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Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
December 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion.

Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.

On the religion-bashing side, there’s David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, which raised one of its provocative trademark billboards in New York’s Times Square last week. “Keep the MERRY!” it says. “Dump the MYTH!”
The sign features a picture of a jolly Santa Clause and another of Jesus dying on the cross – a not-so-subtle attack on Christianity.

“Christianity stole Christmas in the first place and they don’t own the season, they don’t own the Christmas season,” Silverman said, pointing to pagan winter solstice celebrations that predated Jesus Christ. “When they say keep Christ in Christmas, they are actually saying put Christ back in Christmas.”

The New York billboard, which will be up until early January and is costing the group at least $25,000, is the latest in a long line of provocative American Atheists signs, which attacked then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s religion during this year’s presidential campaign.

It’s not the only way Silverman is using Christmas to attack Christianity. In a recent TV interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said the American Atheist office be open on Christmas Day and called for an end to Christmas as a federal holiday.

O’Reilly, in turn, called Silverman a fascist.

Despite Silverman’s knack for making headlines, however, other prominent atheists are putting a softer face on the movement, including during Christmastime.

“I just think the whole war on Christmas story is bizarre” said Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, who has emerged as another spokesman for the burgeoning atheist movement. “I think that any atheist or humanist that is participating in that story needs to find better things to do with their time.”

From his point of view, atheism and religion can happily coexist, including at the holidays.

At the chaplaincy, Epstein has reached out to local religious groups, packaging holiday meals and breaking bread with believers to discuss their similarities and differences.

Sponsored by the Humanist Community at Harvard, evangelical Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, along with a number of atheists, were among those represented at a recent meal packaging event for hungry kids in the Boston area. Around 250 people participated and over $10,000 was raised – including donations from local Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Epstein calls this sort of inter-religious dialogue “healthy.”

“We as a community need to be about the positive and we have so much positive to offer,” he said. “I think that we really can provide a positive alternative to religious holidays that are not meaningful because of their religious content.”
Silverman, for his part, is more than comfortable being negative when it comes to religion.

“We should look at the results - people are listening to us because we are shouting,” he said. “They don’t hear you unless you shout. … Sometimes you have to put political correctness aside. We need to get louder. I believe we are seeing the fruits of that volume.”

As proof, American Atheists points to the way their donations skyrocket after every billboard campaign. “We get donations and memberships because we are taking the stand that we do,” said Silverman, who would not give specific numbers on fundraising. “The donations are flowing in right now. People are loving it specifically because of the billboard.”

Epstein would rather see more emphasis on volunteerism, though he acknowledges that some atheists are drawn to Silverman’s vocal model. Both men said they appeal to different parts of the atheist movement.

“We are GOP and Dem, man and women, black and white – the only thing that holds us together is atheism,” Silverman said. “A movement like ours needs all sides. It needs people who are working to be conciliatory and it needs people who are willing to raise their voices.”

Religious “nones” – a combination of atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated, have been growing their ranks in recent years. According to a Pew Research study released this year, the fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all as one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The survey found that the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated.

Though not monolithic, younger atheists, according to Jesse Galef, communications director of the Secular Student Alliance, are more prone to celebrate a secular version of Christmas than to ignore the holiday.

“I am very much in favor of celebrating the secular Christmas,” Galef said. “It is a celebration of the spirit of giving and I think religious divisiveness goes against that effort.”

Other atheists celebrate Festivus, a December 23 holiday meant for atheists looking to celebrate during the winter without participating in a Christian holiday. The holiday, which entered into popular culture through the television show “Seinfeld” in 1997, has gained popularity in recent years.

At the Secular Student Alliance office in Columbus, Ohio, the staff will play Secret Sagan, a nod to the famed scientist, instead of Secret Santa. And instead of Christmas decorations, they put up a Winter Solstice Tree with ornaments from the movie “When the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We celebrate the holiday season, just not the religious holiday,” Galef said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas

soundoff (4,367 Responses)
  1. TptLead

    No one thinks and talks about God more than "atheists."

