don't read it. No one is forcing me to. So what's their problem with a 'Holy Bible'. They have the choice of whether to read it or not, but their idea of American does not give others the same choice.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Moncada

      If I stayed at hotel and found a Koran I'll just leave it there and done. There is no reason for me to get aggravated.

      March 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Atheist4_35years

      The Kammi how would you feel if there was a law that forces you to read it? That you don't have a choice, that you will do as the Book of Mormon tells you to do? You will be forced to follow the code within the Book of Mormon! Think about it, it's the exact thing we have to deal with with YOUR religious laws! You're so hard wired to control everyone with your code of the bible you don't see a problem with that and no one should be upset with it??? Are you kidding me? Be careful what you wish for, for one day the shoe might be on the other foot. I really don't care if you want to believe in a sky monkey or not, just keep it either in your church or your private life and NOT in our government to control everyone with your beliefs.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @Atheist for 35 years:

      The Words say "come to me for my yoke is easy and my burden is "light" " (light might also imply knowledge, thus the difficulties of achieving accurate knowledge).

      Where does God Himself or His "Son", enforce any law that you should read any thing?

      The only law that implies that is the one in the ten commandments "Take not the Name of the Lord in vain", but it a logical that in order to relate to Him you must know his "Name", which is to say His reputation or record of potential.

      The other laws were only enforced to move the community through a phase in their development; once they were in more suitable "waters", they would naturally not kill and lie and such because for one, the environment will be less hostile. All laws are standards put in place to achieve higher standards, so once the objective is complete, why is there an enforcement... the negativity you perceive most likely originates in your mind.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  9. b4bigbang

    One one: "Does the universe have four corners?"

    It might. One of my atheist friends turned me on to Dr Krauss who is announcing that the universe is flat.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Hey, how about coming clean about those textbooks?

      March 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @ONE ONE:

      A flathead will naturally have a flat view of everything... nothing strange there.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  10. b4bigbang

    hey where is everybody?

    March 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They left because you're a turd.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  11. maggie3

    All he wants is attention. Give it to him. When you see him and his group–just laugh-

    March 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • momoya

      how christ like of you.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  12. SpreadLove

    Romans 14:11
    It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"

    Why spend so much time trying to disprove something you don't believe in...

    Just my take on it. Please don't waste your kindness leaving ugly comments below; I won't be back to read them.

    My best regards and much love to you ALL!

    – Child of God

    March 24, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Sharlene

      Thank You so much for responding with so much calm and clarity please pray for Silverman with me and for his atheist daughter.

      March 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • OR

      @SpreadLove = Eyes shut, fingers in ears, humming LALALALALALALALALAAAAA....

      March 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @SpreadLove, As been stated many times, we spend so much time on it because of the damage the religious movement does to the rights of individuals, whether it be abortion, birth control, gay marriage, or stem cell race, AND the damage it is doing to education by promoting unscientific ideas a fact to children.

      March 25, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  13. Cashun Please

    Judging by the amount of comments on this story, its safe to say that religion is still a very serious issue facing us going forward in America. Religion is why our troops have to play police all around the world. Religion is why black people were brought to this country as slaves. Religion is why so many psycos are out there telling us the world is gone end on a certain date. Religion created Hitler, Stalin, Osama bin Laden, etc. Religion is why we keep electing the same clowns year after year in this country to run our government. Religion is why so many people are drug addicts and overall lowlifes that don't want to work, and expect the rest of us to take care of them. It all starts with religion. If there was really a "god", why is it taking him so long to clean house. Why? So many people in this country need a serious wake-up call. America will cause its own demise and its because it has allowed this "farce" to go on for too long. Religion is the root of all that is wrong in this world and no one can ever tell me any different.......

    March 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  14. Francisco Cruz

    it's amazing that we as humans have only step on one other planet called the Moon! we don't know whats out there in a Universe that is so large yet we can say beyond a shadow of a dought that there is no GOD!! how can anyone qualify such a statement without proof that unless you have visited every corner of the universe and investigated every possible planet out there you can come to that conclusion i say to any anthist that if you want me to support your belife first show me the evidance that you have been to the four corners of the universe!! then i will belive.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • One one

      You can make the same argument for the existence of pink 3 headed elephants that fly and breath fire. Do you accept the possibility that such creatures exist?

      March 24, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Peter

      Its easier to show you the proof of civilizations 8-10,000 years older than any modern "God" and say it really looks far more like aliens with the construction all over the world of sites made out of blocks of stone that we couldn't really replicate today. Why is your particular invisible friend the one right and true one when he was only created 2 thousand years ago? All religions start with someone coming down from the sky and spreading knowledge or impregnating someone and a leader being born.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • One one

      Does the universe have four corners?

