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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. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is delusional.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  2. Herek

    I personally believe that any revolution will create a separation between societies. Up to today an atheist is respected just like any other people who don’t believe in God or a creator, but by doing any public gathering against any faith, this will lead to conflicts in the future. It is not the preacher’s persistency that makes people believes in what they want to believe, but it is your choice to be who you want to be. Don’t blame Santa or a preacher for your weakness, but see through yourself and know that you decided to be where you are today. Go home, if you don’t believe in anything then you have nothing to stand for anyway.

    March 25, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • LinCA

      @Herek

      You said, "I personally believe that any revolution will create a separation between societies."
      Just like the American revolution was wrong, right?
      Just like women's suffrage was wrong, right?
      Just like civil right struggle in the 1960's was wrong, right?

      You said, "Up to today an atheist is respected just like any other people who don’t believe in God or a creator, but by doing any public gathering against any faith, this will lead to conflicts in the future."
      How the fuck is this gathering any different from a prayer gathering? How the fuck is this any different from piling 30,000 believers into a mega-church? Other than, of course, that the people at this one are mostly sane?

      It wasn't a gathering against any faith, it was a gathering for reason. If there's going to be conflict in the future, I fully expect it will be instigated by those that feel their "faith is attacked" by rational thought.

      You said, "It is not the preacher’s persistency that makes people believes in what they want to believe, but it is your choice to be who you want to be."
      No, it's ignorance and fear that makes people believe.

      You said, "Don’t blame Santa or a preacher for your weakness, but see through yourself and know that you decided to be where you are today."
      It is the believers that are weak. They need a crutch to make it through life. They delude themselves that there is more after they die because they fear death. They cling to fairy tales to keep from being afraid of the dark.

      This weekend we set one more step towards shedding insanity and delusion. A small steps, but a step in the right direction.

      You said, "Go home, if you don’t believe in anything then you have nothing to stand for anyway."
      Being an atheist doesn't mean you don't believe in anything, it only means that you don't believe in fairy tales.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Hello

      the primary purpose of religions is to separate the believer from his money. there is a distinct patter of the brainwashing sessions.
      entrance to session.. make them feel welcomed.. music... friendly welcome.
      Guilt trip..make them feel guilty or responsible for the misery of the world... shame thtellem.. tell them they are BAD.
      Tell them "how to make right" .. ok so your are going to h3ll.. what can YOU do to stop it?
      Forgive them..let them feel relief that they are not lost.. be can be SAVED.
      HOW.. give money... and more money... ask the preacher how to live their life... to beg for forgiveness
      pass the plate..
      the "feel good part" now that you have given.. don't you feel wonderful... all clean of your sins and paid for you sins...bath time.
      time for you to leave.... all warm and fuzzy... ready to go work another week so you can bring in more cash next week...

      time to count the money and determine if the brainwashing worked or more effort is needed to increase the income. But more BITE on the.. shame part..may be needed..

      March 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  3. Herek

    I personally believe that any revolution will create a separation between societies. Up to today an atheist is respected just like any other people who don’t believe in God or a creator, but by doing any public gathering against any faith, this will lead to conflicts in the future. It is not the preacher’s persistency that makes people believes in what they want to believe, but it is your choice to be who you want to be. Don’t blame Santa or a preacher for your weakness, but see through yourself and know that you decided to be where you are today. Go home and live your life, if you don’t believe in anything then you have nothing to stand for anyway. What is the point of creating more problems in this troubled planet?

    March 25, 2012 at 6:50 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Pray without ceasing in 2012

    March 25, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • AusieSceptic1

      no it doesn't
      personally I'll be spending 2012 constantly breathing, as well as other things consistent with a normal life

      March 25, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • j-k

      Sorry but you have to stop filling your kid's with lies,because that is the scariest thing that exsist in this World are people like you with no reality check in life.I do not speak bad about people,but about religion.Because i am sorry to say this almost everyone that believe in religion grove up to do crime and lie.Because of the reason they beet brought up with this fairytales with a invisible thing,that if they pray are going to help you thru life.So when that does not happen,then so many religious people end up doing crime.So explain this nature,and you know you can't,without coming with more fairytales.The most important aspect of anyone's upbringing,is to learn to believe in yourself and love,respect,care,honesty and passion towards others.That is the only thing in life that is important,not faith and fairytales that have no important's in life.The only important's in life is how you treat others and respect others.So stop living a lie and start to see the reality for what it is.So start to love and live in peace and stop the fairytales...

