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. Knowledge

    TheFacts: You are just plain wrong. Long on rhetoric short on facts.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  2. rutabagaslim

    'One is a lack of belief, and the other is a claim of knowledge'

    and the basis for the lack of belief and the claim of knowledge are rooted in one simple concept: they are both equally provable and equally knowable. your lack of belief is what? it's a GUESS based on what you see as probability. if you can't understand these concepts, it's not really a sad day for you, because what you think is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. doesn't really matter to me. be in denial.

    'I live my life content with knowing it's probably not the case'

    you have no way of knowing if it's the case or not, and i'm fine with that too.

    'faith" and "belief" that you currently espouse just because you don't want to admit that you honestly believe some crazy things in the bible that are just outright lies.'

    way to put words on one's mouth. i'm sad to say that you have some reading comprehension issues. i don't agree with you or the ultra-religious and that is exactly what i said – i get that this is hard to understand. you are trying to make it a black and white issue. vis a vis, if i don't agree with you, then i must believe in the bible. hardly. it's not a black and white concept, it's an unknowable concept.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Science


      First and foremost, trying to distill a non belief into a belief in of itself, is again, you trying to put them on equal footing to make yourself feel better. When I say I live my life accordingly that there is most likely not a god, God, Zeus, Ra, etc... you do the same thing. The only equal thing we do have in common is that you and I both don't believe that Zeus exists, or Ra, or any other god. That's it, where you and I differ is you have decided to single out a god and claim belief he's real, my disagreement is not itself a belief nor do I have to explain or prove why I disbelieve this the same way you have yet to come up with a valid answer on why you think Odin doesn't exist.

      As for "putting words in your mouth", sorry if I did. When you say you believe in god, I find that to be silly nonsense AND I don't think that ultra-orthordox and religious fundamentalists are the only ones who believe this. Tell us what you do believe then if you would be so kind. Do you think the Noah's Ark story is real? The exodus? Jesus's resurrection? I find all of that and much more to be silly nonsense, if you believe in none of that, then kudos, you're halfway on becoming an atheist.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      How is lack of belief a guess? I would think it an "I don't know."

      August 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • rutabagaslim


      why so thick headed?? you still do not understand my stance, which is fine. show me where i said i believe in a higher power? i've said it's simply unknowable so, i'm not pretending like i know something about it. i freely admit that i don't but with that, i don't think you, or any other human on the planet knows either. as soon as i hear people say things like 'i know there is a god' or 'i know there isn't a god' or 'i don't believe there is a god' or 'i don't have eveidence enough to formulate a belief' i put them all in the same boat – the atheists and the ultra-religious are equally as clueless as every other human on the planet.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Science


      I gave you a challenge, now address is. What DO you believe in. See, you keep calling me "thick headed" and not understanding what you're saying, which is sort of correct. You see, I can't really talk about your disbelief in something because that doesn't describe you, it describes what you're not. For every aspect you have, there are 99 ways to say how you're not. This is exactly my point you know nothing about me nor can you equate us simply on my disbelief vs. your belief.

      Make sense now?

      August 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Science

      and P.S.

      I agree that every single person is as clueless as the next regarding what "really happened" 14 billion years ago. Though atheists have never claimed they DO know, they just believe that how it's written in genesis is how it's not. You're attempt to paint both groups, and indeed everyone into the same picture is simply moronic in the extreme and you not being able to understand elementary differences.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  3. .

    The advanced civilizations of the world tend to be Christian.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      And those within those advanced societies who have learned to think critically, tend to be atheists.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Well cheap labor does promote prosperity!

      I mean who ther than Christians would buy a mortgage with an adjustable rate?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Sue

      The most advanced, lowest crime rates are actually the least religious. Scandinavia. Try again, this time with some data to support your apparently specious claim?


      August 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What of Ja/pan?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • .

      I believe Lutheran is Christian.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  4. Snow

    I agree with bootyfunk and ask where were you with your complaints when thousands of christian billboards say they are the "only way to heaven" and the "only one true god", etc..

    were they not bashing the other religions and saying they were wrong to follow those beliefs? Do you take offense now just because these new billboards are aiming at YOUR religion?

