Atheist group removes billboards targeting presidential candidates' religious faith
American Atheists says it took down billboards critical of the candidates' religions in Charlotte, North Carolina, after threats.
August 27th, 2012
09:55 AM ET

Atheist group removes billboards targeting presidential candidates' religious faith

By Dan Gilgoff and Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - An atheist group that raised a pair of billboards taking aim at the presidential candidates’ religion at the site of next month’s Democratic National Convention has pulled the signs after what the group called a “large volume of threats.”

The billboards, sponsored by American Atheists, took aim at Mormonism and Christianity and went up this month in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will play host to the Democratic convention.

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and President Barack Obama is also a Christian.

The billboard targeting Christianity featured 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.’ ”

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

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

American Atheists said the billboards provoked a “large volume of threats” by phone and e-mail and that the group reported the threats to police.

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

“It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately,” Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ managing director, said in a statement last week.

“No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny - and this includes religion in all forms,” Knief said. “We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats and hate speech against our staff, volunteers and Adams Outdoor Advertising.”

American Atheists had wanted to put the anti-Mormon billboard in Tampa, Florida, to coincide with this week's Republican National Convention.

When no billboard company in the city would lease the group space for such a sign, American Atheists President David Silverman said the organization decided to focus solely on the Democrats in Charlotte.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Politics

soundoff (1,780 Responses)
  1. martin

    Islam & Christianity are both violent and a cancer to free thought and free speech

    August 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  2. Satan

    Christians warning atheists of the tortures of Hell is equivalent to telling an adult Santa Claus isn't bringing them presents.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  3. 633music

    While I believe the billboards were very disrespectful, I want those behind them to know they have nothing to fear from true Christians.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "True Christians"? What, pray tell, is a 'true Christian', and how the fvck would YOU know?

      August 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I don't think it's 'true Christians' they were worried about. Someone who loves their neighbor and turns the other cheek isn't likely to make threats to people to remove a billboard.

      I'd say it's more likely North Carolina rednecks (who think they are Christians) who threatened Adams Outdoor Advertising that if they didn.t remove the ad, their sign would get shot up. And I feel sorry for the poor receptionist who had to take their phonecalls.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And really, you moron, why would you even imagine, in your wildest dreams, that anyone would "fear" Christians as phony as you?

      August 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • martin

      all Theism deserves our disrespect...grow up humanity...the emperor has no clothes

      August 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • CARLOS

      Thank you 633music for your attempt to make peace. It would seem some here are more interested in war.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  4. 2357

    Eternity is not "a very long period of time"

    It's simply a state of being where time is slowed our suspended altogether. Hard to conceive perhaps, but with God ALL things are possible

    Eternal separation is a myth. There it's no permanent escape from God.

    August 31, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sez you. Hardly a fact.

      August 31, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • 2357

      Sky is high and blue, and it's time for college football. Have a nice life piper's son. May the Good Lord smile upon your life.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't need a god to 'smile', doofus. Too bad you do. My sincere sympathies.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • 2357

      I wish you well, is what I meant. I'm sorry that I insulted you.

      September 1, 2012 at 5:41 am |
  5. Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

    "Only a fool says in his heart there is not GOD"- King David
    For atheist/non-believers a very simple verse
    John8:47-"Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don't listen because you don't belong to God."
    John 10:26-"but you do not believe because you are not my sheep."
    John 3:16-"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
    It is impossible for the unchosen to believe this, only the elected saints hear this truth and believe it. If you do not believe this it is because you are not of GOD nor do you belong to GOD. If you do not belong to GOD then you belong to satan. According to the word of Christ Jesus not MYSELF, satan and all who belong to him will inherit hades for all of eternity (on going time with no end) May GOD Almighty be with you and may all who are of the light come to the light. Peace be with you

    August 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      I belong neither to god nor Satan but to the flying spaghetti monster, he who was boiled for our sins, for he has reached out his noodly appendage and touched my heart.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV



      That's the first time I've heard 'he was boiled for our sins'. Thank you!

      August 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      Ramen brother. Though the forces of the unfed hurl every kind of abuse and insult at us, we shall not fail for Hid starchy goodness is our shield and his full bodied sauce is our comfort.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  6. God hates religion

    Hmmmmm...maybe if they had a horse in the Presidential race would these billboards make sense, otherwise they are just being dumb and wasting their money. If there was an atheist candidate it would make some sense but otherwise it seems odd. They are not going to get people to see their point of view this way. I am all for free speech, even the stuff that makes me uncomfortable but just because you have the right doesn't mean people want to have it shoved down their throats and in a way that is so far out of context that it just doesn't help. How will these billboards educate anyone on which candidate to pick or are they just trying to incite hate. I am still perplexed.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  7. cleareye1

    Imagine how far humanity would have progressed without the burden of religions. Had early man accepted pure science as a guide to progress and understanding, there would be billions more of us, but we would be living among the stars by now.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  8. Zoby

    I saw a pile of poo that looked like jesus once.

    August 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  9. Rick

    Alpha and Omega can defend himself.Atheists have the fee will to do what they want but the last letter belong to The Truth, The Way and The Life

    August 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Doserme

      There is only one Omega... FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER, and only he can pass judgement!
      May you be touched by his noodly appendage.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      Rick....are you asking athiests if they fear retaliation from beings in which they do not believe?

      If so, perhaps a logic class would be of assistance

      August 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  10. David Lindes

    I'm Mormon, and think this is kind of a cheap shot to take at our religion. However, I absolutely support the right of atheists to put up billboards saying what they wish. If their rights are not safe, neither are mine. Of course I expect people to express their distaste if they so wish (they're free to do that too) but threats? Absolutely unacceptable. What a sad, disgusting way to represent any faith.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      thanks for the sentiment David. I agree with you. These billboards were a cheap shot. Since now they're being taken down, that thankfully is now moot.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • pedro


      August 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • pedro

      evolution is a myth

      August 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Doserme

      Mormon has to be the correct religion. What logical God would not want you to were special underwear and have you spend your time praising him. Praising him is important, God has a low self esteem and needs to know his creation care about him.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Neopolean Dyno

      Pedro is a myth ... but I'd still vote for him.

      August 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  11. 1amazed2u

    The lord loves all, even atheist

    August 31, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • ME II

      What about all, odd atheists?