      March 25, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  5. j-k

    WHY WHY WHY are people so weak and easy to control.Anyone with any common sense or ability to see reality,should try to be strong enough to see reality in front of fairytales.But the problem today is that people are so scared to believe in themself,so it becomes easier to believe a person that tell you a fairy tale so you do not need to be strong.Like the faith say you do not need proof you only need weakness and stupidity and we lead you the rest of the way.I meet so many preachers in my life and some of them don't even believe,but they love to say they do so they can control people.Because they love the power they get of the human weakness.When you believe in a lie you live a lie.Wake up get strong,i now so many people whom don't believe but still use it to tell people they believe so they can control the weak.And this is no lie i have so many i know whom does this only so they can get what they want from the person.But i tell them too that is wrong too,you should never lie or use anyone no matter what.Always be honest to yourself and others.No religion or faith can never take that away from you.So please do you yourself a favor and wake up and see what the World is all about.For right now hate from all kinds of religion.The atheist do not preach hate only common sense and knowledge.The religious leaders do not want to teach you this because then they can't control you.Please learn to Love,respect and care about everybody and loose the HATE....LOVE AND PEACE FOR ALL....

    March 25, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • Hello

      the mythic programing has been a part of the human community for so long it is accepted as be the truth and the only way humanity can live.
      read about the cultural hummm from Daniel Quinn's Ishmael and Story of B

      the Christian myth was created to control the jews and force them to worship the Roman Caesar's (Flavian Family) as gods. in their temples. which they unlike the other pagans REFUSED. And also pay taxes to the Roman empire.. give to Caesar.. what IS Caesar's.. aka taxes.

      Also to promote slavery which is what provided the labor to build the Roman empire. that is why there are laws on slavery and how slaves are to behave and slave owners are to treat slaves... Jesus never freed slaves.. never will ....

      for more details read Caesar's Messiah.and go to Revolution Radio web site at 8pm MT and listen to the show "Pulling back the Curtain" with Joe Atwill the author of Caesar's Messiah...

      The bible was written as a joke book directed at the Jews.. that is why it is antisemitic... that is why it was written with the Jewish myth as its roots... it is a JOKE....

      March 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  6. ski2xs

    It's hilarious. . .People like kiljoy down there. . putting all their 'faith' in the whole 'POOF' theory.

    Even more mindboggeling are the ones who want to appear smart, so they attempt to argue abiogenesis. Sure. . .ALREADY complex atomic structure all coming together to . . . I guess. . . POOF! LOL

    It's funny. . . if you ever get a chance to sit down with a quantum physicist, a biomolecular engineer that has foundation in atomic theory, . . .you know REAL scientists. You won't find many staunch God haters there. Ya see. We all have a fundemental understanding that at our point in the game. . . we just don't know. Strange, isn't that what faith is about anyway?

    We just don't know! Sure, we have great theories, but in the eventual end all of it we have only begun to scratch the surface.

    And those who want to attempt to rationalize God away as a magic spaghetti cloud man. . .a Zeus like being . . how shallowminded and naive. We can't even fully explain strong forces, color shift in string theory, the VERY BASIS of everthing we know in our universe.

    You don't live because your a mass of chemical composition. You live because of a vast combination of energies and the unique way they interact . . . at SUBatomic levels.

    You ask anyone 'Well, what came before that" . . . and keep doing it. They'll usually get tired and frustrated, but it's not because you're being simple minded. It's because they don't have the answer and it indignifies them.

    Peace out people. . .And remember, even the vacuum and void of space is itself a special goo that can carry energies and particles from vast distances, even some of the very particles that are essential life. If you choose the religion of Atheism, it's your choice. But don't do it blindly because you think some nutjob like Dawkins who fancies himself a scientist is. Be informed. Either we were CREATED, or we weren't. So far, we have no firm evidence that we weren't.

