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First on CNN: Atheist group targets presidential candidates' faith with billboards
A billboard criticizing Christianity is going up in Charlotte, North Carolina, host city of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
August 13th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

First on CNN: Atheist group targets presidential candidates' faith with billboards

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A prominent atheist group is using next month's Democratic National Convention to take aim at the presidential candidates' religion, putting up billboards targeting Mormonism and Christianity in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Our political system is rife with religion and it depends too much on religion and not enough on substance," said David Silverman, president of American Atheists, sponsor of the ads.

"Religion is silly and religion has components that are inherently divisive. … There is no place for any of that in the political system,” he said.

The billboards go up Monday in Charlotte and will stay up for a month at a cost of roughly $15,000. The Democratic convention runs September 3-6.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The billboard targeting Christianity features an image of Jesus Christ on toast and this description of the faith: "Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Versions of ‘Truth,’ Promotes Hates, Calls it ‘Love.’ ”

The billboard targeting Mormonism lambastes - and, Mormons would say, distorts - specific Mormon doctrines: "God is a Space Alien, Baptizes Dead People, Big Money, Big Bigotry.”

The Mormon billboard features a man in white underwear, a reference to special Mormon garments.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Both billboards feature the line "Atheism: Simply Reasonable."

American Atheists had wanted to put the anti-Mormon billboard in Tampa, Florida, to coincide with the Republican National Convention there later this month. Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney is a Mormon. When no billboard company in the city would lease the group space for such a sign, Silverman said the organization decided to focus solely on the Democrats in Charlotte.

“Presidential conventions are for ideas, not ideology - platforms, not platitudes," Silverman said. "If a person believes stupid things, we have every right to question his or her judgment, and that directly impacts how the nonreligious voter votes.”

CNN Belief Blog: Atheist leader hopes to mobilize closeted nonbelievers

Some religious leaders said the billboards showed a misunderstanding of how faith works.

"That billboard makes the most common high-school error when it comes to atheism," wrote the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, in an e-mail to CNN. "It's not arguing against the existence of God, but against religion. The American Atheists need to go back to school on this one."

Martin also questioned the language used on the billboard: "And as for 'promoting hate' they're doing a bang-up job themselves with that billboard."

Terryl Givens, a Mormon professor at the University of Richmond, called American Atheists "petty and vindictive."

“If this example of adolescent silliness is what atheists mean by being reasonable, then neither Mormons nor other Christians have much to worry about," he said of the billboards. "When atheists organize to serve the poor and needy of the world, they will be taken more seriously."

CNN Belief Blog: Unbelieving preachers 'come out' as atheists

It's not the first time the American Atheists group has released in-your-face billboards. Earlier this year, the group put up two billboards in heavily Muslim and Jewish enclaves in New Jersey and New York bearing messages in Arabic and Hebrew.

“You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice,” the billboards said. At the time, Silverman said the signs were intended to reach atheists in Muslim and Jewish areas who may feel isolated because they are surrounded by believers.

In addition to the billboards, Silverman said his group plans to stage protests at both conventions.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (7,477 Responses)
  1. bp

    “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” – Adolf Hitler

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." – Susan B. Anthony

    August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • avd

      Are you really that stupid? Are you trying to say there are no mass murders that are atheist?

      Really, you should do your homework. pinpointing idiots in society that go off the deep end is no way to look at a religion.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  2. Chris Hogan

    Let's see how supportive of "Free Speech" all those Chick-Fil-A munchers are now. I'll bet they'll be screaming at the top of their lungs for the mayor to remove it at once because it's "offensive"

    August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • bp

      Of course – for religious conservatives, speech should only be allowed if they approve of what is being said.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • avd

      You see, this is where you don't get it. It's one thing to promote your belief on a billboard or in an advertisement. It's completely ANOTHER thing to ridicule people and mock them BECAUSE of their belief. Show me ONE billboard where Mormons EVER made fun of atheists.

      Just one...

      Come on, I know you can dig deep....

      What?

      Nothing?

      See the difference?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  3. Kalessin

    The baptizing of the dead is something that most Mormons no longer do. But don't let the atheists know this....it'll hurt their brains.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      I love it when a religion stops a nutty tradition and then implies that they are now reasonable....

      August 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Yeah, and priest don't corn pone altar boys.

      Sheesh, you wanna buy a bridge?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When did they stop, Kalessin?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Confused face

      @Kalessin: Why don't they do it any longer? Isn't that what their god required? And now does not? Did god change his mind? Hmmmmm. God made an error? Seems strange for the perfect creator to err.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • avd

      I think what you mean is polygamy. Mormons do not practice polygamy anymore.