    August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • bp

      Just because Christians hate and discriminate against those who think differently does not mean they should be treated as they treat others.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  5. Reverend Alan

    For those of you who insist Hitler was not a Christian. In his own words: My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who, once lonely with only a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were, and calling me to fight them, and who, so help me, was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. With boundless love, as a Christian and as a man, I read the passages which relate how the Lord finally gathered His strength and made use of the whip in order to drive the usurers, the vipers, and cheats from the temple. Today 2,000 years later, I recognize with deep emotion Christ's tremendous fight for this world against the Jewish poison. I recognized this most profoundly by the fact that He had to shed his blood on the cross for his fight. As a Christian it is not my duty to permit myself to be cheated, but is my duty to be a champion of truth and of right.... As a Christian I owe something to my own people.... I am a veritable devil and not a Christian if I do not feel compassion and do not wage war, as our Lord did 2,000 years ago, against those who are pillaging and exploiting this poor people (the German people–Ed.).... Two thousand years ago a man was likewise denounced by this particular race which today is denouncing and blaspheming everywhere.... That man was dragged into court and they said then: He is arousing the people! So he also was "agitating." And against whom? Against "God," they cried. Yes indeed he was agitating against the "god" of the Jews, for that "god" is money. (Munich, April 12, 1922; Voelkische Beobachter, April 22, 1922).

    The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation was built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as a basis of national life. (Hitler to the German People: Feb. 1 1933).

    I know that here and there the objection has been raised: Yes, but you have deserted Christianity. No, it is not we that have deserted Christianity, it is those who came before us who deserted Christianity.... National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary it stands on the ground of real Christianity. And we have no other desire than to be true to that position.... These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles. (Speech at Koblenz, Aug. 26, 1934).

    August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • James Stevens

      Even if he wasn't a Christian, who cares? Whatever his personal beliefs, he played upon the religious gullibility of Christian Germans and led them to invade Europe and slaughter millions of innocent people. If Hitler was an atheist, then Christians were led by an atheist to commit genocide because he pretended to be Christian. Any way someone wants to look at it, Christianity comes out as morally bankrupt.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • The Force

      Amazing that even Hitler Hitler of all people knew who the serpents were from the bible while most Christians today do not... 🙂
      Serpents are not racial , but are people who have bitterness under their tongues and hatred is their number one delicacy... They hate anyone or any thing that opposes their agenda...Jesus met this opposition when he came to Jerusalem..

      when he entered the city he said your house is left unto you desolate..prophesying the desolation to come near... even 30-40 years after his resurrection... 🙂 🙂
      Jesus still alive today... 🙂

      August 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Alex

      Why did he put the Christians clerics in Dashu Concentration camp?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • fintastic

      @thefarce That's funny..... I always thought serpents were snakes, lizards, etc.... you say a serpent is a person? that sounds like something I read in a fairytale book when I was a child.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  6. Kenneth

    Christians worship a deity that has mass-murdered babies, infants and toddlers several times throughout history.

    Chrisians are demented.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Alex

      Are you saying the worship abortion clinics?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Reverend Alan

      GOD: "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys" (1 Sam. 15:3). Also note: Ex. 32:27-28

      ALAN: God orders the death of children and babies. When Christians call God a liar and say he didn't do this, it only shows the extent of their ignorance of the contents of the Bible.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • The Force

      Ye God did order these events and explains his reasoning for it...
      Don't for get the law of Moses is an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth...
      Don't forget all the firstborn of Egypt while your at it..
      Now on the flip side Jesus dies for his enemies and establishes eternal life for those who believe and follow on after him....
      Here after Jesus the president is set...lay down your life rather than kill another.. as he demonstrated in himself..
      His resurrection from the dead is evidence that he is God come to us in the flesh.. this life of the resurrection is in me today... this I received as instructed in Acts 2:38 ..

      August 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  7. Simon C

    Which religion is the true one and why?

    August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • You Really Need To Watch This

      Pastafarianism, because the good book says so.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • really

      Al Bundyism. I actually have evidence of his existence.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  8. IslandAtheist

    Ridicule is the only weapon against the unintelligible.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • bp

      Don't make fun of the dim-witted.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • BlatantAtheist

      Unforunately, ridicule is in and of itself a means to an unintelligible dialog between opposing groups.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      When there's a void in mature dialogue, ridicule is leaned on.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  9. AverageJoe76

    @William Demuth – The faithful ARE the world. More than us. Better funded. We don't have mindless drones that say 'yes' to whatever we say. Our 'fight' would be snuffed out behind the scenes. Approach this like a political stragetist. How would you convince 'voters' you're right? Or at least make a good argument for them to pause.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • sam

      Good point.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Why promote discourse? When one has lice, he kills the lice.

      Perhaps you want to negotiate with vermin. I want to erradicate them.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • William Demuth

      The key is to pit one cult against another.

      Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Texas, Palestine, Afghanistan, Tennesse, South Carolina, Egypt, Iran, and almost all of Africa wage endless war against non believers.

      We just subsidize the weaker, and they will GLADLY kill each other by the millions. Just invade Iran and send our Fundy army over, and we can have 750,000 dead in the first year!

      Plus with the Olympics over, thereisn't much on TV, so we can make the Holy Wars a pay per view event and clean up.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Answer


      I get your angle of reasoning.. after all I am a Canadian. We have dealings with the British Empire and negotiated our sovereignty, instead of a full revolt. The case for this 'fight' is well fundamentally different so a negotiated agreement to oust religion will be by blood. It'll come to that.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Whether atheist, christian, muslim, etc...... you cannot win like that, William. Whatever victory you obtain will not last. Atheism / Agnostics should never be in categories with extremist. In order for us to move into the future, learning how to balance the ideals of 7 billion humans should be our goal. And be respectful when expressing our differences.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Answer – I'll be real with you. If there was a 'war'....... you, I, and Willie D would meld right back into the fold if Christians ever came door-to-door looking for atheists. Atheists know the religion anyway, pretending we love Jesus would be no great feat. Do I think it'll come to that? Idk, religion has a history of 'bad days'. Instead of being upfront, we'd have to resort to fighting from within. We'd be outnumbered and outgunned. And I couldn't fight my family or friends, who are all faithful. So there's 'real' from my perspective. Best to be civil in any situation.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  10. .

    Atheists have contributed little or nothing to the advancement of mankind. The great minds were men of faith. To the extent that modern thinkers consider themselves atheists is the extent that modern thought and imagination has and is slowing and will eventually stop and revert.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Mark

      Albert Einstein would disagree with you

      August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • .

      Christians lie all the time proving they are trolls and not real Christians.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • bp

      “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so” – Adolf Hitler

      August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • scoto

      Total babble

      August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Steve Jobs, Zuckerburg, and Bill Gates would disagree.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Do you know who Watson and Crick are?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Jimmy

      What does not make sense, whn over 90% of the members of the national academy of science declares themselves atheists, is that, that rational side can put a rover on Mars, while the irrational side will govern and have access to the launch codes of apocalyptic weaponry. Who is actually doing more for mankind?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Alex

      Dude even I know the Catholic Church created the university system and that Copernicious and Mendel were cleric scientists.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Ted

      And your evidence to support such an idiotic statement is.....?????

      August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • really

      You would be burned at the stake if you weren't a man of faith. Don't you think this might have something to do with it? Remember Galileo?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Alex

      Galileo was condemned for his theology not for his science.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • .

      There are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.". Albert Einstein

      August 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Rationalist

      Tell that to:

      Thomas Jefferson
      John Adams
      Thomas Paine
      James Hamilton
      Mark Twain
      Albert Einstein
      Bertrand Russel
      Richard Feinmann
      Carl Sagan
      Christopher Hitchens
      Richard Dawkins

      And tens of thousands of scientists, engineers, astronomers, philosophers and artists throughout history.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Oh really? Have you checked lately what percentage of today's scientists are Christians? I suppose you think scientists don't contribute to society. Who invented the computer you're typing on? The pope?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Alex