    March 25, 2012 at 4:26 am |
    • HotAirAce

      and not a shred of factual, verifiable, independent or objective evidence that we were. In any other subject area, a subject with this lack of evidence, after 2,000+ years of false claims, would have been discarded. Time for god and religion to take their rightful place next to astrology.

      March 25, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • captain america

      hotair is a useless pos posting from canada as if its opinion was needed by US. The losers in this story gathered in Washington D.C. not ottawa. There's your sign

      March 25, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • Hello

      they also have a extremely lack of knowledge of mythic stories and its history.. they only know the myth they are programed with and have no idea that the stories they are told are not originals.. but copied or altered older ones.
      The Romans were very skilled in incorporating the myths if the people the conquered into their own myths and customs..that is why you see the blending of local myths into the christian myths and it is not objected by the church leaders.. the whole point it to get control of the wealth and power of the culture they take over... You can see that clearly in countries like Mexico which have a blended myth of Catholicism and the older Mayan myth rituals and celebration. It is everywhere the Catholics have invaded and taken over the culture.. Those who refused to convert were ki!!ed. WE are know that.... nothing new there.

      To learn more.. Read Caesar's Messiahs... by Joseph Atwill...

      March 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Captain Asshole, with jerk offs like you as citizens and claiming to represent the USA, it is evident that the USA needs all the help it can get.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  7. Igor

    The author try to cast atheism as some marginal movement. "atheists and agnostics make up between 3% and 4% of the U.S. population" ... WHAT ??? In 21st century? In an educated country? And how many believe in Santa Clause? 96%? The author is delusional. He just shows how much the rational thought is oppressed in this country. As soon as being non-religious will not be synonym to immoral, anti-social and unamerican the percentage of the people who called themselves non-religious will be more than 50%.

    March 25, 2012 at 3:29 am |
  8. Gary411

    It's good to see Atheists taking a stand. There are many more of us than anyone realizes.

    March 25, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  9. [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

    Proper science actually is consistent with scripture; both science and the Book of Revelations predict the end of the universe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MysIaH87XLw

    March 25, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Ashrakay

      No one believes that scripture and science match up but religious people. To wit, your argument that both science and scripture predict and end to the universe falls apart because a) Revelation also predicts a "new heaven and a new earth" and science knows that's not going to happen, and b) there is no point in revelation where everything ceases to be as physics predicts is the ultimate destiny of our universe.

      March 25, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • AusieSceptic1

      the ramblings of st john the less than divine, as recorded in the book of revelations, is hardly in parallel with rational scientific thought

      March 25, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      You are either intellectually biased or selectively mentally retarded. Let me explain:

      1. the authors of the Bible deduced that the created world was made possible by things that are of a more subtle nature, long before your scientists knew science was possible.

      2. The Bible suggests the "fate" of the universe long before your scientists had telescopes.

      3. IF YOU ASSERT THAT ALL THIS CAME FROM "NOTHING"; THEN YOU CANT SAY FOR SURE THAT IT CANT/WONT HAPPEN AGAIN.

      Its interesting that a "fairytale" and your most credible sources of knowledge share the same ideas; yet you ridicule the ones who refer to these "fairytales", while you strut around like geniuses...Pathetic

      March 25, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @AusieSceptic1:

      Please be sure of the meaning of the words before you use them...

      The word "paralled" implies equality (truth, accuracy, righteousness)....

      Now, if the Bible has said is EQUAL to what your scientists are saying about "the end of the universe"; how can you say that they are not parallel?

      The Bibile uses figurativlanguage, "the heavens and earth shall be roled away"... "the stars will refuse to give theri light", and scientist say "the universe will eventually burnaway and die out"; and you see no paralel between them?

      My last questions to you are:

      Are you stupid because you deny God, or did you deny God because you are stupid? It seem like a chicken/egg case: which came first?

      March 25, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @AusieSceptic1:

      Please be sure of the meaning of the words before you use them...

      The word "parallel" implies equality (truth, accuracy, righteousness)....

      Now, if the Bible has said is EQUAL to what your scientists are saying about "the end of the universe"; how can you say that they are not parallel?

