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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. BillBoard Contest

    Welcome Welcome! This is the first Billboard contest! Some of us have complained (myself included) that the billboards could have been so much better. I invite everyone to come up with a better billboard idea.

    I'll get the ball rolling.

    Billboard with pictures of many different gods throughout the ages and make it a guessing game, who's who. Then maybe on the next billboard behind it, it gives the answers a long with a tagline along the lines of, " Your god isn't the first or the last. Atheism: Simply Reasonable"

    August 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • ArthurP

      Life is an ongoing chemical reaction that started billions of years ago. Deal with it.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Here's the atheist bus campaign's slogan in the UK:

      THERE'S PROBABLY
      NO GOD
      NOW STOP WORRYING
      AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE

      It's less offensive, positive and therefore more thought provoking. Colors are bright too – fuschia, red and orange on a white background.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Also:

      "Happiness is the only good...the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so."
      Robert Green Ingersoll, American humanist, 1876

      You can buy this on a postcard: white on dark teal, here:
      http://www.humanism.org.uk/shop/18

      August 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Bugpop

      It's easier to get people thinking by finding a common ground. What specific issues do believers have with their religion? Pique interest with common theological questions which are explained away as mystery or told not to question.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Bren

      I think the best thing is to promote what atheists have contributed and not have the goal of recruitment. See if you can get some well-known people to help out.
      "Imagine life without your computer." ~Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.
      "Imagine life without music." ~Billy Joel, John Lennon, Barry Manilow, Randy Newman
      "Imagine life without movies." ~Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Woody Allen, Katherine Hepburn, Diane Keaton, William Shatner, Ray Romano, Daniel Radcliffe
      "Imagine life without books."~Mark Twain, George Orwell, Hellen Keller, Ken Follett, Maurice Sendak, George Bernard Shaw, Dr. Seuss
      You get the idea...And put the American Atheists logo and www on it. Think positive!

      August 14, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  2. Essen Mein Sheize

    I have faith that Jesus will come back from the dead so that I can pound his butthole all night. He really likes the "Hot Carl" as well, which involves me pooping on his face. Enjoy.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Steve P.

      Mindset of typical Atheist. See above. Don't you want to be one?

      August 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Steve P.

      Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy to lie for Jesus? Martin Luther would approve (founder of protestantism and a notorious anti-semite, and advocated lying for Jesus).

      August 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Bren

      PLEASE don't call this "typical." I'm an atheist and have never had this thought or any other thought that vulgar in my life. Every sub-group of society has people like this. Think of the Christian perverts out there...I wouldn't judge you because of them.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • OTOH

      Steve P.,

      That you think this dirt bag is a "typical" atheist shows that you don't know any.

      (I might go so far as to say that this guy might even be a Believer of some sort who is trying to make atheists look bad)

      August 14, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Simon Petered

      @OTHO:

      No true Scotsman fallacy.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  3. therealpeace2all

    Reblogged this on peace2alldotme.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  4. Billy

    Do you have a soul? Have you experienced anything while under anesthesia? How about when you faint? Have you ever experienced your brain shutting down and your mind going with it? It's weird and scary, and a pretty "religious" experience. When you wake up and no time has passed, yet it has been minutes or hours in real time, you start to question the duality of brain and mind in a very personal way.

    When we die, we all die because our brains do not get the oxygen they need to continue the energetic cycles required to run. Cancer, heart attack, stroke, AIDS, SIDS, organ failure, trauma – all take away oxygen from the brain. We faint, then we die, and our tissues follow. When people experience brain damage, their bodies work, but their mind does not continue as it once did. They are different. Some profoundly so. Their mind has changed.

    When I was a kid, the boy down the street drowned in his pool, but was "saved" at the last minute by paramedics – though he would never be a functioning / thinking kid ever again. He didn't last too long – a few years. But there was no sign of the boy he once was. Had his SOUL changed? He was violent, unknowing, primal. He couldn't walk or drink on his own. The boy was barely there. His soul required a functioning brain to work. When he died, everyone talked about his soul going to heaven, but I knew. His soul was still down in the bottom of the pool. It died forever when his brain was damaged.

    Where is heaven for kids who are gone but still there? Who has an answer for that one other than "just believe." Nobody. Because the answer is that we are alive now, a product of a functioning human brain and nervous system, lucky enough to actually contemplate our existence here, type about some pretty advanced philosophies with other people on an internet we created, and we will go away when we die. It is sad and lonely, but it is also the luckiest gift any creation of stars and particles could ever receive. We have this time to examine our own awareness.

    Or we could give up everything, buy into the stories that other people make us believe, and waste the entire existence with "hope."

    August 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Billy, I liked what you said except for the soul thingy. I'm not clear on if you believe in a soul.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • L. Kendall

      Keep following the lies of psychologists and see that you end up where they are going. After all, they want to be the Messiah.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @L. Kendall

      Apparently your shrink hasn't found the correct medication for you yet.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Billy

      I don't see that my buddy had a soul. When his brain went so did he. I don't see that I have one, when I faint or go into surgery my existence just stops.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Billy

      More on soul. If this kid had a soul, if any of us have a soul, then it must be in the body while we are alive. This is why I don't buy it. Brain damage and brain death lead to loss of the person, not death. Our existence depends on our brain and body supporting the mind.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • KRHODES

      I would think that the soul is independent of the body. If the brain is damaged which is an organ...the sould would not be damaged by that, so actions would just be part of a malfunctioning organ. Take Hawking...his body is damaged because of disease yet he still has the capacity to reason. I would say a hundred years ago no one would have thought him capable of any thought.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What does his ability to reason or function have to do with a soul?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • KRHODES

      Nothing...my point is that the brain really has nothing to do with a soul...it is an organ. Billiy seemed to think that the soul and brain were dependent on each other...my point is that would be incorrect. He is under the impression that the soul of the boy in his comment had changed.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Bren

      I don't presume to view death as all atheists do, but for what it's worth, I stopped fearing death the instant I became an atheist. Everything about what I was taught about death never settled well with my intellect. I don't believe in an afterlife, but I recognize the butterfly effect. We have made a difference because we were here and made choices. I hope that difference is positive.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Billy

      Actually I was attempting to imply that I didn't think a soul existed at all, since it all seemed to come down to brain and mind. This kid was a broken. Teri Schavio (sp?) was broken. Did the soul exist for them? Were they perfectly functional behind broken body? I just don't buy it. We are products of the brain. When you faint or go under or get knocked out, there is no function of the mind. I think that is the point. If there were a soul we would experience something during those times. We do not.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  5. TheVocalAtheist

    What is it that the believers do not understand? If there was something to believe in that is real, say like the moon, then I could say I believe there is a moon. No one could refute it as we have the proof of the moon. Now, if someone asks me is there a God or do you believe in a God, my reply would have to be that there is nothing for me to believe in since there is no proof. My answer would have to be I don't "think" there is a God until there is proof I cannot believe in it.
    So, do I believe in a God? No I don't believe in a God because there is nothing to believe in. Do I think there is a God? No. Could there be a God? I don't think so.