      However, it does amaze me that for years, atheists are always pushing the line "don't shove your religion in my face, I just want to live the way I want." How come it's ok for them to shove their belief in our face now and ridicule us? They don't see the hypocrisy now?

      Let me also say that this quote provided:
      "Religion is silly and religion has components that are inherently divisive. … There is no place for any of that in the political system,” he said.

      ...and so these billboards aren't silly? You're actually making fun of someone's beliefs – how exactly is that not getting into someone's face and ridiculing them? Rather, there is no place for your pitiful tactics.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Trevor

      Kalessin, that's simply not true.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • planetwalt

      Most Mormons don't "do" the actual baptisms for the dead, but it's still a major part of Mormon belief. Baptism for the dead is one part of the whole Mormon temple experience. You do the ordinances (endowment, marriage, etc.) your first time for yourself, and then every subsequent time you visit the temple you're doing them on behalf a dead person. Mormons are huge in the world of genealogy. Why? Primarily for names of the dead for temple work... including baptisms for the dead.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Kalessin

      You might want to re-think your a-s-s ertion.

      http://mormon.org/faq/baptism-for-the-dead/?gclid=COvx7fqY5bECFSI0QgodxiUAQg

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • OTOH

      Kalessin
      "The baptizing of the dead is something that most Mormons no longer do."

      Even if this were true (I doubt it is - they are very secretive), it would only be in response to huge pressure and criticism (bashing?) from outside of their "system".

      August 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Kalessin

      No Truth, Just Claims- "I love it when a religion stops a nutty tradition and then implies that they are now reasonable...."

      Sort of like when you used to eat paste and now you try to pretend you are better than that. Exactly the same.

      August 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son- "When did they stop, Kalessin?"

      "They"? Many of the "they" quit many decades ago. As you probably do not know, there are many different branches of Mormonism. Some do things differently than others. Of course for those angry atheists...don't let a little thing like facts about the various groups stop them from their hatred.

      August 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Confused face- "Why don't they do it any longer? Isn't that what their god required?"

      Tell you what, you show us where God ever told them to do it and I'll show you why they don't do it anymore. Deal?

      August 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Kalessin

      therealpeace2all- "You might want to re-think your a-s-s ertion."

      I don't need to because I am correct. I know Mormons in this area (WV/Ohio) that do not practice it. There are many factions of Mormonism that does not practice it.

      August 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Kalessin

      OTOH- "Even if this were true (I doubt it is – they are very secretive),"

      Or..you don't know what you are talking about and never met any Mormons and asked them anything. That's probably more likely.

      August 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "They"? Many of the "they" quit many decades ago. As you probably do not know"

      There's that sh1rty att itude yet again. I believe you "have went over the edge", Kallie.

      You'll forgive me if I laugh at your little dictator act.

      August 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Kalessin

      And yet, you did not counter my @ssumption that you did not know. Just ran your trap again. Typical.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Kalessin
      Mormons are indeed secreative.
      For example, Joe Smith lifted a lot of rituals from the Masons.
      Mormon temple garments bear the symbols of freemasonry.
      The secret handshakes Mormons are taught in order to get into the Higher Planes after death are Masonic.
      When Joesph Smith was killed, his last ditch attempt at mercy was to try and engage his fellow Masons by uttering the phrase of a master mason in distress. It was his last phrase and was cut off by by a hail of gunfire.

      And is it not true that perhaps the most valuable thing a Mormon is given durign the Endowment Ceremonies is their secret New Name by which they will be called come the First Resurrection?

      August 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why bother to counter it when it's more fun to watch you as sume that everyone on the blog is inferior to you?

      August 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Entil'za

      @Doc Vestibule- "Mormons are indeed secreative."

      I will agree that some are. Most of my focus has been on the Mormons of today and less than those of the past.
      Part of my initial interest in the Mormons came when I was doing geneology research and found a number of my ancestors were Mormon baptized. Ended up finding a 6th cousin that was Mormon and his grandfather had it done back in the day.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Entil'za

      Oh Tom...your pan ties in a bunch again? How I wish Doc would comment more. A reasonable commentor is rare.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, Kalessin, changing monikers yet again?

      You seem to have a real fixation with pa nties. Not toilet -trained yet?

      August 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Entil'za

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son- "Oh, Kalessin, changing monikers yet again?"