      The Bible uses figurative language, "the heavens and earth shall be rolled away"... "the stars will refuse to give their light", and scientist say "the universe will eventually burn away and die out"; and you see no parallel between them?

      My last questions to you are:

      Are you stupid because you deny God, or did you deny God because you are stupid? It seem like a chicken/egg case: which came first?

      March 25, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Oooga Boooga

      [VOE]

      Many cultures and religions around the world have end-of-the-world stories.

      Here's one from India, which long, long, long predates the sci-fi/horror/fantasy tale of Revelation:

      "The world ends through fire and flood, but is reborn, similar to resurrection in other Hindu beliefs.

      The story of the avatars in Hindu mythology provides more depth to the resurrection pattern. Vishnu, the second member of the Indian Trimurti, or trinity, is the Preserver of Order. When universal chaos descends upon the world, Vishnu saves mankind by appearing in a certain form, known as an avatar. Out of the ten avatars that Vishnu will fulfill before the Universe ends, he has taken the form of only nine: a fish, a turtle, a boar, a lion-man, a dwarf, a Brahmin, the epic hero Rama, the famed god Krishna, and Buddha. The tenth form is known as Kalki, the man riding upon a horse. Vishnu will come to Earth as this form in order to destroy it and recreate it."

      http://library.thinkquest.org/03oct/00875/text/Apocalypse.htm

      March 25, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • [VOE] Voice of E.Ville

      @Oooga Boooga:

      OK so what's all this knocking religious people for?

      Atheists discard the suggestions made by religious material, why; just because they didnt have the technology to investigate like modern scientists?

      HOW CAN YOU SAY THESE BELIEF SYSTEMS ARE FALSE IF THEY DESCRIBE THE SAME THINGS SCIENTISTS DISCOVER FROM OBJECTIVE TESTING AND EXAMINATION?

      IF THEY ARE FALSE, THEN THERE IS NO WAY MODERN SCIENCE PREDICTIONS CAN BE RIGHT, BECAUSE THEY ARE SAYING THE SAME THING.....

      March 25, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Ashrakay

      @[VOE] Voice of E.Ville, It's probably the most natural thing in the world to predict an ending to something. Every human that has lived long enough has seen it countless times in nature, life, relationship, etc., Why does it seem so far fetched to predict the ending of a universe? If the all-knowing, all-powerful god has seen fit to drop some physics or mathematics into the book of revelation, then we could say the bible predicted something that no one else at the time could have predicted. Yet we only see in the bible what was capable at that time. No e=mc2, no fibonacci code, no unknown prime numbers.... just a prediction that things will end. AND as I pointed out, there is no real point where the universe ends in the bible. Only that a way of existence ends. This is very different than what science predicts.

      March 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  10. Sonic10158

    Let me guess, if it were a religious group doing the same, but to the opposite extreme, atheist would be screaming hateful things towards them, while demanding respect when they have events like this?

    March 25, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Dr. D.

      It would not change anything about the truth so who cares who is protesting or gathering?

      March 25, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • AGuest9

      Happens every January when the believers want to put back-alley abortionists back in business.

      March 25, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Ashrakay

      You guys do it all of the time. It's called going to church.

      March 25, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • Hello

      its not about hate.. its about the lies being told to people with very limited knowledge who think that what they are being told it the truth when it is actually lies created to control them in mass..

      Read Caesar's Messiah to see how and why the Roman Flavian family created the Christian myth... and why it is rooted in the Jewish myth..... it was and is a deliberate ruse to con people using the concept of the supernatural to use fear to MAKE them believe in the impossible...
      There are no gods.... it is the scam that is the focal point of the Age of Mythic Stupidity we are locked into. with the keys being held by the salesmen of these myths that also hold the keys to the governments like ours.

      the Republican party is not what it claims.. it is a theocracy party ... that is why they keep the political issues focuses on religious ones... its sole purpose it is maintain the "old time religions" hold over the people.... ti ignore the REAL issues of the failing government and make the population want to be saved from sin... by digging up krotch watching issues that the simple minded bible thumpers are threatened against every Sunday.. not the real issue of the failing government.