    Are we such horrible, mean, arrogant people for thinking rationally?

    August 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Bugpop

      Just as these particular billboards are a terrible way to promote critical thinking, your efforts to persuade "believers" in your current manner defeats your purpose. Believers expect to be persecuted. Attacks almost always strengthen religious belief.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Bren

      Bugpop, I think we agree on something 😀 Attacks get us nowhere. Think of someone like Steve Jobs, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Thomas Payne, Lance Armstrong, Marlon Brando, Billy Joel, Larry King, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Diane Keaton, Mark Zuckerberg, Helen Keller, William Shatner, Susan B. Anthony, Phillis Diller, Marie Curie, Edgar Allan Poe, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Romano, Warren Buffet, Keanu Reeves, Gene Wilder, Angelina Jolie, Howard Stern, Andy Rooney, Daniel Radcliffe, Barry Manilow, Bruce Lee... The list is LONG of very relevant and kind people who are atheists. And they all admit it. In public interviews or their personal writings. The point is, these people probably would be embarrassed to be in any way affiliated with this billboard. I think unless we educate with civility, we only go backwards. What Would Dawkins Do?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Your list is not pursuasive. I choose Theresa of Avila, Thomas a Kempis, John Paul II, Dietrich Bonhoffer, Fr. John McGivney, Mother Teresa, William Penn, Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, Saul of Tarsus and Jesus Christ.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  6. rosemarie domino

    I am lucky I live in a country which promotes faith in God rather than spread lies about it. God is something beyond our mind which only a humble and faithful mind and heart can only accept.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You have no evidence or proof of your God.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bren

      No one knows if there is or isn't a god. So, everyone should admit to agnosticism. Some people chose to live a life of belief presuming there is a god, others chose to live a life presuming there isn't. In 2012, most people believe in a god because they were taught to by their family and community, and they are often taught to take it very seriously. Anyone who is not taught to believe in a god sees it as odd and can't believe it can be taken so seriously. I grew up encouraged to believe in god. But because I had the freedom to explore the idea, I actually quite quickly came to the conclusion that churches are businesses, and I really didn't believe in a god, but aspects of being a part of a religious group were gratifying. Once I found a community of atheists, I felt validated, and the best thing-I get to keep my money and spend more time with my family on Sundays. That's what I call heaven.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bren

      Agnosticism and atheism deal with two completely different questions.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  7. Colin

    Oh Christ we atheists are bad at marketing. Couldn't we come up with something more persuasive than this? If the goal is to change minds, I expect this billboard will be an abysmal failure. You never close a sale by insulting the target, not matter how accurate your insult might be.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Don

      Change minds? I heard this belief blog was weird and chalk filled with atheists. I never expected this. Grow up punk.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Don

      "chalk filled " I think you meant chock filled.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Then Colin, you put-up the fu*cking sign!

      August 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Bren

      I tend to agree, Colin. It's possible that this could back-fire because some atheists won't want to "come out" and attach themselves to something that makes fun of others (I call it bullying). I think their goal was educative advertising, to highlight some information people might not know. The problem is that it is an attack ad, and we are the minority, so we need to be careful. I really like the simplicity of a factoid or question on a billboard. For example, "No God? No problem!" There is too much information on the ad above for a passing driver or passenger to take in. I wish their were billboards that stated, "American Atheism-35 million and growing!" Something proud and positive that you want to join or be a part of, which is research-proven marketing. But then I'm a high-roader, lol.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  8. Science

    What I find hilarious about all this is that believers are getting thrown into a tizzy because atheists apparently claim to be better than this and when they put up something like this we're no better than them, but since we're hypocrites which I guess makes us worse? Meanwhile no one attempts to refute the statements and they find it some sort of win to get Atheists to resort to something as "low-brow" as billboards.

    I challenge any believer here to tell me how what's written on this billboard to be factually false.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • David

      It's false because it doesn't appear in multiple contradictory stories filled with incest and genocide in some apocryphal truth-text.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • KRHODES

      Well i can't speak to Mormonism...but first off... Sadistic God...surely you have proof of that claim and 2nd, "useless savior"...not if it is true, but then again, the burden would be on you to prove or the authors to prove so. "promtes hate" how so? "30 000 versions of truth...explain?

      August 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Science

      @KRohdes

      The sadistic god proof is in the bible. I personally find him repulsive on a number of occasions for instance, smiting everyone except a single person, commanding the israelites to commit genocide, sending a bear to attack and kill 40 children because they made fun of a bald man, picking on his most ardent believer just to win a bet with satan. The list goes on and on.

      "Useless savior" so far this savior has yet to stop war, feed the hungry, eradicate disease or do anything that has fundamentally changed the world and stopped some of our most divisive human behaviors. What has jesus actually done in this day and age?

      For a book that mentions "love thy neighbor", it also commands killing your children if they get lippy, marrying a victim to their ra.pists, not allowing women any rights, etc..., saying it's loving is one thing, but so far it's only promoted its followers to hate ho.mo.se.xuals, really just hate everyone that isn't a christian. Some people might believe they're "pitying" more than "hating" but it's pretty clear.

      30,000 versions of "truth" is the easiest one. If the bible was truly perfect, then how come there are over 30,000 different sects out there of christianity all believing they're right and their fellow christians are wrong.

      Questions?

      August 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @Science "The sadistic god proof is in the bible"...
      =>question: is killing ever necessary?
      just yes or no is fine...

      ========
      @science "Useless savior" so far this savior has yet to stop war, feed the hungry, eradicate disease or do anything that has fundamentally changed the world and stopped some of our most divisive human behaviors. What has jesus actually done in this day and age?"
      =>saved all who believe from permanent estrangement from God..
      hows that?
      You fail to grasp the situation you are in, therefor not recognizing the peril...

      =======
      @science "For a book that mentions "love thy neighbor", it also commands killing your children if they get lippy, marrying a victim to their ra.pists, not allowing women any rights, etc..., saying it's loving is one thing, but so far it's only promoted its followers to hate ho.mo.se.xuals, really just hate everyone that isn't a christian. Some people might believe they're "pitying" more than "hating" but it's pretty clear."
      =>question:Did your parents ever punish you for doing something wrong?
      do you feel they are hateful for doing so?

      ======
      @science "30,000 versions of "truth" is the easiest one. If the bible was truly perfect, then how come there are over 30,000 different sects out there of christianity all believing they're right and their fellow christians are wrong."
      =>you arent seriously saying that a faulty humanity is Gods fault, are you?

      August 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • billdeacons

      You can't use the Bible as a resource remember? It is written by man and is unreliable. Now how do you offer peer reviewed studies that prove God is sadistic?

      August 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @billdeacons "You can't use the Bible as a resource remember? It is written by man and is unreliable. Now how do you offer peer reviewed studies that prove God is sadistic?"

      =>I stand in awe.. the single best post of the year.
      well done

      August 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Science

      @Chad

      To answer your first question. In a nutshell, no I don't think killing is every necessary. That's my stance, however if we get into the nitty gritty of it, say Euthanasia or by your definition "abortion" then there are times where it might be necessary. If the life of the mother is in danger, if a person who is wasting away and in pain might need to be put out of their misery. The question is obviously a lot more complicated then a yes or no answer and when push comes to shove, the answer is no and yes.