    December 21, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Edweird69

      That's because we know more about the bible, and the xtian religion, than those who claim to practice it. And, we are now exposing them for the fakes they truly are.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Dippy

      How the fuck would you know that?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Observer

      So Christians know less about it. That makes sense.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      That is true, we spent the time to examine the claims. Many of us were indoctinated into believing and we examined our religions and scrutinized the claims and the rejected them. If more theists did that....there would be more atheists.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Mat

      Atheists claim to knowing more about bible is like satan quoting scripture. Sorry couldnt resist the quip. The claim that more people in america are becoming atheists do not frighten Christians. If you read the bible, you will understand the reason.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • apostate

      Because many of us actually studied comparative religion and read the Bible multiple times ENTIRELY unlike Christians. Which is why we are atheist and know more about the subject.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Edweird69

      @Mat – You're under the assumption that atheists have never read the bible. Xtians seem to assume, that if we read it, we would certainly believe it. My mother was a minister. If you think I've never read the bible, you are sadly mistaken.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • It's End Of The World Day!!!!

      Whoooooooo Hoooooo! End of the world party! Yet another in a long line of apocalyptic boo-boos going back 2,000 years to Jesus' original "This generation will not pass away until all these things are done" apocalyptic boo-boo!

      It's the greatest not-happening happening of the decade!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Edweird69

      I like eating fruit cups in bed.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • cincinnatidavid

      The day's not yet done, End!

      December 21, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  2. Hey Chad!!!

    You know that ark you told us about, the one made by Johan Huibers? It isn't going to float on it's own. It is lashed on top of a barge of 40 large barges. The Ark itself isn't even touching the water.

    Want to know why? It's unseaworthy. Huiber proved that you need steel.

    Big fail you you. Want to try again?

    December 21, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Some assembly required

      Does he really believe all of it? The Bible, I mean. The Flood, talking snakes and all that?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • TptLead

      Most Christians do not take the biblical tales as literally as you.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Observer

      TptLead,

      Yes. No one believes every word of the Bible. It's refreshing to apparently have a Christian admit it.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Hey Chad!!!

      As you"? Who are you talking about. I was responding to someone who DOES believe it is absolutely true. Chad, Topher, Robert Brown and others here firmly believe it. But it's impossible.

      I do appreciate that you are more reasonable in your outlook on Biblical stories, but that opens a real can of worms. That means that you know that at least some of the Bible is not true. And if some parts are not true, how can the religion be true? And how can you say any part is true if you know others to be false? You can't claim any part is true, because none of it has any proof beyond the fact that it is in the Bible, and you know some is untrue.

      And how can a book written by or divinely inspired by God be wrong?

      But I have far less problem with people like you than I have with the Chuds of the world, especially if you are not using religion to decide your vote or to create laws. So, all the best.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      I rather suspect it's unseaworthy because Hulber's is not a trained shipwright. A professional shipbuilder could build a wooden vessel that length quite easily.
      Of course, Noah was an idiot and may not have even existed. Where is the evidence that Noah even existed? ????

      December 21, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Hey Chad!!!

      Actually, that's not true, Rational. Feel free to google it, but 350' is about the biggest achieved on the, and they were almost all unseaworthy, and almost all that big used steel extensively. Wood on it's own is just not strong enough, especially for the volume involved.

      There is supposedly a 141 foot wooden yacht in the works, but it is an epoxy-wood laminate, which means it is actually a composite, essentially a fiberglass where the fiber is the wood. I guarantee you wood-epoxy laminates are WAY stronger than plain wood. I used to work in a boatyard that built racing yachts, So I am very familiar with how incredible epoxy resin is in composites. Interesting project, though.

      I doubt Huiber did the engineering on it, just the general dimensions.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      @Hey Chad
      There are accounts of some pretty big ancient ships that are quite within the realm of likelihood, such as some Chinese junks that reached lengths of approximately 485 feet long, or so.

      And that made me wonder: could "gopher wood" be bamboo due to it being tubular like a gopher hole?
      Bamboo is extremely strong and light. Better than heavy epoxy resin slathered all over the place.

