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. machine

    Good job,American Atheists in attacking another Realigion.If Christains or Mormons did this their would be hell to pay.American Atheists,just another cowardly Realigion like Scientology.May all of you non belivers burn in the pits of hell.

    September 3, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • rick

      machine: you are an imbecile

      atheists do not fear hell

      now, get back on your knees

      September 3, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • oxkarbaz

      Believing something isn't real won't make it cease to exist.

      September 3, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Believing in a fantasy won't make it exist, either.

      September 3, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • oxkarbaz

      Exactly, Tom.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  2. Oldeye

    It make absolutely no difference what you folks believe or not believe.
    Who cares? Who should care?
    Americans will live by American laws. Others will live by their own.
    I absolutely do not care as long as you do not break our laws to try to get things done your way.
    You could be anything you want to be. It will not make any difference.

    September 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      It will make a difference when the religious right get all of their agendas into law and they're still at it.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  3. AMatheist

    That is a pitiable shame. I can understand the vitriol, no one likes to be pointed at and laughed at. I can only imagine that these angry threat makers truly believe deep inside that their religion is a scam, and that is why they are so upset.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • machine

      American Atheists,have a Realigion.It's called beliveing in nothing lol.I bet they even have sermons,just like the Church of Scientology lol.American Atheists members,probally have their own necklace lmfao.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • rick

      machine: as i stated earlier, you are an imbecile

      September 3, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  4. BRI

    It's good to see the majority of posts are from athiests. I truely believe religious people are running out of things to say and really don't have a case anymore with the growth of the internet

    September 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • billdeacons

      No we just get tired of junior high school philosophy

      September 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Since all you've got is elementary philosophy, I'm sure you do, billy.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      From whom Bill?

      The atheists, or the holy roller trolls who compulsively post "prayer changes things" or "atheists are" followed by a litany of soph0moric insults, or the sanctimonious fools who post things like "These billboards are disgusting, Christians would never do such a thing"?

      September 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • billdeacons

      No, more the "can God make a rock so big that he himself can't pick it up?" stuff. I've seen a few cogent atheist remarks on here but most of them are thought patterns that my friends and I dealt with many many years ago before I started shaving. I have no problem with someone saying "I don't believe," But most of the arguments are ill informed and poorly thought out and when backed into a corner, out come the insults. as witnessed above.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • 2357

      Don't just count posts. Common fallacy persistent in this culture. Rather, judge the quality of statements, and perhaps assess the mental state of the speaker. Then ask yourself whether you ought to trust this being to convey the truth. A lie is a lie no matter what the reasoning. And a liar will lie for no other reason than that it is her nature.

      September 3, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • oxkarbaz


      When you just had some introduction to formal logic or positivism, Atheism seems to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I think that's why the atheist militant icons are intellectual caricatures, while they ignore completely the existence of the really great atheist and agnostic intellectuals.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When you use your religious beliefs to attempt to remove the rights we have under the laws of this country, you can bet I'm not going to debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin with you, bill.

      If you want philosophical debate on religion, fine; then stay out of the area of others' personal rights.

      Don't like being insulted? Then stop pretending your religion is the basis of law and the rights we enjoy. It isn't. And it shouldn't be.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  5. Inquiry

    Its difficult to believe there is a GOD for some, but its impossible to deny there is not ONE.

    September 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Agreed, so your point is?

      September 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Actually let me clarify my answer.

      I could indeed deny the existence of a God. I cannot prove the non-existence of God – which is what I interpreted that you meant.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  6. Inquiry

    As human beings, Where do we come from?

    September 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Umm, our parents?

      September 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Oldeye

      Answer to your pitiful question.
      No answer is the correct answer.
      No one know. No one can prove anything.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  7. Just reading

    My message to atheists – despite what you think – it doesn't change the laws of God... no matter how well you try to rationalize your position.

