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

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

By Dan Merica, CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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

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

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

CNN Belief Blog: Atheist leader hopes to mobilize closeted nonbelievers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Dan Merica

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

soundoff (7,477 Responses)
  1. ArthurP

    Once upon a time, there was no time and that was when there
    also was no gods and no man walked the surface of the land.
    But there was the sea, and where the sea met the land, a
    mare was born, white and made of sea-foam. And her name was
    Eiocha. On the land, near where the land met the sea, a
    tree grew, a strong and sturdy oak. On the oak, grew a
    plant whose seeds were formed of the foam tears of the sea.
    To sustain her, Eiocha ate the seeds, these white berries,
    and they were transformed within her. Eiocha grew heavy
    with child and gave birth to the god, Cernunnos. So great
    was her pain in childbirth that she ripped bark from the one
    tree and hurled it into the sea. The bark was transformed
    by the sea and became the giants of the deep.

    Cernunnos was lonely and he saw the giants of the deep who
    were numerous, so he coupled with Eiocha and of their union
    came the gods, Maponos, Tauranis, and Teutates, and the
    goddess, Epona. Eiocha soon tired of the land, being a
    creature of sea-foam, and she returned the sea, where she
    was transformed into Tethra, goddess of the deep water,
    sometimes called Tethys.

    The gods and goddess were lonely for they had none to com-
    mand nor none to worship them. The gods and goddess
    took wood from the one oak tree and fashioned the first man
    and the first woman.

    Cernunnos also made other animals from the one oak tree, the
    deer and the hound, the boar and the raven, the hare and the
    snake. He was god of the animals, and he commanded the oak
    tree to spread and grow, to be come a forest home for his
    children.

    Epona also made animals, but she made only the horse, mare
    and stallion alike, in remembrance of Eiocha who was no
    more.

    Teutates took limbs from the one tree, and fashioned a bow,
    arrows, and a club.

    Tauranis took limbs from the one tree, and fashioned
    thunderbolts made of fire and noise. He would leap to the
    top of the tallest trees and hurl his weapon at the ground.
    The ground would shake, the grass would burn, and the ani-
    mals would run in fear

    Maponos also took limbs from the one tree, but he fashioned
    not a weapon but a harp. He stretched strings of the winds
    from its limbs and spent his days in Cernunnos' forest. The
    winds would join in the melodies, and the birds as well. And
    all Cernunnos' animals would come from near and far to hear
    Maponos play.

    The giants of the deep saw the gods and goddess happy on the
    land, and the giants were jealous, for they had none to com-
    mand nor none to worship them. So the giants plotted
    against the gods; they would overwhelm them with the sea and
    take the land under the water. But Tethra in the deep
    sea heard the murmuring of the giants in the waves and she
    remembered her days as Eiocha and so she warned her sons and
    daughter. The gods were prepared the day the giants came
    against them.

    The gods took refuge in the one oak tree. Tauranis hurled
    his thunderbolt and split the land, and the sea overflowed
    its boundaries. Maponos broke the sky and hurled it at the
    giants. Teutates' deadly aim with the bow and arrows from
    the one oak tree cut down many of the giants. The giants of
    the deep were not without weapons; they had the strength of
    the waves.

    The gods overwhelmed the giants, but could not destroy them.
    The giants of the deep were driven back into the sea, and
    Tethra bound them in the deep waters. But a few escaped
    Tethra and fled far from her reach. They called themselves
    the Fomor, and built a life on the outer edges of the world.
    But the Fomor dreamed of conquest, and vowed to once again
    take the land from the gods. Of their later battles, our
    histories tell us much.

    The sea returned to its bed and Maponos repaired the sky.
    And the gods looked for Epona as she had been absent from
    the victory. Epona had rescued one man and one woman from
    the watery and fiery destruction, and the three of them
    waited deep in Cernunnos' forest. From this man and this
    woman Epona saved would come our mighty people. The gods
    and the goddess left the deep of Cernunnos' forest and re-
    turned to their home near the one tree of oak which still
    stood strong and sturdy, and the sacred berries where still
    white as sea-foam.

    Where the fiery pieces of the heavens Maponos had torn from
    the sky had mingled with the waters of the sea, there were
    born new gods. The god Belenus and his sister Danu sprang
    from where the heavenly fire had been but little quenched.
    The god Lir sprang from where the waters of the sea had al-
    most quenched the fire of heaven. From Lir, as the histo-
    ries tell, there would come the mighty Manannan, the
    beautiful Branwen, the wise Bran. But from Danu many chil-
    dren would come, the Dagda, Nuadha of the Silver Hand, the
    wise Dienceght, the smith Goihbhio, the fearsome Morrigan,
    the gentle Brighid. The Children of Danu and the Children
    of Lir are the two mighty races our songs tell of, ever opposite.