      Second question: You're really stretching the limit of the definition of "savior" then. If jesus only came to save our souls, then he's still not very successful because there are more people with souls in danger just not being christians, not to mention the people who have accepted jesus but have sinned and are still destined for hell. He's still a pretty useless to me

      Third question. Sending me into timeout for 15 minutes is completely different than being sentenced to death. I disliked my parents for putting me in timeout and then teaching me why something I did wrong was wrong but being killed because I got sassy with my parents completely different and you know it. Please try again.

      Last but not least. if god is perfect why couldn't he spread an easily perfect message that couldn't be taken and mistranslated by humans to form 30,000 sects. However that's besides the point because all KRHODES was asking was what the "30,000 versions of "truth"" meant and I was explaining it.

      @billdeacons

      I was unaware that I couldn't use the bible as a resource considering it's the only expert on your god available. You want to see sadistic acts in the world though that god had the complete power to stop and didn't. Lets look at all wars, genocides, poverty, hunger, disease, etc... you name it. I pointed out instances that god is implicitly stated to have performed acts that are sadistic but if I can't use the only resource that shows that then all other terrible acts that occur on earth will have to suffice.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Science

      @Chad

      Are you setting the bar extraordinarily low if bildeacons if the best post of the year or do you not read a lot?

      August 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Science,

      I learned a while back that it's better to say "your Bible" and to put "God" in quotes, or call it "your God character" or something like that, otherwise they think that you really believe that stuff and are just arguing with it.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Science

      @A Frayed Knot

      yeah, that makes sense, sometimes people even take me for a believer, until they see my moniker

      August 14, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Chad

      @Science "To answer your first question. In a nutshell, no I don't think killing is every necessary."
      @Chad "so, you stand opposed to every war the US has ever entered, would not have opposed Hitler.. do not believe you have a right to defend yourself with lethal force if attacked, etc..
      interesting.."

      ========
      @science "You're really stretching the limit of the definition of "savior" then. If jesus only came to save our souls, then he's still not very successful because there are more people with souls in danger just not being christians, not to mention the people who have accepted jesus but have sinned and are still destined for hell. He's still a pretty useless to me"
      @Chad "again, your answer simply displays your lack of understanding..
      Jesus came to save, not coerce. He cant be blamed if you dont want to accept the offer
      If you accept Jesus, you will still sin.. accepting Jesus doesnt make us perfect, just forgiven.

      =====
      @science "Sending me into timeout for 15 minutes is completely different than being sentenced to death."
      @chad "A. the punishment is proportional to the offense. B. What you are objecting to then is the degree of punishment, not that punishment was necessary

      August 14, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Science

      @Chad

      That was incredibly disingenuous, almost to the point where I can't believe you actually attempted to do it. You quoted my first line and then completely disregarded the entire paragraph beneath it explaining how it's a yes and no question and can't be answered one way or the other. Of course there are times when lethal force is needed. Hitler was a bad guy, Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, James Holmes is a bad guy, but in a nutshell I am against killing unless under certain circu.mstances. I would as.sume you would be on the same page considering your bible says not to kill either. Then again a lot of believers can be pretty bloodthirsty so who knows.

      Secondly, my "lack of understanding" only extends to obviously not understanding your definition of savior. You labor under the delusion that everyone who hasn't accepted jesus must have rejected him, but in reality (you know, the real world that we live in) is there are still a huge amount of people who just simply don't know jesus. What kind of savior isn't immediately apparent to everyone and can't save everyone unless they ask? You're focus is completely scattered and you lack the understanding that being a savior implies more than just being there for people who ask.

      Lastly, when is death ever a proportional response for a parent to their child? Please, let me know one instance where a child does something so heinous that the parent should put their kid to death? And no, In that instance I'm not objecting to punishment, it can be a tool to teach as long as its within bounds, however the "love" that's so often preached in the bible still fails when you look at the laws like, marrying your ra.pist, keeping women subjugated, killing sassy children and so on. You are completely missing the point by trying to create a completely incongruent analogy and failing to look at the large picture, I think this is one of the few times where you are taking "loving" things out of context in your bible and ignoring the other parts.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Chad

      @Science "The sadistic god proof is in the bible. I personally find him repulsive on a number of occasions for instance, smiting everyone except a single person, commanding the israelites to commit genocide, sending a bear to attack and kill 40 children because they made fun of a bald man, picking on his most ardent believer just to win a bet with satan. The list goes on and on."

      @Chad "question: is killing ever necessary? just yes or no is fine..." [note that this is clearly in response to your "sadistic" comment above]

      @science "no I don't think killing is every necessary. That's my stance, however if we get into the nitty gritty of it, say Euthanasia or by your definition "abortion" then there are times where it might be necessary. If the life of the mother is in danger, if a person who is wasting away and in pain might need to be put out of their misery. The question is obviously a lot more complicated then a yes or no answer and when push comes to shove, the answer is no and yes.

      @Chad "so, you stand opposed to every war the US has ever entered, "

      @Science "That was incredibly disingenuous, almost to the point where I can't believe you actually attempted to do it. You quoted my first line and then completely disregarded the entire paragraph beneath it explaining how it's a yes and no question and can't be answered one way or the other. Of course there are times when lethal force is needed. Hitler was a bad guy, Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, James Holmes is a bad guy, but in a nutshell I am against killing unless under certain circu.mstances. I would as.sume you would be on the same page considering your bible says not to kill either. Then again a lot of believers can be pretty bloodthirsty so who knows."
      @Chad "well, I was going by your statement "killing is never necessary, except abortion to preserve the life of the mother and perhaps to eliminate suffering" in response to my statement.. complete context makes it pretty clear that the discussion was killing people.. that's what your original "sadistic" comment was aimed at.

      right?

      ====
      @Science "Secondly, my "lack of understanding" only extends to obviously not understanding your definition of savior.
      @Chad "when it comes to the definition of Jesus as savior, it is only the understanding of a Christian that is really relevant.. right?
      😉
      you dont get to insert your own definition of "savior" and then claim that Jesus doesnt qualify. It is the Christians definition of savior that it is claimed that Jesus satisfies.

      right?

      =======
      @Science "You labor under the delusion that everyone who hasn't accepted jesus must have rejected him, but in reality (you know, the real world that we live in) is there are still a huge amount of people who just simply don't know jesus. What kind of savior isn't immediately apparent to everyone and can't save everyone unless they ask? ."
      @Chad "1. If you havent rejected Jesus, there is good theological basis for a person getting a chance to accept him after they die (Jesus preached to the dead while He was dead).
      2. You cant force anyone to accept a gift, right?

      =======
      @Science "Lastly, when is death ever a proportional response for a parent to their child? "
      @Chad "disagreeing with a penalty that God imposes for a crime is fine, but rejecting Gods existence for the same reason is a really foolish thing to do...