    September 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      My message to believers – despite what you think – it doesn't change the laws of nature... no matter how well you try to rationalize your position.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Oldeye

      Your idea is only based on your belief that there is a God. Your God is what you believe.
      So be it. You can continue with your freedom of speech and expression.
      I will tell you this. There are thousands of gods out there. So, unless you are able to prove
      or show us your God, you should not be too assertive.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      These atheists are so funny.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, oxcart, you're a Christian, are you? Think evolution is a crock? Believe the earth was created in 6 days and is 6000 years old?

      I wonder why such a sophisticated intellectual such as yourself would bother to post here when it's obvious everyone here is beneath your contempt and so inferior to you. Why don't you check out The Perfect World? The folks there will rip your balls off and feed them to you.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • oxkarbaz


      If you genuinely need to know, just ask as a civilized human being. If you want to keep trolling, go on, I'll keep on ignoring you. Simple.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You'll either answer or you won't. No skin off my nose either way.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • 2357

      Hey ox, many thanks for pointing out the ontological diarrhea that inundates this board. Believe it our not these people have been messing themselves like this for weeks. Pass the wipes.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • oxkarbaz


      That's like a band-aid on a cancer patient, but sometimes it's worth it. There are some real gems around here, like this guy, TheVocalAtheist. What a character...

      Let's call it a day. Good night.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  8. Just reading

    It appears Atheists have no substance to their claims – just spouting off at the mouth and best they can, come up with demeaning words against their opponents. They don't believe in God because they are too self centered and just don't want to be accountable because of their greediness. That's really all it is – a bunch of stingy people – so they make up stories to justify thier behavior. Problem is, to justify thier stingy behavior, they push their agenda on others.

    September 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      Real atheists are incredibly rare. I never met one, and only know a handful of intellectuals who are de facto atheists. Most of the so called atheists are merely anti-religious with a wrong idea of what God is.

      September 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      What's a 'real' atheist. Is that like your 'true' Christian?

      I am not anti-religious, so long as people keep their faith to them selves and don't try to convert me or tell me that I will burn in the eternal lake of fire I am delighted for them to live a faith-based life. The line gets crossed with religions groups try to exert their opinions on others.

      Self-professed atheists and agnostics represent about 4% of the US population – so if one in 25 meets your definition of "incredibly rare", I'll agree with you.

      All it takes to be a "real" atheist is to not believe in God. A small but growing minority, yes, but I think you'll find it's not quite 'incredibly rare'.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      Are you sincerely interested in knowing or just trolling?

      September 2, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      You made a bunch of assertions that in my opinion are not only incorrect but wrong.

      I refuted the notion that 'atheists are really just God haters' which seems to be your premise. I will happily discuss that with you if you like.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      You didn't answered my question.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I am interested in refuting the misunderstandings that believers seem to have about atheists.

      And no, I'm not trolling. I fail to see how I didn't understand your question – unless you are just trolling.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I don't believe there are any gods because there is no proof that there are any. It really is that simple.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      OK, since you are so smart, let's give you a try.

      Well... first of all, I'm not talking about the general population. I'm talking about the people with a minimal intellectual ambition, enough to be concerned with having a consistent world-view for themselves, willing to live up to the full consequences of their choices. People who have their world-view defined by the last recreational literature they put their hands on are irrelevant to this.

      So, as implied, a real atheist is someone with a proper education, with an adequate philosophical, theological and scientific background, who knows what's being talked about, and still believes there's no God, conscious of the consequences of that choice. Those are incredibly rare, for obvious reasons. I never personally met a single one, and only know a few great intellectuals who fit the definition.

      It's not as simple as not believing in God, like choosing underwear. If you say you're an atheist, you can't base yourself on anything that depends on God's existence. Most often, the intellectuals who call themselves atheists just don't know or never realized this dependence on something they base their ideas on. For instance, a scientist who claims to be an atheist, can't base himself on the cartesian model, since Descartes appealed to God's existence and good will to validate it. However, most of the scientists who claim to be atheists are unaware of this and therefore aren't real atheists, they're just living a contradiction. A philosopher who claims to be an atheist is inevitably restricted to some form of solipsism, but most who do aren't. An artist who claims to be an atheist has a terrible shortcoming to overcome, which is the lack of any symbolism in reality, and so on.