      August 31, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • sam stone

      how do you feel you have the authority to speak for the lord?

      August 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Doserme

      Just had a talk with God, he says he loves everyone but you. Something to do with you being a brown-noser. No one likes a suck up.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • The Lord

      Shut the %@#* up, Sam Stone.

      August 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • God hates religion

      Then why does he keep threatening to send me to hell if I don't go to the Catholic/Baptist/Presbyterian/Mormon/Muslim/Jewish/Methodist/Episcopalian/Pentecostal/Etc....Church/Temple/Kingdom Hall/Ward/Synagogue/Mosque/Cathedral/Etc....and sing his praises. Jesus told people who would listen that they need to pray in private in their own homes.

      If God loves my why do I have to support those buildings?

      August 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  12. howash Dao

    No thanks. I don't believe in any religion including atheism 😉

    August 31, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Sane Person

      Atheism is a religion like snowballs is ham.

      September 1, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  13. CARLOS

    Not a GOPer writes : " ..... you miss the distinction between believing and NOT believing.

    Yes I do miss the distinction. Please help me out. Unless you mean that it is possible to believe there is a God and still not believe in God ??? It seems the Atheist can not state a clear position concerning god, though the billboard seemed quite clear.

    August 31, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • sam stone

      how much clearer can we be? we do not believe in "God". that is different than believing there is no "God".

      August 31, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      I have explained it myself very clearly to you more than once. I you have a specific question let me know.

      August 31, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • CARLOS

      Honestly I am attempting to understand your position . Sam Stone writes :
      "how much clearer can we be? we do not believe in "God". that is different than believing there is no "God".

      If I follow your point I see these options:

      1. I do not believe in God,

      2. I believe there is no God.

      3. I believe in God.

      4. I believe there is a God.

      Am I understanding these to be the distinctions you speak of ? Just trying to get it right.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Carlos, "Is there a god?" is not purely a yes or no answer. "I don't know" is an option. I don't think most people will claim to know for sure one way or the other.

      A better question is "do you BELIEVE in a god". If anyone answers anything but "yes"....they are an athiest.

      Gnosticism / Agosticims = Knowledge

      Theism / Atheiesm = Belief

      August 31, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Some people say they know there is a god, they have personal knowledge, god has been revealed to them. They are gnostic.

      Some people say one cannot have knowledge, it is impossible to know for sure. They are agnostic.

      Some people believe but don't claim to have knowledge. They are Theists

      Some people don't believe but don't claim to know. They are atheist.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • ME II

      If "believe" is seen as 'thinking' it its true without 'knowing' it is true, i.e. having solid, verifiable evidence. The to disbelieve, or 'not believe', would be to not accept the belief that it is true yet, without 'knowing' that it is false.

      I.E. I don't think it is true, but I also don't know that it is false.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      fair enough, this is an important question.

      There are two important, but separate concepts here:
      1. knowledge
      2. belief

      Your premise seems to be that "no one can really know whether God exists since the existence of God really can't be proven one way or another" so we're really all in the same place and shouldn't have an argument. Do I have that right?

      Your premise is about knowledge. We can't know whether God exists or not – because nether the existence or the non-existence of God can be proven.

      The problem is that if you seek a consensus based on knowledge, only those people who value reason above faith will buy into your premise – many atheists and handful of theists. A great number of the religionists will not engage in the conversation because they do not distinguish between knowledge and belief and you end up having this conversation mostly with people who are willing to profess atheism.

      So now let's turn the discussion to belief. People want to muddy this up because to profess atheism in our society is to risk being scorned as a pariah and many complicated semantics get thrown around – these are unnecessary.

      You either believe or you don't.
      theism = "I believe in God"
      atheism = "I don't believe in God"

      Theism and athesism are two sides of the same coin – like any duality. One cannot exist without the other and you can only see one side of the coin at a time. The "I don't know" answer is doubt. Doubt is a continual coin toss.

      Personally, I don't believe in God. I don't *know* that he doesn't exist.

      Gnosticism and Agnosticism pertain to knowledge.
      Gnosticism = I know.
      Agnosticism = I don't know.

      By my definition you could call me an agnostic atheist. I think that term is unnecessarily complicated and confuses people.

      By any standard of measurement (excluding faith), I don't think ANYBODY can *know* about the existence of God, making the knowledge dimension moot.

      This simplifies the question to: "Do you believe in God?" with a binary outcome.

      Does that help?

      Contentment is not found in "I don't know" as an answer.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      to seek answers to the question of 'knowledge' of God you follow in the footsteps of countless philosophers seeking the eternal verity (or 'truth'):
      Aristotle, Plato, Augustine of Hippo, Aquinas, Descartes, Sartre, Voltaire, Kant, Nietzsche etc. etc.
      and at the end, you will *know* no more than they did.

      I would suggest that it is more pragmatic not to expect cogent results from the pursuit of knowledge of the insubstantial*, but focus your question on belief – a question where the answers are much more in your control.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • CARLOS

      @ not a GOPer, Blessed Cheese ME11, Thank you for your patience . I think we may have flushed out the salient points here:

      There is an important distinction between "Known" and "Believed". and here is where the Billboard comes into play The Billboard attacks Mormonism as "bigotry" among other things. The billboard attacks Christianity as "Sadistic" and "promotes hatred". This sounds more like the rants of those that would proselytize. Where many complain (and rightly so) that "believers" foist there views on others,here we have professed Atheist doing the same. In the dictionary there is a clear and important distinction between known and believed, however, in the minds and hearts on both sides this distinction seems to blur. If we all left out the "Knowing" we could allow each other to believe what we like with out being threatened. If I did claim to be an Atheist I would take great offense at what this group at Atheist.org has done and i would be all over this thread saying so.
      Lastly, @ not a GOPer, you write : "

      "Contentment is not found in "I don't know" as an answer".

      I find this comment very interesting. there is a lot I could say in response to this. Thank you for the opportunity.

