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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. mambert

    David Silverman is the person that I have been all my life, he is me,and Iam he. I want to be in contact with him,to dedicate my entire life to our cause. It is time to assert the real protestantism and David Silverman will be our Martin Luther.

    March 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • igoryok

      Ok, but the convention for deviant stalkers is next town over. Why can't he be a five point Calvinist to the cause, is that cause of his last name?

      March 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  2. God

    Religion is what's wrong with our government

    March 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Bobs Friend

    I find sooooo amusing: This atheist is wrapped around the axle about Christians "foisting" their beliefs on him.. But there he is, out in the public square evangelizing for atheism. I wonder if he passes out tracts. ROTFLMBO

    Oh that's right, atheists believe they are right and everyone else is wrong.. oh wait.. everyone believes that. That is the whole essence of believing something. But the atheists insist that it is only their belief system that deserves the right to be proclaimed publicly. Yup, just as I thought, Nazis at heart.

    March 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Janine

      Bobs Friend, sure sounds like you are the one with your knickers in a knot this time around.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Sid

      Bobs Friend tied up in knickers, and in another thread, fred said the Pope is in a thong... what next, Billy Graham doing BDSM?

      March 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • TR6

      Atheism is much more then just not a belief system because it is based on testable, verifiable evidence unlike Christianity which is based on belief, fantasy and wishful thinking

      March 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  4. Bobs Friend

    Hello all you sinners and Saints.._you know who you are- (at least the Saints do)

    ok We have to define "foised" in this sentence from this atheist evangelical fundamentalist:
    “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. "
    So presumably a bible in a hotel room amounts to "foisted" So I guess we must erase anything in the public space that might remind the atheist that there are indeed people in the world who disagree with him.

    It sounds to me like he is just another Nazi book burner. It is a private business, and if they think it is good business to place a bible in the drawer, more power to them. That's freedom. Let him start his own hotel chain, and he can feature a library in the lobby with all his favorite books, whatever atheist artwork he likes. Freedom!!!
    Christians,.. all you can do is prat for these folks, it is their only hope.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Lets just get right to it: He wants the bibles out of the hotel rooms because when he sees one it reminds him the he could be wrong, that he may indeed stand before a Holy and Perfect God and have to answer for his life.
      The atheist has to hide that possibility from his mind in order to have any kind of peace.. at least his definition of peace.

      Reminding a atheist that he will face judgement disturbs his fantasy that he will get away with everything that human law does not judge. It is a fragile fantasy, and Christians are the people who most frequently pop the bubble.
      The Christian life is a wonderful and fantastic life. My job in life is to bless people, to sacrifice my time talent and treasure in the effort to bless others, teaching them about my Lord and savior Jesus Christ who sacrificed all for me.
      "Greater love has no man than this: 'That he give his life for his friends' .. " -Jesus Christ
      Have you ever studied what Jesus taught?

      March 25, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Hey

      You just got finished saying that all you can do is to pray for non-believers (actually you said "prat", heh, look up "prate"...), then in the next breath you commence preaching!

      March 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Webster

      prate: (verb) to utter in empty or foolish talk: to prate absurdities with the greatest seriousness.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Webster

      also of interest:

      prat: — n
      slang, an incompetent or ineffectual person:

      March 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Sid

      BF, pretty much everyone in the west has had to study "what Jesus taught" whether they wanted to or not. Thing is, some of us were smart and courageous enough to see right through it, but you weren't.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • TR6

      So you’d be perfectly content with atheists putting their literature in the same drawer with the bible in all the hotels? You wouldn’t consider that foisting atheist view points on people?

      March 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  5. Rogue

    This is almost comical. Why would someone spend so much energy declaring disbelief in something they don't believe exists? I don't believe in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, but why spend tens of thousands of dollars on billboards telling people they don't exist. That seems unREASONable–even silly. Wondering where the athiests left their common sense? Maybe it's hiding under their pillow.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Hayden71

      I guess it's because they don't have meaning or purpose in life. They need something to try and fill the perpetual emptiness of their futile and meaningless existance.