      Coherent and consistent atheists are incredibly rare. Most of the so called atheists are just theists without realizing it, by having a very naive, nearly barbaric, concept of God. Most of the time they claim to be atheists for reasons other than a thorough examination of the issue: peer-pressure, anti-religious sentiments, upbringing, political convictions, etc.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      By the way, before you go into a "refutation" of what I just said, I'm not interested at all in an internet debate with anonymous people. If it's still important for you, as a self-improvement, self-esteem achievement, to "refute" me, go ahead, but if you expect an answer, don't waste your time. No offense.

      If you're not a troll, not a kid looking for self-esteem, and is seriously interested in the issue, need some clarification or recommend reading, fine. It's not my idea, I'm glad to help.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist


      If I may...Why does an atheist have to have all these requirements in order to be authentic? Do you think one has to be intellectual? Philosophical? Scientific? Religious? And what does this mean " and still believes there's no God, conscious of the consequences of that choice."?

      If a person has an absence of a belief in something that is not real to them, there are no prerequisites to satisfy in order to be so called atheist. It's not that I don't believe in a God it is I have an absence of the belief because there is no proof of a God's existence.

      The problem I have with religious organizations is that they take this concept of a supreme being and create laws that they want the world to abide by based on non-proof and unfortunately the laws don't fall in line with a progressive society and humanity.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      If your premise is that a 'real' athesist cannot be influenced by the two millienia of western (theist) thinking and culture that produced us (at least here in the West) then sure.

      I submit that this definition is absurd.

      Theism = I believe in God.
      Athesism = I don't believe in God.

      It really is that simple.

      As you your causes, I'll address them one by one:

      – peer-pressure .................... (you're kidding me right? Peer pressure from an abundantly religious nation is the number one reason that keeps the number of people willing to profess atheism so low)
      – anti-religious sentiments, .... (these are for many a result – not the cause)
      – upbringing, .......................... (might be the reason atheism is increasing in millenials – I am not a millenial, I had a religious upbringing as do many others here.)
      – political convictions ..............(irrelevant, while atheists trend Democratic, most Democrats are religious)

      September 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Oooops, of course that would be "Atheism" not "Athesism"

      September 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • oxkarbaz


      You are the perfect example of what I'm talking. When you define God as "this concept of supreme being", you are into an inherent contradiction over the concept of God. When you talk about believing in God or not in a personal reality, you're talking of a solipsism where talking about God doesn't make sense. When you demand proof of God's existence, you're applying a principle of scientific methodology over a metaphysical and epistemological question, a real mess.

      Seriously, you can call yourself an atheist as much as you want, you have no idea what you are talking about. No offense, you just don't. You have to seriously study this to understand what are the issues at hand. You simply disbelief your own definition of what God is, which obviously doesn't exist except in your head.

      It's not so simple as you think, but as I said, I'm not talking about the general public. People with no concerns over their own world-view consistence are irrelevant in any intellectual debate. Who cares if a truck driver is an atheist or a christian? It doesn't matter. He might be an atheist or christian for a myriad of unfounded reasons. But a college teacher, a scientist, a writer, doesn't have that kind of luxury.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • oxkarbaz


      Buddy, as I said, I'm not interested in debating with anonymous on the internet. You obviously lack the fundamental comprehension of what is being talked about, but if it's important for you to "refute" me, congratulations. You won.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "You simply disbelief your own definition of what God is"

      No college teacher would write this poorly, even on an anonymous blog, oxymoron.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      If any of you is interested in some reading on this, look for Jacques Maritain essay, The Meaning of Contemporary Atheism. It's not a very easy read, but might trigger something in you to get really interested in the subject, enough to do some real study of it.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just curious, oxymoron, do you wear a pince-nez and a deer-stalker? You seem like the type.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      English is only my third language Tom, so excuse me.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      you say that you're "not interested in debating with anonymous on the internet"

      yet you were willing to argue the point with @TheVocalAtheist and paste your thesis in multiple Belief topics here this evening. Such cognitive dissonance is common amongst the more intellectual believers.