      In my own personal relationship with the question of God. I do profess Not to know, Does this lead to contentedness ? No, but not knowing allows me room to wonder, to seek, be curious, even to believe.for believing is exactly not knowing. believing requires some exercise of faith. Whether I believe there is a God or I believe there is no god I must live by my beliefs and act accordingly, rather than contentment, I find a place to stand, to conduct myself through the challenge of forging a life. This clear distinction means I would never attack someone's beliefs. IF you are waiting for the Mother ship to pick you up and take you home, IF you are waiting for rapture, or IF you believe this is it one life the end, I respect your beliefs simply because I don't Know and therefore can not discount it. This is the way to peaceful coexistence and it requires that we never confuse what we believe with what we know. Atheism appears to be growing in the U.S. No surprise when we witness religion being used in politics to divide us. Religion has given anyone who would believe in god a black eye, just as this billboard has given Atheist a black eye. For the majority of people I know who practice a faith in god there is a noisy minority that wish to proselytize. Just as there are a majority of non-believers(Atheist) that wish to live good and meaningful lives, and a minority that erect billboards that would proselytize. Let us speak out against this minority that would attempt to represent us. Let us agree to live and let live. Peace.

      August 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      You said: If I did claim to be an Atheist I would take great offense at what this group at Atheist.org has done and i would be all over this thread saying so.

      And so many of us did. There are 7,000 posts here in favor and in opposition to these billboards by atheists and believers:

      I am not a member of David Sliverman's organization and I was not in favor of the billboards, I think they are a cheap shot. But having said that they are no different to the anti-atheist billboards placed by evangelical groups. While that's no excuse, I understand the sentiment.

      August 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • ME II

      I agree, generally, with ...Not a GOPer...
      I don't agree with putting these billboards up, however, I also don't agree with being forced to take them down. I would point out, however, that your post wasn't against the billboard or its wording, but Atheism.

      August 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Further, I would make a distinction between "faith" and "belief". Faith is the substance of things unseen. Faith is the action that is indicated by belief. Faith is a practice or a method. Belief is a position or stance. To me this indicates Pascal's wager has some merit in that a person need not be convinced of his belief in order to take faith in his actions.

      August 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      you bring up an interesting point with Pascal's Wager.

      Why adhere to a faith that you don't truly believe in?

      Admittedly there are societal advantages – it presumes an upstanding life – but surely God can tell the difference, negating the point of the wager?

      'He who believes in me will have eternal life' paraphased – multiple similar references in John.

      Surely belief is at least as important as actions and one without the other is hollow?

      August 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Oh I think you are correct. I think one begats the other. Perhaps we could describe "faith" under my constriction as "belief plus works". Often out of works entered into with faith, belief grows. I'm really only supporting my earlier comment that atheist will never believe as long as they seek only intellectual "proof". But try a season of faith and see if there is a difference.

      August 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  14. 2357

    You have no recollection of your birth. But do you require proof of the existence of your mother and father?

    You have no substantial proof that you will ever die. How much evidence do you demand, before you admit it's simply true?

    Both realities, completely beyond your control. Who is the irrelevant one, he who mandates life and death and everything thereafter, or is it you?

    August 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Gadflie

      You have no evidence of Leprechauns, why don't you believe in them? Per your "reasoning", this is actually a valid question. Sadly.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Comparing a persons belief that they were born, whom they were born to and that they will die eventually to an extraordinary belief like a god (not to mention a specific one) is not an honest comparison. We have or can get proof that the former are natural and expected...but not the latter.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • 2357

      God is not called Father out of pretense. He is the father of all existence. He predates time, matter and space. He speaks stars into being. Naturally, he cannot fit neatly into your mind like the pet you have in your room. I realize I'm speaking to pampered minds, but please do leave your house and see the world, then revisit your definitions when you have experienced life.

      August 31, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • tallulah13


      Which god are you talking about? Literally thousands of them have been worshiped, and there isn't any proof for any of them. So how did you come to the conclusion that the god you worship is the real one? What sort of proof can you provide to convince others that they should believe in your god?

      August 31, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • sam stone

      "God is not called Father out of pretense."

      It is ENTIRELY out of pretense

      August 31, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • 2357

      Christ taught us to "call no man your father". God is your only true father when your essence is concerned. When your heart curses the mere notion of this, you've condemned your own existence. You know not what you do.

      August 31, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      You christians speak and teach in circles and when questioned about statements that contradict each other you blame the questioner and imply we are stupid or simple minded. This is one of reason I reject christianity as being true.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      "You Christians speak and teach in circles"
      O, really?! LOL! That's a crummy joke of the year!

      August 31, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      "God is your only true father when your essence is concerned. When your heart curses the mere notion of this, you've condemned your own existence. You know not what you do."

      They really don't! The enemy of their souls has blinded their eyes , dulled their minds, and impaired their understanding.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      christians absolutely talk in circles. The contradictions built into the bible, plus the obvious circular methods of validation on just about any point keep its followers trapped, where the only escape if complete abandonment.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      typo corrected:

      save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!
      christians absolutely talk in circles. The contradictions built into the bible, plus the obvious circular methods of validation on just about any point keep its followers trapped, where the only escape is complete abandonment.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • 2357

      Experience will just have to teach you the hard way. I'm tired of warning pampered minds. May you all find true peace and blessing in life after all is said and done.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      By what delusion do you believe your warnings carry any credibility?

      August 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • 2357

      Millions of people living in the world today have had near death experience. Listen to them and learn. They can even be found on YouTube and wikipedia for you youthful ones.

      August 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "no evidence" that I will die? Are fvckin' kidding me?

      What a complete moron.

      August 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  15. Cory

    I find this billboard distasteful and I'm not a believer. For this group to put this up is no different from the religious who try to preach at us. This was childish and as far as I'm concerned, this is militant atheism; no different from any other form of extremism... and I am an atheist.

    August 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • billdeacons

      you're right Cory. low class is low class no matter what flavor the kool aid

      August 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers

      Vocal opposition is not extreme, you are being dramatic.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Often you have to use a stick to get dumb sheep to go where they need to go. If you let them eat the poisonous root vegetables, it's going to be bad news for everyone.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Funny that you use the analogy of a shepherd. Jesus is, of course, the good shepherd.

      August 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • OTOH

      Bill Deacon,
      "Funny that you use the analogy of a shepherd. Jesus is, of course, the good shepherd."

      Actually, the funny thing is that you all even use that analogy.