      It felt like a sci-fi kind of day 🙂

      "You seem to have a real fixation with pa nties."

      By your att itude today...I'd figured you were overly fixated on them.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  4. randy

    I have been to several hurricane disaster cleanups- you know what you see- Government workers and a lot of church vans. After Katrina- Our church put about 150,000 into the area and around 600 people went over that first year. I was on the first day of commercial flights into Haiti after the earthquake- the whole plane was mostly people of faith going to serve. Our Church in partnership with a couple others built 5 houses in 5 days. Every week we take over a hundred kids into the refugee areas of our city to work with people here for their own safety. Our faith is not hate, we follow Jesus and we will be known by our love. and around the world there are people of faith working together to meet the worlds needs. Seriously the intolerance and hate thrown at people of faith needs to stop.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Robert

      Amen!

      August 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Confused face

      @ Randy. Good for you and I commend your church on what they did. However, you do not need god or jesus to do what you did. If it were proven conclusively tomorrow that god did not exist, would you not perform those acts?

      And good deeds need to be balanced against the other darker side of your religion and beliefs. You do not get to focus solely on the "asset" side of the balance sheet.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • avd

      Exactly. Where's the atheist relief "group" that helps others? Rather, they'd spend $15,000.00 on ridiculing other people than helping as they should.

      Hypocrites!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Mulehead

      And Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison and other billionaires have donated the bulk of thier wealth to improve the human condition all around the world.....all Atheists.........(well, Larry probably believes he IS god....) Next..........

      August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • avd

      no one said anything about INDIVIDUALS donating money or time, I asked for the ATHEIST RELIEF GROUP. Because if you're out there promoting that you can do this and be an atheist, why not join together in a force for good, rather than a force that ridicules other people?

      ....chirp.....

      August 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  5. Katherine

    All religion is man made and religion kills spirituality. That system, brought from the Babylonian empire, spread out to Rome (Vatican) and now it is crumbling because it is a corrupt system and the new age coming to this planet does not support that lower vibration. Humans win. Illuminati looses.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • MrTeflon

      Even thought you Atheists love to spin this Atheism is nothing more then just another Belief System. So get off your high horses.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • H-

      So somehow you just came about in this world without any structure. A big explosion that creates Chaos and destruction somehow exploded and put everything in order over time? Is that the rational of our existence? Or could it be that everything has balance in this world for a reason? Everything has a set of rules and order but yet that was just there as we evolved along with everything else? Really? Your blind.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  6. michael

    Now why do we give tax exemptions (property, income..) to these businesses ?

    August 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • William Demuth

      So they can buy politicians of course.

      Next question?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • bp

      Because the intensity of their hate is such that to do otherwise would be political suicide.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • avd

      @bp

      "because the intensity of their hate?"

      Pot, meet kettle. Are you actually saying those billboards are not showing hatred towards other religious groups?

      Please, do us all a favor and not comment. All you atheists are sounding pretty ridiculous right now. Don't you even see the hypocrisy?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Jeff

    While I completely agree that religious divisiveness has no place in government, I don't think these guys are going to win over any new people with these billboards. The "You know its a myth....you have a choice" works better because it asks people to think, just slapping them in the face and insulting them won't change their mind. Nothing good can come out of using bigotry to confront bigotry. They should also know better than to use the confrontational rhetoric of the thing they oppose; "You're stupid" and "You're going to hell" are just different sides of the same self-vindicating coin.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jeff

      Well, we kept hearing all about the coming racial holy war, and decided it might be fun.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Audience

      The deeply religious who would be offended are not the intended audience. The intended audience are skeptical and would not be offended.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • rgill

      Very good point. They could have picked so many better criticisms ... what were they thinking? The "you know it's a myth" line is far better.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  8. joe

    Evangelical atheists are just as bad as evangelical christians. Smug, bigoted, self righteous, and intolerant of other people's point of view.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Mack

      Hardly. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. When these fundamentalist charlatans get up and start spewing a bunch of claims that can't possibly be corroborated, people have a right to call them out.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Chris Hogan

      So are the evangelicals going to stop verbally bashing gay people then?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Topher

      What bashing has been done?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    if you want any indication of how religion has infected this political system:

    "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." – George H. W. Bush.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • bp

      Thanks, that one was a beauty and good insight into the Christian mindset. To be religious = you hate others not of your faith.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      And:

      "Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists."

