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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.

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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

    "In the Bible we find the text, 'That which is neither hot nor cold will I spew out of my mouth.' This utterance of the great Nazarene has kept its profound validity until the present day." – Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich, 10 April 1923

    August 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Fact

      bp – You REALLY don't know that Hitler only used Christianity to further his goals? He was not a Christian any more than Satan is. Yes, beware of those who are wolves dressed in sheep's clothing and stop promoting the lies while you're at it.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  2. Mike

    $15,000? Well, it's their money. Uselessly spent.

    They could at least put their money where their mouth is and spend it on charitable causes. At least then it would do some good.

    August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • rAmen

      $15000 is small compared to all the negative propaganda churches do on atheism. and yes, atheists do charity as well

      August 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  3. Dezinr

    What's most shocking about these billboards is the poor writing and layout. If you're going to play the edgy atheist, I expect better.

    August 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  4. george busch

    What about Zeus?
    What about Odin?
    What about Thor, Hercules, Athena, Buddha, Posieden, Jupiter, Hades, Ra, teh Spaghetti Monster?
    We are all athiests, some of us just go one god further...

    August 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • rAmen

      Blasphemer! There is only one true god: Gandalf.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  5. Smart1

    How EVIL can you get? Spending all your time with your precious life trying to convince people that GOD isn't real.
    Atheist are the most NEGATIVE people on the earth. Spiritually dead deniers of the truth!!!! All GOOD people of the earth please use your common sense and don't let EVIL people ruin your life. You will reap what you sow. Why would you choose EVIL over GOOD, NEGATIVE over POSITIVE? Intelligent people realize nothing comes into existence without being created. The force that created us and set forth the creation of the universe and evolution of species is GOD. Religion being the search for and understanding of GOD Is by default GOOD. It is man who does EVIL in the name of religion that is WRONG. Intelligent people want confuse the two. TO DENY GOD IS THE EPITOME OF EVIL. Watch what you say and do, the KARMA police are watching. Always choose RIGHT over WRONG, GOOD over EVIL and good KARMA will be yours for eternity. Research the brightest minds in history and you will find all of them knew and understood we were created by GOD. They are all laughing at the foolish, blind, ignorant, spiritually devoid atheist and wondering how EVIL CAN YOU BE??? Lets destroy the dark forces with the forces of light. I LOVE and PRAY for everyone, especially the atheist.

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

      so we shouldnt tell kids Santa's not real either? cool logic

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

      Why would you have to worry about telling your kids about Santa if you are an atheist?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Well I would pray you dead, but its a waste of time.

      So instead, we put up some rude billboards and contribute to Muslim Extremists groups trying to invade Red Neck land.

      It's all in good fun, you know, like witch burnings?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Leo

      Notice how you spend zero time refutting Santa!! Cool Logic!!

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

      @Smart1, your comment sounds the opposite of loving.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Durundal

      hahahaha, what?!?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • MM

      You can't be serious! I am highly educated. I am positive and do good. I don't believe in a god of any type. I have values and morals that align with our society. I don't need to worship a fairy in order to have a fulfilling life.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • bp

      "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

      Witness the thinking of another member of your church.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • 8th E ist

      Perfect example of being egocentric right here folks.You don't share Smart1's delusions you simply aren't a good person.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      How EVIL can you get? Spending all your time with your precious life trying to convince people that GOD is real.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If you're a Christian, why are you talking about the heretical, Hindu/Buddhist concept of Karma?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      Smart1: To think that one knows the mind of god is the epitome of pompousness. Get back on your knees, b1tch

      August 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • WASP

      @not so smart1: let's do some math shall we?
      number of atheists in prison for violent offenses = not as many as religious
      number of atheists that have molested any children = again not as many as religious
      number of atheist groups that have lied and stole money from veterans and their donors = none
      number of atheists attempting to cover up wrong doing = zip, no reason to cover up what we don't do

      number of religious in prison for violent offences = 99.9%
      number of religious that have molested children = a lot more than atheist
      number of religious charities that have stolen money from american donors = lmfao lost count
      number of religious folks that fight with other religious due to different sky fairy = depends on which country, or region of that country.