      Here are some Catholic cleric scientists

      Nicolaus Copernicus
      René Descartes
      Gregor Mendel
      Pierre Gassendi
      Blaise Pascal
      Marin Mersenne
      Louis Pasteur
      André-Marie Ampère
      Antoine LavoisierMaria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799) – Mathematician who wrote on differential and integral calculus
      Georgius Agricola (1494–1555) – Father of Mineralogy[11]
      Albertus Magnus (c.1206-1280) – Patron saint of natural sciences
      André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836) – One of the main discovers of electromagnetism
      Amedeo Avogadro (1776–1856) – Noted for contributions to molecular theory and Avogadro's Law
      Roger Bacon (c. 1214-1294) – Franciscan friar and early advocate of the scientific method
      Daniello Bartoli (1608-1685) – Jesuit priest and one of the first to see the equatorial belts of Jupiter
      Antoine César Becquerel (1788-1878) – Pioneer in the study of electric and luminescent phenomena
      Henri Becquerel (1852–1908) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his co-discovery of radioactivity
      Claude Bernard (1813-1878) – Renowned physiologist who helped to apply scientific methodology to medicine
      Jacques Philippe Marie Binet (1786–1856) – Mathematician known for Binet's formula and his contributions to number theory
      Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774–1862) – Physicist who established the reality of meteorites and studied polarization of light
      Bernard Bolzano (1781-1848) – Priest and mathematician who made important contributions to differentiation, the concept of infinity, and the binomial theorem
      Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-1679) – Often referred to as the father of modern biomechanics
      Roger Joseph Boscovich (1711–1787) – Jesuit priest and polymath known for his atomic theory and many other scientific contributions
      Thomas Bradwardine (c.1290-1349) – Archbishop and one of the discovers of the mean speed theorem
      Louis Braille (1809–1852) – Inventor of the Braille reading and writing system
      Jean Buridan (c.1300-after 1358) – French priest who developed the theory of impetus
      Alexis Carrel (1873–1944) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for pioneering vascular suturing techniques
      John Casey (mathematician) (1820-1891) – Irish geometer known for Casey's theorem
      Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712) – First to observe four of Saturn's moons and the co-discoverer of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter
      Augustin-Louis Cauchy (1789–1857) – Mathematician who was an early pioneer in analysis
      Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598-1647) – Churchman known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri's principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus.
      Andrea Cesalpino (c.1525-1603) – Botanist who also theorized on the circulation of blood
      Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) – Published the first translation of the Rosetta Stone
      Guy de Chauliac (c.1300-1368) – The most eminent surgeon of the Middle Ages
      Albert Claude (1899-1983) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicince for his contributions to the study of cells
      Christopher Clavius (1538–1612) – Jesuit who was the main architect of the Gregorian calendar
      Mateo Realdo Colombo (1516–1559) – Discovered the pulminary circuit,[12] which paved the way for Harvey's discovery of circulation
      Carl Ferdinand Cori (1896-1984) – Shared the Nobel Prize with his wife for their discovery of the Cori cycle
      Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis (1792-1843) – Formulated laws regarding rotating systems, which later became known as the Corialis effect
      Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736–1806) – Physicist known for developing Coulomb's law
      Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) – First person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology
      Johann Baptist Cysat (c.1587-1657) – Jesuit priest known for his study of comets
      René Descartes (1596–1650) – Father of modern philosophy and analytic geometry
      Pierre Duhem (1861–1916) – Historian of science who made important contributions to hydrodynamics, elasticity, and thermodynamics
      Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800–1884) – Chemist who established new values for the atomic mass of thirty elements
      Christian de Duve (1917–present) – Nobel Prize winning cytologist and biochemist
      John Eccles (neurophysiologist) (1903–1997) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the synapse
      Stephan Endlicher (1804-1849) – Botanist who formulated a major system of plant classification
      Bartolomeo Eustachi (c.1500-1574) – One of the founders of human anatomy
      Hieronymus Fabricius (1537–1619) – Father of embryology
      Gabriele Falloppio (1523–1562) – One of the most important anatomists and physicians of the sixteenth century
      Pierre de Fermat (1601–1665) – Number theorist who contributed to the early development of calculus
      Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work in induced radioactivity
      Fibonacci (c.1170-c.1250) – Popularized Hindu-Arabic numerals in Europe and discovered the Fibonacci sequence
      Hippolyte Fizeau (1819-1896) – The first person to determine experimentally the velocity of light[13]
      Léon Foucault (1819–1868) – Invented the Foucault pendulum to measure the effect of the earth's rotation
      Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826) – Discovered Fraunhofer lines in the sun's spectrum
      Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788–1827) – Made significant contributions to the theory of wave optics
      Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) – Father of modern science
      Luigi Galvani (1737–1798) – Formulated the theory of animal electricity
      Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655) – French astronomer and mathematician who published the first data on the transit of Mercury and gave the Aurora Borealis its name
      Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) – Chemist known for two laws related to gases
      Francesco Maria Grimaldi (1618–1663) – Jesuit who discovered the diffraction of light
      Robert Grosseteste (c.1175-1253) – Bishop who has been called "the first man to write down a complete set of steps for performing a scientific experiment."[14]
      Johannes Gutenberg (c.1398-1468) – Inventor of the printing press
      Jean Baptiste Julien d'Omalius d'Halloy (1783–1875) – One of the pioneers of modern geology[15]
      René Just Haüy (1743–1822) – Priest, and father of crystallography
      Eduard Heis (1806-1877) – Astronomer who contributed the first true delineation of the Milky Way
      Jan Baptist van Helmont (1579-1644) – Founder of pneumatic chemistry
      Charles Hermite (1822–1901) – Mathematician who did research on number theory, quadratic forms, elliptic functions, and algebra
      John Philip Holland (1840–1914) – Developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy
      Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748-1836) – The first to propose a natural classification of flowering plants
      Athanasius Kircher (c.1601-1680) – Jesuit scholar who has been called "the last Renaissance man"
      Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1713–1762) – French astronomer noted for cataloguing stars, nebulous objects, and constellations
      René Laennec (1781–1826) – Physician who invented the stethoscope
      Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736-1813) – Mathematician and astronomer known for Lagrangian points and Lagrangian mechanics
      Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) – Biologist whose theories on evolution preceded those of Darwin; also divided the animal kingdom into vertebrates and invertebrates
      Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943) – Nobel Prize winner who identified and classified the human blood types
      Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827) – Famed mathematician and astronomer who has been called the "Newton of France"
      Pierre André Latreille (1762-1833) – Pioneer in entomology
      Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794) – Father of modern chemistry[16]
      Jérôme Lejeune (1926-1994) – Pediatrician and geneticist, best known for his discovery of the link of diseases to chromosome abnormalities
      Georges Lemaître (1894–1966) – Father of the Big Bang theory
      Marcello Malpighi (1628–1694) – Father of comparative physiology[17]
      Étienne-Louis Malus (1775-1812) – Discovered the polarization of light
      Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937) – Father of long-distance radio transmission
      Edme Mariotte (c.1620-1684) – Priest who independently discovered Boyle's Law
      Pierre Louis Maupertuis (1698-1759) – Known for the Maupertuis principle and for being the first president of the Berlin Academy of Science
      Gregor Mendel (1822–1884) – Father of genetics
      Marin Mersenne (1588–1648) – Father of acoustics
      Charles W. Misner (1932-present) – American cosmologist dedicated to the study of general relativity
      Gaspard Monge (1746-1818) – Father of descriptive geometry
      Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682–1771) – Father of modern anatomical pathology[18]
      Johannes Peter Müller (1801–1858) – Founder of modern physiology[19]
      John von Neumann (1903–1957) – Brilliant 20th century scientist who made major contributions to quantum mechanics, mathematical physics, and computer science
      Jean-Antoine Nollet (1700-1770) – Discovered the phenomenon of osmosis in natural membranes.
      William of Ockham (c.1288-c.1348) – Franciscan Friar known for Ockham's Razor
      Nicole Oresme (c.1320-1382) – 14th century bishop who theorized the daily rotation of the earth on its axis
      Barnaba Oriani (1752-1832) – Known for Oriani's theorem and for his research on Uranus
      Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) – Created the first modern atlas and theorized on continental drift
      Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) – One of the most famous mathematicians of all time
      Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) – Father of bacteriology[20]
      Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580–1637) – Discovered the Orion Nebula
      Georg von Peuerbach (1423–1461) – Has been called the father of mathematical and observational astronomy in the West[21]
      Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826) – Theatine priest who discovered the asteroid Ceres and did important work cataloguing stars
      Jean Picard (1620–1682) – French priest and father of modern astronomy in France[22]
      Jules Henri Poincaré (1854 – 1912) – French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science, who discovered a chaotic deterministic system which laid the foundations of modern chaos theory and was one of the founders of topology
      Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934) – Awarded the Nobel Prize for his contributions to neuroscience
      René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (1683-1757) – Scientific polymath known especially for his study of insects
      Francesco Redi (1626-1697) – His famous experiments with maggots were a major step in overturning the idea of spontaneous generation
      Henri Victor Regnault (1810-1878) – Chemist with two laws governing the specific heat of gases named after him[23]
      Giovanni Battista Riccioli (1598–1671) – Jesuit priest and the first person to measure the acceleration due to gravity of falling bodies
      Wilhelm Roentgen (1845-1923) – Discovered X-rays.
      Theodor Schwann (1810–1882) – Founder of the theory of the cellular structure of animal organisms
      Angelo Secchi (1818-1878) – Jesuit priest who developed the first system of stellar classification
      Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865) – Early pioneer of antiseptic procedures and the discoverer of the cause of puerperal fever
      Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729-1799) – Priest and biologist who laid the groundwork for Pasteur's discoveries
      Nicolas Steno (1638–1686) – Bishop, and father of stratigraphy
      Francesco Lana de Terzi (1631-1687) – Jesuit priest who has been called the father of aeronautics
      Louis Jacques Thénard (1777–1857) – Discovered hydrogen peroxide
      Theodoric of Freiberg (c.1250-c.1310) – Gave the first geometrical analysis of the rainbow
      Evangelista Torricelli (1608–1647) – Inventor of the barometer
      Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli (1397–1482) – One of the most distinguished scientists of the fifteenth century
      Richard Towneley (1629-1707) – Mathematician and astronomer whose investigations and correspondence contributed to the formulation of Boyle's Law
      Louis René Tulasne (1815-1885) – Noted biologist with several genuses and species of fungi named after him
      Louis Nicolas Vauquelin (1763–1829) – Discovered the chemical element Beryllium
      Pierre Vernier (1580-1637) – Mathematician who invented the Vernier scale
      Urbain Le Verrier (1811–1877) – Mathematician who predicted the discovery of Neptune
      Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564) – Father of modern human anatomy
      François Viète (1540–1603) – Father of Modern Algebra[24]
      Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) – Renaissance anatomist, scientist, mathematician, and painter
      Vincenzo Viviani (1622-1703) – Mathematician known for Viviani's theorem and Viviani's curve as well as his experiments to determine the speed of sound
      Alessandro Volta (1745–1827) – Physicist known for the invention of the battery
      Wilhelm Heinrich Waagen (1841–1900) – Geologist and paleontologist
      Karl Weierstrass (1815-1897) – Often called the Father of Modern Analysis[25]
      E. T. Whittaker (1873–1956) – English mathematician who made contributions to applied mathematics and mathematical physics
      Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768) – One of the founders of scientific archeology

