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.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
It's so funny how athiests protest a cross anywhere in public, yet have no problem putting this up on a billboard. Hypocrisy at it's best!
People protest placing religious icons on PUBLIC (ie. government) property, because the government does not and should not represent any 1 religion. We don't protest the "Jesus wants you to go to heaven, BUT WILL YOU!?" billboards, we just laugh at them
Just on Pulic Land Sherlock.
You can didle yourself with a crucifix in your woodshed and we don't care.
Atheists generally protest one-sided religious displays of any flavor ON PUBLIC LAND, not anywhere in public. Your accusations of hypocrisy fall short.
There is a huge difference between in public (where everyone can see it), which is never legally opposed and on public (government) property. This billboard is not on goverment property.
Atheism doesn't exist. All self proclaimed Atheists are REALLY Agnostics.
I don't believe that god exist. How am I not an atheist?
Christians don't really exist.
They are really just gullible Jews.
I'm an atheist, an agnostic as to the existence of something that created our known universe and an atheist as to the world's religions, which are based on faith, not evidence and reason.
Huebert, you just proved my point, thank you!
Explain your point then because as far as i can tell your response is a non sequitur.
They are 2 different, non-mutually exclusive terms that deal with different areas of thought.
Theist Deals with belief
Gnostic Deals with knowledge
Atheist = without belief
Agnostic = without knowledge
Both of them are contextualized on the subject of god, therefore you can be both.
Atheist = no belief (in god)
Agnostic = no knowledge(of the existence of god)
If you can say I do not know for sure, but I do not believe it to be the case with regards to the question of the existence of god or gods, then you are both agnostic and atheist.
Ok Atheists let’s be reasonable, here. If we are the result of a mistake, then you are the result of a mistake. Ergo, unless you can explain the evolution of truth, your claim about our origins is mistaken. Consequently, it is a mistake to pay your theory any attention. Q.E.D.
Is that waht passes for Logic in your seminary? Nobody claimed we are here 'by mistake' only that are origins are the result of a combination random and environmentally directed chance.
Unfortunately you do not even understand the difference between a scientific hypothesis, theory, and law. Explain how human flesh comes out of dirt then. and this is more plausible-I think not.
Wonder why we dont see babies rising up from the dirt? Oh wait, God had punished Eve for her Sin?
That makes me wonder, when the Lord could punish entire womanhood for the sin of one, can we expect better from his followers/ fans?
Wow. What a brilliant ad campaign. The obvious tolerance and inclusiveness is sure to convince religious conservatives and fence-sitters alike.
Finally! Truth in advertising!
Believe in something that doesn't necessitate belief to exist!
Yawn. Another Democrat Special Interest Group. This is the Biggest Politically-Correct Group of Bigots anywhere. They should change their name however to "Whiners-Anonymous." They're always complaining about something. But as I said, a Democrat Special Interest Group, no solutions, just complaining.
Post by 'JCMars' is an instance of the >circu-mstantial ad hominem fallacy and contains further ad hominem elements.
Tell me, atheists, which evolved first?
a. the digestive system
b. the food to be digested
c. the appeti.te
d. ability to find and eat the food
e. the digestive juices
f. the body's resistance to its own juices
I don't know those are very complicated and specific questions. You should ask a biologist not an atheist.
Are you really that totally ignorant of science? No element evolved 'first', they evolved in conjunction. And we can trace their evolution not only through the fossil record and Gene typing, but even in examining creatures alive today who have more primitive and simplistic forms of the same structures. Go look at a Pitcher plant and learn something.
Oh I forgot, you zealots are allergic to actual education, arent you?
Gaunt go back to school before you start talking about science. Manmade elements didnt evolve first. Your entire comment has just be marked false.
Even if you were able to prove evolution is , it would not then make your belief true.
So as we climbed out of the primordial ooze our bodies simply gained the knowledge we would need all of these things? Why would we evolve a resistance to our digestive juices if we didn't have them yet? Where did we get this new information? Why would be evolve an appeti.te if we don't yet have the ability to digest something?
If evolution isnt' true, then we are now exactly how we appeared at the beginning and thus leads us to believe there must be some sort of intelligence that created us.
I never claimed that. Please learn to read.