      March 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Hayden71' contains the the circ-umstantial ad hominem fallacy and a straw man argument.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Hayden71' contains instances of the circ-umstantial ad hominem fallacy and a straw man argument.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Ezekiel

      The problem that most religious people seem to have is that they take anti-religious opinions personally.
      Don't do that.
      I'm an atheist because I don't want any form of law or education in my country affected by the beliefs of any religious group. As I stated in my own comment (wherever it is), christians wouldn't appreciate being forced to subject to muslim law or customs. Same thing.

      You can believe whatever you like. Pray to who or whatever you like. Worship my toenails, for all I care. But leave me out of it. I don't want to affect your beliefs; I don't really care about them, to be honest. But when they start to affect my life, through the form of opinion or law, that is supremely unfair.

      And somebody, please, tell the President to stop "god-blessing" me after every speech.

      March 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • God

      Christians make me laugh...idiots

      March 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • IKYABWAI

      Hayden71
      "I guess it's because they don't have meaning or purpose in life. They need something to try and fill the perpetual emptiness of their futile and meaningless existance."

      Just look at what YOU picked!

      March 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • God

      "I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy..."

      They're the same as Santa and God...wake up

      March 25, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • **sigh**

      Rogue,

      Do we have to tell you AGAIN? Don't you people ever read (or think)?

      If the Tooth Fairyists were trying to rule the government, set laws and public policies, insert their tales into public education and tax you to help pay for wing cleaners and fairy dust, I'll just bet that you would have a thing or two to say about it.

      Read.... or at least talk to each other, you guys. You continually bring up the same sappy issues:

      – We'd rather believe and be wrong than not believe and be wrong.... Pascal's Wager
      – If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?
      – Why do non-believers waste their time objecting?
      – The Bible is true because the Bible says so.
      - just to name a few.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Rogue

      I get the "don't force it on me" part. We are privileged in America to celebrate freedom of speech and religion (or "no religion"). But I still can't figure out the billboard approach in convincing people something doesn't exist. I don't think reasonable people would buy t-shirts, make signs, or pay for bus tickets to rally against the Tooth Fairy. What am I missing here?

      March 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Zeus

      Hey God! You made your followers, and what a lame bunch they are! You must have been really drunk when you made them. My followers invented literature and drama and philosophy and democracy; yours invented twinkies and midget tossing.

      Why do you demand they worship you? What could possibly be satisfying about being worshipped by total morons? Why do you want to let them into heaven and spend the rest of eternity with them? That sounds like hell to me.

      And why the hell don't you have a proper name like mine? Why do you have the generic "God"? Too embarassed by the YHWH fiasco where you gave yourself a name before you invented syllables?

      Admit it – you are a stupid god with stupid followers.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Rogue, Don't worry Rogue... if christians have shown any one thing to be true, it's that you can't force reality on them. Nobody can make you stop believing in fairy tales. Believe me, if we could, there would probably be some of us who would have already done this and we be living in a much simpler place. But until science can cure the god disease infecting your brain, you're safe to go on daydreaming while reality waits for you outside.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  6. noangel

    Like it or not, atheist itself is a believe system, albeit one without god. I never see others believe as a problem as long as they can peacefully coexist and functioning well in diverse society ...

    March 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Hayden71

      Atheists can't seem to co-exist.On the bright side they never discriminate...they hate everyone who believes in any type of higher power.

      March 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Hayden71' contains instances of the the circ-umstantial ad hominem fallacy and the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Hayden71, Why should we try to co-exist with ignorance and self-delusion? For the record, I do believe in a higher power.... it just happens to be the higher power of reasoning.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  7. enigma

    19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

    20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE [altogether without any defense or justification],

    21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [c]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

    22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]. ROMANS 1: 19-22

    March 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      So, you're saying we don't know the secret handshake, therefore we don't get it? You'd probably be shocked to find that most of us were xtians at one time. I was fully indoctrinated in that kind of reasoning. Any cult leader will all use the same kinds of arguments. "No one else gets it but us. If they don't get it, it's because they're blind fools."

      March 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Dan from Tx

      I love Shakespeare!

      March 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Hayden71

      Hey ashrakay, there's no such thing as xchristians, just false professors who have never been born again by the Spirit of God. As for false professors, the Lord said it would be better had he never been born.