      so to sum it up; clean out your own closet SMART1 before attempting to attack non-religious for EVIL we don't commit.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Lokari

      "Research the brightest minds in history and you will find all of them knew and understood we were created by GOD."
      You mean like for example Carl Sagan, Thomas Edison, Erwin Schrödinger, Alfred Nobel, Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman, Clarence Darrow, Noam Chomsky, David Hume, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, and Robert A. Heinlein? All atheists, and that's just a tiny sampling.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Fact

      @WASP
      Let's see where you get those #s.
      Could it be from the Athiests book of statistics?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    Consider these quotes, and how you might feel if you lived in a country where these sentiments were mainstream:

    “Our leader was not elected…he was appointed by Allah.”
    “Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of Allah…must be denied citizenship."
    “I, your Provincial Governor, do hereby proclaim… a day of prayer and fasting for our country.”
    “Allah called me to this government position…my family fasted for three days to make sure it was true.”
    “"I would not put a Christian among my advisors, or in my government."
    “(our founding doc.uments) are quite clear that we would create law based on Allah of the Qur’an and Sharia Law, it’s pretty simple.”
    “I hope I will live to see the day when…we won't have any public schools. The Mosques will have taken over them over again and Imams will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"
    “There will never be world peace until Allah's house and Allah's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world."

    These statements should rightfully alarm you. Now consider this, YOU DO live in that country, and these are not Taliban quotes. In the above quotes the religious references have been changed. They are quotes from prominent, politically powerful Americans who would establish religious control over America’s government. Here are the actual quotes:

    “George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States, he was appointed by God.” –Lt. General William Boykin, US Army
    “Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship." –Gary North, Inst.itute for Christian Economics
    “I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim August 6, 2011, to be A Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation.” –Rick Perry, Texas Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate
    “God called me to run for this office, and my husband fasted for 3 days to make sure it was true.” –Michelle Bachman, US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate
    “"I would not put a Muslim in my cabinet, or in my administration." –Herman Cain, Republican Presidential Candidate
    “(Our founding doc.uments) are quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.” –Sarah Palin
    I hope I will live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken over them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" – Jerry Falwell
    There will never be world peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world." –Pat Robertson

    These statements should be no more frightening in an Islamic or a Christian context – this kind of rhetoric is a serious threat no matter who it comes from. Theocracy is dangerous no matter whose God is invoked. We hear these things from pious politicians every day and are likely desensitized to them, but even momentary consideration reveals them to be un-American to the core. Religious fundamentalists make no secret of their goal of controlling our government and establishing their narrow beliefs as law. We must not let that happen – not here, not in our country.

    It happens in small steps – the Ten Commandments in courthouses, prayer and creationism (“Intelligent Design”) in schools, revising science, history, and civics textbooks in Texas, State-endorsed prayer rallies, faith-based initiatives, and on and on – and because these steps may individually seem harmless, many people underestimate their consequences. That is why we must stay alert and fight to keep church and state separate. We should shudder whenever a politician or policymaker alludes to his or her religious beliefs as a justification for public policy. We should be deeply suspi.cious of anyone who claims to be chosen by God to lead us. We should aggressively defend our free society against any religious group who would hope to gain control over it.

    Do not underestimate the importance of defending the separation of church and state. Stand up for it at every opportunity with your voice and your vote.

    August 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Why is it Bible Thumpers can't keep it simple?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Ask Reality that one William.

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

      Cure the Debt – Tax all religions for what they are, corporations preying on the weak minded. See how many are left in 5 years.

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

      Well Said!!!!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Mulehead- "Tax all religions for what they are, corporations preying on the weak minded. See how many are left in 5 years."