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

      Quite a good read. My appreciations for this story.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  2. Don

    Very simple, if science and reason are hard to understand then try religion.

    August 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • ArthurP

      Well said sir, well said.

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

      Why make it harder on yourself?

      August 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  3. Randy Ga.

    Albert Einstein might just as well have believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:59 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 11:54 pm |
  4. Randy Ga.

    "Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source . . . They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p. 214)

    August 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Einstein also said:

      The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer.
      – Albert Einstein, published posthumously

      He was a deist and believed in Spinoza's God (a complex, non-anthorpomorhic God by the way).

      Again, what's your point?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Randy Ga.

      "In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support for such views". (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, p. 214)

      August 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What is the purpose of this exercise, Randy? What is your thinking here?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Answer

      The same as always.. the call to an authority figure which Einstein was, and still is. But the futile endeavor is to also to tarnish Einstein and say that he was a man of god.

      The endeavor is always the same.. the call to say ..at last at death these atheists have recanted. BS.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." – Sir Winston Churchill

      August 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Randy Ga.

      What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos. (Albert Einstein to Joseph Lewis, Apr. 18, 1953)

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

      August 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      An even more important point. Who the fuck caresif Einstein believed or not?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Answer

      The same tact has been a timeless failure as all the others have been. For that I am perpetually happy about. People have defended Einstein and his legacy and have put the religious losers in their right place.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's what I wonder, HG. Randy seems to think that if Einstein said something about God, it somehow should have some sort of significance for others. Why would he think that?

      August 13, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • billdeacons

      He probably assumes that one of the world's greatest scientific minds might be accepted as having a credible comment on the subject since so many atheist purport a measure of respect towrds science. He fails to realize that most also immediately denigrate any such no biblical source that does not re-inforce their foregone conclusion.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • billdeacons

      No doubt he presumes that one of the world's greatest scientific minds might be accepted as having a credible comment on the subject, since so many atheists purport a measure of respect towards science. He fails to realize that most also immediately denigrate any such non biblical source that does not re-inforce their foregone conclusion.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      These aren't some sort of 'new information', bill, and Randy is posting the quotes as if they prove something, when they don't really prove much at all.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @bill,

      Despite being raised as a Jew, Albert Einstein did not believe in a biblical God. He is very clear about his belief in Spinoza's God.

      I'll spare you the quote mining exercise on how he feels about the Judeo-Christian tradition. Look at the Einstein page on wikiquote for lots of examples.

      Certainly his thinking is profound and he is categorically not an atheist.

      The front-lines of the culture war here don't need to be "I reject your reality and insist on replacing it with mine". I would think that live and let live would be a libertarian perspective, but I guess real libertarians are as small a minority as atheists.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sorry – couldn't help myself: More Einstein:

      "For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.

      In the case of a Christian clergyman, the tragic-comical is found in this: that the Christian religion demands love from the faithful, even love for the enemy. This demand, because it is indeed superhuman, he is unable to fulfill. Thus intolerance and hatred ring through the oily words of the clergyman. The love, which on the Christian side is the basis for the conciliatory attempt towards Judaism is the same as the love of a child for a cake. That means that it contains the hope that the object of the love will be eaten up...

      And perhaps, more relevantly here:

      Why is it that nobody understands me, yet everybody likes me?

      August 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • billdeacons

      HA HA GOP that last one is probably the most relevant Einstein quote. Love it!

      August 14, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    19% of the US population are unbelievers. Another 30% of the US population list themselves as christians just because they like being in the social club and don't want their loving christian friends and family alienating them even though they have realized over the years that all this garbage they were brainwashed with as children is really quite laughable.

    Those numbers are the truth (or at least just as true as the Bible is anyway).

    August 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The 2007 Pew Forum numbers:
      http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

      Unafilliated ................. 16.1%
      Atheist ......................... 1.6%
      Agnostic ...................... 2.4%
      Religious unafilliated .... 5.8%
      Secular unafilliated ...... 6.3%

      Your 19% number is the newest data for unafilliated but I've haven't seen any breakdown. I hate to burst your bubble but it likely includes at least 6% who do believe in God or spirits but don't adhere to any formalized tradition.

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

      47% of statistics are made up

      August 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  6. Randy Ga.