      Have a nice evening.

      I don't understand your 'one but not the other' choice in debate. But it sounds like it will save us both a lot of time. Your comments sound every bit as judgmental as the holy rollers here.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Did you burp? Maybe you wear one of those awful tweed jackets with the suede elbow patches.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a upper-class twit.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • oxkarbaz


      It's simple. There's only sense in debating when all the involved have the same objective. You obviously want to "refute" people and show how right you are in order to improve your self-esteem, which is something perfectly acceptable. I did that years ago and was important for me at the time, but I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in finding people with a similar interest, with either more or less knowledge than I have, therefore it's worth checking what's everyone up to.

      We are just not after the same thing, buddy. If it's important for you to "refute" me, I consider myself refuted. Congratulations.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Doesn't count unless you wave a white flag and kiss his azz, oxycontin.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist


      First off I do not have a concept of a God, I was stating a supreme being is the thrust of most religions. Your pseudo intellect does absolutely nothing for you, in fact it has created a huge pompous azz. If you have some deep esoteric philosophy about your God, good for you but to assume you are correct is ludicrous. Until there is actual proof of the existence of a so called God that can be shown to the masses your intellectual nonsense is nothing more than abstract babble. Put up or shut up.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      As I said, you are a perfect example of what I'm talking about.


      September 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      OK, I'll back down with the hostile posture.

      Nevertheless it is my experience (particularly here) that, not being atheists, the overwhelming majority of believers who try to define atheism, have zero concept of what the thought process of those who profess atheism really is – or the process of getting there from a former devout religious perspective.

      I will stand behind my assertion that your earlier comments were wrong – irrespective of the mid-century writings of a Catholic philosopher.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      In my experience people who only think in terms of belief, cannot comprehend disbelief – except as denial.

      So they want to redefine atheism as an alternative form of belief and assert that "atheism is a religion", or the worship of false Gods.

      But it isn't that at all.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • oxkarbaz


      First you said that all it takes to be an atheist is to not believe in God, but now you are saying it's not only a process, but a process which the overwhelming majority of people don't know? Weird. It seems like you suddenly changed your position only to "refute" me again.

      You can think whatever you want about what I said, as well as disregard whoever you want. The only people who might lose something with that is you. Think about that.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "As I said, you are a perfect example of what I'm talking about."

      In reality you haven't said anything, what's your point? People who call themselves Atheists don't really know anything about Atheism or being an Atheist? They must approach it at a much deeper and intellectual level in order to understand? And you have only met a couple of "real" Atheists with all the right credentials?

      Spit it out, what's on your mind?

      September 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      You have to journey a long way from a life permeated by faith to be content with the simple statement:

      "I don't believe in God"

      The definition is very simple. The process in an overwhelmingly theist society is not as simple as you might think.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • oxkarbaz


      Sorry buddy, you had your chance at an educated answer and decided to insult. That's enough for me to know all I needed to know about you.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist


      And all I needed to know about you was your referral to read Christian propaganda in the guise of metaphysics by a Catholic Philosopher. Bye, bye moron, glad not to know you!

      September 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Excuse me, let's not call it Christian propaganda, just religious propaganda.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      Have a good life, buddy.

      By the way, I suggest you read Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes. Your comment above denying God based on the Laws of Nature was simply hilarious.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes."

      Just more philosophical nonsense to try and prove the existence of God without empirical evidence, no thanks.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Hey oxkarbaz!

      Oh yeah, just one last thing, Go Fu*ck Yourself you little jerk!

      September 2, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • billdeacons

      The interesting thing about this thread to me was that Ox neve said he was a believer. He only pointed out the fallacy of many self styled non-believers in a manner which I find has some degree of merit. It sounded to me as if he was describing a process where the atheist says "God is like XYZ and I could never or would never believe in that." When the reality is that is a canard. I'm not sayng eveyone does that, but certainly some do.

      Cue the hatred from TT.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • oxkarbaz

      Buddy, that's SO funny. A so called atheist promoting scientism over religion who claims Laws of Nature as argument against God and who calls Discourse on Method "philosophical nonsense to prove the existence of God without empirical evidence".