      August 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Topher

      I don't hate people of other religions (including atheists). I just know you're wrong and say so. There's nothing wrong with that and certainly nothing hateful.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gopher, it's already been shown that you know less than nothing. You just believe otherwise and think you have facts. You don't.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Topher

      And apparently all you have is the childish argument of calling people names.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When one is talking about you, what else is required?

      Answer the question, Topher. How do you know atheists are 'wrong'. Don't bother citing the Bible, because it's not a source of fact.

      If you continue to post nonsense here, you'll get called on it. And it is nonsensical to pretend that you "know" atheists are wrong. You don't. You believe it. They are not the same thing. And if you can't figure that out, you are the one who's childish.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Topher

      I see creation and logically KNOW there must be a Creator.

      Also, first and second laws of thermodynamics points to a creator. As does Einstein's Relativity. There's just so much out there and you reject all of it, so why even have this conversation? Why is your heart so hardened? Besides, how do you know Christians are wrong?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gopher says: I see creation and logically KNOW there must be a Creator."

      No, Gopher. You don't know anything of the sort, or you'd be able to show why with facts. You cannot do so. You've been asked repeatedly. To say "I KNOW" is worth nothing to anyone but you. Either you can show proof or you can admit that you believe and have faith, but do not know.

      August 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Gopher? I don't say Christians are wrong. I know many Christians that deserve my respect for being independent thinkers who are educated and knowledgable enough to understand that simply because someone doesn't believe what they do, it does NOT follow that the other person is 'wrong'. Maybe when you grow up, you'll figure that out, too.

      There are many shades of grey and very few areas of black and white, except in the tiny brain-pans of zealots like you.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  10. Reticuli

    Cool.

    Andy, totalitarianism is not voluntary.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Gary

      But tolerance would have to be .. no ??????

      August 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  11. David Daniels

    It is a strange thing to think that on ones deathbed they will peacefully and calmly slip into nothingness. I think it would be more peaceful being a delusional Christian as the atheists call me... hoping and trusting in more. If this life is all there is that's a scary thought... trapped in hell and at the end of the road disintegration. One can't even destroy the smallest atom of which mankind is made up of countless numbers.. Each on of us is a Universe to themselves. You can alter the atom, split it, but you can't destroy it.. What kind of reason is there where people believe in nothingness? Forgive me but that seems senseless thought.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Ec1warc1

      On my deathbed, I will be happy to know I did not waste much of my life on religion. What I had was well spent on myself and my family. Then, guess what... the same thing will happen to me as will happen to you... lights out!

      August 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • JeramieH

      It seems strange to me to think that people don't believe in the Tooth Fairy. To think that a parent sneaks into a bedroom to replace a tooth with a present? Absurd. Why would anyone think that? I feel comforted to think that there's a warm, fuzzy fairy waiting for my tooth every night.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • William Demuth

      David

      You live, you die, you rot and you are forgotten.

      Deal with it.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • 8th E ist

      Doesn't make much sense to believe in gravity either, huh? After all wouldn't it be so cool to float around and easily get from place to place. Just because you dream of a place after death doesn't make it reality. Would I prefer something, yes, but that certainly doesn't make it a reality. Do a little research into your religion and its origin with an open mind. I did with Christianity and easily dropped the myths I was indoctrinated with. Almost every bit of it was taken from other religions and myths.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mack

      David – Your post is exactly why there was another recent atheist billboard that said something to the effect of "Quit worrying and just live". That false concern over the possibilty of burning in hell forever has taken many a good man and woman down, I fear.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • SorrySir

      Sorry sir but you are wrong.. The atom is completely destructible into its basic components the neutron, proton, and electrons and even those components can be further decomposed into quarks and muons...and if this is the only life to live it does matter anyways because you won't know the difference once you are dead you only contemplate this nonsense while living..so don't worry you will have everlasting peace in death either way.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      " If this life is all there is that's a scary thought"

      Why?

      "trapped in hell and at the end of the road disintegration. "

      hell is not part of the belief system of atheists

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • snowboarder

      death does not bring nothingness. the atoms do not cease to exist. the inanimate body decomposes to it parts.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • H-

      It is so sad that each of you attack this man's beliefs. After all isn't that what you are doing? Believing in a lack of existence of a Creator therefore, religion is meaningless? To each his own. Do you really think that out of an explosion which disintegrates things and is chaotic somehow order came about and everything was in perfect balance and order? Somehow everything in your body and all your surrounding environment became counter dependent and in perfect order and harmony from Chaos? Really? Just because you cannot see God or see any of obvious signs does not mean he does not exist right? you cannot see the air you breathe yet is is there giving you life. You cannot see alot of things with the naked eye. I doubt chaos somehow created order and balance.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." – Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

    (thanks bp)

    August 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Poncho's raincoat

    The Mormon god kind of sounds like Xenu. The Christian god kind of sounds like our current president. Its all fun and games until somebody gets stoned kids.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  14. Michael

    One may need more faith to believe atheist ideology.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      No, just more education.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      How so, Michael?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Well done WD, well done.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • OTOH

      Yes, William Demuth... and courage to face reality.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Atheism Requires No Faith

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8U_JveHS8E&w=640&h=360]

      August 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Winning!