      August 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Science

      @Chad

      Wrong, why can you not understand that. When I was talking about a "sadistic god" part of his sadism comes from the murder of innocent people for being nonbelievers or just being in the way (The Amalekites, The Canaanites, etc....) you tried to pivot the attention away from god and discuss if murder was every necessary and then attempted to box me in by saying I could only answer yes or no to a question that is incredibly nuanced in our society today. If you want to simply focus on the sadist god, look no further than your own bible where he murders millions of people without even giving them a chance to reform their ways.

      Second, you are again wrong, why do you think for a moment that when it comes to a specific group they are allowed to completely warp a definition of a word to suit their needs? That's moronic. Now, if it were laid out in the bible to say, "our savior will be a guy who comes to earth and doesn't do much unless you believe him then he'll save your soul" fine, it's written like that and your holy book outlined what you expect from a certain type of savior, but in the real bible, jesus was supposed to come and stop wars and disease, eradicate poverty and famine and save everyone, jew or gentile. He has clearly not succeeded and thus has become as useless as all the other deities. Sorry, but you don't get to make up your own definition after the fact and claim christians are the only ones who have ownership of it.

      Next, the illogical idea that if you live life knowing jesus exists you have to follow all these idiotic, stupid rules to get into heaven but if you haven't heard of jesus you could be the biggest sinner ever and still get in just because god somehow can't reach everyone on this tiny planet is just asinine. Yes, the bible has loopholes for those not "lucky enough" but that doesn't make it any less stupid.

      Lastly, I reject those punishments as cruel and disgusting, I don't believe the god of the bible exists however for a mult.itude of reasons and if I were to believe in any god or gods, this would be the abrahamic one lower on the list for being an as.shole. You are the one saying this is the reason I'm "rejecting god" and I really, really don't appreciate you putting words in my mouth and telling what I believe or don't believe.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @Science "When I was talking about a "sadistic god" part of his sadism comes from the murder of innocent people for being nonbelievers or just being in the wayfor being nonbelievers or just being in the way (The Amalekites, The Canaanites, etc....) you tried to pivot the attention away from god and discuss if murder was every necessary and then attempted to box me in by saying I could only answer yes or no to a question that is incredibly nuanced in our society today. If you want to simply focus on the sadist god, look no further than your own bible where he murders millions of people without even giving them chance to reform their ways."
      @Chad "
      A. define "innocent",
      B. regarding "without ever giving them a chance" that is utter, utter, nonsense. You will not find a case in the bible where God has not given a people the chance to repent prior to judgement. Please provide chapter/verse to back up your assertion.
      C. again, is killing ever necessary?

      Bottom line, you acknowledge that killing is necessary, you just dont like the times when God does it.

      right?"

      =====
      @Science "Second, you are again wrong, why do you think for a moment that when it comes to a specific group they are allowed to completely warp a definition of a word to suit their needs? That's moronic. Now, if it were laid out in the bible to say, "our savior will be a guy who comes to earth and doesn't do much unless you believe him then he'll save your soul" "
      @Chad "sigh.. again, another atheist that doesnt understand the bible....
      Jesus(Messiah) as the atoning sacrifice is throughout the OT
      The second coming of Jesus, reigning on earth as a kingly ruler has yet to come.

      please do some reading.. a short sample of OT scripture clearly portraying Jesus as savior:

      He would be hated without cause (Psalm 22:6-20; Isaiah 53; Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 69:4; Isaiah 49:7 w/ John 15:18-25; Matt. 2:13; Matt. 26:67,68; Matt. 27:28-44; Mark 8:31; Luke 4:28, 29; Luke 23:5, 10, 11; John 8:37; John 19 entire), rejected by the rulers (Psalm 118:22 w/ Matt. 21:42-46; John 7:48-53), betrayed by an intimate friend (Psalm 41:9 w/ John 13:18, 21), forsaken by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7 w/ Matt. 26:31-56), sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12 w/ Matt. 26:15) and His price would be given for the potter's field (Zechariah 11:13 w/ Matt. 27:7).

      He would be struck on the cheek (Micah 5:1 w/ Matt. 27:30), spat upon (Isaiah 50:6 w/ Matt.27:30), mocked (Psalm 22:7-8 w/ Matt. 27:28-31, 39-44) and beaten (Isaiah 50:6 w/ Matt. 26:67; 27:26, 30). His death by crucifixion is described in detail in Psalm 22; and the reason for His death as a subst itutionary atonement (paying the price owed by someone else) is given in Isaiah 53. His hands and His feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10 w/ John 19:18; John 19:37 & John 27:25). Not a bone of His would be broken in spite of all the torture He endured (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20 w/John 19:33-36). He would suffer thirst (Psalm 22:15 w/ John 19:28) and would be given vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21 w/ Matt. 27:34).

      He would be numbered with transgressors (common criminals) (Isaiah 53:12 w/ Matt. 27:38), and yet His body would be buried with the wealthy (Isaiah 53:9 w/ Matt. 27:57-60) but would not see corruption (Psalm 16:10 w/ Acts 2:31).

      =======
      @Science "fine, it's written like that and your holy book outlined what you expect from a certain type of savior, but in the real bible, jesus was supposed to come and stop wars and disease, eradicate poverty and famine and save everyone, jew or gentile."
      @Chad "chapter/verse please

      =====
      @Chad "Next, the illogical idea that if you live life knowing jesus exists you have to follow all these idiotic, stupid rules to get into heaven"
      @Chad "what "rules" are you talking about? please provide examples
      it's quite difficult discussing Jesus with someone that isnt familiar with Him at all..

      ========
      @science "but if you haven't heard of jesus you could be the biggest sinner ever and still get in just because god somehow can't reach everyone on this tiny planet is just asinine.
      @Chad "no idea what you are talking about here..
      The only way to get to heaven is accepting the atoning sacrifice of Jesus..

      again, it's so very difficult debating Jesus with someone that has no clue...

      ===========
      I cut out the profanity in the last section of your post..

      Are you rejecting Jesus or not? you can just say yes or no...

      August 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Science

      @Chad

      Sigh...... whenever I don't agree with your version of jesus I apparently don't know him at all, maybe you're the one who doesn't know jesus, I mean you never met him, you're reading a book that's been translated from many different languages from a people so far removed from our own time that it's highly unlikely they would even be able to comprehend all that we can offer in this age and would most likely call us gods. and yet you seem to know exactly who he is and what he stands for and me, the poor old atheist can't understand because I haven't suspended my brain.

      As for your questions, a) defining innocence is simple, most people are innocent until proven guilty. Were the sod.omi.tes really bad people when they were just acting in a way that society allowed them to. How can they be guilty of sin they didn't even know they were com.mit.ting? Would you call the sod.om.ites innocent? The only "chance" the sod.omi.tes got were two undercover angels who told everyone they were wrong, I don't know about you but if you ever go into say, a Mosque or a synagogue and tell them that they are wrong, they're wrong and you're right, see how they react. Now, if god had literally come down on high from the heavens instead of relying on prophets and angels, it may have been a different story, but here you are, a whole group of people murd.ered except a single person who was "good" because he was willing to give his daughter to a crowd for gang ra..pe rather than give the angels. Sounds like a winner to me.