      August 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • BOB


      Only 4 people on your list were/are Atheists

      August 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Shane

      Sigmund Freud, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Nikolai Tesla would disagree with you as well...

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

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. "

      Albert Einstein

      August 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • R7

      When the answer is simple, God is speaking. (Albert Einstein)

      August 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  11. bp

    “The greatness of Christianity did not lie in attempted negotiations for compromise with any similar philosophical opinions in the ancient world, but in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting for its own doctrine.” – Adolf Hitler

    All Hail the Christian States of America.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Leo

      Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, noted:
      "The Fuhrer is completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race... Both [Judaism and Christianity] have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end, they will be destroyed."

      Sounds more like the Anti-Christians on these boards doesn't he?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out".
      The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, Oxford University Press, 1942
      "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."
      – Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941
      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. ...Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross."
      – Adolf Hitler, speech on April 12, 1922
      The fact that the Curia is now making its peace with Fascism shows that the Vatican trusts the new political realities far more than did the former liberal democracy with which it could not come to terms. ...The fact that the Catholic Church has come to an agreement with Fascist Italy ...proves beyond doubt that the Fascist world of ideas is closer to Christianity than those of Jewish liberalism or even atheistic Marxism...
      – Adolf Hitler in an article in the Völkischer Beobachter, February 29, 1929, on the new Lateran Treaty between Mussolini's fascist government and the Vatican
      By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values. The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society. ...
      – Adolf Hitler, speech before the Reichstag, March 23, 1933, just before the Enabling Act is passed.
      “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church. This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism [Nazism] is hostile to religion is a lie.” Adolf Hitler, 22 July 1933, writing to the Nazi Party

      August 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  12. MC in TX

    It is a shame that these atheist groups end up being so bigoted. They could probably attract more interest if they did not choose to be so hateful themselves.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      bigotry seems to have worked well for christianity through the centuries...

      August 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Hatred of Christians has a universal appeal,

      The Jews have it, the Nuslims have it, and the Atheists have it.

      It's like the Olympics!

      August 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Leo

      Booty, Good excuse! Simply Reasonable!

      August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • bp

      Agreed. They're acting like Christians. What an irony.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Leo

      Christianity offers hope of eternal life through Faith in Jesus Christ! and that is hate to you?

      Tell us what is the hope of the Atheist?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And The Church of the Subgenius offers eternal salvation or TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK – all for only $30.
      How can you deny the Truth of "Bob"?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam

      To not have to deal with christians.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Answer

      Ahh the slant for "eternal life"...

      Good luck there Leo.. may your fantasy of this world and it's misery that you so love to hate and the people who are having fun, enjoying their s-e-x and fulfillment be attained through your virginal life.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Universal Unitarian Woman

      @MC in TX

      I agree.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Leo

      Sam, so you come to a belief board. That is simply reasonable of you!

      August 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Idol Girl

      @MC in TX

      @Universal Unitarian Woman

      I agree with y'all too.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  13. BlatantAtheist

    I take issue with ANYONE who uses loaded emotional terms to try and sell logic. Even Atheists...