      WD, you make an invalid point that makes you sound like the uneducated fool yourself to think your better than anyone else. In fact, you sound like you lack any education at all. No reply necessary. Just talk to the hand 🙂 However, if you decide to please show your us your education. Have a great day!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  15. Ec1warc1

    "Some religious leaders said the billboards showed a misunderstanding of how faith works." – How faith works: Believe in what the group believes in to be accepted and call this nonsense a virtue. Think about it.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  16. IrishInNJ

    As a liberated and free thinking atheist I find it abhorrent that hocus pocus religions of any type find their way so deeply into the political world that we must live in. At the same time, I disagree often with American Atheists tactics in terms of publicity and media campaigns. As an independent atheist, I see no reason for such billboards

    As atheists we are free of conscious-lowering mythology and as such think for ourselves, using our own intellect as an instrument of spiritual growth rather than fake religious teachings by authoritarian hierarchies who aim solely to dominate free will.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Tim

      I tend to agree that the tactics may backfire. If atheists want to point out that they see religious folks as judgmental, intolerant and bigoted, the worst thing they can do is lash out by being excessively judgmental, intolerant and bigoted themselves. And this billboard is all those things that the religion-bashers claim are the unique domain of religion.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • bp

      Never underestimate the power of hate and ignorance, and the willingness of religious organizations to foster both in their pursuit of secular power.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Tim

      Revolution is in the air. We Atheists have brought down 3000 Gods already, by relegating them to the trash heap of discarded dogma.

      We are merely doing it again. Our record is 3000 wins and 0 losses.

      We are taking them down.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Tom in ATL

      "Liberated atheist" with "spiritual growth"? Sounds like you're more confused than free thinking! Either choose to lead a Spirit-filled life or exist in your happy, this-is-all-there-is world. Not both.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Jeff

      I agree with this. Use their own scriptures against them; use their own disconnected traditions; use their own history against them, but if you actually understand the Abrahamic mindset you know they love to be the focus of attacks and adversity. They want to be in a struggle against something that is mindlessly evil. What is more mindlessly evil than blanket intolerance for their views.
      You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  17. Major

    Those billboards are a trip. Whoever came up with them is controlled by pure hatred to the point that there is nothing left. That kind of out-of-control bigotry is sad.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • BobTBuilder

      So you believe that people that don't believe in god are motivated by hate?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      Major: As opposed to those who use their religious beliefs to deny others their civil rights?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Jackson

      LOL @ out of control bigotry.

      No one holds a candle to conservatives on that one.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • bp

      They learned their lesson well from the promoters of bigotry and violence that use their God to justify their hatreds, such as this one:

      "As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice." – Adolf Hitler

      August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • BobTBuilder

      Where is there a promotion of violence?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • BobTBuilder

      @bp What the hell are you talking about? How are you linking atheists and nazis?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      How are statements of fact considered bigotry or hatred?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Tom in ATL

      @ sam stone – just curious, which civil right is being denied?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Jack Sevarg

      The biggest mass murderers of all time were militant Atheists: Stalin and Mao. Militant atheists do not understand humanity – just their limited point of view.

      A militant atheist in office is truly scary proposition of thought policing. "You believe in God? You are not fit for college!!!" What a nightmare.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • BobTBuilder

      You reglious nuts are deranged. You believe that anyone who doesn't believe what you believe is a threat to the planet. Which is very dangerous. By the way there have been MANY Christians who were mass murderers. You may want to pick up a history book before you make stupid statements.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • 8th E ist

      @Jack – They viewed themselves as gods and certainly were crazy. Bush went into Iraq after god told him it was the thing to do, much better huh? You want to talk to imaginary beings, go ahead, just keep this garbage out of our government.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      Tom: In Loving Vs. Virginia (1967), the Supreme Court held that marriage is a civil right. There are many who approach their opposition to two people of the same gender being married based on their feeling that is is immoral

      August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  18. The Lord of Excess

    "That billboard makes the most common high-school error when it comes to atheism," wrote the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, in an e-mail to CNN. "It's not arguing against the existence of God, but against religion. The American Atheists need to go back to school on this one."