      And to your question if killing is necessary, I don't like it when anyone does it, god or otherwise. However god has greater powers than a regular human being supposedly so why not stop the guy or gal from com.mit.ting a crime rather than allowing it and then killing them instead.
      I don't like when "god does it" because god has the power to avoid it and does it anyways, killing should always be the last resort and honestly, I would have preferred to catch Hi.tler and make him live out the rest of his miserable life in jail rather than him taking the easy way out. Get my drift? What you're trying to do, still, is box me into your neat little idea that I'm being "unfair" to god when in rea.lity you're the one letting your god off the hook way too often.

      Next, did you even read what you quoted to me? Those scriptures weren't describing what a savior is, it's just trying to "ident.ify" who the savior would be, you wanna know who the savior was supposed to be? A person who rescues others from evil, danger, or destruction. The Old Testament viewed god himself as the savior: “There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior” (Isa 45:21). Because God is the source of sal..vation, He sent human deliverers to rescue His people, Israel (Ps 106:21; Isa 43:3,11). This word was also used to describe the judges of Israel, those “saviors” or “deli.verers” who rescued God’s people from op.pression by their enemies (Judg 3:9,15). – Lets look at Israel right now and wonder to ourselves, has jesus saved Israel? In one word, no, no he has not. Enemies still abo.und and if you ask many Christians, they feel opp.ressed by our government. Or we could look at the Hol.ocaust, who saved the jewish people? Sure as hel.l wasn't god, it was the Allies, other humans.

      Oh yeah, you also wanted these elu.sive "rules" that you don't know about except... oh, I don't know, THE TEN COM.MANDMENTS! come on chad, I know you're not as stu.pid as you are pretending to be so stop please.

      So tell me, if a guy who lives in say, the Andes, goes around ra.p.ing, murd.ering, stealing, is generally a bad guy by any stretch of the imagination. He's then killed by his tribe because of all these horrible things, goes up to heaven and sits in judgement in front of god, god says, "Hey you were a REALLY bad person, but you never had a chance to accept christ, do you now?" he says yes and he gets into heaven? Lets be honest, if I die tomorrow, go up to heaven and meet god face to face and he asked me to accept jesus, that would be a good enough motivator to do so in my book and yet here I am, living my life as a good person. I don't steal or mur.der, I help the needy by both donating money and my time. I love my family and friends and try to be a de.cent person and yet I decided to use my "god given abil.ity" to crit.ically examine evidence and find god wanting so I get to sent to he.ll and this bad guy in the Andes gets the chance to examine evidence that was never afforded to me to make a more informed decision. That, right there, is idi.otic in the extreme.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Chad

      @Science "...s. and yet you seem to know exactly who he is and what he stands for and me, the poor old atheist can't understand because I haven't suspended my brain."
      @Chad "not sure how you expect to "understand" why/what Jesus said/did if you have no familiarity with the bible..
      right?

      ====
      @Science "As for your questions, a) defining innocence is simple, most people are innocent until proven guilty. Were the sod.omi.tes really bad people when they were just acting in a way that society allowed them to. How can they be guilty of sin they didn't even know they were com.mit.ting? Would you call the sod.om.ites innocent?"
      @Chad "your starting point is flawed *(we're innocent until proven guilty)
      we are ALL guilty. ALL of us.. you, me, everyone. Some of us arent judged immediately as we deserve, some are. simple as that.
      The question isnt "was God justified in judging S&G" but rather "why hasnt he judged all of us". The answer to that question is that He has a plan of redemption.
      We are ALL guilty, no one is innocent.

      ====
      @Science "And to your question if killing is necessary, I don't like it when anyone does it, god or otherwise. However god has greater powers than a regular human being supposedly so why not stop the guy or gal from com.mit.ting a crime rather than allowing it and then killing them instead."
      @chad "free will... do you want God stopping YOU from committing a crime before you do it?
      Think twice now.. any time you lied, cheated, stole, coveted, hated..
      If God stopped everyone before they committed a crime, the human race would grind to a halt in 2 seconds."

      =======
      @Science " Those scriptures weren't describing what a savior is, it's just trying to "ident.ify" who the savior would be, you wanna know who the savior was supposed to be? A person who rescues others from evil, danger, or destruction."
      @Chad "and.... what do you think Jesus did on the cross?
      The ultimate save, giving up his life that we may live.
      saving us from danger, evil, destruction.. precisely as you describe.

      Awesome that you read at least some of those passages to see how Jesus is identified as Messiah in the OT.

      ======
      @Science " The Old Testament viewed god himself as the savior: “There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior” (Isa 45:21). Because God is the source of sal..vation, He sent human deliverers to rescue His people, Israel (Ps 106:21; Isa 43:3,11). This word was also used to describe the judges of Israel, those “saviors” or “deli.verers” who rescued God’s people from op.pression by their enemies (Judg 3:9,15).
      @Chad "As you point out, God Himself has ALWAYS been the source of rescue for us. I couldnt have said it better myself.
      God saved us ultimately by sending Jesus Christ His Son.

      As you illustrate, God Himself has always been the one saving us.

      =====
      @Science "– Lets look at Israel right now and wonder to ourselves, has jesus saved Israel? In one word, no, no he has not. Enemies still abo.und and if you ask many Christians, they feel opp.ressed by our government. Or we could look at the Hol.ocaust, who saved the jewish people? Sure as hel.l wasn't god, it was the Allies, other humans."
      @Chad "
      I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.2 And this is[f] my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”[g]28 As far a s the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all Romans 11

      ======
      @science "yeah, you also wanted these elu.sive "rules" that you don't know about except... oh, I don't know, THE TEN COM.MANDMENTS! come on chad, I know you're not as stu.pid as you are pretending to be so stop please."
      @Chad " Born again Christians dont loose their salvation because they break rules..
      anything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.

      August 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Science

      @Chad

      I clearly have familiarity with the bible as shown through our conversation. Maybe not your own personal bible that you make up on the fly, but familiarity with the most universally accepted bible. Stop talking out of your as.s

      "we are all guilty" – That's repugnant. Seriously, that's disgusting that you think that every single person starts off as a guilty person having committed some sort of crime that makes our lives forfeit. Please, tell me what exactly it is I did that I deserve to literally die. Is it wearing polyester clothing? was it eating a cheeseburger? Do I deserve to die because I've been disrespectful to my parents a couple of times? I mean, golly chad, honestly, what has every single person done in their lives to deserve death and get "lucky" that god won't kill us. LIke I said, that kind of thinking is utterly repugnant.

      You're question about if I would want god stopping me from committing a crime? Sure, that would be great, if god could stop people from doing bad things, it wouldn't stop humanity like you think. I'm not sure how it would. If we lived harmoniously, no prisons, no crime think of all the resources that would free up? Seriously Chad, god stopping all the human vices would do the complete opposite of "grinding humanity to a halt". The mere fact that god has the power to do this and does nothing brings a certain word to mind.... Sadistic.