    "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings". (Albert Einstein)

    August 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Randy,

      Ummm yes? What's your point?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      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. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

      The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
      Letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, January 3, 1954

      August 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Randy Ga.

      Quite consistant with the other quotes.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  7. Randy Ga.

    "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an att.itude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being". (Albert Einstein)

    August 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • hippypoet

      very nice... i love it.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Answer

      When you get old you just want to live out the remainder of your life free from fetters. It is a fact that the young will fight. The old like what was quoted from Einstein is a recollection of his attempt to encompass his remainder.

      Nonetheless still provoking from Einstein.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and perhaps if christians didn't knock on my door, hand me pamphlets on the corner as they condemn me to Hell, lobby politicians in washington to change laws in accord to religious dogma (i.e. keeping g.ays from marrying, keeping evolution out of our textbooks, etc), use ignorance, fear and guilt as weapons on their own followers, teach us that s.ex is evil, promote bigotry, misogyny, h.omophobia, it teaches us to turn off our frontal lobe.

      unfortunately, religion isn't just something you talk about at home - it's in our very political system. so sorry, i feel like we need to push back. standing around idle will only keep religion alive longer to plague mankind. want to see the most racially divided time in our country? sunday morning, in the south. religion only brings together fellow cult members.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  8. hippypoet

    God is an idea. Such an improbable idea that many have, to make the idea inarguable, said that the idea is beyond human comprehension and so by doing remove the need but more importantly the ability to prove and so make it an untouchable notion of truth based on an idea. How is that different from being delusional? You hold fast to an idea of an improbable, incomprehensible, and untouchable nature as if it is fact!
    Until you have tangible evidence for the existence of god, the notion of god remains in the realm of ideas.
    And thats a factual statement!

    August 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  9. atheists KEEP OUT!

    Atheists make the smallest minority of non-religious.

    Even if they shout altogether, dumbo the elephant might be not be able hear them. Thus, no big deal.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Billy

      So why post KEEP OUT! in all caps? U threatened and just trying to come off like you are not?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Guess you don't like our Constitution then.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are you posting about them, then?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Answer

      Well look it's that idiot who is exactly like those neo-nazis over in Germany..

      Go join them dude..they're called the immortals. I hear they love to hate. They're white trash like yourself.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      seems like you're hearing us, LOL.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      19.2% of the american population are unbelievers. Another 30% of the american population list themselves as christians just because they like being in the social club and don't want their loving christian friends and family alienating them even though they have realized over the years that all this garbage they were brainwashed with as children is really quite laughable.

      Those numbers are the truth (or at least just as true as the Bible is anyway).

      August 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • atheists KEEP OUT!

      I heard no one but the author of this article and the reason that I commented was to let him to know that it's perfectly fine. There's absolutely no big deal.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @doG,

      the Pew Forum numbers don't indicate they are all unbelievers – there are a lot of "I belive in God but no specific religion" in that number. People who are willing to profess as atheist or agnostic are still <5%.

      But no matter. I think there are a lot of people who are afraid to 'come out' as it were because of the backlash they would recieve. The fundies are almost as frightened by atheists as they are by the gays.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I'm sure the author really appreciates your comments, dear. Do you put out milk and cookies for Santa, too?

      Doofus, the author isn't reading your stupid comments.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • atheists KEEP OUT!

      In my entire experience of reading comments and also commenting on this blog, I was thinking that "Not GOPer" was the most rational, honest and less-egotist of all (atheists who have been commenting on this blog (no pun intended). On the other hand, I thought Dyslexic doG is a BALD-FACED LIAR and not to mention a DOLT! (sarcasm intented) Their replies here in my post has just took away my doubt.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • atheists KEEP OUT!

      And BTW, TTPS was such a peach, lol!

      August 13, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I thought you said you couldn't "hear" atheists' responses.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @KEEP OUT,

      thank you, it's so nice to be noticed.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • atheists KEEP OUT!

      @TTPS

      Yes, but I can hear them, dearie.

      @No GOPer

      Just giving credit when it's due.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you got top billing, GOPer! Congrats!

      August 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • atheists KEEP OUT!

      rather, *read*

      August 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I see you found the 'reply' button after you fvcked up. Kudos.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhhahhahhahha! Fvcked up again, didn't you ?

      That's what happens when you lie.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • It seems that you

      So, you "fvcked up" more often, Tomi?