      Shepherds keep sheep for a couple of reasons:
      1. Profit from their wool, skin and flesh.
      2. Dinner

      Whoever thought up that "good shepherd" analogy was just silly.

      August 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Never raised any livestock to subside have you?

      August 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Ol' Yeller

      @Bill Deacons- I have raised a lot of livestock and have never required that they bow down to me, pray to me, worship me in any way... and I certainly never smited one for the Hell of it, put one through hell by killing it's offspring, destroying it's pasture, starving it... just to show another rancher how loyal it was to me. I never flooded the pasture to drown all the ones who wouldn't get on the little sheep ark the one crazy one had built. I also never claimed to have created the very first two of them out of spit and dirt.
      I guess I would make an awesome God! I may mormon up before it's all over with so I can...

      August 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just ignore Bill. He impregnated his girlfriend and then tried to force her to give birth to his spawn.

      August 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Touche Tom, I see your hatred is alive and well

      September 1, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • billdeacons

      Odd Yeller, Since the discussion is about Jesus being the good shephard I don't recall Him doing any of the things you list. Perhaps you can provide the evidence ( I'll accept scripture as authentic). You are either ignorant of the Gospel or deliberately conflating. There is an excellent book tiitled "A Shephard looks at the 23 Psalm" I found it a wonderful look into the life of sheep herding and why the imagary of that life would make sense to the people Jesus spoke to. Perhaps it would expand your mind a little. Unless of course you are as sarcastic and hard hearted as you appear.

      September 1, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      the problem with the 'shepherd and flock' metaphor is the following ...

      1. Complete the following standardized test word puzzle.

      Jesus is to shepherd,
      Believers are to ...

      It emphasizes the behavior of the flock – not as innocents who need to be protected from an outside evil – but moronic simpletons that need to be told exactly what to do and when to do it , otherwise they are too stupid to survive. Then what happens to them at all the end? They get slaughtered anyway for the shepherd's profit.

      Of course there are indecent and coar$er applications of the metaphor too but I will spare you those.

      September 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  16. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    I have asked this question directly to individual christians that seem want to have a dialog, mutiple times. My question has been ignored everytime so I will open this to anyone who wants to respond honestly.

    Atheists don't believe Jesus was god any more that we believe David Koresh was god. The mythology around Jesus is absolutely absurd and is rejected as proof of divinity. Answer me this....other than the miracles claimed by the Bible, what did Jesus do or say that would make you think he was god? Nothing he said was original. No moral teachings he espoused were new to the world.

    August 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      It has to be at the top of the nuttiest phenomena (and brilliant by the way) to subjugate the masses. I mean people kill in the name of Jesus and it's accepted. I think it is purely a mind game magic trick, nothing more than slight of hand and fortune telling. People want to believe, they don't want to die, they don't want to be afraid, they have a need to be led in groups not unlike sheep. Probably something very deep in the DNA.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • 2357

      "Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the foundation of the world"
      That sounds profoundly original to me, and absolutely spiritual for someone who is about to let himself be murdered.

      "God is able to raise children of Abraham from these stones"

      "i am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

      "if there be no resurrection of the dead, we (Christians) are the most pitiable of men.-St.Paul

      If Christ is a lie, the universe is not neutral but profoundly Evil.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      I don't envy your view of the world.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • 2357

      I had your view of the world and lived it out. No too long ago.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And what worldview do you assume I have?

      August 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      Those are "claim" statements.

      ""Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the foundation of the world"

      While this may be an orginal statement, i was refering to some actual original knowlege (verifiable not just a claim) or an orignal philosophy. I don't find anything about that statement to be profound.

      He did not have a single original philosophical idea, every one that has been attributed to him, other cultures had already addressed in much the same way and some did it better. I would expect the son of god to give man some moral direction that had not been hit upon yet, like, "don't own other people" but the best he could do was "slaves obey your masters". The son of god should have been able to give mankind some practical advice that was absolutely new, something no civilization had ever thought about before. But since he did not the miracles were needed in order "prove" his divinity. Miracles were a common claim at the time and cannot be verified in any way, it is a terrible way to prove divinity. Once again the son of god should be able to do better. Don't get me wrong, some of his teachings were positive, but some were bad advice.
      None of this make him bad, just human like the rest of us, certainly not god.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      if you routinely start your questions to believers by including the following: "The mythology around Jesus is absolutely absurd" then it is not surprising that you find your "question has been ignored everytime".

      Perhaps if you phased it a bit more openly?

      You 'catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar' etc.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • 2357

      That faith in a deity is irrelevant, that the most important thing is to enjoy life with library, without harming each other. That the afterlife is unknowable and not to take precedence over enjoyment of this life.
      Then suffering hit me hard and deep. One after another. We all walk a razor's edge with God. One thing you will all discover about the presence of God is, he is not funny. Satan is funny all the way.funny as hell you might say. God is not amused by any of this enlightened humanism BS.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      I understand your point but you cut out the rest of my sentence. What I said was "The mythology around Jesus is absolutely absurd and is rejected as proof of divinity." Meaning that christians are not going to get skeptics to believe by saying Jesus rose from the dead or any other miracle claim that has to be taken on faith. I questioned these claims while I was still a christian but clung on to Jesus because I was led to believe his "golden rule" teachings were original. As I came to realize they were not and I objectively looked at the rest of the dogma, the house of cards fell.

      And the miracle claims ARE absurd, christians even know this, that is the "proof" that they take on faith. Faith wouldn't be needed otherwise.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • 2357

      The dead body of Yeshua was revived and transformed into a new kind of body that defied the basic laws of matter. Those who witnessed it lived out their lives with absolute and joyful obedience to every teaching he uttered. His words are still resounding in that Bible in your house, and will change sinners into believers long after you've gone in the dirt. All that power and influence, through nothing more than ragtag bunch of bluecollar losers who originally could barely stay away from sin. Supernatural power of God is evident, not scheming templars behind smoke and mirrors.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      "That faith in a deity is irrelevant, that the most important thing is to enjoy life with library, without harming each other. That the afterlife is unknowable and not to take precedence over enjoyment of this life."
      This is the only part I care about in your post, the rest is irrelevant.