      As for your savior comment, Chad, seriously, get it together man. I point out what the savior is supposed to do and you revert back to telling me what jesus did or how he sacrificed himself while still completely ignoring what I literally just posted. The savior was supposed to deliver the jews from oppressors and pretty much make them an unstoppable force in the world. So far all there is a small country the size of new jersey living in constant fear and the jews having the potential to have half their number wiped off this earth in a matter of minutes. This savior of yours is still entirely useless and has yet to actually have "saved" anyone, other than in the loosest sense.

      Lastly, "anything is permissible but not everything is beneficial" PFFFFFFFT, sorry, I just spit out my water. "anything is permissible"? are you serious? Please, tell this to all the other christians out there who are picketing planned parenthood's and blocking gay marriage.... I mean honestly Chad, are you just making this up as you to be a troll or do you really think that what you're saying actually makes a lick of sense?

      August 15, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • Chad

      @Science ""we are all guilty" – That's repugnant. Seriously, that's disgusting that you think that every single person starts off as a guilty person having committed some sort of crime that makes our lives forfeit."
      @Chad "it is literally impossible for a person to say something like that and simultaneously claim they are familiar with the bible.
      Literally impossible, you arent familiar with the bible. Read Romans chapters 1-8 to understand why the bible says we are all guilty then come back...

      ======
      @Science "You're question about if I would want god stopping me from committing a crime? Sure, that would be great, if god could stop people from doing bad things, it wouldn't stop humanity like you think. I'm not sure how it would. If we lived harmoniously, no prisons, no crime think of all the resources that would free up? Seriously Chad, god stopping all the human vices would do the complete opposite of "grinding humanity to a halt". The mere fact that god has the power to do this and does nothing brings a certain word to mind.... Sadistic."
      @Chad "what your day be if you werent allowed to lie, cheat, steal, covet, hate 🙂
      you wouldnt be allowed to have a thought at all, same as me 🙂

      ==========
      @Science "The savior was supposed to deliver the jews from oppressors and pretty much make them an unstoppable force in the world."
      @Chad "that Jesus would come twice, the first as an atoning sacrifice and the second as an earthly king is clearly documented in the OT.

      ========
      @science Lastly, "anything is permissible but not everything is beneficial" PFFFFFFFT, sorry, I just spit out my water. "anything is permissible"? are you serious? Please, tell this to all the other christians out there who are picketing planned parenthood's and blocking gay marriage.."
      @chad "permissible as in doing that act will not result in a loss of salvation, not permissible as in God approves of it.

      you need to read the bible once...

      your utter unfamiliarity with the text is handicapping your ability to have an intelligent discussion about it..

      August 15, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Science

      @Chad

      I see it's your tactic to claim I haven't read or even familiarized myself with the bible because whenever I disagree with it that means I must not have read it, right? I mean how could a person read the S & D and NOT be convinced that god had the right to smite all those people right? Chad, instead of continuing to claim that I haven't read the bible, hows about you actually get off your high horse and tell me why, you as a human being can stand being told that you are a sinner, that you're so terrible that your god will look at you, your friends, your family, everyone in existence and consider you unworthy but deigns to forgive you anyways. Is that right? Is that fair? I have yet to meet a single person and straight up say, "Hi, I just met you and all but I already know you are flawed and a sinner, but I forgive you anyways." Let alone god, who goes about it the most as.sbackwards way by only allowing himself to forgive us by sacrificing his own son. It doesn't make any sense Chad, and it's face it seems like a completely ridiculous notion to actually happen in real life. We all love a good sacrificial story because we want to believe that a person or even a god would sacrifice himself for all of humanity, but at the end of the day, it's just a story, albeit steeped and folded in history.

      "@Chad "what your day be if you werent allowed to lie, cheat, steal, covet, hate
      you wouldnt be allowed to have a thought at all, same as me "

      –I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the above sentence. Are you saying that if I wasn't allowed to lie, cheat, steal, covet, hate that it precludes all thoughts of love, honesty, virtue, etc? Really Chad, that's the best you can come up with? Maybe you are the sinner you believe you are if you love the sin itself so much that you are thanking god for allowing you to sin. That's messed up.

      Lastly, "having the ability to do something" and an act that's "permissible" are two different things. I forgive your typo because I can now see your point, you are restating that your god will forgive you regardless of what you do, except if you say I don't believe. Which of course which brings us back to, why the hell should a murderer, thieving ra.pist have a better chance of being forgiven and get into heaven before the kind hearted atheist? Please explain how on any planet in the universe that logic actually holds up. Heaven, supposedly this utopia of goodness can allow a murderer because this murderer also believes in god and yet I can live my life very virtuously and be cast into eternal hellfire because god didn't give me a shootout, which would have taken a grand total of 1 minute tops to do.

      You say it's impossible to have an intelligent conversation who hasn't read your version of the bible (the one you do your best to ignore all the icky parts), I'm going to say it's equally as difficult to have a conversation with a person who uses the logic of a second grader.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @Science "I see it's your tactic to claim I haven't read or even familiarized myself with the bible because whenever I disagree with it that means I must not have read it, right?
      @Chad "not at all, I claim you havent read it when you demonstrate you havent by saying things like ""we are all guilty" – That's repugnant. "" which is an absurd statement to anyone that has even a passing familiarity with the bible.
      "Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" Ecclesiastes
      "There is no one righteous; no, not one" Romans

      the concept of a guilty humanity is the core concept around which the narrative of the Bible revolves. To claim otherwise is absurd. You arent familiar with it at all.. period, end of story. time to move on.

      ===
      If God stopped all thoughts of lying, cheating, stealing, hating, etc.. there wouldnt be any thoughts left.
      You are confused on this issue because you arent familiar with the Bible, and have no concept of the fallen nature of humanity..
      You are still thinking "well, I'm not THAT bad.."
      well, wrong, you and I ARE that bad..

      read the bible, even if you disagree with it, you need to get familiar with it to debate a Christian on the content..
      pretty basic..

      August 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @science "why the hell should a murderer, thieving ra.pist have a better chance of being forgiven and get into heaven before the kind hearted atheist? "

      @Chad "because forgiveness relies not on what we do, but on what Jesus did.
      If you accept His sacrifice you are in, if you dont, you are out.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Science

      @chad

      I'm sorry, I honestly thought since you had a computer in front of you, you could look up the word repugnant. It basically means disgusting or repulsive. I'm glad we cleared that up because a person such as yourself wouldn't try to argue that just because I have a different opinion than the bible that somehow makes me unfamiliar with it, you couldn't be that stupid, Right?

      Next, who are you to tell me I'm a bad person? I mean seriously, you read in a book written by men thousands of years ago that everyone is evil and so you assume that it's right? Honestly, do you even read what you write at this point? I mean I guess that makes sense considering you really believe that all everyone thinks about is lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, etc.... It's no wonder you project that onto everyone else to make yourself feel better, but I'll give you a hint, there's are such things as friendship, love, honesty, and virtue that are equally thought about and when used correctly make out society more harmonious to live in. Dispell the bad stuff and we as humans would become an unstoppable force.