    August 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Clyde M


      Also an atheist.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Rationalist

      When relating to those with lesser intellectual capacity it's important to use all means at one's disposal.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Answer

      Every tool in the chest is a tool intended to be used.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • BlatantAtheist

      Sorry Rationalist, I'm not very good at diluting my pragmatism to give in to unintelligible discourse. I realize that fighting fire with fire is certainly an approach... And I use this approach. But when name-calling and obvious disrepect are levelled against a group, you certainly aren't going to be winning any friends any time soon. I have found I've had a much larger impact on my religious friends by NOT belittling them.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • James Stevens

      BlatantAtheist, what part of the ads are offensive? They are factual summaries of the religions themselves. The point is to convey how the religions look from an outsider's perspective: ridiculous. That's fair play.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Clyde M

      You answered your own question. What part is offensive? And then these summaries are an "outsider's perspective?" The offensive part is to insiders who think these are purposefully demeaning, inaccurate, inflammatory summaries.

      I happen to agree with you in part that these are "factual summaries" from an outsider's point of view. But I'm not going to pretend I don't see what makes them offensive.

      It's like someone coming up and calling your wife fat and ugly and then when you get offended saying "I'm only giving a factual summary, bro, why are you so mad?"

      There are factual summaries and then there are "factual summaries" designed to provoke. And I suspect you know full well that this is the latter.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • James Stevens

      I see the point you're trying to make, but it's not like people with fat ugly wives are running around telling everyone how healthy and beautiful their wives are. Religions are on the playing field. Religions are fair game.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  14. Jimmy

    If anyone should be mad it's the Hinus. Someone put their god on a box of pink popcorn.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Jimmy

      that would be 'Hindus'

      August 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  15. Joe M.

    Atheists don't realize that they are a religion, themselves, and share many of the hallmarks of religious organizations. Notice the effort to recruit new followers to their non-faith I find it hilarious.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • You Really Need To Watch This


      August 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      be dumber.

      atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • BlatantAtheist

      I find it hilarious that you think I'm religious. Not all atheists are like the ones who thought this was a tactful ad...

      August 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • really

      No matter how many times that garbage is recycled, it is not true.

      If I refuse to dance the waltz, is that just another form of dancing?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • jeru0455

      They're not recruiting people, just telling them that they have a choice.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Sid

      Joe M., "non-faith": better think through your accusation of religion again.

      Nice try, but you religious folk are getting more desperate by the day.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • jinglebuddy

      Agreed, and it goes to show you that the god has got nothing to do with religion.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Recruitment does not a religion make.

      And no, atheism is in no way a religion. There can be religions that are atheistic, but atheism in the common, colloquial use of the term has no central authority or hierarchy, no shared values, morals, beliefs, tenets, claims, holidays, traditions, texts, causes, goals, or structure. It is the single rejection of a single claim and is not more a "religion" than saying "I don't believe Stephen King is a very good writer" consti tutes being a religion.

      As much as religious people love to cast it as religion, it simply isn't. Never has been. Cannot, but definition, be. Those tying to claim it is are simply self-serving, lying, or ignorant of what religion is.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      By your logic the military is a religion. Then again so are record labels, the Boy Scouts and political parties. Sigh…

      August 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Ted

      @Joe M. Would you please explain exactly how atheism is like a religion?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  16. oldguy

    No place for something that is silly or divisive in our political system? Who is this "our" he is talking about?

    August 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      You must be referring to the tiny fraction of atheists who claim that they "know there is no god". They are indeed harboring a belief that can't be proven, same as any other believer.

      I"m not one of them. I'm waiting for proof. And when it arrives, then I'll believe. And not a moment before.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Oops, replied to the wrong post. Sorry about that.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • fintastic

      @sea, what exatcly is this belief that "we" are harboring??

      August 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  17. Answer


    "I believe I have something better than empirical evidence."

    –Your kind are always about those types of CLAIMS. You can make claims on love, status, and wealth in any world.
    But the ultimate thing to reveal it goes like this:

    case for love: ask the people who do love you – ask their thoughts
    case for status: well just take a look
    case for wealth: look again in their bank accounts.

    case for your god love.. make your case for you god(s) first.
    case for your god given status.. see case above
    case for god wealth in heaven (reward) .. let's see you go to the afterlife and come back.
    case for any other claim.. ya make more. We'll be certain to ask.

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

      Answer are you a Christian?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Answer

      Do I sound it?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Answer

      Do you want to recruit me for your cause?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  18. JoeyE

    how amusing! You see, I love science.. of course science always search for fact but even they do have theory as well.. now.. You atheists ask for proof of God.. what's your proof that god is false? You see, Jesus was real, existed on Earth in 2000 years ago, and guess what Jesus said to the Lord, They do not know" guess what.. why are you search proof of God, you are lost! You see, We the Christians believe in God why? because of Faith! no need to make a proof or evidence of God.. its all about faith to believe in God also you all people shouldn't have dollars because it has said, "In God We Trust" means FAITH now if your comment post on mine for insulting, or being a fool.. I will already see you as a dead person.. not alive in your soul. repent, surrender to Jesus for Grace and head to heaven.. I will embrace Jesus and know Jesus period.. your argument will not change my mind!