      They have tried and failed to run our government like church.. and it does not work.. you can't provide a world wide welfare program so you can get people on your side (pew stuffers) and survive in the REAL world.. You can't through money at a problem.. like the churches want and get results.. you need fairness and responsibility for the actions of the spenders.. Which is not happening... They like the Romans believe that the only way to create a viable society is by war and re-building-cafter the wars are over.... There is not peace in the process.it is all about creating, destroying and re-creating.. just like their mythic story.... a lot of people must be sacrifice and die for the cause.. either for not believing or not being on the RIGHT side of the myth....

      We need to evolve out of the Age of Mythic Stupidity before we destroy the planet...will that happen?

      One thing for sure... those who are creating this disaster will be the only ones who will have enough wealth to protect themselves and their own from the destruction they are creating for the rest of us.

      They do not care.... for anyone one but themselves... if there is one thing we must believe is THAT one true fact..

      the myth salesmen only think of themselves... the rest is all lies...

      March 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  11. layne arnold

    “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.”
    – one of the more problematic implications of religion has been that it tends towards regarding things on lines of opposition and conflict. For me, at least, an atheist being so geared towards this form of radical expulsion is almost an embarassment. And being so enamoured of oneself as to be pleased when someone shares your positions.

    March 25, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  12. layne arnold

    "“In the beginning, God created chocolate,” Silverman says, his eyes scanning the table for reaction. Laughter ensues.".
    easy audience.

    March 25, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Kiljoy616

      Yes but at least those people are laughing at something funny, oh look my God creature created the universe for me, and I am going to get, virgin girls, planet, kingdom, the list goes on what stupid childish stuff people will believe is coming after their miserable life ends. Oh and every sect believe they are right, dam that is a lot of people going to hell in the end. Keep it up Silverman who know one day this mental disorder will be eradicated.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • layne arnold

      re killjoy: you think that's funny? it seems singularly lacking in mirth or even joie de vivre. And your response uses a similar condemnation of other that is the essential notion in the poetic of hell.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • ski2xs

      @Killjoy,

      So. . . what created your universe?

      March 25, 2012 at 4:03 am |
  13. Shay

    I'm all for people having their own beliefs, but why should you shove them down others throats? It does not seem any less rude to put up billboards telling people their beliefs are myth, than proselytizing and handing out bible literature.

    March 25, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • enigma

      Honest question. Do you consider me sharing my belief as shoving it down your throat....or when someone insists that you see it their way/every word of their communication is about how you should change.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  14. enigma

    I'm floored at the venom being spewed at Christians on here.....although I shouldnt be surprised. I suppose Christianity, like so many other org. or groups has folks claiming affiliation/membership for insincere purposes. If you were looking for a fashion instuctor and found one. He knows no more than you and his fashion sense is no better than yours. He's a sham. You meet a self-proclaimed Christian but you cant tell the difference between him and yourself/other non-believers. Guess what--He's a sham. You wont find a perfect Christian, but you will know a True Christian by the way he/she loves. We're out here folks....just few and far between. I say that in humility because I have alot of developing to do. In conclusion, I'm saying YOU'RE PROBLEM IS NOT WITH CHRISTIANS BUT WITH THOSE WHO FRAUDENTLY CLAIM TO BE SO"

    March 24, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      We don't spew venom at the people, just the disease infecting their brain. Ultimately, we're on your side.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Kiljoy616

      What can't take your own venom. Not like believers in woo and magic are nice or soft. Religious people can't seem to stop not only believing but pushing their vile garbage down everyone they meet. The reality is that most people who say they believe have not even red their own dam holy book and what is in it. Now that is pathetic.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • enigma

      I dont issue venom, its not in my nature. Of course i believe, couldnt be a Christian if I didnt. I dont shove anything down anyone throat. If the conversation allows, then I share. Sometimes its graciously received. Sometimes the person i'm talking to lets me know that they flat out disagree. I always ask why, and they are more than happy to share their view. We talk. Never left a conversation on a bad note. Mainly because i'm not trying to persuade anybody to believe anything...not my job...like i said, I share. Youre right. Most dont read the bible and they dont want to. Like I said, "claiming affiliation/membership for insincere purposes".

      March 25, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • AGuest9

      You must be new here, then, Your friends the "christians" do it, every day.