      1) If a deity exists, then it is of course relevant, but I'm not going to believe without actual evidence.
      2) I'm going to assume you mean liberty. This part you got correct, harm done is a very good starting point for morality, and I think everyone should strive (in a general sense) to do the least harm possible.
      3) As far as we know, consciousness is tied to a functioning brain, so unless we can determine another factor, there is no afterlife, and even if there was, from what we know about identity, there would be no "you" in that afterlife.

      So 1 out of 3.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The claims of miracles, both past and present added with scientist and other technically minded people who over and over declare that they can not explain this or that. Maybe something medical or just simply something that no one can explain, is what keeps the Faith of those folks. If you believe it to be absurd then you are no different than the Faithful that claim that you know the truth that there is a God or Gods.

      Shouldn't we be really past this point of people being stupid, or absurd or even for a Faithful that a person is automatically destined for the underworld just because they do not believe the same as us?

      August 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      but the believers don't reject his divinity – you do. (I do too, but that's not the point.)

      You can't really separate a belief in the resurrection from a belief that Jesus Christ is divine – those ideas are inseparable. (Someone will quote something from Corinthians in 3 ... 2 .. 1)

      The thesis is straightforward. If they believe in the resurrection, they will believe everything else in the new testament and a bunch of them will swallow all the old judgmental Hebrew smiting nonsense as well.

      And here's the kicker ... why should that matter? If they truly live according to the teachings of Jesus: "love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, give away everything you have and follow me", (PLUS don't proselytize) then they're probably pretty nice folks to know.

      If on the other hand they are sanctimonious preachers of 'believe or burn' and 'prayer changes things' then call them hypocrites and give 'em hell.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      "The dead body of Yeshua was revived and transformed into a new kind of body that defied the basic laws of matter."

      This is a claim. History is full of people a) making false claims..... b) believing false claims even to the point of being willing to die for them. Why do you accept this claim and not the claims of the Morman's or Hindu's ect.ect. If people just accept claims they open themselves to believing anything. The Mormans have power and influence and you reject their claims so that is a bit trite.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      in the spirit of pre-emptive quoting of chapter and verse – look at '1 Corinthians 15' sometime if you truly seek to understand the "I believe" crowd.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • 2357

      Having learned all the lessons, i have to admit i did not believe as i do now until i found myself in the faulting presence of one who knew my thoughts. For saint Paul it was a voice. For me it was a mental picture that i never dared tell a living soul. And he knew. He knew. He had been there all along. When you've been humbled as low as despair, he may reveal his presence to you. And you will simply know. And all this talk will seem like playground chatter.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Blessed are all manufacturers of dairy products,

      from a pragmatic standpoint, you can't say to someone with deeply held beliefs: "I reject your reality and insist that you replace it with mine." without expecting a lot of blowback.

      I think you can challenge them to live up to the belief they profess – particularly the Christians. (Frankly a tall order indeed but that's what they claim to believe.)

      I think you can challenge them not to take some parts of the big book of smiting literally (particularly the Old Testament) yet 'interpret' others. Along that line of thought I saw this here the other day which I found amusing:

      The irony of fundamentalist interpretation of the bible is that the literal statements are considered metaphors and the metaphorical statements are considered facts.

      eg: Genesis versus adultery

      I'll leave you with an observation I find ironic. The new testament descibes Jesus' love and forgiveness. The old testament is full of Yahweh's "judgment". Yet I find Christians to be more judgmental and Jews more forgiving.*

      * I recognize that this is a rank generalization of the worst order, but nevertheless ...

      August 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Mark from Middle River. Have you noticed that the frequency of "miracles" has declined as our knowledge of science has increased. The more we understand, the fewer miracles happen that we can't explain. And, well, we don't know everything so there are still some unexplained happenings. It's a version of the God of the Gaps argument. But, it's obvious to any observer that the gaps in our knowledge that we cram God into are growing smaller and smaller. It's because our need of the eternal placeholder-for-actual-knowledge "God did it" answer is needed less and less.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • billdeacons

      I'm kind of picking through some of these comments but here is my observation. Atheists persist in reducing the inquiry into God asan intellectual pursuit, much the way they would solve other types of problems be they scientifc, mathmatic, engineering, what have you. I have to admit that if that were the limit of my experience with Jesus I would not be able to make a very compelling case. But my realtionship to him is more than simple head knowledge or linear causation. My life experiences took me down a path from "A" to "B". At some point, I recognized that everything that was happening to me had already happened to Him on another scale and he had responded with a wisdom, vision, compassion and clarity which was beyond my grasp. I found my life in the Bible in an eerie kind of autobiographical way. At the same moment, I realized that I was not expected to respond as He had. Only Jesus can be Jesus. This is all a very poor and verbal attempt to describe a deeply actualized reality of Christ's presence in my life, in my history and in my future. It's not something that can be studied emperically. It has to be experienced, I believe. I also suspect this makes me different from the type of Christian that simply adheres to belief rather than experiences it. I have no problem with simple adherence, as I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through the crushing blows it took for me to land at the foot of the cross. But,I think atheists are quick to dismiss religious experience as "sheeplike" again because they insist that it be measurable by their reference point instead of experienced, and the only way I can describe the experience is spiritually. So, my suggestion to any atheist who is sincere about the question is stop putting it under a microscope. Instead,invite Him to reveal himself to you in His fashion. Perhaps he will not. But perhaps He will. When He does, I don't know how you are going to explain it to your atheist buddies but I can tell you that you will be utterly convinced of it yourself.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers


      Like I said I get your point. But my point really revolves around Jesus' lack of knowledge or teachings beyond what was known and accepted at the time. An intelligent god would know that knowledge would be cherished above all else and parlor tricks would eventually be seen for what they are.

      And Mark, you find the claims absurd as well, you just accept them as true.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Bill, thanks for sharing. I recognize that faith is a gift. It can bring people meaning.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Gadflie

      billdeacons, unfortunately, the "evidence" that you have experienced is shared by adherents to EVERY other religion that believes in a god or gods. All of them. No exceptions. So, to an outside observer, understanding that since this is demonstrably the case, and since this type of "evidence" can be produced by simple indoctrination techniques, it really isn't very persuasive at all.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Gadflie, precisely. As long as you remain an outside observer, you will not experience

      August 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Gadflie

      billdeacons, That's funny. Just how many other "gods" from other belief systems have you opened yourself up to? If not all of them, you sir are a hypocrite.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • 2357

      You'd be wise not to entrust your heart to a spirit who delights in the destruction of her followers.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Gadflie

      2357, you would be wise to visit reality occasionally, it's been far too long since you have been there apparently.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • billdeacons

      Oh I've prostrated myself before more than one false God. I'll stick with Jesus thank you.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Gadflie

      Yep, people tend to be quite comfortable with their chosen delusions.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      And often in denial of them.