    Martin also questioned the language used on the billboard: "And as for 'promoting hate' they're doing a bang-up job themselves with that billboard."

    A) How is hate any part at all of this? Did the billboard say "go bash a Christian in the head with a brick?" Did it incite people to violence? Calling into question beliefs that are clearly silly and based on shamanism of the age before science is not hate. But this is the age old response.

    B) Quickly stating a few problems with Christianity itself as a refutation of gods existence actually does work, logically. As most Christian sects proclaim the bible as "the living word of god" all the teachings in the bible are subject to the will of god, god put those ideas in the author's heads, etc. etc. any of the thousands of various explanations given. The Jesuit priest actually is the one that as always, is attempting to shift the burden of proof. The burden of proof is as always with those who are making the claims. They can never refute the existence of god with any sort of proof, so they simply make the circular argument of "prove god doesn't exist" and when attempts are made to do so by pointing out errors in the bible/christian teachings/silliness that one wouldn't think the supreme, infallible being of the universe capable of making ... the reply always is "well ... umm ... uhh ... well we don't have to prove god exists you have to prove "he" doesn't" and/or there is the well it is disrespectful to even talk about that, yada yada yada ...

    Just another CNN article to drive views, etc. etc. taking a page from Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh eh CNN?? As always we can count on that, our media is honestly more of a concern than the age old conflict between atheists and theists.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  19. Tim

    I don't ever want to hear militant atheists complaining about religious people "recruiting". Militant atheism has all the fanaticism of a religion.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • DCBuck

      EXACTLY!

      August 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Jackson

      Admit it, Tim, your only real issue is that they aren't recruiting for *your* beliefs.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Does that also mean we can have pogroms?

      Rounding up the Fundies and burning them at the stake seems like great sport.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • QS

      Too bad, you're gonna continue hearing it!

      August 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • The Lord of Excess

      The billboards worked. $15,000.00 for the billboards and ... millions ... in free advertising here? How many millions of people will now see those billboards. Thank you media, in this case you did something good by blowing something out of all epic proportion.

      I see, as always, people being witty for an audience of one ... themselves. Everyone has made up there mind who is commenting here. So there are two indecipherable languages being spoken. The language of the religious and the language of the irreligious. Neither will understand one an other.

      I am irreligious, but I spent most of my life as a Christian, had a Christian education, was something of a bible scholar (unlike most of my fellow church goers I read the bible on my own, read about its history, read works by prominent bible scholars, etc.) it was that study which ultimately led me to atheism. Many atheists actually have the double perspective of having been religious, a church goer, etc. and then being a non-believer. So for the ardent Christian clearly you haven't thought things out to the extent that the average Atheist has. At the end of the day you choose blind faith, you choose not to understand, you know you don't want to because it would shatter the comfort you take from your make believe beliefs, you are afraid, we all are afraid, you just choose to deal with it differently. That is fine. The problem lies with how organized religion acts. You see most Atheists would simply be agnostics if it weren't for the militancy of ALL organized religion. The forced conversion by parents of children, the declaration that any questioning of the premise of the given sect's beliefs is in and of itself sinful and punishable by eternal damnation. You combine the tremendous power that organized religion has over people and the tremendous abuse that is committed due to that power ... well ... that is totalitarianism (actually go do some research on that term ME II you clearly have read very little on history). At the end of the day it is this totalitarianism regime of evangelical Christianity, fundamental Islam, radical Zionism which most atheists resent. Those realities were what primarily compelled me to go from being an agnostic to being an Atheist.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • snowboarder

      "militant atheism" that's funny.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  20. Andy

    Am I the only one who feels their message is a bit totalitarian?

    August 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • ME II

      Probably, yes.
      Where do you get totalitarian?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • William Demuth

      ME II just SLAMMED you dude.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Jack Sevarg

      Agreed. It's taking a page from Mao and Stalin.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • avd

      of course the billboards are showing totalitarianism, but every atheist will tell you otherwise. You see, it's ok for them to ridicule and mock others, just don't talk to them about your religion. They were once famous for saying "stop shoving your beliefs in my face and let me live the way I want", but you see, that's not really want they wanted all along. What they wanted is the ability to force THEIR BELIEF of no god on you!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
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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.