      March 25, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  15. b4bigbang

    "You don't need God to be good", you just need to have enough common sense to realize that if u r bad u will eventually be caught, prosecuted, punished, then marginalized for very long time afterward.....

    So being good is a fail if u r trying to gain the higher moral ground in an argument for or against religion/atheism.
    But why state the obvious – duh!

    March 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Doesn't being good mean not lying?

      Proverbs 6:16-19, "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue...

      March 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  16. reiks

    We have come a long ways, just think 300 years ago all these soulless vessels would have been crucified.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Kiljoy616

      ROFLMAOF 300 year ago they where called the Aristocrats. You really think believers where in power, maybe at the church but those who actually take the time to read the garbage in their holy book don't believe they just use people who do. I do it all the time and smile all the way to the bank. Poor sucker, but please I am all for fools to be used and abused buy those who left their childhood fear long behind.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • AGuest9

      Yes, for instance, we know that there are over 5 billion "soulless vessels" on the planet.

      March 25, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  17. NJBob

    I think this rally was a wonderful idea. How refreshing to see so many unbelievers. It's exactly what this religion-soaked country needs to see. I hope similar events will be organized again.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  18. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    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.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      I'm no Buddhist, and I appreciate your posts, but just to clarify, "Buddha" is a just a ti.tle, like master. It just means someone who attained full enlightenment. Siddartha Gautama is considered the first and widely accepted as The Buddha, but this explains why there are many buddhas (fat and otherwise.)

      March 24, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Kiljoy616

      Here, here, why is it that all these lame excuse for profits and enlighten people seem to never put anything down on dam paper. its always years or decades later and from people that where not even around. Don't even get me started on the whole Jews (Israelites same crap) where the ones who created the pyramids. What a load of dung. So that story is bull what else do most major religions have left, oh yeah magic and faith and those are so reliable.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Hello

      and a christian in the early Roman times was just about anyone one.. usually a pagan who believe in a savior... not necessarily the one the jews had as part of their myth.

      the terms and words used to create the chistian myth out of the jewish one have long been lost or miss-understood or redefined. as we now understand them.
      A mary was a vulgar term given to a female jew.. usually a slave who was rebellious .. it is was by no means a name of endearment as it is now assumed. This is one of many examples of how the changes in the meanings in the ancient world of those who created the myths have been changed to what they are perceived today. It is not only different but completely opposite of what the original intent was.
      Just was were those fishes and loaves REALLY were in the ancient Roman meaning? NOT what they are claimed today.
      it is a joke a very twisted joke... on what was implied and with was the secrete meanings really were/ are.

      Read Caesar's Messiah to learn more on the Roman mythic joke book....created to fool, convert and control the jews.

      March 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  19. Doug Nelson

    What a thoroughly biased report! You either demonize this man, "attack mode comes easily to him", or trivialize him, "in the begin ing God made chocolate, etc"
    I don't care what he, you or anyone else believes regarding the existence of God; I do care about shoddy, weak, one sided commentary offered in the guise of reporting. This is CNN?

    March 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      This a "Belief" blog. It will always be one-sided as the name indicates.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • AGuest9

      This is CNN

      March 25, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  20. georgex

    That these people can have a rally in this nation is greatly appreciated. With the expression of different ideas people can evaluate and choose for themselves what seems more reasonable and satisfying.
    Have you seen the billboard with "You don't need God to be good", a very thought provoking message.

    March 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • layne arnold

      it depends on definition of good. if this is not purely regarded a social construct, then operatiionally, i may qualify as a form of theism. The rationale to christian worship is in the concept of Good (the capital version). While a great many people rationalise a lowercase good as derived from utilitarianism and please, the presence of tastes still tend to mean that this winds up being a non-critical version of good that, even if rationalised after the fact, existed before a reason was offered.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Josh Jaye

      There shall be a time when "people are COLD, without NATURAL AFFECTION, lovers of PLEASURE more than lovers of GOD,".........That time is NOW. "Coming out"??? Now that's funny. Go ahead and attack. Doesn't bother me in the least. I'm secure in my FAITH, not in a 'religion'.

      March 25, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • Atheist

      Josh Jaye, all you have is a religion.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:10 am |
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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.