How about this one: Which evolved first?
a. the drive to reproduce
b. the ability to reproduce
Now that is a tough question Topher. Evolution of Digestive System! I can try explaining it but it wont fit here.
Refer to text:
EVOLUTION AND ADAPTATION IN THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM OF THE METAZOA by C. M. YONGE
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 87–114, January 1937
However, you can find a summary at the following link. Enjoy, have a good read.
Which came first?
2) The Sun
According to the Genesis creation account, plants were photosynthesizing before there was a sun.
By one day. God made plants on Day 3 and the sun on Day 4. So what? God also says there was light before the sun, so this is not a problem. The plants had light.
So where did the light come from if not the sun?
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007;Suppl 45:59-84.
The evolution of human reproduction: a primatological perspective.
However, when you talk about evolution, please specify whether you want to know about plants or us animals?
The plants had light. So said Topher. Topher says so and the God delivers.
From God. This is in Genesis 1:3. You can also look to II Corinthians 4:6, which says that God commanded physical light into existance. Then go to Revelation 21:22-25 which says the same thing is going to happen with the new heavens and new Earth ... "And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there."
Did you think about any of the stuff we talked about the other day? Have any new questions?
Which evolved first?
d. blood supply
e. muscles to move the bones
Atheists forget that dinsour bones are the work of the devil.... If all religious people would rise up against the evils of science then our world would be a better place. Next time you get sick, don't go to that snake oil salesman called a doctor who practices science, go to your priest or preacher for healing!!! (Sigh) Darwining Dreams, if only they would listen to me we would get to world without religion much faster.
What's a "dinsour"?
You're an idiot.
Prayer obviously does not work, because atheists are still alive.
I'm an atheist, and this kind of thing irritates me to no end. A very wise person who happens to be Catholic once told me a simple but profound truth: "people don't like to be called stupid". You don't convince anyone on the other side of your argument by belittling them, and people sitting on the fence will not be impressed by immature ad hominen attacks.
Completely agree. I don't understand why there's not more true discussion here and less name-calling.
Well aren't you special?
You're not an Atheist. You are an Agnostic. Atheism doesn't exist.
If God does not exist then everything is permitted.
You said, "If God does not exist then everything is permitted."
Please, for the sake of the people around you, never lose faith. I don't think society needs another sociopath.
NO only that which is permitted by your society is permitted, besides god has never enforced a single rule himself.
Untrue and illogical. In fact the opposite is true. There will always be good people who do good things, and bad people who do bad things.
BVut for good people to cheerfully do bad things, that takes religion.
Actually everything is permitted, but everything is not beneficial
Well Chris, give 'everything' a shot and see how long it takes you to get arrested and prove this statemant false.
So you think we should not have laws? it seems to me some of you people that believe in a God still think everything is permitted that is why you sin one day and go to church the next.
Post by Chris is an instance of the fallacy of Affirming a Disjunct and also presents a non sequitur.
That isn't true. It is definitely possible to make a choice to treat others well and live a kind and honest life without God in your life, just as it is possible to choose to do that with God in your life. Your statement is wrong.
So wait ... if I get enough people together to be a majority (thus our society) and we want to torture babies for fun, we should be permitted to do that? Without a higher authority, this is what society will turn into.
1 Corinthians 10:23
Everything is permitted, but everything isn’t beneficial. Everything is permitted, but everything doesn’t build others up.
In a world with no higher power, people would have to be extremely careful, because there would be no one but themselves to rescue them if they screwed up.
Ralph, please one conclusive example of any god saving anyone.
Just claim your god allows baby killing.....oh wait, your bible already allows that, and slavery, and mutilating babies, and so much more.
That is a perfect example of the slippery slope logical fallacy. If you could find some connection between lack of religion/gods and recreational baby torture you might have a leg to stand on. Go ahead and search for your evidence, I'll wait.
Wow, Topher. Not only do we have authority...civil law...but do you really need someone to stand over you to choose positive actions and words? Why not choose those things because they benefit others, society, and yourself? I'm not saying people shouldn't believe in God, but really, if no one stands over you threatening punishment you can't choose to do good things?