      August 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  10. michael

    of course the are going to target religion and not god. religion is real, god is not. religion has detrimental effects on society while god is just the imaginary friend in your head. it would be more reasonable to attack the thing you can actually change.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • gabriel

      "it would be more reasonable to attack the thing you can actually change."

      Okay go, make youself useful. Tell them to quit attacking God and Religion. Otherwise, they are deemed less-reasonable.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    The belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, will cause people to survive their own physical deaths and live happily ever after in heaven, if they follow some rural laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine = Judaism.

    Judaism + 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 = Christianity.

    Christianity + a belief that the secrets of the Universe were revealed to a failed conman and treasure hunter in upstate New York, that performing a ritual in a temple in Salt Lake City will cause dead people to be admitted into a happy after-life kingdom and that an Israeli tribe colonized America = Mormonism.

    I guess that, by sheer layering, Mormons win the gold medal for completely fvcking ridiculous superst.itions. One can imagine Brigham Young standing on a pedestal accepting the gold and humbly proclaiming, “If my beliefs are even more ludicrous than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”

    (with apologies to Isaac Newton).

    August 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  12. Wisconsin_@theist

    "When atheists organize to serve the poor and needy of the world, they will be taken more seriously."

    Actually atheist groups have organized to serve the poor and needy, so that statement is false.

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

    I don't care whether your god exists or not he is not the problem. It's the religions surrounding the worship of that deity is the problem. Although if your god does exist then I do have a problem with it, but it's impossible to have a religion without a god.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  13. Answer

    Drive around within your own city. Count out the number of churches. Count those signs of "god's message" on your church's property.

    Are they not a business? Are they not advertising like a business? If they're not a business then why do you need to advertise.

    A pizza place opened for business advertises. Your grocery store also. Please tell me more lies that your church is not a free advertising agent. Give me excuses about your viewpoint that it is okay to spread your delusions.

    Atheists billboards – need more of them posted right next to every church.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i call churches "bastions of ignorance".

      August 13, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Answer

      I just call them "dives".

      August 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Billy

      Clearly they are not businesses. Otherwise they would have to pay taxes and we all know they don't do that!

      August 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  14. ArthurP

    "The Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix."

    It is a universal translator which simultaneously translates from one spoken language to another. It takes the brainwaves of the other body and what they are thinking then transmits the thoughts to the speech centres of the host's brain, the speech heard by the ear decodes the brainwave matrix. When inserted into the ear, its nutrition processes convert unconscious sound waves into conscious brain waves, neatly crossing the language divide between any species.

    The book points out that the Babel fish could not possibly have developed naturally, and therefore both proves and disproves the existence of God:

    Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:

    "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing".
    "But," says man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It proves you exist and so therefore you don't. QED."
    "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

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

      [God] puts an apple tree in the middle of [the Garden of Eden] and says, do what you like guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting "Gotcha." It wouldn't have made any difference if they hadn't eaten it...Because if you're dealing with somebody who has the sort of mentality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end.
      – Douglas Adams

      August 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ArthurP, or is that ArthurD?

      I love the fact that Douglas Adams pre-empted the irrationality of Intelligent Design by about 30 years.

      I've posted the Oolon Colluphid reference before.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Bob

      You're still a sinner that refuses to overcome, no matter what you write.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @Bob

      did you know your name is an anagram?

      did you know god doesn't exist?

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

      Bootyfunk, were you raised a Catholic because that's Catholic doctrine, not the Lord's?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it's in your bible too. look it up.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Bob

      I'm not the one that's ignorant to scriptures written in the Book of Genesis. You need to read the Bible and note it does not mention an apple tree.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      irony is really lost on you. You are a most dreadful literalist.

      If you insist, feel free to subst'tute 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' for 'apple tree', It changes the meaning not one whit.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i didn't say it did. douglas adams did. please read more carefully. no, it just says 'fruit'. but people commonly call it an apple. i guess you hadn't heard that.

      is that all you've got?

      still doesn't take away from the fact that the story is in your bible too. seems that YOU need to read your bible. surveys show that atheists generally know more than christians on bible knowledge. you're just proving that true.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Bob

      The irony is that all you atheists refuse to overcome.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Bob

      I don't need to read made up statistics to know that atheists are foolish people.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Bob, athiests believe what is proven scientifically, but Christians believe a story book and voices they hear in their heads. Which seems sillyest to you?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bob says:
      The irony is that all you atheists refuse to overcome.
      ----
      I don't think you know what 'irony' is.