      How can you tax a religion? Does it work? Does a religion have a job? Oh..you mean tax organize places of worship. Why didn't you say so?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  7. Fact

    Psalm 14:1 "...The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

    Everyone chooses to believe or not believe. What the billboard states about God and Christ is not true. A careful study of history will show the facts regarding God and Christ.
    As a Christian I have nothing to lose if my choice is wrong. I live a life according to the word of God and experience the peace and joy that comes with it.
    I have no doubts about the reality of God for He has proven to me that He is who He says He is. I can not prove it and I don't need to prove that to anyone.

    August 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • QS

      I need no shepherd for I think and reason...and I am not a sheep,
      I shall want only what serves humanity best;
      I lie down in green pastures because I choose to, not because anything makes me.
      I swim in still waters, I need not be led beside them;
      If a soul exists it is mine and is for me to restore how I see fit.
      Paths of righteousness will never fail to lead a person astray…
      especially for His name’s sake.

      I will walk through many valleys, it’s called life;
      the shadow of death follows one and all, no matter where we walk.
      I fear evil;
      evil is created by man, which is to be feared far more than any of the countless versions of god;
      your rod and your staff do not comfort me as they are herding tools...and I am not a sheep.
      I would be arrogant to think goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, for I am human and we make mistakes.
      I shall not dwell in any house that believes me to be nothing more than an animal which must be told where to go and when.

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

      What if the God that exists were not the Christian one? Then you would have everything to lose, assuming that God also punishes non-believers.

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

      you should change your name to "blind faith of a sheep" since no facts were presented

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

      Nothing to lose if you are wrong? Have fun burning in Muslim hell, because that is where billions of people think you are going!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Pascal's Wager is Totally Irrational

      August 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Cult Logic

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

      You say you know he is who he "says" he is.... interesting.. most people hear voices are usually nuts.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • MM

      Please provide tangible proof, not strawman fallacies.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Fact

      Dude, Allah and all the other unbelievers: I'm at peace with my choice.
      QS: I was once like you but now now healed from the bebilitating condition of pride and arrogance. Wonderful to be released from those chains.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • patrick harris

      We were created from the stars, remember the big bang theory?? That's been proven to be true, stop wasting your time reading fairy tales written by men along time ago...

      nobody and I mean nobody rises from the dead (Jesus) , nobody can get pregnant with out a sperm doner (Mary), Adam and Eve were NOT the first people on earth, totally fake, false, and bogus... stop believing in this nonsense.

      Good for the Atheist's... put those billboards up everywhere!!! I Love it!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Fact

      Dear Flossie: He "says" things in His written word – aka the bible.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Clyde M

      History reveals NOTHING about god and Christ that can't be equally attributed to Zues, Thor, Ra, Quetzcoatl, mankind, or chance.

      And Pascal's wager is pathetic logic and was eviscerated centuries ago. I'm shocked to see someone still using it in 2012 to be honest.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Fact

      Clyde M:
      Wow! You have missed a whole lot of history! What schools did you attend?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Please name for me a single independently confirmed historical event that can only be directly attributed to the god of Abrahamic religions? Just one. I'll wait. I'm sure the answer will be very illuminating of your own schooling experiences...

      August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  8. Neil

    As an atheist, I don't like how American Atheists took it upon themselves to represent everyone that doesn't believe in god. Their methods for spreading their message are usually very disrespectful and don't help solve anything. In my personal opinion, atheists shouldn't be organized in such a away and shouldn't be trying to recruit.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • William Demuth

      As for myself, I would have prefered they fire bomb some churches, but I guess I have to be patient for a little longer.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Too Broad

      I noticed how they are not calling themselves American Agnostics.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Fact

      William Demuth's comment makes a good case for why following Christ is important.

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

      They give Atheists a really bad image. I have plenty of Atheists friends and they don't act that way.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • ME II

      I don't think they claim to represent all Atheists just their own organization "American Atheists".