      March 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Cliff

      If I choose not to believe in the Bible, then I am a fool and stupid? Seems rather ignorant

      March 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Hayden71, riiiiigggghhhhtttt.... I spent my years as a child and teenager as a "false professor." Because, you know... that's what kids do... whatever helps you sleep at night.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  8. migeli

    The two greatest phrases to live by"love thy neighbor as thyself"and "he who is without sin cast the first stone".How come I don 't see these being practiced by the religious here.All I see is codemning those who don't believe as you do to hell.So much for whatever religion you all believe in.I wouldn't give you two cents for it! Hipocrites!

    March 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  9. migeli

    I'd be willing to bet that 99 percent of acts of crime,war, hate, selfishness,and greed are committed by those who profess to be "religious".Then there is the rest who "find God" after they are convicted and sent to prison!

    March 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  10. cah

    Mema
    I agree with you. I am a firm believer that God is real and Jesus died so that we can live. Never ever back down from what you believe, why should you? The thing that gets me is the fact that God fearing people get put down and God gets taken away just because someone says they are offended by our beliefs. Well what if I am offended by others beliefs, see, that doesn't matter. As long as God gets wiped out people are happy. Athiests say they are caring people, I think that is a bunch of crap. So, Mema, stay strong and stay blessed. The cool thing about christianity is that we know that Gods greatest gift is the gift of choice. We choose to believe what we want. All we can do is pray for the blinders to be removed from some peoples eyes. I'll never give up on God. I know what he can do and what he has done in my life.

    March 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • igoryok

      "Never ever back down from what you believe, why should you?"

      Amen. Remember, that any evidence to the contrary no matter how overwhelming, should be ignored in favor of belief, even if not entirely shared by members of the same religion. There is no way you could be wrong, especially if you hear "divine voices". I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen if hindu's are correct. You might be reincarnated as an atheist? Remember, if you acknowledge even a possibility of having imperfect knowledge of the complex divine, then you acknowledge human fallibility and such weakness cannot be allowed in Heaven for eternity.

      " We choose to believe what we want. All we can do is pray for the blinders to be removed from some peoples eyes. I'll never give up on God. I know what he can do and what he has done in my life."

      Well, at least as much of a choice as some can make while being taught from 3-4 years old to never question some specific idea of whatever gods you worship. Of course any god worth worshipping will eagerly answer any prayer to make people chose your religion. I mean, it hasn't so far, since fewer people are getting the blinder removal from other religions or non-theism, but don't you give up on God. It needs your support, because behind all the omnipotence and omniscience it fears that it was setting a bad trend by saving the human kind, and now it's stuck not being able to bend its own rules. I don't know what god has done in your life, but it certainly hasn't endowed you with humility to recognize that maybe your understanding of its divine plan is fallible.

      "The cool thing about christianity is that we know that Gods greatest gift is the gift of choice."

      So cool that you have the choice of suffering for an eternity for believing differently. But I guess a choice is still a choice. Otherwise so many people (overwhelming majority of non-christian humanity) would just chose an eternity of bliss marred only by occasionally having to thank you in heaven for praying to god to force them to chose the way you want. An eternity of thanking you for that can only be blissful, right?

      March 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  11. samuel thomas

    Stupid Liberal Jerks! You are all going to hell

    March 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • igoryok

      Have you considered that liberal jerks will be punished by reincarnating them into conservative jerks? What if they happen to be masochistic, wouldn't better punishment be to deny them hellish torture by sending them to heaven? Finally, any deity considering ironic punishments would place you in hell with the liberals to mock them for their predicament? As service pewrson to the divine being, you will be spared the torture with a promise of relocation to heaven sometime this eternity?

      March 25, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  12. Chewbacca

    The Reason Rally was awesome, although the weather was a mess.

    I think its amazing we live in a country where this is allowed, even encouraged.... and there were plenty of non-americans there too.

    Check out my video below..
    http://youtu.be/y2QEjZwg1BQ

    March 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  13. Andy

    Why remove the bibles? They are the best source of information to make you become an Atheist or Agnostic.

    March 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 25, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post is simply a lie.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

      March 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven.

      March 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • igoryok

      Perhaps atheism is unhealthy after all. It obviously had some detrimental effect on this fragile psyche causing it it be convinced that his/her prayer to reveal definitive proof that prayer works have been finally answered with a divine confirmation of "proven" signed by the Almighty. But I suppose one shouldn't be surprised that prayer can change things. It can turn a reasonably sane individual into an ego maniacal person continuously asking god for selfish and petty revelations. Why would omniscient being need prayer when it should know and grant or deny a request before it's even made?