      My disagreement with the bible has nothing to do with my familiarity with it, and your straw man argument literally has no legs, your grasping at whatever you can get a hold of at this point clearly just to keep up with me, it's ok though, I can slow down if you want me to

      August 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Chad

      so you started off this thread with a couple accusations..

      @Science "The sadistic god proof is in the bible"...
      @science "Useless savior.."
      @science "For a book that mentions "love thy neighbor", it also commands murder.."

      My response was that no one could make those claims and at the same time understand what the bible stated was the reason for each case.

      so lets do this:
      do you know what the bible says is the reason that God killed the Amalekites?
      do you know what the bible says about why Jesus is the savior?
      do you know what the bible says is the reason God hates sin?

      Dont give me "there can be no good reason"
      just give me what the bible says are the reasons.

      then we can debate

      August 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Science

      Ahhh, but what kind of debate my slippery friend? You seem to be laboring under the delusion that actions that happen within the bible are automatically just and can not translate into the real world. It's the same thing with movies or books. In the stories our Heros are never wrong, or when they do a bad action they immediately regret it and atone for their mistakes. We give them leeway in grey areas because they're the good guy. If I were to give you a barebones story however I bet you would be hard pressed to figure out who our hero or heroin.

      To answer your first question. Why did god kill the amelkites? Well he didn't, he commanded humans to because they were "evil". They worshipped false gods, sacrificed children etc... And yet one has to ask , why didn't god just smite them like he did at S&D? That way no Israelites would be killed and the job would have been way more thorough. Or is it maybe that the Israelites, seeking to attack their enemies got gods permission and made it a holy war? I seem to remember a certain president doing that not too long ago, was that just and righteous as well?

      Your other questions are idiotic, why is Jesus the messiah? Cus he permitted miracles, allowed himself to die , fulfilled some dumb prophecies and then became a zombie and rose from the dead, however thats not a savior, the savior in the bible promised to deliver the Israelites from oppression, Jesus didn't, the savior was supposed to be a good warrior, Jesus clearly wasn't. You have chosen Jesus as your savior and determined that the "saving part" happens after death. I on the other hand find that to be incredibly useless.

      Why does god hate sin? Good question, the bible will say that god hates sin because a) who wants to worship someone who loves sin and b) sin can be anything you want when you're writing the book and can choose what's good and bad.

      Please chad, go to the wizard and get a brain

      August 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Science: Please chad, go to the wizard and get a brain
      -----><============:)

      Where would he put it? His skull is already full of sh!t.

      August 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  9. AuTHEISTic

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

    I thought they were..but to what they've doing these days, I doubt it!

    August 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  10. Bren

    First, this billboard is no "pettier and vindictive" than religion is to society. Secondly, there are plenty of secular organizations mobilized to assist the poor and vulnerable, and the beauty of them is there are no "strings attached" as with religion. They don't coerce you into going to church or even to pray. They just help people, not expecting anything in return (like approval from a god). Atheists are marginalized and not trusted, and when this happens to any group, they get angry and frustrated, so they may come across as, well, angry and frustrated! But they will never try to take away anyone's right to explore belief. They just don't want to be labeled "evil" because they are also exploring belief and chose not to believe.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Don

      I'm part of society. Don't speak for me.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  11. Colin

    The belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, chose a small nomadic group of Jews from the 200 million people then alive to be his "favored people" provided they followed some rural laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine equals Judaism.

    Judaism PLUS a belief that the same god impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule he himself made equals Christianity.

    Christianity PLUS a belief that aliens from other planets mated with humans who will one day be gods, that post mortem baptisms send people to a heaven, that the Israelis colonized America and that magic underwear will protect you from evil equals Mormonism.

    I guess Mormons take the gold for utterly stupid beliefs. One can imagine Brigham Young standing on a pedestal, accepting his medal and humbly proclaiming, “If my beliefs are even more ridiculous than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • David

      Well, let's not forget the pre-pubescent wives.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  12. Portland tony

    There are far too many Americans with too much idle time on their hands! A prosperous productive society hasn't the time to complain about the behavior of their next door neighbors who aren't exactly like them. This Atheist "movement" makes as much sense as an "organization for anarchy"

    August 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Billy

      Or religious proselytizing! Well said, halfway...

      August 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  13. Observer

    @just sayin,

    Since you are posting in the Atheism name, why not just anwer the questions? You're not fooling anyone but yourself.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • just sayin

      I can't answer the questions other than that I know my pretend God is going to send you to burn in hell for eternity.

      God bless you.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • just sayin

      There have been no questions and you are someone who just sayin feels is unworthy of answers anyway and as usual just sayin is correct. God bless

      August 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a little coward you are, just sayin.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Melamny

      Isn't our God amazing? We think of sacfcriie as giving up good stuff for God when what God REALLY wants, is all the BAD stuff we try to manage on our own! We think of God as deserving our very best (and he does!) and how we lay that on the altar-our time, our giftings, our abilities as an act of worship to Him. What blows my mind is that God asks me to give him my anger, my bitterness, my selfish desires and all the things that are unholy and corrupted on that very same altar. If someone gave me a bag of cr*p I'd hardly be happy and yet our God asks for just that-our bag of cr*p!!

      September 7, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  14. Colin

    Ten Ways You Know you are an Atheist.

    1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Jew or Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to understand human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.

    2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.

    3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.

    4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.

    5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.

    6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump off a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.

    7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar, Darwin-u akbar”.

    8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.

    9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.

    10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,720,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fell pain, or to regret or fear itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope from Bronze Age Palestine that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT. AVOID

      August 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Observer

      . . .

      Truth hurts, doesn't it?

      August 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • David

      Stop making sense! Don't you know that questions come from the devil?

      Some argue that children benefit from a belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Of course, these fictions offer the promise of presents and candy.

      Adult fairy tales require threats of eternal suffering in order to coerce the populace into submission.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Colin

      Love me those 'Colinism's' 😀

      Peace...

      August 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Fenicks

      That was awesome. Very well written.

      P.S. Don't feed the trolls.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • kindless

      You know what is bull sh it is this person who posts as .... and says BULL SH IT ALERT, without ever giving their opinion why they think something is not true. I've seen it in several blogs. Why would someone waste their time posting this way. It's like going through more trouble than it's worth to click like on something. Very juvenile.

      heavenSnot RIF

      August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • spartyon

      Makes so much sense, and were winning! Atheism and a lack of belief has been growing fast in this country, especially among my generation. Now with computers and iphones, we can quickly fact check what our pastor said after we get out of church.
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/12/pew-survey-doubt-of-god-growing-quickly-among-millennials/

      August 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • spartyon

      Makes so much sense, and were winning! Atheism and a lack of belief has been growing fast in this country, especially among my generation.
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/12/pew-survey-doubt-of-god-growing-quickly-among-millennials/

      August 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Colin and 10 signs of an atheist: 7. "You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive."

      I recommend inserting the word "against" in the passage where you said "fiercely defend any attempts".....