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

      That's right. You can't "join" atheism; you can only leave a church. We're all atheists for different reasons. Not all of us think bad things about Christians, we just don't believe in religious metaphysics, and we won't join any group that oppresses others, be it a church or atheists.org.

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

      There are plenty of atheists who think that religion gets far too much respect.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Fact

      If you want to follow Christ it's cool.

      Get some 2×4's. The nails are on me 🙂

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

      in reply to tom tom.....christmas, stolen from the pagans, easter, stolen from the pagans...... need anything else?

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

      By definition I am an atheist. I don't advertise or promote anything. Those that believe can do as they please, but I have difficulty taking anyone serious who worships a fairy man. These same people laugh at an individual who talks to himself, but they do the same thing. Their proof defies all logic.

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

      William: Christ already died for you and if that wasn't enough what makes you think my dying for you would make a difference in your salvation...or ... do you just like seeing those who disagree with you suffer?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Fact

      Yea because no ones ever done or said anything devisive, or discriminatory, or anything bad while following...Jesus....wait.
      Never mind.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Terryl Givens, a Mormon professor at the University of Richmond, said "When atheists organize to serve the poor and needy of the world, they will be taken more seriously."

    Religious charity is just religious marketing! It's not "giving"!

    When does the mormon religion give anything without trying to convert the recipient to their crazy cult?

    August 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Parable of the bread.

      If you steal a mans loaf of bread and return him a slice, is it charity?

      Tax the damn cult out of existence.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Anchorite

      Atheists have more humanitarian organizations than any religion.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • J.W

      Which humanitarian causes are atheist?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • William Demuth

      J.W

      Science is JW, which has saved billions from misery and starvation.

      It is the collection of facts, and the rejection of dogma. It is the embracing of truth, even when the truth does not further your agenda.

      The action created with the use of the knowledge is called modernity, and the church has fought it for sveral thousand years.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • J.W

      Science is not specifically an atheist cause. Christians have made contributions to science as well as members of other religions.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  10. Charles Darwin

    Anybody who mocks and demeans others beliefs is inherently divisive.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Beliefs do not and should not be automaticlly respected.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Why?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      Information on baptizing the dead from mormon.org

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

      Peace...

      August 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Kalessin

      Because history teaches what unchallenged madness brings.

      Stuff like the collapse of Rome, the Holocaust, the Inquisition, the Witch Burnings and the Crusades.

      When Christians have really stupid evil and crazy ideas, we have a moral obligation to shut them down.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Kalessin

      William Demuth- "When Christians have really stupid evil and crazy ideas, we have a moral obligation to shut them down."

      And when they don't you shut your mouth and leave them alone?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  11. ME II

    @Rev. James Martin,
    "It's not arguing against the existence of God, but against religion. The American Atheists need to go back to school on this one."

    And yet you managed to refute neither...
    Additionally, an Atheist might argue that the only argument necessary is against the religions that claim such a God, since it is the religions , not the god(s), that are influencing politics.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Moncada

    Wow Atheism is proving much better than any religious organization on Earth, I can only write it being sarcastic.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  13. Tom in ATL

    Wait a minute.... where's the billboard to mock Islam? Did we leave out Obama on purpose? Or just afraid to insult those peace-loving Muslims?

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

      so Obama is a muslim now? cool story

      August 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Tom in ATL

      What do you mean 'now'? Always has been. Why do you think he bows to kings and insults Israel? His facade is wearing thin. http://www.runawayslavemovie.com

      August 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • N. Onnimus

      In case you haven't heard, Tom, Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • N. Onnimus

      Tom, did you even read the headline? Besides, Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • rAmen

      so anyone who insults israel is a muslim. so the WBC is also a muslim organization

      August 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • jimmer

      Tom's one of those dunces that will blabber on and on about reverend Wright, and then call Obama a muslim.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • William Demuth

      You don't use roach spray to kill rats.

      You kill the vermin you have, not the vermin TV tells you to be afraid of.