      "Overcome" what, Boob?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Bob

      Now you're writing foolishness. Atheists refuse to overcome their sinful natures. You can point your fingers anywhere you want, it all comes back to your refusal.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Define "irony", Boob.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Answer

      It's your refusal..lol

      "You're acting like a child.. I'm your helper trying to bring you to your salvation. I'm here to help you accept my delusional god. So trust me." LOL

      August 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bob

      "I don't need to read made up statistics to know that atheists are foolish people."
      ... says the adult who still believes in fairy tales. ROTFLMAO.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Bob

      You atheists have to realize that there is something wrong with you for refusing to grow up and grow out of your sinful natures. Christians just have to chalk it up that you lean towards antisocial behaviors and cling to sin.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Booby, you're just plain nuts. I don't have a "sinful nature". Grow up, yourself.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bob

      Jesus H. Fucking Christ! You do actually believe the complete and utter horseshit that you spout?

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

      Bob just needs to get laid more often.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Bob,
      " something wrong with you for refusing to grow up and grow out of your sinful natures. "

      It is you who has not grown up and grown out of your magical thinking, where the super-hero saves you if you just close your eyes and wish hard enough.

      We're on our own here, Bob. Let's make the best of it that we can.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing".
      "But," says man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It proves you exist and so therefore you don't. QED."
      "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

      ... continuing from ArthurP's post.

      "Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book 'Well That About Wraps It Up For God'."

      Of course Oolon Colluphid is best known for his trilogy of best selling philosophical blockbusters:
      "Where God went Wrong"
      "Some more of God's greatest Mistakes"
      "Who is this God Person anyway?"

      Little is known as to why Oolon has it in for God so, but many observers believe that his mother was frightened by a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses while due to give birth.

      For his latest blockbusting success, having about written everything possible on the subject of Religion he has turned to other matters, with "Everything you always wanted to know about Guilt, but were too ashamed to ask" and "Everything you never wanted to know about Sex but have been forced to find out".

      Douglas Adams, we remember you fondly.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      bob: you theists refuse to grow up and realize that iron age sheep mounters did not speak for god

      August 14, 2012 at 4:36 am |
  15. Bootyfunk

    jesus kills children:

    "So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:22-23)"

    sounds like the billboard was right...

    August 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Bob

      You can refuse to overcome all you want Bootyfunk. You're the only one that will pay in the end.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      if i don't go to Hell, i'll miss all my friends. plus i want to talk to Ghandi and John Lennon.

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

      Wow, that's really bad exegesis. Did you even read the surrounding verses?
      Jezebel's children – as in her followers.

      A much better discussion piece would have been Ps.137:9 or 2 Kgs.2:23-25.
      But again, can you read it in context (in light of the author's intent)?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      because i don't post 10 pages doesn't mean i'm taking anything out of context. jesus threatens to kill followers, some of which will naturally be children. at any rate, the context is, jesus will strike people dead for not worshiping his father - a very very evil act. if jesus is killing huge groups of people like this, kind of hard to argue he is all about "love" and "compassion".

      jesus also opens up his daddy's seven seals, releasing death, plague, famine and war on the non-believers. he is destined to murder millions of innocent people. not exactly what a loving messiah would do.

      and what about jesus telling slaves to obey their masters? slavery - arguably the most evil inst.itution that has ever inflicted by man upon his fellow man. and yet jesus doesn't say a word against it. the entire bible never says a word against it. there are rules in the bible for how to beat your slaves. how to buy and sell slaves. how to sell your own daughter into slavery. but i suppose those are taken out of context?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Answer

      Let's all get on the bandwagon of fear and go to heaven.. LOL

      August 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Bootyfunk:
      according to the Bible, there is no such thing as innocent people (Rom.3:10-20) – we have utterly ruined ourselves.

      or keep reading after John 3:16...
      v.17: Jesus came to save, not condemn
      v.18 says we "stand condemned already" – how? by what we've already done.

      so, if God gives us justice – can we complain?
      for those who believe the bible, the amazing thing is that anyone gets mercy.

      that's the message of the cross:
      1) it's worse than i want to admit (i deserve that death)
      2) it's better than i ever dared to imagine (God loves that deeply – he would take my just consequences upon himself)

      August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Bootyfunk: you said "the entire bible never says a word against it [slavery]."