      You really don't have a clue, have you? Amazing. Just amazing.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • oxkarbaz


      Exactly. I'm glad someone got it.

      I'm also glad there's at least someone who doesn't have to throw labels arbitrarily at those who disagree. I'm a believer in the sense I am a traditionalist. I believe in God and in some perennial truth in all major religions, but I'm still working on that. I sincerely would like to be a christian, but I'm still trying to get it.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • billdeacons

      Ox, not sure if you're still on but my initial reaction to you is that becoming a Christian is not really a matter of choosing to do so. Some, of course do. I personally belief a more authentic path is an "encounter" with Jesus. I am one of a number of people who, to put it figuratively, found themselves at the foot of the cross with no one and nothing left to turn to but Christ the savior. It's a high price to pay and one no one would voluntarily submit to but, once one has died to self and been resurrected in Christ, the entire universe changes scope. I can truly tell you that like Paul, I now find myself content in whatever condition I find myself if it be for His greater glory and the things of this world have passed away in the presence of His eternal love and mercy. It's a joyful existence with Jesus as your master.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • oxkarbaz


      Maybe that's what I'm lacking. I come from a strict atheist upbringing, and it took some serious ambition to realize how that was untenable and how my path was inevitably leading to the great religions. Today I understand the need for christianity and even how it can be inevitable unless we intend to go back to barbaric times, but understanding is not faith, and as you said, it's not a choice. I just hope one day God will put that in my way like it did for you, and I will be ready for it.

      September 3, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I read the tract you pointed me to. It is a thoughtful and considered position, but predictably one written from the premise that the existence of God is unquestionable reality.

      Rather than dismiss it out of hand on this basis, I agree that a lot of the criticism of "God" here is not dissimilar from what Maritain calls "pseudo" atheism. Such discourse may not be intellectually sophisticated, but that doesn't invalidate unbelief.

      Having based his thesis on the premise that atheism is denial of the 'reality' of God, Maritain does not consider the notion of disbelief, which embraces the idea that belief in a construct invented by humans is willfully self-delusional. Conscientious disbelief in the fiction of divinity is part of what I mean when I say that 'I don't believe in God'.

      I reject the notion that resignation to the reality of total mortality by what Maritain calls the "absolute" atheist is the worship of a 'false, immanent God of history' – I see this construct as being entirely predicated on the belief in an eternal soul.

      I think that Maritain engages in a little legerdemain in the final paragraph where he claims his definition of "abosolute" athesism is the mirror of "practical" atheism (aka hypocritical religionism) where the early part of his thesis indicates that his "pseudo" athesists are the people who behave this way.

      The notion that the elimination of what Maritain calls "practical" atheism is indeed a worthy objective for adherents of the world's religions. I suggest that this should more important to believers than a preoccupation with atheism. People are welcome to believe in God; faith is truly a gift. I simply don't believe in God, the literal definition of a-theism, which suffices for me.

      Trying to create pigeonhole labels for atheism like 'practical', 'positive' 'pseudo', 'weak', 'strong', 'agnostic', or 'real' are the domain of philosophers and the search for knowledge of 'truth'. They are superfluous when "I don't believe" is sufficient.

      September 3, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • oxkarbaz

      I'm glad and actually surprised that you read it, but as I said, it's a little hard read and maybe you're not ready for it. Some points on your comment:

      1. Any premise is an unquestionable reality within the reasoning it's being used. To disagree with the premise has nothing to do with disagreeing with the reasoning or the logical validity of the conclusion.

      2. Reading a philosophical text isn't like reading a scientific text, it's more like reading a fiction. If you enter the reading with precautions, you'll never really understand what the philosopher was thinking when he wrote that, only what he was able to put down in words. There are very few philosopher who are actually good writers, so you have to read with a genuine crave for knowledge, assuming you'll learn something from it, not looking for reasons to dismiss it at every corner.