      When the camel jockeys become a real threat we will send Fundies to fight it out with them, like we did in Iraq.

      This way whomever dies, we still win.

      I mean you can't really believe the silly reasons we told you were why we invaded?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Tell you what, when Islam is the major religious force affecting the laws of secular American society, I'll deal with it. Right now, it is every bit as erroneous as Christianity in my opinion, but Christianity is the self-proclaimed religion of nearly 8 our of every 10 Americans. Christians hold 96% of all national level offices. Christians cause the biggest election swings and provide the most funding in political elections of all the religious groups. I can't even legally buy a car on Sunday where I live and that's because of Christians, not Muslims. So, I'll focus any concerns and conflicts I have on the religion that MOST DIRECTLY affects the lives, rights, liberty, and property of myself and those I care about first, and discuss outliers when it matters that I do so.

      Pretty obvious, really.

      Also, they HAVE run similar ads in both Jewish and Muslim communities. Keep up.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  14. SImran

    "lack of recognition of an ultimate judge of moral actions and a judge who sets injustice aright in a last judgment, and thus do not recognize the immorality of murder"

    Now lets look at how rationally people behave when there is a judge who says LOVE THY ENEMY!

    http://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/christianity-and-the-witch-hunt-era-17/

    The following charges have been directed at Christianity generally, and the established church specifically:

    * That 9 million people were killed as a result of the witch hunts

    * That the witch hunts were the product of a deliberate campaign by the established church to suppress an ancient pagan ‘mother goddess’ religion, or (more generally), to suppress women

    * That the witch hunts were the result of hysterical anti-heresy efforts carried out by the Inquisition

    * That the witch hunt era came to an end as a result of the ‘Age of Reason’, the rise of science, and a declining belief in the supernatural

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

      Credible historians put the total number of deaths atributable to with hunts at between 40,000 and 60,000.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  15. XenasCat

    "God is a Space Alien" ... I thought this was Scientology and not Mormonism ....

    August 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    "high school errors" and "adolescent silliness" is the best the religious "scholars" have to offer.

    Which sounds more childish?

    "I believe what I have scientific proof for." or

    "I believe in an invisible sky daddy that impregnated another mans virgin wife to recreate itself then "sacrifice" itself to itself to atone for a faulty creation it made but knew full well before hand that it's creation would be faulty, all as laid out in a bronze age story book obviously written by men."

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

      bravo!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  17. ufadoof

    "The American Atheists need to go back to school on this one."-Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author

    Speaking of going back to school. I'm may be getting a little old now but I clearly remember NOT reading that there is proof that "god" exists. Nor has there been one proven case of immaculate conception, divine intervention, eternal "hell" etc. I propose Mr. Martin needs to go back to school. Preferably one focused on facts.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      well said!

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

      @ufadoof- I do not believe that is waht he meant. He probably meant more on the lines that most Mormons do not baptize the dead anymore.
      This billboard is nothing but generalizations when it admits in it's own way that there are distinct Christian groups.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • ufadoof

      @Kalessin
      "He probably meant more on the lines that most Mormons do not baptize the dead anymore." That's a poor example (He is Jesuit btw not Mormon). Tell you what you can have that one. And everything else? All true.
      "This billboard is nothing but generalizations when it admits in it's own way that there are distinct Christian groups."
      Christians, especially American christians ARE distinct groups. They vary wildly in their beliefs yet cite the same source (the bible) to back their beliefs. You are familiar with how/why America was founded. Hint: It wasn't because ALL christian groups were holding hands and loving one another.

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

      @ufadoof- "All true"

      Um...no. I know this because I have many Mormon friends and none of them believe that God is an alien. They are also not bigots. Big money? What is instantly evil or wrong with money?

      "It wasn't because ALL christian groups were holding hands and loving one another."

      Well duh. I don't think anyone made that claim on here now have they?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • sam

      Kalessin – having money is not the problem. Donating millions to make sure prop 8 got passed in CA? That's a problem.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Perhaps it was, but was it illegal?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  18. Pretzelogic

    "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."