      August 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "One thing you will all discover about the presence of God is, he is not funny. Satan is funny all the way.funny as hell you might say. God is not amused by any of this enlightened humanism BS."
      AMEN and AMEN!

      August 31, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Nope!

      Gadflie said "Yep, people tend to be quite comfortable with their chosen delusions"

      Well, Gadflie, You've described yourself very well!

      August 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  17. Rufus T. Firefly

    Although I was never a fan of the billboards themselves, this development sure pokes some holes in those "we are just poor, powerless, persecuted Christians" statements I kept reading.

    August 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Billboards are sound bytes, if they're designed properly they quickly tell a message, take the Chik-fil-A initiative back in the day with the cow thingy. That is marketing at its finest.
      Granted the atheist billboard was campy and I could be wrong but maybe that's what they were going after, just a thought. Anyway, campy or not the word needs to be kept in the public eye. People need to learn and understand the lies they live under.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  18. TheVocalAtheist

    And this just came in:

    "A Catholic newspaper has removed an interview from their website in which a priest said that pedophiles are seduced by children in “a lot of the cases” and the abusers should not go to jail.

    During an interview with National Catholic Register, 78-year-old Father Benedict Groeschel was asked about his experience working with priests involved in abuse.

    “People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case,” Groeschel explained. “Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

    “Well, it’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty se*x, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that,” he continued.

    Groeschel called the abuse “an understandable thing,” and pointed to Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who he called a “poor guy.”

    “Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.”

    Groeschel pointed out that “se*xual difficulties” were rarely prosecuted 10 or 15 years ago, and now if “any responsible person in society would become involved in a single se*xual act — not necessarily intercourse — they’re done.”

    “And I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime,” he added."

    August 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Sadly, these type of individuals appear from time to time.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  19. 2357

    God is not a thing. He predates all things. Thus it would not be false to state that "God is nothing"

    Does nothing exist? You bet your life it does. Nothing exists more absolutely than something.

    Can you prove that nothing exists? No, because "existence" is a category that only applies to things. Being and knowing, are spirit.

    See how close you are to the truth when you say "God does not exist"? Close enough too feel the heat.

    August 30, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      So prove that your "spirit" is real. You can use all the mumbo-jumbo non-specific words you like, but you have the same problem in the end. Not a shred of evidence for your line of bullsh!t.

      August 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      If I told you there was a rock in a box but you couldn't open the box to see it, does the rock exist?

      August 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Joe

      Well, yeah. I could shake the box 🙂

      August 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • 2357

      Just look around the animal kingdom. Only things with a spirit thinks, feels, and calls out "this is bullshlt!" That's evidence enough for me.

      August 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Being and knowing, are spirit.

      I'm probably as dumb as a rock but I'm not getting it, this thing you call a spirit. Being and knowing are spirit?

      August 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      Nothin' scarier than an empty proxy threat over the internet. No sir.....'cept maybe anonymous empty proxy threats.....2357.....get back on your knees

      August 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • 2357

      Think about this: "Intellectual property rights"
      Does that even make sense in the context of purely naturalist materialism?
      It only makes sense when we assume that the imaginary realm is as substantial as the material realm. Right? Right.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Gadflie

      2357, actually, by any conceivable measure, there is as much more "something" as there is "something" period.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • 2357

      Self-awareness, or sentience, is a divine attribute given by the great I AM. The spirit in you gives you knowledge of who you are, not the random firing of neurons. Just look around the animal kingdom. Many have brains, but only a few write out their opinions on an internet comment board.

      August 31, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • sam stone

      "Many have brains, but only a few write out their opinions on an internet comment board."

      Sometimes, they are mutually exclusive

      August 31, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  20. TheVocalAtheist

    Would a Christian be so kind as to offer some insight?

    I would be curious to know just what it would be like if the Christians had the opportunity to have full-blown authority over our country?

    What are some of the first things you would do? Would everyone have to become a Christian? Would you allow other religions to worship?

    Would you ban science? Ban atheists? Would you allow abortions? Gay marriage? Burn The Origin of our Species?

    Those are just a few of the issues you would be faced with, so, how would the Christian United States look to you? Thank you in advance!

    August 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It would probably look a lot like it does right now. Christianity isn't about authority. It is about an invitation to relationship with Jesus. Christ tells us that the Kingdom of God lies within, not of this world. There will always be people who reject Him and His teaching and attack or ridicule people who's way of life appears to make no worldly sense because it doesn't. There would also, no doubt be those who sought by fiat to legislate traditions and rituals just as there would be those who opposed. Christianity has room for dissent and doubt. So, I think the irrational fear that some have of a theologically enslaved United States is displaced. I think what some people really fear is an encounter with Christ.

      August 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Bill – codifying their beliefs thru civil legislation is exactly what contemporary Christians are doing.

      August 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The answer to this question is as varied as the christians are.


      What you don't understand is atheists don't fear Christ or reject Christ. We don't believe he was god any more that we believe David Koresh was god. The mythology around Jesus is absolutely absurd. Answer me this....other than the miracles claimed by the Bible, what did Jesus do or say that would make you think he was god? Nothing he said was original. No moral teachings he espoused were new to the world.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • ME II

      It may not be possible to get a "real" answer without actually being in that situation. Many Christians, I'm guessing, would say that little would change, but given an unobstructed pathway, I think, it would be reasonable to expect things to start changing. Simple things at first, religious displays in courthouses, an increase in blue laws, a marriage amendment in the consti.tution, removal of restrictions on creationism in science classes.

      Not that all Christians want or even agree with such things, but the hardc,ore/fundamentalist Christians would be difficult to fight in such a situation, even for other believers. Repealing Roe v Wade, direct state support of religions, mandatory prayer, and moral police would not come till much later.