      March 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • ZMT123

      The Moon is not a planet.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  15. False Dichotomy

    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.


    Not even once.

    When we do 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 6:53 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Look, just because god used to be credited with making people sick, until we discovered germs...or just because god used to be credited with making people well, until we discovered the immune system...or god used to be credited with rain, until we discovered the water cycle and global wind belts...or just because god used to be credited with making the sun and moon rise in the sky, until we discovered heliocentrism...or just because god used to be credited with tides and eclipses, until we discovered gravity and earth-moon dynamics...ad nauseum...doesn't mean that the real magic won't be hiding in the gaps science still hasn't filled.


      March 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  16. do so understand

    Love the sinner for being just that and know full well that Christ came for the sinners' sakes. God has proclaimed Biblically and/or Scripturally that all will live an abundancy of Life evermore throughout the grains of eternalness. Living forevermore does not mean one dies but once but rather Life is lived out and then after dying one is given a new body to live out and this will go on forever. Anyone who says we will live eternally is but rendering a half-truth. We die evermore to live ever onward and thru reincarnation we go thru the Cosms of Life ever inwardly and until we stand at the chasm of nothingness's end of the line. Only then, will we begin again to climb the Chasms of the MicroCosms and in eventuality this MacroCosmos.

    I stand affixed to the crossroads of Celestial Life and anyone who knows my Word is Truthfulness, They should walk this Life according their creeds of righteousness froesaking not to ever remember their Life's Challenges.

    Love is the Mover that shakes up the Living,
    P. D.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Sorree about that name change,,,,, Got befuddled in typing ,m 🙂

      March 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • One one

      Perhaps you and "Reality" should get together and sort this all out. When you are done tell the rest of us what the "truth" is.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  17. Reality

    A 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.


    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

    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.

    (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 6:31 pm |
    • ayala

      Yeah, let's look into Silverman's finances and see how he supports himself. Probably like the TV evangelists who suck money from their believers.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  18. Nii

    The Parable of de Good Samaritan proves squarely that Christ didnt consider religious observance as obedience 2 him but rather ethical behaviour. To persistently try 2 quote de Bible to justify yourself that we hate u cos of ur religion is paranoid. OT passages about Palestine wars is also not coy!

    March 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  19. believer

    he hate god because he was born with a small pen!s...

    March 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes cat litter.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things:

      The function of prayer is not to get things easy... according to popular belief (held by even many Christians). The function of prayer is to align the man's objective with his Higher Potential.

      Notice that there is no difference between prayer (the action) and prayer(the person praying)?

      Thats because the idea is to immerse yourself so deeply in your objective that you can see nothing else but the completing of the objective...

      So prayer should not change the world; prayer should transform the man.... Its interesting how some people scorn and ridicule something that they know nothing about. But then again it makes sense, because if you knew anything, you would be practising not arguing against it.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • One one

      @voice. Then why do I constantly hear "we shall pray for the victims" of some hardship? Prayer seems to always be invoked to beg god for help with people's problems.

      And what is this supposed to mean? John 14:14: “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

      March 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @ONE ONE:

      There are such things as hypocrites you know... the bible said faith without works is dead; so the more "Christian" thing to do is to haul ass to help people, not pray and hope that they wont starve to death etc... but some people dont really care, as long as the same thing doesnt happen to them... yet they like the feeling of being godly (thats all it is to some people, a feeling).

      I am currently exploring that expression "whatever ye ask..."; so I cant say much as yet. But thus far I have learned that:
      1. The name given in the bible, is not Christ's true name...
      2. Name does not necessarily mean words, name may refer to reputation...
      3. In His name may suggest using the authority He bestows upon you...
      4. He might have given the instruction to test the validity of the concept of God (he might have been speaking sarcastically when he refered to the goodness of God, His father in heaven).
      4. The expression was mistranslated... and probably really was something like "when you come to this community, whatever you ask and say you are familiar with me (use my name), they will provide you with".

      But there is one question that requires us to abandon all of the above suggestions and similar ones:


      As such, his name would not have been a "magic word" that you use to do amazing stuff (though people report successes from attempting that). It would be more like a way of identifying yourself as a part of a community which you look to for some benefit...

      March 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @ONE ONE:


      4. The expression was mistranslated... and probably really was something like "when you come to this community, whatever you ask and say you are familiar with me (use my name), they will provide you with".

      SHOULD BE:

      5. PERHAPS, the expression was mistranslated... and probably really was something like "when you come to this community, whatever you ask and say you are familiar with me (use my name), they will provide you with".

      March 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Jesus wanted to be the first mason.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:49 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.