      March 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • One one

      Atheists don't tell children and other living things that god sends them to h e l l to be tortured forever for not believing as they do.

      2 Thessalonians, 8-9:"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

      March 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things, You certainly "Proven" Einstein to be right.

      March 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Not to mention P.T. Barnum.

      March 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Cliff

      Prove it

      March 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • God

      Proven to make Christians more delusional

      March 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      March 26, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  15. debra gallehawk

    GO MEMA ! you tell em ! im sick of people like that too
    he will find out who GOD is and that HE does exist
    when he takes his last breath and opens his eyes in HELL

    March 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • wrong

      wrong

      March 25, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Spoken like a true fanatic. "Screw them if they don't believe... they'll suffer for eternity." This is pretty much the reason why atheists become atheists. Your words are not even original, since most of that hate speech already exists in the bible. My biggest question as an atheist is why christians would choose to love, worship and follow such a sa.dist? I wonder if it were your own children he ordered to mur.der if you'd feel differently about god.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • igoryok

      Well that would just mean that hell exists. All that proves is that perhaps everyone ends up in Hell. Surely a better proof would be waking up in heaven. Ideally one would have to verify god's gonads to ascertain if it's in fact a he. Once that can be determined, the logical next step is do determine why would a deity with no counterpart with which to mate requires male genitalia.

      Of course judging from a variety of religious beliefs perhaps he will be reincarnated as a cow in the next lifetime, whereas you will awake to find out you are an earthworm, Fortunately for you your mind will fail to grasp as proof of anything other then your need to burrow into the soil.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @igoryok, How dare you bring logic into this?!

      March 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • igoryok

      "@igoryok, How dare you bring logic into this?!"

      I dared, but to what end? As Thomas Jefferson once said, "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus." Any logic contained in my response is purely accidental, since such efforts are clearly superfluous in pointing out the abject lunacy of someone convinced that there is an omnipotent being endowed with male genitals of no apparent use. Then again, I can concede that a mercurial and vain god might require such an organ to engage in a urinating contest with Satan for definitive supremacy. All the while god will be telling mere mortals that it's raining,

      March 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  16. mema

    Atheist try to make arguments for the sake of arguing. With all your empty words you try to make sense of your choice not to believe. Its my opinion that if you really believe there is no God then why do you have to try so hard to convince yourselves or others. Is it to save them from believing? Why do you care! I guess you would rather them believe like you do that we came from apes. Right. Lets get this right we came from apes, survival of the fittest. But if we came from apes, where are are the fossils to prove it. No not just one or two deformed humans. Actually fossils from the beginning to now. Boy we keep finding fossils of dinos millions of years old but umm where are your again? Oh and apes still exist so much for that theory. Oh ok maybe we came from a fish that grew legs and learned to walk and talk and think and reason. oh no luck there either no fossils. Hum let see, perhaps it from single cell organisms. And all life plants, animals, fish, bugs, fruit, trees, humans etc.. all came from said single cell. Atheist feel that if believers can not prove God exist then they are right. Wrong. Our earth, our universe, our perfect tilt on its axis, the sun just the right distance from our earth, our bodies formed just so, and on and on. Attest to the God we believe in. All you have are some theories . Blahblahblah. You try to say we were brainwashed into believing in God, Ill have you know many do research and study their beliefs. Humans were born with the desire to believe in a greater power. As we see it throughout man-kinds existence till now. There is scientific proof man has existed around the exact time frame that the bible teaches. Atheist believe we came to be through billions of years of evolution. S then wheres the proof. No not one fossil of one lone so called cave man that grunted. Real evidence from the first simple life form and EVERYTHING in between. Does not exist! Believe how you want but give everyone else the same courtesy.

    March 25, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • AKTeacher78

      If only the proselytizers of the world would follow your advice. Think of the money we'd save as a nation if we didn't have to come to their rescue for putting themselves in dangerous situations in the name of a (at best) questionable existence.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • momoya

      mema, you must be extremely ignorant. Try some college courses in biology and basic sciences. Almost everything you say is wrong–and there's proof in abundance.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @mema, We care because we are human and are concerned for our fellow man. We do not like to watch people be enslaved by man or ideas. We care because of the great destructive force religion can be and the interference to social development it poses by interfering with the lives of private citizens, and retarding the education process. We care because children are not given a choice before they are brainwashed with doctrine... believe or suffer eternal dam.nation.