      3. What Maritain calls God, "the true, transcendent God of nature", isn't a matter of belief. It is unquestionable reality, unless you want to accept that only your conscience is real and nothing more. To not "believe" in it restricts one to a radical solipsism in which there's no sense to talk about atheism, and his essay wouldn't make any sense. This would be one of the real atheists I was talking about. He's not talking about the personal god of religions, and he made that clear. You either missed that completely, or you actually never understood it. This suggests exactly what I said above. You started your reading already looking for reasons to dismiss it.

      4. If you want to disagree with the premise of the reality of God he is based on, then you have a LOT of work ahead of you, you have to refute all the proofs of the existence of God, which are centuries old and can only be invalidated by appealing to a new metaphysics. It's what Stephen Hawking tried to do in his last book, and failed miserably. If you think you're up to the challenge, good luck.

      September 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  9. 2357

    If controversy is your passion and billboards are a significant outlet for expression, you're probably not a very earnest Christian, and certainly not a serious scientist. You're just another typical American, all talk and no substance. I hate election season.

    September 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements frequently. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to... by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Roger

      And you think that believing in magical fairies in the sky IS healthy?

      September 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Just reading

      See, Roger is a good example what I just wrote a few posts above this – no substance, just reverts to nonsense for a reply.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  11. cigarlover6

    religious folks are the most dishonest and hypocrite one could find in this world.
    They realize that what they sell is not truth and total non-sense but they spread the lie anyway to gain money, power and control over their underlings... A total human fallacy...
    What sad is that there are those total believing types, who talk to invisible beings, scare the hell out of any sane person. And America is always trying to find such person as Presidents or Governors!

    September 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  12. oxkarbaz

    I find it incredibly funny how the atheists organization actually has a symbol. They couldn't be dumber even if they tried.

    September 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  13. some internet dude

    nice catch.

    September 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  14. TxBd948

    I would feel a lot more sorry for the atheists about being subjected to "vitriol and hate speech" if they hadn't been bashing people's deeply held personal beliefs in a offensive manner to begin with. There is no need to make their case like that.

    September 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Athy

      How else can we make our case? Let's just call a spade a spade. Believing in creation is just fucking stupid, there's no softer way to put it.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  15. 1amazed2u

    Have faith in the Lord. You can't see it, touch it or buy it. As the Lord said, there is life after death.

    September 2, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • sam stone

      Then what is keeping you here? Heaven awaits

      September 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Can't see it, can't touch it, can't really know if it's there or not. But it's there!

      I can't believe you fell for that.

      September 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • cigarlover6

      why are u here then? why don't you proceed to heaven?

      At least hindus hae got it more logical, they call it the cycle of birth and death till you get Moksha, sounds more believable 😉

      September 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah. If you believe in life after death, why bother with your present life? Just pass directly to heaven and skip this mortal nonsense.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Dean Gullberry

      Don't forget to NOT reproduce before you leave the mortal coil.

      We're trying to progress as a species.

      September 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  16. Orlyle

    Mormons, Baptists, Muslims, Evangelicals, etc., all nuts as far as I'm concerned. Believing in God is one thing. To be a radical proponent of one particular belief system is whole other spectrum which warps too many people's perception of reality.

    September 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • sam stone

      i agree. faith is one thing. to think that anyone speaks for god is another.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  17. Matt

    BTW, just saying, a whole lot of Jews, Christians, and other religious minorities went into the gas chambers in Germany and Poland during the Second World War. The Nazi leadership were generally atheists. Hitler and Gobbles used religious language, but had no belief in a God of any sort... it is true that atheists can be persecuted. But remember, there have been moments where the reverse was true... I could also mention China under Mao, where Buddhists and Christians were jailed or killed, and the U.S.S.R., which viewed religion as a threat to state supremacy and set about eliminating organized groups, driving the Russian Orthodox Church underground for over half a century. It's not so one-sided... we're all fairly monstrous, after all, at time, every person, nation, and religion. Including atheists.

    September 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • cigarlover6

      Another washerman trying to white wash religious persecutions and trying to take the edge off.
      All examples you cited were not against any particular religions, they were politically motivated actions. But religious motivated actions are always based on things like my god vs your god! The most stu***** thing one can do.