      To be fair, however, if atheists were given unrestricted power, things would change as well and no always for the better. It's just human nature.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Three cheers for the 1st amendment, whether you believe or disbelieve ...

      hip hip hooray
      hip hip hooray
      hip hip hooray

      I was hoping we'd see a bit more believer turnout, but since the spell is now broken ...

      We know exactly what to expect if this were a Christian United States. We've seen it before in the history of North America. Most of the colonies had established churches. Church membership and attendance would be mandatory for citizens (sorry congregants) to vote or own any property (real or corporate shares). Ti'thing would be managed by the IRS.

      We only have to look at the original 'bill of rights' – the one signed by King William and Queen Mary after the 'Glorious Revolution (1689 Gregorian, 1688 Julian). Remember this was law in the Colonies too!

      Where we see such winners as:

      Subjects’ Arms.
      That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.

      (This is the origin of the 2nd amendment by the way. It is derivative of the English Civil War, not the revolution.)

      New Oaths of Allegiance, &c.
      And that the Oathes hereafter mentioned be taken by all Persons of whome the Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy might be required by Law instead of them And that the said Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy be abrogated.

      I A B doe sincerely promise and sweare That I will be faithfull and beare true Allegiance to their Majestyes King William and Queene Mary Soe helpe me God.

      Any science contradictory to the state (or church, since there would be no difference) would be suppressed. Anyone remember Galileo? At least he was only arrested and imprisoned in 1633. Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake in 1600 at least in part for once having suggested that the sun was a star and that life might exist on other planets.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Truth be Sold

      OMG Bill... "Christianity isn't about authority"??? really? Have you EVER read a history book in your life. That was ALL religion was about... control of the population, started by emperor Augustine in the 1400's. "Accept Christianity or DIE"... literally. please please read some other book besides your bible some time. Now I'm sick.. thanks Bill.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      I think that the good Christians would remember that god gave us free will. And probably allow people to live as they wanted as long as they weren't hurting others.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Quite a response. Ok First Augustine wasn't emperor he was pope. Constantine was emperor. So fail there.
      Secondly, voting for legislation based on one's values is not the same as codifying them by fiat. So if you are presuming the prohibit Christians from voting, I think we have issues with that. The other responses seem reasonable to me.

      August 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill Deacon

      By all means, vote your "values", but remember the first amendment prohibits codifying your values based solely on religious grounds.

      August 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      What you don't understand is atheists don't fear Christ or reject Christ. We don't believe he was god any more that we believe David Koresh was god. The mythology around Jesus is absolutely absurd. Answer me this....other than the miracles claimed by the Bible, what did Jesus do or say that would make you think he was god? Nothing he said was original. No moral teachings he espoused were new to the world.

      August 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • commenter

      This depends on which christian is in charge. Some would be extremist, most would be fair

      August 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Dog on the lamb thinks that the Christians would allow everyone to live they way they want unless they are harming others,
      Commenter says it depends on which Christian is running the country but most would be fair and finally our buddy Bill Deacon doesn't think there would be much of a change then the way it is now.

      I mean no disrespect but that summary sounds pretty wishy-washy and not specific. No harming others? Fair? No change?

      So that would be your Christian platform? Could you address some issues like, same s*ex marriage, abortion, stem cell research, evolution, science and medicine, taxes, immigration, just to name a few to get you started?

      I'm just trying to get a snapshot in my mind on how it would be, help me out here.

      August 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • billdeacons

      You're presuming that the United States Constiitution would be oveerturned and that isn't likely as most Christians support it. It seems as if all you really want is to bait a trap for some idelogue to step into so he can be shredded by the "A" team. As for me I choose to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church as best I am able. I don't want to be divorced, I'm against having an abortion as well as the death penalty and I oppose mandated birth control coverage. I also see no harm in allowing people of varying faiths to express their better hopes within the sight of others (Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadan). I truly believe that Christianity is voluntary.

      I also think that what most people who oppose religion in politics actually oppose is not the principle but the content. If the Church advocated for everyone to get their own flying saucer, who would oppose that? But make it an issue they are against and all of a sudden it's a "theocracy conspiracy" This is why, to me it is important to study the issue, measure it against my values and choose accordingly. Other than the hatred of Catholics some have adopted because of the human failures, I rarely see anyone who can dismantle our moral and social teachings or dismiss our contributions to society.

      August 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      are you also @Bill Deacon?

      you say: "Other than the hatred of Catholics some have adopted because of the human failures"

      There has always been hatred of Catholics – primarily by Protestants. The colonies from which this country grew were founded, in no small part, on hatred of Catholics.

      The recent 'human failures', as you so delicately describe the failure of the church to properly address horrible crimes commited by clergyment against people in their power, has just given those who hate the church more ammunition but I don't need to debate that with you.

      Do you not think that presuming TVA's hypothesis, that some kind of Christian religious observance would be forced? It might be tolerant of sect but free worship for Muslims for example? Do you think all those "no atheist can hold office" laws would remain unenforceable?

      I agree that the hypothesis is weak – I don't think there's any chance that it would happen. We already live in a country that is 78% Christian and it's hasn't happened, but IF it did?

      August 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Thank you Bill Deacon, I am not here to wrangle anyone in and beat the crap out of them I am truly interested in the Christian perspective in a situation where they had total control over the country. How would that country look?

      August 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • 2357

      Nominal Christians are in the majority already, just look at the pie charts. You can't get elected beyond village government on an "I'm atheist" platform. The real issue is leaders assume a superficial guise of religiosity just to get into power fame and money. An age old tactic of using Godliness as a means of gain. This is happening both in politics and religion. When they mix into a racket, both are defiled. When churches embrace material idolatry, social corruption grows out of control.

      August 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      I completely reject your premise that churches can somehow promote social morality.

      August 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      You say: "The real issue is leaders assume a superficial guise of religiosity just to get into power fame and money. An age old tactic of using Godliness as a means of gain. This is happening both in politics and religion. When they mix into a racket, both are defiled."

      I have no argument with any of this, other than to ask is this just business as usual or do you perceive more of this now than it used to be?