      What if there had been a type of "Mediterranean Bamboo" that became extinct when the basin filled with sea-water?
      Hmm. Still doesn't mean some guy saved all the animals of the world, though.
      But compartmented ships gain extra strength from the reinforcement of having internal bracing/compartments, so maybe some guy saved his farm and they blew it out of proportion as they always seem to do in these sorts of ancient folk-tales.

      But if you're trying to tell me that some religious idiot thought that using metal and crappy wood proves that such a thing as "Noah's Ark" is mechanically and nautically unsound based on this guy's efforts, then please save it for the guys down at the tavern. They need something to talk about, don't ya know...

      December 21, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      ...or maybe, if it were bamboo, it was called gopher wood because the local gophers loved eating the very nutritious bamboo shoots and roots? Whatever...

      December 21, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • Hey . . . uh, really?

      Bamboo? In the Middle East? What, held together by african swallows who gripped it by the husk? Or did Noah secretly have engineering assistance from the Professor from Gilligan's Island, who could engineer ANYTHING out of coconuts and bamboo except for patching a smalll hole in the Minnow.

      Bamboo. You made my evening.

      You know nothing of cold moulding if you think epoxy is "slathered."

      The Dutch moron thing was presented by Chad as proof that the Ark was absolutely true and feasible. That's where all this started.

      The Ark as God ordered it is totally unfeasible. Sorry.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      "slathered" was hyperbole. And engineering was not unknown in ancient times, but I was just trying to think of possible roots to the myth itself. Wouldn't you feel stupid if they found that there was indeed a type of Mediterranean bamboo and that it was called gopher wood? Or if it turned out that the Noah nonsense was about saving domesticated animals and little else and thus required a smaller vessel? Or that it was a raft and not a boat?
      Go ahead and laugh. My intention was to investigate the myth of Noah, since it is clearly BS without regards to the "ark" anyway. You sound about as clever as the Skipper. Look out for that...(whack)...tree! 😀

      December 21, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  3. Kev

    From the hope that comes of the coming spring once the winter solstice is past, with bringing evergreens into home to show proof of life in the onset of the bleakest of seasons, to having the yule fire burn through the dark and cold, to finding new hope in life through the life and teachings of a Messiah, through the celebration of our children and to the hopes of our future, to just simply being festive in caring, giving, and loving no matter your beliefs or lack of beliefs a happy or merry fill in the blank_______________________.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Edweird69

      Mythmas...there...blank filled in.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  4. Hippie

    Christmas is about being with your family and loved ones. Only selfish people would attack a holiday that is meant for people to get together and forget about all the stupidity going on in the world. Even if you do not believe in it, you should take a day to focus on someone other than yourself.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Edweird69

      I'm not out to stop anyone from enjoying a day with their family. Obsurd! I'm out to dispell the myth that Xmas is for Xtians to glorify the idea that an innocent woman had to go thru an excruciating birth, so a baby coule be born, to be slaughtered, to appease a blood thirsty god... does that help?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Hippie, let me just clue you in about something: Atheism does not cause people to think only of themselves.

      You have undoubtedly been told otherwise by someone who probably never met an atheist in their lives.
      So stop saying what is not true. Lying is wrong whether you are a Christian or not. Don't say untrue things.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  5. Edweird69

    I'm a funny man yes I am. I'm a macaron yes i am.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Edweird69

      You're impersonating me. Impersonation of me, flatters me. You're an Edweird69 wannabe.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Edweird69

      I'm impersonating myself and I'm flattered. My head is a vacuum.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Edweird69

      My head is throbbing. Please finish blowing me!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  6. Daniel

    People should learn to be more civil and respectfully disagree. I find that David Silverman comes off as more of a jerk than anything else.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Some assembly required

      If you said that there are real faeries in your garden I would disagree. You might think that my disagreement is respectful, but really it would be wide-eyed disbelief and caution in the face of lunacy. Similarly if you said there is a God in his heaven and a hell that awaits unbelievers.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • cincinnatidavid

      Do we just respectfully disagree when the Pope opposes the use of condoms in Africa?