    Really???????? Wow..just wow....This self righteous Rev Martin is wrong on both issues. #1 It is arguing against the existence of God...it's purely mocking the promises of YOUR GOD, and the second point is also filled with self righteousness....I am an Athiest and I feed several street people and I give to the poor but I dont advertise it, plus I know where the money is and food are going. Most reverends, evangelists and pastors live the high life based on false promises of the afterlife.....Get real Rev.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Astra Navigo

      "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."

      A quite typical Jesuit response.

      I had a discussion once with one of them – who persisted in telling me that I "worshiped the atheist religion". He, of course, was the one who needed to go to school – problem is, he did; to a 'seminary' which granted him a 'degree' – and as a society, we're the ones who've enabled this sort of nonsense; actually considering such people educated when what they've really done is major in an Imaginary Friend.

      Atheism is a religion like 'off' is a TV channel. The billboards don't purport to deal with the greater concepts of existentialism and the god-concept; they make flat statements about the two religions practiced by the expected nominees of the two parties. Context, as with most things, is everything here.....

      August 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  19. Ivan Biial

    I have a friend that was an atheist, but gave it up because he had no holidays

    August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So how many religious holidays are on the calendar? Care to name them?

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

      Speaking of religious holidays, it's my understanding that the teabaggers are trying to have Dale Earnhardt Sr. cannonized to sainthood.

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

      Bummer for him.

      I'm atheists and I celebrate lots of holidays.

      In fact, I get to celebrate more holidays than any christian, muslin, or jew that I know because I can celebrate any holiday I want to.

      I don't have some magical sky daddy telling me which holidays are the "real" ones.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  20. Squid

    Atheism is a religion.... How can you prove there is no God? Belittling others beliefs is no proof that they are incorrect.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      Atheism is not a religion, it is a philosophy.

      You cannot prove there is no god anymoe than you can prove there are no leprechauns

      August 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Atheism rejects religion

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

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

      They act just like any other religion.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How does a religion "act"?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Polkovnik

      Of course atheism is a religion. Philosophies don't evangelize. Atheism never used to, but it sure does now.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Astra Navigo

      Atheism is a religion like 'off' is a TV channel.

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

      Atheism is not a "belief" system. Why is that a hard concept to grasp? The burden of proof is to find the existence of something not the absence of something. It called science. When the sun rises in the east I know this to be true because I can prove it is true. A religious person says "The sun rises in south. I know this because I believe it in my heart to be true." You have to prove to me that the sun rises in the south.

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

      (Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son) They act like most religions by mocking everyone else's beliefs in order to gain more supporters.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Will S.

      Sorry, but atheism is not a religion. It is the absence of faith. We have no need to "prove" that there is no god. When one makes an outrageous claim, the burden is on that individual (or group) to prove that claim to be true. Each religion makes a number of outrageous claims (each with their hand out for money). It is not up to me to prove them wrong...they're wrong by default until proof is shown.

      If you're a Christian and you don't buy that explanation, try this on for size. I am Jesus. That's right, you are reading the words of your lord and savior, Jesus Christ. You, the faithful, are not allowed to doubt Me, nor are you permitted to demand proof, for if you do, you do not have faith in Me and are therefore a heretic. If I prove myself to you, you will have forsaken your faith because of your need for proof. So I am Jesus Christ, and I want you to send me money.

      I await your check. Please don't bounce it. I am a forgiving god, but I'm not so forgiving that I'm paying a $30 returned check fee. So sayeth your Lord.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I didn't know religions could act. Do they take theater classes? Audition for commercials and soap operas?

      Oh, did you mean 'believers'? Why didn't you say so, then?

      Ooops. I guess I was mocking you. But it wasn't because of your religious beliefs. It was because of your stupidity.