      August 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • 2357

      American Christians used to dismiss politics as earthbound and inherently corrupt, unworthy of church time. It all changed when in the 70s, carnal people flooded into churches through mass crusades, church growth, televangelism, hippies looking to cleanup, etc. The unconverted went unchecked, and they hatched from inside church walls a world of superficial religiosity, part of which is political obsession. So yes, it it's particularly worse now because American churches are fat, stupid and corrupt both physically and spiritually. We Christians deserve a purging Caesar Nero.

      August 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I'm late to this party, so maybe this has already been said, but I think we have plenty of examples of what happens when particular religious sects take over countries. In Europe it was known as the Dark Ages, but it was a different world then. More current examples include Afghanistan under the Taliban, the former Bosnia/Herzegovina, and of course modern day Texas.

      August 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Rufus T. Firefly

      Do you think Texas would be a fair characterization if the country was under Christian control and if so, why?

      August 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • 2357

      Texas is way too proud and boastful. It's become an American Rome. Alabama is more humble, more meek, better reflection. Sure they've got prejudice, but they're kind of ashamed about it, and working on it.

      August 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      you mean were Texas to cecede? I think it's fair to say that Rufus' witty reference to Texas is exactly that – a witticism. Currently they are still obliged to follow the 1st amendment, though there are monuments to the "10 guidelines" in public places and they are rather fond of their crucifixions (sorry lethal injections).

      But Texas is not ubiquitously "Texan". The mayor of Houston is not what many might expect for a Texan mayor.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No, not if they were to secede but be a "model" of sorts for a Christian nation. I do not know much about the mayor of Houston but my understanding is that Texas is adamantly proposing to rid the school systems of the theory of evolution and their paranoid as hell about some sort of take-over from someone.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I think you overstate this position: "Texas is adamantly proposing to rid the school systems of the theory of evolution"

      The problem with Texas schoolbooks (apart from furnishing sniper nests in Presidential assassinations) is that the market for schoolbooks in Texas is one of the largest in the country. The publishers of school books don't want to print multiple editions. A wing of the American Taliban has realized this and has worked very hard to make sure that the Texas School Board, which approves text books for Texan students, is comprised of God ferin' Texicans who are like minded.

      They have made many recommendations to change the tone and tenor of text books to remove references to notable American women, latinos and black people and make them all about 'dead white men' and celebrate the America they grew up with in 1950 – white and McCarthyistic – in the full knowledge that these books will be made available to states beyond Texas.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I was just sort of taking a jab at Texas, but the kernel of truth behind the joke lies in their attempts (and successes) at rewriting science and history books for public schools in order to fit Christian and conservative dogma on evolution, climate change, the slave trade, the disposition of the founding fathers, the civil rights movement, and on and on. Creeping Taliban-ism is not so far-fetched here in the United States.

      August 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Well, at least I know that notGOP and I are on the same page!

      August 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I don't mean to be lazy but if you could direct me to some information to allow me to get better informed I would really appreciate it, thanks!

      August 30, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Google 'texas School board rewrites ...'

      The first hit is from the Guardian – UK left-leaning newspaper often called The Grauniad (pejoratively).

      Texas schools board rewrites US history with lessons promoting God and guns
      US Christian conservatives drop references to slave trade and sideline Thomas Jefferson who backed church-state separation

      Have fun!

      August 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      you might also want to read this.


      Ms. Parker has accomplished much for Houston – the fourth largest incorporated city in the US. Not all of Texas is the same as places like Midland/Odessa or Lubbock.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Thanks GOP! I'll be sure and take a look, much appreciated!

      August 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      More info on Texas textbooks:


      August 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Rufus and GOP

      Thanks again, looks like I'm 2 years behind on this but WOW! I should have known Barton had his grime infused into this. This is just way too wrong, yet here we sit, Mitt and the boys lying away and people standing with arms raised. Here's something you might not have seen yet:

      Bill Bain
      "He saw the opportunity, of course, but he also saw risks. First, he felt comfortable in his life. He already had a great job and had five young sons at home. Second, he and the partners in the new firm would be expected to contribute significantly to the investment fund, and thus, if deals went south, they could lose their own money. Romney explained to Bain that he didn't want to risk his position, earnings, and reputation on an experiment. He found the offer appealing but didn't want to make the decision in a "light or flippant manner." So Bain sweetened the pot. He guaranteed that if the experiment failed, Romney would get his old job and salary back, plus any raises he would have earned during his absence. Still, Romney worried about the impact on his reputation if he proved unable to do the job. Again the pot was sweetened. Bain promised that, if necessary, he would craft a cover story saying that Romney's return to Bain & Company was needed because of his value as a consultant. "So," Bain explained, "there was no professional or financial risk." This time Romney said yes."

      August 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Yes two different computers

      August 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      David Barton is a revisionist of the worst order. He is at war with the doctrine of separation.

      He believes in divine American exceptionalism and ZERO separation of church and state.

      He's ent'tled to his 1st amendment free speech rights of course, but in my opinion, his motives are treasonous.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • billdeacons

      TVA I don't think treasonous is too strong a word. I think ideally the state and the Church should be held in tension in much the same way the three branches of government are. We can't survive in a theocracy which demands total conformity neither can we survive in a totalitarian state bereft of freedom of expression. And that means religion. I propose that the last thing atheists should hope for is a government unchecked by religious thought concerning the sanctiity of individuals and the last thing religious folks should hope for is a state sponsored ethical doctrine.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I am a firm believer in the 1st amendment, from an antiestablishment position and the right to profess and the right not to profess a religious belief and a stauch supporter of the doctrine of separation.

      I heartily agree with your statement:
      " I propose that the last thing atheists should hope for is a government unchecked by religious thought concerning the sanctiity of individuals and the last thing religious folks should hope for is a state sponsored ethical doctrine"

      The challenge of course is making it all work. Law and morality are entwined. But religion should be separate. Naturally religion will influence the consciences of individual voters, but in our context the only way to measure a moral consensus is through a democratic process – real democracy, not manufactured electioneering where a handful of counties elect a president and referenda that are funded by secret monied interest behind the frong of 'concerned citizens'.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – 'front', not 'frong'. It must be late.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • billdeacons

      See , it is possible to have a decent discussion on this board. Just have to wait for all the eighth graders to log off. Thanks a lot

      August 31, 2012 at 12:17 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.