      Check out Gal.3:28. Read Philemon.
      The same guy who sends a slave back to his master says: greet him as a brother.
      That is revolutionary in the 1st century Roman Empire.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "according to the Bible, there is no such thing as innocent people "
      yep, according to the bible new born babies are sinful creatures. that's a disgusting att.itude. thank you for further proving my case.

      you put up other quotes, but you don't deal with the ones i put up. how do you explain rules on selling your daughter into slavery? how do you explain instructions on how to beat your slaves? the bible is disgusting. because you can find a quote in the book about love doesn't mean you don't have to explain the quotes about hate.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  16. Oil of Man

    The Death of God has been met with sadness by some. It kindles in me the spirit of opportunity. God and the associated baggage of his “moral order” were impediments to progress. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sphere of commerce. Some years ago, I developed a most useful medicine. Taken internally it is a cure for disorders of all kinds and acts as a general tonic. Applied topically, it is a remedy for gout, psoriasis and leprosy and posses an SPF of 15. The precise recipe is, of course, a trade secret and is protected under US Patent. While God lived, the oppressive machinery of society stood in the way of the production and release of my curative. The Death of God, I hope, will occasion its availability on the free market.

    I speak of Oil of Man.

    Oil of Man really is one of the most useful medicines ever discovered. Its availability has been somewhat limited by the natural reticence of society to make the ultimate sacrifice for the afflicted. During research and development for Oil of Man, I was, in fact, forced to requisition unwilling donations of certain vital ingredients for my vats. The destruction of the logically inconsistent but simple moral system of the theists will, I hope, increase availability of the necessary raw material. I tire of having to spirit shrouded “donors” through the rear door of my oilery. A godless society is perfect for the production of Oil of Man. The attempts of the Godless to construct a logically consistent system of ethics sans theos are easily discarded by the pragmatic and enterprising among us. Empathy is nothing more than an vestige of genetics. Some free thinking rural physicians in my area have been utilizing my tonic for years now-sending patients to me (the only dispensing pharmacy) with a prescription they are pleased to designate as __ol. hom.__

    Thank heavens for the progress of free thought. The elimination of society’s detritus (unwanted children, the elderly, the poor, opposing political parties, etc.) and their incorporation into Oil of Man will be of great general weal to humankind as it hurdles into a future free of outmoded concepts like absolute good and evil.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Bob

      You wrote a lot, for saying nothing. You, like all atheists, refuse to overcome and will not like the end to your sorry lot in life.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How much worse could our fate be than having to put up with the likes of you, Bob?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      you do not see Oil of Man for who he is. He is no atheist. He's been watching too many Twilight Zone reruns while reading his bible and has got things all mixed up.

      His tedious little morality play is not representative of the way atheists think.

      Next he will post about how atheists killed more people in the 20th century than have died since the dawn of humanity (under another handle of course).

      August 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Oil of Man

      @ I am Not a GOP'er:

      No true Scotsman fallacy.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  17. Bootyfunk

    christians put up thousands of billboards/signs bashing atheists/non-believers, but atheists put up 2 signs going the other way and the christians cry.

    boo hoo hoo!

    August 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  18. IslandAtheist

    Those American Atheists sure know how to get the most out of a billboard.

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

      But definitely NOT with their limited resources.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • atheists KEEP OUT!

      Apparently, they are making milking cow out of Democrat's smear campaign.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  19. aj

    I think they could have done a better billboard than that, but then again people are stupid and you have to talk to them like little kids.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  20. ArthurP

    @BillBoard Contest

    Actually what would be really fun is to put up billboards using the 'really good' parts of the Old Testament and watch the Religious Right try to get them taken down on moral grounds.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It would be tough to convey the sense of irony your looking for.

      You could picture the slaughter of the Egypt's first born or those drowned in the great flood, and people would think it is inspirational, even with an obvious caption something like:

      IS THIS YOUR LOVING GOD?

      Poe's Law in action.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      or the story of how a group of children were teasing one of god's prophets because he was bald. so god sends bears to kill 42 of the children.

      yes, quite the loving and forgiving god that murders children.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Many years ago Mike Peters (also Mother Goose and Grimm) did a cartoon with a pun on a TV game show:

      The illustration featured the following figures seated as in a panel:
      A crucified Catholic Christ in death agony
      The praying hands Protestant Jesus with a nicely trimmed beard and flowing robes
      An Orthodox Christ (from a Byzantine triptych with stylized jeweled halo)

      The caption read: "Whould the real Jesus Christ please stand up?"

      In the meantime, there's this one:

      August 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • ArthurP

      I was thinking more along the lines of:

      Ezekiel 23:20 "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses."

      Genesis 38:9 "But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother."

      August 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ArthurP,

      I'm lead to believe there's a movie industry in the San Fernando Valley that focuses on scenes depicting these versus. All you need is some relevant captioning.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:35 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.