I don't need to find any examples because that's how things work without a higher authority. Without that, EVERYTHING is just your opinion against mine and thus you can't say that killing babies is morally wrong. You can't say what Hitler did was wrong and you can't say marrying animals is wrong. If there is no God and no higher moral authority it's just your opinion. Yeah, you could make up laws that say those things are bad, but you have no justification outside it is just your opinion.
I understand what you are saying (and I don't know where you stand on religion/atheism) but if I'm being honest, I'd have to say 'no.' I'm not good. Without God's standards, why shouldn't I sleep with whoever I want? Have multiple wives or women around? Why shouldn't I ogle every woman that walks past me? Why shouldn't I lie about everything? Steal all the food I need or the cars I want? If I go to your place and see you have a hot wife, nice car and house and everything else a man could want, why shouldn't I kill you and take it all? You'll probably say that isn't good for society, but that's just your opinion. It will turn out very good for me.
NO you have to have an example or evidence of some kind otherwise I could say that driving a Honda leads to male pattern baldness or that Christianity leads to vampires...actually Christians do claim to be drinking blood during communion so my random BS position is actually more supportable than your serious one.
And Topher it is all one opinion versus another, its never been anything else. And yet their has never been a single society in recorded history that engaged in recreational baby torture. Their have been society's that conduct mass ritualistic human sacrifice, They were all highly religious societies.
There will never be a societal majority that allows the torture of babies as a common practice becuase it is conter to survival of the species.
Sin lies only in harming other unnecessarily. All other "sin" is invented nonsense.
As for saying what Hitler did was wrong – just remember that the overwhelming majority of the German people were Catholic.
@topher: ummm seek help, seriously. easy way to explain what would happen if you attempted to commit all those horrible actions because you find out god doesn't exsist....................well your life would be extremely short, seeing others wouldn't have a problem shooting you if you tried to steal their stuff.
so to sum it all up, morals are basic survival instincts, i don't want to die, thus i do not ki//.
i don't want my stuff stolen, thus i do not steal. etc etc etc, if you do something horrible then something horrible will happen to you.
A couple questions for you:
1. Where do those instincts come from?
2. As far as you shooting me, you're assuming I'm not good at it. I might shoot you first. Look how much crime we have now in a supposedly Christian society. How much worse will it be in an atheistic one?
3. Whether you steal has no bearing on whether someone will steal from you. You might not cheat on your wife and commit adultery, but Jesus said if you look with lust you are committing adultery in your heart and thus are still guilty. Have you ever looked at someone else with innapropriate desires?
It is so refreshing to watch the decline of religion in my lifetime.
We need to use taxes to destroy these cults, and wash the filth of their Bronze Age bigotry off our society.
It really is amaizing how this began with the final admission that little boys are buggered by priests.
We had plenty of evidence for over a century, yet we feared challenging the powerfull.
The fear is broken and the church is being destroyed. It is well past time that it is.
The key is economics. Eliminate the deduction for donations, and these parasites will crawl back under their rocks.
Good luck with that!
Over 2,000 years lots and lots of people like you have "tried" to destroy the church.. look at history.. but the Word of God is clear.. Matthew 16:18 "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT" Look at history at all the attacks.. 2,000 years and the words spoken by Jesus PREVAIL.
Yeah, Billie D, you'd rather have those priests continue doing their thing with little boys.
William, great post. Spot on.
I agree. Let's get rid of the deduction for the cults of PBS, NEA, and Planned (End) Parenthood.
09.03.10 at 11:24 amBubby Brister's MopNational Birthday Suit Day:I've done a lot of thinking on this: I will ittsitune a database with pictures of every person in the United States naked. Every year, each person over 18 years of age can request to view any one person’s naked picture for a viewing period of ten minutes. After they’ve used up their viewing, they have to wait another year until they can view another. It’s just not fair for all these foxy ladies to be walking around without anyone being able to see them naked. It would eliminate alot of the elitism in this country. My first pick: Sarah Palin.
Atheism is becoming as much a religion as Christianity and Islam and the rest of them. They all seem divisive and set on causing problems with everyone outside of their religious circle. They all seem to want to out shout each other with their own brand of truth..kind of funny really.
Whats good is you found a way to feel superior to both.
So it's not okay to say that, "all Christians are..." something negative, but saying, "they all" about atheists is true? That makes no sense. People are people, and whatever they believe or don't belie they have choices regarding behavior. Some do hateful things and some don't, and that goes for humans of all groups. How about we just worship or not and leave each other to her or his own choice to follow?