      Why would atheists need more supporters? To build a ... what? They don't need churches.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Why? Because the atheists in question have this idiotic notion that they are correct and want to prove they are correct. Having more supporters build up the sheep population of their movement.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • J.W

      There is a difference between the term belief and religion.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • jamaldeemer

      It's technically not a religion. Some atheists seem to be picking up the bad habits of religion though.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which will accomplish what, Kalessin? If what you claim is true, then so what? Where do you get the idea that all atheists have the same goals and that there's a "movement" at all?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      Awesome billboard

      August 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son- "Which will accomplish what, Kalessin?"

      Who knows girl? If they were comfortable in their unbelief, they shouldn't feel the need to go out and try to change people's minds.

      "that all atheists"

      Try working on your reading comprehension Tom, "Because the atheists in question.."

      I wasn't referring to all atheists.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kalessin

      Being comfortable with unbelief, and being active in the role of religion in politics is not mutually exclusive. Did you miss the part when this was focused on the candidates religion? Or did you conveniently leave that out. Also, are you willing to say that christians who preach and proselytize aren't comfortable with their belief, or will there be a special exception?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Afternoon Hawaiiguest, there is one big problem with this. Mitt and Barack have not made any political choices based on their faith yet. I won't say that they have never included their personal views (which could include faith) when they make a political choice, but if this billboard is aimed at them in such a political manner...it's a fail. It's trying to create an argument that doesn't exist.

      Hey, some Christians might not feel comfortable enough and want to get supporters. But unlike the motives of an atheist, the Christian faith encourages proselytizing, athiesm does not.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "If they were comfortable in their unbeliefs, they wouldn't need to go out and change people's minds."

      Goshers, Kalessin, how come that doesn't apply to those WITH religious beliefs? You know, the ones who are telling women they have no right to choose and the ones who are trying to legislate bans on gay marriage.

      Why are they trying to 'change people's minds'? If those believers would just mind their own business and stop trying to convince the world they were right, I wouldn't have a a problem with them.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kalessin

      Just because it highlights the religion and certain beliefs of the candidates does not autmoatically make the case that they have made decisions based on that faith.

      "But unlike the motives of an atheist, the Christian faith encourages proselytizing, athiesm does not."
      What motives might that be? I'm unaware of any overarching "motivation" in atheism? And doesn't the bible state that unless a person is given the "gift" of faith, then they will never believe? So what would be the point in proselytizing if you can't really affect whether a person actually can have faith?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Kalessin

      "Goshers, Kalessin, how come that doesn't apply to those WITH religious beliefs?"

      As I already said if you had paid attention, there is already a precedent in the faith to go out and get new followers. Atheism does not have that. Now personally I don't think people should go out and push their faith on a person that is neither interested or asking.

      "the ones who are telling women they have no right to choose and the ones who are trying to legislate bans on gay marriage."

      And those "ones" are failing in that task now aren't they? Now for those that disagree with their taxes being used on possible moral issues, then they have the right to complain and work within the system to express their position.

      "Why are they trying to 'change people's minds'? If those believers would just mind their own business and stop trying to convince the world they were right, I wouldn't have a a problem with them."

      Most would agree with that. While everyone has the right to express their opinions (billboards included), some are just dumb. Thankfully, those that belong to a faith or those that have chosen to belong to none don't usually force their ideas on anyone.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Kalessin

      "Just because it highlights the religion and certain beliefs of the candidates"

      Freeze! I am sorry, have you ever heard Mitt say he believes in the baptism of the dead? Or that God is an alien?
      Has Obama ever promoted hate?

      "What motives might that be? I'm unaware of any overarching "motivation" in atheism?"

      Oh..there might be none. But there is enough of a motivation to put up a billboard.

      "And doesn't the bible state that unless a person is given the "gift" of faith, then they will never believe?"

      Who gives the gift? Through whom?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kalessin

      "Freeze! I am sorry, have you ever heard Mitt say he believes in the baptism of the dead? Or that God is an alien?
      Has Obama ever promoted hate?"
      1) If they don't believe the doctrines, then what is the point in that particular label. Taking the good things associated with a religion and ignoring the negative, or silliness in that religion is a dishonest position.