      Your arguments that "prove" a god are what is referred to as "reductive logic." By the standard you presented, Zeus, leprechauns or fairies all could have made the universe. That you actually believe that is cogent reasoning is precisely what I'm talking about when I say religion interferes with the education process. Everything you mentioned is perfectly explained by the laws of physics to the point of predictability using the same laws.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Peter

      Actually studying physical history i.e. 10,000+ year old civilizations that we know nothing of except we could maybe build things like them today, big maybe, and all religeons starting with someone coming down from the sky and spreading knowledge or impregnating someone and a leader being born. Belief is for religeon only as it's not needed when you have physical facts and evidence.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Billy

      I respect your right to an opinion but there is even less physical evidence of any god.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Maya

      Scientific proof? Where? Show it to me. Or are you just lying like the rest of your disgusting kind?

      March 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • chemtimh

      It seems you are either deliberately or accidentally misinformed about evolution. Evolution does not leave some species (gorillas, chimps, bonobos) unchanged and change others (us) greatly. The idea is that none of the species look just like the common ancestor- they've ALL evolved. Very few species are nearly unchanged from the fossil record, with some reptiles being the closest things there are to "consistent." Also, "evolution" is not a synonym for "improvement," so please don't give the impression that every species is somehow better than its precursor. After all, many "improved" species did not work out and vanished from the fossil record. Along these lines, people evolved big brains and developed mechanical ability, while a lot of apes found a survival niche as hunter-gatherers in jungles. Both adaptations work for survival, so each species is still here.

      Evolution is a theory and so is God. I can take you to a museum and show you incremental development. In return, will you please show God to me? Since God is real and alive right now, just bring God out and let him be measured and interviewed. You are lucky to have such easily obtained evidence! Nobody can time-travel and watch paradigm-changing evolution happen, sadly, but we can talk to a living God. What?! You refuse to provide any evidence?! Well, until then, I will just have to lean towards the theory that fits the preponderance of real, measurable, physical evidence. It can and will be adjusted to fit new evidence as it is found, so it is much more friendly than dogma.

      I'm agnostic, by the way. Surety on either side of this debate exasperates me. At least you don't have great faith in nothing!

      March 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      More outright lies (from mema) from creationists, although I suspect mema may actually not know any better. She may only be passing on the lies she has been told. Either way, it's sad and frustrating.

      March 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • mccgeno

      CRAZY!!!!

      March 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Dan from Tx

      Want the fossils??? DRILL BABY DRILL!!!

      March 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Cliff

      It is others opinions that if you believe in a God, then why do you have to try so hard to convince yourselces or others? If you want to believe in the Christian Bible, that's your own perogative. Don't try and shove it down people' throats and expect them to respect or listen to your opinion on this matter. Going hellfire and brimstone on people doesn't further your opinion; it only serves to detract from it. There is at least physical proof for evolution. Where is your proof?

      March 25, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  17. georgex

    That these people can have a rally in this great 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.
    You may have doubts about the absolute goodness of religion when looking at a history that set up one man as infalitable and never making mistakes or at the Inquistion of torture and death and the hundreds of years of the Dark Ages where questioning was considered a sin.

    March 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  18. mema

    Hello, your arguments are as ignorant as you are. Whats funnier is to watch you call the aliens mommy and daddy.

    March 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • ninja guy

      Meme shut up

      March 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  19. Hello

    if the military was not so stupid they should have taken those junk q-books back to the US recycled them in a toilet paper plant and sent the rolls back to Afghanistan for them and the troops to use... know would have been ki11ed and know one would have known the difference. not even allahchitz.... hehehe

    so much for well thought out use of our natural resources. and hard earned US tax payers dollars.

    March 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  20. Hello

    imagine if some aliens from space stopped by for a visit and claimed they were gods... I wonder how many now theists would believe them and start to worship them... boy would I love to be around to see that...
    Oh my gosh that would be so funny to watch...

    March 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • lol

      Don't see why not, they believe schizophrenics who say they're god or speak for god.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:32 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.