It's about time somebody shouted louder than those xians.
these people are not real atheist! A true atheist does not care about other peoples religions and would never be upset over it. even though I am an Atheist I don't care about Religion. it is a choice and has nothing to do with what I are true Atheist think. these types of groups give true Atheist a bad name.
See, we have idiots on our side too that use the "No Truse Scotsman Fallacy".
Now this really is funny..an atheist saying someone else is not a true atheist? How christian. LOL
LOL thank you NT
It's not a fallacy if it's true.
Real atheists don't care about what others believe in. They don't go out of their way to convince people that unicorns don't exist, why this?
"A true atheist does not care about other peoples religions and would never be upset over it. "
I don't care what mythology they choose to believe – I care that many of our laws are driven by this nonsense.
The truth sets you free.
You act as if these cuts do no harm!! They are evil bigoted ethnocentric pariahs.
If you want peace, stay out of our government. Otherwise the cults will be destroyed.
Ironically, we have a new ally in the Muslim cult. We will finance them and they will indoctrinate Christian children.
We need Muslim or Buddhist or Shintokist or Wiccans in office.
Break the Christian stranglehold on the judicial branch, and all the flavors of the modern Christian Cult shall wither on the vine.
Because these beliefs have real consequences on everyones life. If it had zero effect as you imply most everyone would not care.
log on now to trueatheists.org. A small monthly contribution ensures your place as a true defender of reason. Cards will be issued and checkpoints will be established.
So let me see if i follow: 1) your religion is true atheism and it holds that true atheists shouldn't care what other people's religion thinks or does. 2) The people posting these billboards are not true atheists. 3) You, a true atheist, thinks that the not true atheists should not post these billboards. See how that conflicts? Either you aren't a true atheist, or true atheists and your "not true atheists" are one and the same.
it is very funny that some of you just do not understand that being an Atheist means we do not concern ourselves with other peoples religion. some of our founding fathers were atheist I should point out. but it does not bother me if you people want to believe in a fantasy being. my point still stands that only a true Atheist will not be upset because you people want to live in a fantasy world.
Your point stands as being non-sense. Being an atheist means one does not believe in god(s).
If I then take issue with Scientology it does not follow that I stop being an atheist. You argument is a non-sequitur.
Unfortunately, religion needs to be torn to pieces with rational discussion, and rational discussion doesn't fit on billboards. So you end up with crappy billboards that fail to attack the poison of religion in a meaningful manner.
Billboards are not meant to BE the discussion...just help get the discussion started.
Discuss all you want. I'm going to Adoration and communion
Billie D, don't for get to senselessly kill and burn an animal too, as your book of nasty AKA the bible demands, alongside the many other horrors of your disgusting, sick religion:
17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”
Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.
Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.
And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.
So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.
Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
I see no reason to get upset about this. I am, and always will be, a devout believer in Jesus Christ as the son of God. This group is simply taking advantage of their freedom of speech. Regardless of the fact that they're clearly trying to incite anger, they're also simply trying to recruit followers. Christians (and Mormons in this case) could do themselves a huge favor and either ignore this entirely, or simple smile at this group and bless them. Insulting any members of this group for this advertisement is not only feeding their motives, but it's proving them right. Prove the American Athiests WRONG by SHOWing them the love of Christ. Jesus didn't just die for those who believe in Him now... but for also for those who have not yet accepted Him as Savior. Do not forsake Athiests, for Jesus loves them, too!
You are so right.
Just another group that has to slam another group in order to promote themselves. Gets a bit tiresome.
Just like the Xians need to hate the Muslims, the Muslims need to hate the Jews etc etc ad nauseum?
Phew.,... I pray for you athiests every day. So sad.
Don't want prayers from the likes of you.
Don't pray for us you are wasting your time. use that on someone that believes in your dogma!
Stop, and spend that time trying to make the world a better place in a way that might actually work.
You said, "I pray for you athiests every day."
You do that, and we'll keep thinking for you.
Pagan here not atheist, not that it matters. Please don't pray for me..that is a very offensive thing for you to do. How arrogant you are.
You will all wish you had prayers when you see Jesus come again. Whether you believe it or not.