      December 21, 2012 at 3:52 am |
  7. jvance

    Loud intransigent atheists are just as bizarre, baffling and obnoxious as boisterous religious fanatics. I don't place much credence in either but as long as they leave me alone they can believe and do whatever they want.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Edweird69

      2,000 years of opression, does seem to bring out the worst in some people. Go figure!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Jeff

      Well you aren't leaving them alone, now are you?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • apostate

      You reap what you sow

      December 21, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • rjrock

      Couldn't agree more.....nothing is more irritating than certainty, from either camp.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      U mad and certain of it though, ain't cha? Hypocrite.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:48 am |
  8. rjrock

    I don't want to hear from anyone, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Hindus, Flying Spaghetti Monsterists, let em celebrate whatever they want. They should all live and let live for goodness sake. Why do these people need to be in each other's face about it all the time?

    December 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Some people believe in open discourse... But by all means, put your fingers in your ears and ignore the discussion.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Edweird69

      umm...duh..because Xtians would love to force their way of life, their twisted beliefs on society. They do it all the time. Look at what mormons did to gay families in California. If you think it's irrelevant, you need to stop and think again.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Artie

      Because religions have a long history of NOT trying to "live and let live". Ever hear a Christian claim America is a Christian Country, that their ideology should be law, that gays should be oppressed?

      They don't mind their own business.

      That's like saying the blacks in 1955 deep south should have just kept to themselves and minded their own business.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Why did you take the time to post anything then? Or even scroll down to the comments...or click on the article? Or did you just have to let everyone know you are "above it all"....Good for you...

      December 21, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • rjrock

      Hey I get what's going on. When I talk about everybody being in each other's face, I include Christians in that statement. It's time everybody just moved on a respected each others rights and beliefs. It's not something that needs constant confrontation. Move on peeps.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • rjrock

      Cheesemaker,

      It's not about being above it all. In fact, I do pick sides. I choose rational people. Irrational atheists are as bad as irrational christians....okay...may not quite as bad....but it's all BS....it's a stupid argument that nobody can win. So why engage? You going to convince someone to change their mind?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      rjrock,

      Your mistake is thinking beliefs deserve automatic respect, they don't. Beliefs stand or fall on their own merits. I give respect to people...not beliefs.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I think people can and do change their minds. I did, and I can name many, many people who have gone from religion to reason. I think it is a discussion worth having.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • rjrock

      What deserves respect in this country is your right to your belief, and since when did atheists have a lock on the "truth"?. The only people that know what happens after death are dead. Certainty there is no God is just a silly as a certainty there is. Or am I missing something here?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Edweird69

      RJ – you said "The only people that know what happens after death are dead." The dead know nothing. Even the Xtian bible makes that clear. Deceased means, cease to exist. If you do not exist, you do not know anything.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • apostate

      Atheism/Theism address belief, not knowledge claims.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      rjrock,

      Again, you are conflating respecting the "right to belief" and respecting "belief". They are not the same. I respect anyones right to believe what they want but that doesn't mean I have to give the belief itself respect.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • rjrock

      Hmm...your logic reminds me of a Chinese finger trap. You use your certainty of what the Christian bible says to defend your argument, a book you decry, and also one that holds no merit for me. It doesn't matter what it says. Next you argue linguistics, as if the webster dictionary could solve the conundrum of what, if anything happens after death. Despite the invocation of the wise and mighty Webster, I know that neither you, nor I, nor anyone else on this earth knows whether or what happens or doesn't happen upon death. Atheist certainty is as bad as anyone else's.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • apostate

      One can be an agnostic atheist. Do you have a reason to believe in an afterlife?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • apostate

      I don't know for sure that there aren't velociraptor unicorns on some planet somewhere in the galaxy, should I believe in them?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • rjrock

      No, nor do I have any reason to believe there isn't one. The universe appears infinitely complex, so much so that I know I cannot understand it fully. Reason compels me to keep my mind open until actual information becomes available. Socrates, in Plato's Apology, was quoted as saying, "I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know."