    Let me tell you about Noah, Noah tried to help everyone that raining will come.. all the people laughed and mocked him, therefore rain came and all the people were dead to God.. why? they didn't listen God's word.. Woe to you for not believe in God.. also for Atheist, need a holiday... there is one for you.. April fool's day what a fool!

    August 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      you love science, but you ask people to prove a negative?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • bp

      The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." – Robert Green Ingersoll

      August 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      first tell us how to prove a negative. seriously. how do you prove something doesn't exist?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • BlatantAtheist

      "I love science... but let me talk about all the religious points for the remainder of my justification"

      Whatever ya say....

      August 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Faith is the willing cessation of rational inquiry in order to be able to accept dogmatic, rote answers.
      It is not a virtue – it is intellectual apathy.
      Furthermore, the Noah legend says that a 600 year old man, his three sons and their respective wives repopulated the entire human race around 4000 years ago.
      Since you're a fan of science, do some research about population bottlenecks and genetic drift.
      Incest = bad for the species

      August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • jeru0455

      Guess what? Buddah was real, and he lived on earth 2500 years ago. What's your point?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • OldSchool

      WOW! Where to even begin refuting the utter drivel you have spewed here...

      As others have pointed out as a believer in "science" you would understand that one does not prove a negative, the burden of proof lies with the claimant to provide substantiating evidence. You tout the merits of science and in the next sentence dismiss them completely by espousing your blind faith...

      Also, I would love to hear your "scientific" explanation of how Noah managed to put 2 of every species of animal onto a boat for 40 days. Take your time, I can wait...

      As for the "In God We Trust" on my money, I cross it off with a marker. It was added not all that long ago in 50s during the red scare...

      August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • sam

      Herp derp...

      August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Clyde M

      "You atheists ask for proof of God.. what's your proof that god is false?"

      Yeah...no one who "loves" or understands science would ever ask a question this asinine or try to ask people to prove a negative.

      One can no more "prove" there is no god than one can "prove" that there are no 8-foot tall invisible unicorns tap dancing six feet behind you at all times. Luckily, in logical terms, you don't have to prove negatives. It is the onus of one claiming that a thing IS to prove their claim, not the burden of one denying that claim. And the whole "we don't have to provide evidence because of faith" is EXACTLY the cop-out answer that causes people not to take religion seriously. The answer to "why do you believe this claim is true" is "because I believe that claim is true?" Really? You don't see the circular logic there? You don't see how it is the ant ithesis of the rigorous, empirical demands of scientific standards of evidence?

      Also, as to the whole weird line about "you all people shouldn't have dollars because it has said, "In God We Trust""...yes, it does say that. Because the Christian majority decided it should be so. Which is exactly part of the claims of inappropriate religious influence in secular society and policy that the atheists are making. Secular money SHOULDN'T say "god" on it, yet it does. So the SECULAR argument is to remove it, not ban non-religious people from using it.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  19. t3chn0ph0b3

    They're not going after your support, Rev. Martin. They're going after your kids. And they're succeeding.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  20. MarylandBill

    There are definitely different flavors of atheists. There are those who simply do not believe in any God... these atheists are not them. These atheists have made their opposition to belief a religion in and of itself, complete with missionary efforts to convert the unbelievers. For the atheists who will undoubtedly respond, I point out that the billboards in question make several untested (and I think untestable) truth statements about Christianity and Mormonism in an effort to get people to embrace their position. If that is not religion, then what is?

    August 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      thousands of christian billboards have bashed atheists and non-belief - where were you to complain then?

      but now you get 2 atheist billboard and cry cry cry.


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

      Agreed. These militant atheists are so hateful and so determined that others accept their vision of the universe as being the one and only correct one, you'd be forgiven for confusing them with militant Christians. They deserve each other.

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

      Christians bashed anyone else? you're really lying.. Christians don't bash them.. they show them love, and you all bash on christian as HATE! so be it, christian will not tolerate yours and will ignore your anger.. quit being a fool!

      August 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That's just what the Inquisitors used to say.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • sam

      Goodness, yes. By 'love' he means 'repent, sinner. Here's a hot poker up your ass.'

      August 13, 2012 at 3:34 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.