      September 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Etalan

      The Nazis were a christian people, who engrave god into their belt buckle and weapon. They will ask priest from the Vatican to bless the solider. Hitler believe this was god intention.

      September 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      You say: "The Nazi leadership were generally atheists."

      And how do you know this exactly? This is what we call whitewashing history by religious apologists. "True Christians couldn't possibly have done such terrible things, so they can't possibly have been Christians."

      The vast majority of the people who goose-stepped and zieg-heiled along with them were good German Lutherans and Catholics.

      September 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      this: "we're all fairly monstrous, after all"

      I won't argue with. If your point is that religion or lack of religion doesn't make any difference to man's inhumanity to man, then I agree with you.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  18. Sam

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

    This article was written on August 27, 2012–two days after Fmr. Governor Romney accepted the nomination of the Republican Party. Is there a reason CNN is still using the term "presumptive"?

    Additionally, curious usage of the term "also", pointing out that Romney is a Mormon and President Obama is "also a Christian". Have you decided for all that Mormonism is a part of Christianity? Yes, the Mormons lay claim to Christianity but many Christians reject Mormonism as being a part of their faith. Has CNN settled this debate for all people?

    Okay, call this nit-picking, but I highly doubt that this wasn't thought through. Journalists know better than anyone the power of a well-chosen word. If this wasn't thought through–I'm disappointed. If this was thought through–I'm appalled. Either way, I expect better out of CNN. Far better.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Evian

      It's a blog article in their faith blog. It isn't "news".

      September 2, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      you say: This article was written on August 27, 2012–two days after Fmr. Governor Romney accepted the nomination of the Republican Party. Is there a reason CNN is still using the term "presumptive"?

      Just like Republican speeches, you appear to need a fact-checker.

      If I'm not mistaken, Governor Romney accepted the nomination as the GOP candidate on Thursday August 30. As of Monday the 27th, he was in fact the presumptive nominee. A formality perhaps, but nevertheless accurate – unlike your statement.

      September 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      just 'who' decides 'who' is allowed use the term 'Christian'?

      Are Catholics Christian to you? Are Ethopian Orthodox Christian to you?

      Surely anyone who picks up a bible and thinks – I will follow Jesus – may call themselves a 'Christian' no doubt including Mormons.

      The only truth about Christain dogma is that self-professed Christians have been arguing about what const'tutes the 'true dogma' since the first century.

      September 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  19. gary

    atheism is myth understood. Deities and demons are all pretend.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  20. Oldeye

    Atheism is another belief. So you atheists keep it to yourselves.
    Do not impinge on the freedom of speech or religion of others.
    Who cares your are an atheist or a Catholic or a Muslim radical!
    Keep it to yourselves and don't try to make a deal of that fact.
    Just do not thread on me.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • midwest rail

      Mind numbingly incorrect.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • JWoody907

      Anyone who thinks atheism is a religion must also believe that bald is a hair-color and dark is a unit of speed.

      Atheism is a lack of belief in a deity of any sort, we reject the entire premise of religion on the basis that there is no god(s) that created man, man created god(s) to serve our own ends, thus, we're not a belief system, we're division of the population practicing common sense.

      Also, it's amusing to me, that Christian/Catholics and Muslims are the ones that scream down Atheism most frequently as treading on their religious beliefs. Atheists have never rounded up Christians or Muslims and beaten them in the streets, tortured and executed them, unlike the treatment of Atheists by those self-same Christian and Muslim groups.

      It's funny how the people who suppress the human rights of others, are always the first to cry foul about some perception that their rights are threatened...

      September 2, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • sam stone

      when those of faith keep it to themselves, come back and plead your case

      September 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • some internet dude

      Religion offends my rational way of thinking, my sense of reason, and my common sense. Every time I speak to someone and they go on about Christ this and God that I lose all respect for they. It tells me they base there whole way of life on fairy tales and utter nonsense.

      September 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • *

      "there whole way of life" – *their

      there = at that place
      their = belonging to them

      September 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
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About this blog

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