      "Who gives the gift? Through whom?"
      2) According to christian doctrine, god will give the gift according to his own pre-ordained plan, so it is still useless to attempt and proselytize.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Kalessin

      1) What doctrines are you holding Mitt to? The billboard (in it's own way) admits there are many different groups and therefor many different doctrines. The AA screwed up by making va gue generalizations on distinct groups.
      It's dishonest to require people to defend doctrines they do not believe in or ever made issue with.

      2) If one goes to witness...then it to much have been pre-ordained. If you are wanting to go down that whole route.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kalessin

      "The billboard (in it's own way) admits there are many different groups and therefor many different doctrines."
      Yes, however, the doctrines addressed such as promotes hate, calls it love, is a direct slap to the actual bible, as is the sadistic god, and useless saviour. So it is just fine to say that there are 30,000+ versions of the "truth". As for Mitt Romney, if he doesn't believe in the whole magic underwear, baptism of the dead, Joseph Smith craziness, then why be part of the Mormon church or call yourself a Mormon. Like I said in my post, if you don't believe in the doctrines, then there is no point in using that particular label.

      "If one goes to witness...then it to much have been pre-ordained."
      So I guess free-will doesn't really exist if you want to go down that road. And it's one of those internal contradictions in christianity.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Kalessin

      "Yes, however, the doctrines addressed such as promotes hate, calls it love, is a direct slap to the actual bible, as is the sadistic god, and useless saviour."

      There is NO doctrine that promotes hate and calls it love. You find me any mainstream form of Christianity that promotes hate and calls it love. I say mainstream because yes..I know there are those types out there that do promote hate though even those Westboro idiots don't call it love.

      There is NO doctrine that says God is sadistic. Calling God sadistic is an opinion of individuals and not doctrine of an orgainized group.

      "then why be part of the Mormon church or call yourself a Mormon."

      What makes one Mormon? If it's that important to you the voter, I hope someone asks Mitt that question during a debate. But I doubt it will be asked because no one really cares.

      As for free will....you lead us in that direction...not I.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kalessin

      1) I'm not talking about any specific denomination, I'm talking about the actual bible itself that these denominations use. And in terms of Westboro, they are more biblical consistent than many other denominations.

      2) I pointed out an internal contradiction in christian doctrine, and you don't address it, what a surprise. So let me ask, do you believe in free will, or determinism?

      August 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Kalessin

      The actual Bible (a collection of books and not a singular book) does not have any references of calling hate love.

      As I pointed out...you brought up the pre-ordained stuff yes? Please don't make it seem like I brought the topic up. That's dishonest.
      As for your question...it's a matter of perspective on time. For a extratemporal being, all choices have been made and all outcomes known. However, that does not mean there is no free will to a being that exists in linear time.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kalessin

      1) I did not say the bible states that love is hate in those specific words, just that what happens in there is definitely hate, yet the bible calls it love.

      2) That's just a cop-out to actual issue. Pre-ordained outcomes removes the concept of free-will, no matter the perspective from outside any kind of linear time. If the outcome is known and set, it is impossible to act in direct opposition to the outcome.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Kalessin

      1) No..it is not. As for the billboard, they should be honest and put up honest information. Obviously what they put on there is not factual.

      2) No...it is not a cop-out. It is a possiblity that you do not like. From the perspective of those in linear time, there is free will. Those outside of linear time...there is no free will or even past, present and future.

      August 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kalessin

      At this point, we should just stop. If it's going to get to the point where it's just going to be "Nuh-uh", then there's no point to the discussion.

      August 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Well..if YOU are going to use "nuh-uh" then maybe we should.

      I am sorry that simple responses to your simple minded comments do not agree with you.
      You said the Bible implied one thing and you were wrong. There is no need for an elaborate "no" response.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:48 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.