      August 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Bob

      Another one that writes volumes while saying nothing. You atheists refuse to take responsibility for your sinful natures.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bob

      I suppose your tactic might be better. Writing very little and still saying absolutely nothing.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Boob, if you want to see a whole lot of words that say nothing and are invariably misspelled and misused, read your own posts on the gay marriage article.

      They're hilarious.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Bob

      No matter what I write will not change the fact that you atheists refuse to acknowledge your sinful natures. Without realization, change is impossible. Therefore, society is stuck with a group of immature fools.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Immature fools"?

      Then why are YOU here?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Bob

      I'm here to ensure you read and understand my posts and know that Christians have your number.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Translation of last post be Bob

      "E-peen stroking."

      August 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Bob,
      "atheists refuse to acknowledge your sinful natures. "

      Atheists do a better job of acknowledging our failings than believers. WE are responsible for them. We accept the natural consequences for them. We do not think that someone is coming to "save" us, or that someone had to die to atone to some imaginary bloodthirsty super-monster for them, or that saying "I Believe" magically makes the failings have no consequences.

      Grow up, and man up, Bob. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  15. David

    God is not healthy for children and other living things.

    If he doesn't get you with the flood, infanticide, or a plague of locusts, he'll scheme to have you nailed to a cross.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • truth be told

      Try that type of approach on a human judge sometime.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  16. atheists are immaterial, thus, irrelevant

    REEAALLLYYY?! I could hardly believe it! But it's okay, there were HANDFUL of them anyway. They couldn't win a county or municipal election, so the heck on them!

    August 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • David

      That must have been what the Romans thought about the small cult of Christians when they were feeding them to the lions.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Bren

      Just because there are a few, they are immaterial? That's more hateful than the billboard could ever be. Also, you might want to consider all that atheists have contributed to the world. Like the computer you are using. Look up famous atheists. Artists, scientists, inventors, writers, actors, directors, musicians, politicians (yes, there are many "in the closet"), journalists, athletes, etc-people you enjoy. Some of the most prolific contributors of our society throughout history have been atheists. We are far from irrelevant!!! I think I can speak on behalf of most atheists when I say we wish you would just get to know us.We are more like you than different. We just learn our morality more from a variety of scientific sources (sociology, psychology, biology, etc.) teach us than holy books. We don't disregard great ideas from the bible, but there are poor ideas in the bible, too, and we aren't afraid to call them out. If you'll admit it, I'll bet there are a lot of things in the bible you don't do either. I was terrified to admit my atheism because of thinking like yours. Know why? Because I used to think like you. I was an evangelical. I used to think atheists worshiped the devil. Then I realized that if they don't believe in deities, they don't believe int he devil either. That changed everything. I realized how my pre-conceived notions were distorting reality. And you can't "unknow" something. There's no going back. I couldn't villainize atheists anymore, and refused to be around people who did. It's so peaceful being an atheist when I am not being treated like a second-class citizen. And remember, you can't generalize. There are sub-groups of atheists that are as bad as some of the Christians you know who make you look bad. I won't lump you in with them, if you will afford me the same.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • atheismiscrap

      Yes, it was, BUT had become the state religion of the same country and people who persecuted them, 3 centuries later. And continue growing and is now having the LION SHARE (makes up the 1/3) of the worlds populace.

      On the other hand, atheism has been known centuries B.C., through The Sophists and Epicureanism, BUT still...makes the small (if not the smallest) minority even in the non-religious segment. Why is that?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • atheists are pseudo-scientists

      @Bren

      Einstein believes in Spinoza's God and Steve Job was a Zen Buddhists.

      So what's your point?

      August 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • ArthurP

      More is accomplished by two hands working than a thousand clasp in prayer.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hands working without a plan are useless. Prayer provides a plan. A good man prays a great man acts on prayer. God bless

      August 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Observer

      Keep hiding. You won't fool God.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      The only thing hidden is you , you are hiding from God to your own destruction. God bless

      August 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes otherwise rational people into believing in imaginary friends.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • just sayin

      For no justifiable reason I think the God I pretend to believe in will send you to burn in hell for eternity. God bless you.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • ArthurP

      just sayin

      A good man prays a great man acts on prayer. God bless

      ==============
      A lazy man prays a caring man does the work.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • just sayin

      The reason is sin, the solution is Jesus. God bless

      August 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes tings .

    August 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Observer

      Hide! Hide!

      August 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • just sayin

      Typo Typo. God bless

      August 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you're posting under more than one name, then, hypocrite? I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you!

      August 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • just sayin

      Tom, for being rational God is going to send you to hell to burn for eternity. God bless you.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • just sayin

      What is asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. You are dismissed Tom. God bless

      August 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Bren

      How do you know if you haven't tried not praying??? Plenty of people have grown up without belief in god and are perfectly happy and healthy. About prayer–Science shows that the primary benefit of prayer is calming the mind and helping the person praying to organize their thoughts. It isn't because there is any supernatural being listening and responding, which actually can be disempowering because some people don't ACT because they think god will take care of them. Then they praise "god" when they luck out and things work out, and they get confused and rationalize ("The lord works in mysterious ways," or "I guess it wasn't meant to be") when it doesn't. That's why I meditate rather than pray. Meditation ditches the presumption that a supernatural force is going to help and just clears the mind for thoughtful analysis. And thinking changes everything.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  19. Freedom

    There's nothing wrong with religion.

    Until, of course, it persuades nearly half of this country's Christian base into 1) Promoting the proliferation of assault rifles and guns out into the wild, causing – what was it up to now, three this past month? – gun massacres in this country. Not to mention the 25+ gun homicides that occur daily, or that something like 60% of the murders in this country are performed with guns. You don't see these statistics in any other modernized country. 2) Oppressing the rights of fellow men. Christianity was the driving force behind oppressing left-handed humans in the 1500s, slaves in the 1800s, women until the early 1900s, minorities until the 1960s, and the LBGT crowd which is continuing to this day. Religion has been used as an excuse to oppress humans for generations, and it's still being used today. 3) Deny health care and basic human necessities to fellow human beings. It's funny that the more secular a country is, the more willing they are to help their neighbor. See how Europe's life expectancy far exceeds ours? That's what happens when you start caring about your fellow humans, rather than passively awaiting death because you may or may not experience some sort of afterlife.

    Jesus, of course, was a non-white Jewish socialist carpenter. He was poor. He spoke out for the rights of all men and women, which (believe it or not) includes the LBGT crowd, Jesus would be a pariah in the Christian crowd of today (just like he was a pariah among the religious 2000 years ago), but he would be welcomed with open arms by the atheists of today. Isn't that funny?

    I, too, fear fundamentalist Christians overtaking this country FAR more than any extremist Islamic group. I fear fundamentalist Christians FAR more than any terrorist attack, Iran, or North Korea. Whoever said that there is a good number of politicians in the US who want our country to become a Christian version of Iran is 100% correct.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      i agree....people who purport to speak for god amuse me. when they get lots of followers, they scare me

      August 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  20. Why Ditch Religion

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA53vCC_MIk&sksdkl

    August 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      And another cool video!

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

      August 13, 2012 at 10:23 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.