      December 21, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • apostate

      With that logic bigfoot and the chupacabra simply not having sufficient evidence at this time are automatically to be believed in. That is ridiculous.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • rjrock

      Under that logic, when evidence of Chupacabra or Bigfoot show up, then I will be ready to concede they exist. I am neither a believer nor an unbeliever, simply a reasoning being awaiting facts before I push my views on other people. I thought atheists used reason?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The default postion on ANY claim should be disbelief until such time the claim can be demonstrated to a high degree. The more exceptional the claim the more it needs to be demonstrated. Most people do this with most claims they face on a day to day basis....except religion. Why should there be an exception?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • apostate

      You can't both believe and not believe. "I don't know" addresses knowledge.....fine. However, you either believe or you do not believe.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  9. Chris

    How exactly does one force a belief on someone? That's the one thing you can't forcefully take from someone. How oh how can you FORCE a belief? You can't. Stop saying Christians have because they haven't . No one has. No one can. Say what you will but its the truth. I respect your choice to atheism and those of different beliefs. I don't even ask you respect mine. Just think before you speak because you cannot force a belief on anyone. You can persuade, try to convince, but not force. Happy holidays merry Christmas happy new year.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • John

      You may want to research how many of the indians were converted. It was tantamount to mental cruelty.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Chris

      Yes for a political agenda. Still torture is not forcing a belief. I understand where your coming from but even in our faith it says its not an excuse.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Cracky

      Wow! Someone totally clueless about indoctrination, coercion, and brainwashing!
      Priceless!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Chris, I could have you singing Lenin's praises or worshiping Allah inside two months by, get this, forcing you to change your beliefs and even your worldview. It can be done very easily, especially if you have already gone through an extensive indoctrination previously, as it appears you have.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  10. Tom

    Atheism is a cheap excuse.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Are you capable of completing a sentence?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Tom

      So, if you don't like what you read you attack the author? Typical defense mechanism.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • John

      No, he just meant that you didn't specify what it was supposedly an excuse for.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • the AnViL

      no tom, you deluded idiot...

      you typed an incomplete sentence. you made a statement "atheism is just a cheap excuse."

      a cheap excuse for what, dimwit?

      expand your sentence – give it some meaning... dipwad.

      zoop!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • John A

      An excuse indeed, to live a selfish lifestyle.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Theism is an expensive one.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • the AnViL

      John A ignorantly adds: "An excuse indeed, to live a selfish lifestyle."

      how, precisely – is atheism "selfish"??

      please – elaborate...

      December 21, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Cracky

      What is more selfish than clinging to the ultimate selfish fantasy of thinking the universe and it's supposed creator revolves around YOU? And that this super-being has an actual interest in your selfish and self-absorbed life?
      Ecclesiastes should have read "selfishness, all is selfishness", and I sometimes wonder if it wasn't deliberately mis-translated to say "vanity" instead of "selfishness".
      Christians are the most narcissistic and selfish and self-important bunch of idiots I have ever seen.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  11. BinAlaska

    Uh It's Santa CLAUS not ClausE

    and I have to agree others here christians have been shoving their beliefs down the throats of people for centuries. I don't care what you believe and I sure don't want to hear about it

    Oh and St. Nicholas ,the man who Santa Claus is based on , was actually Not a very nice man

    December 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • BinAlaska

      excuse me ... With others here.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  12. brep

    i'm an atheist. i love christmas. the values espoused within the "christmas spirit" are very poignant to me. also, there's nothing that evokes an emotional/"spiritual" response in me more than the christian christmas hyms and stories. it's what i was taught growing up and that pleasant feeling stuck with me even though the doctrine behind it didn't. i would just prefer these songs be about all babies, or maybe an awesome baby queen every now and then. i'd love to teach my kids how to enjoy a little christmas mind-altering emotion but i just don't know how to do it when all we're talking about is a mythical man that supposedly saved the world.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  13. Atheism is a religion

    Atheists believe there is no God. Believing takes faith.
    So that makes atheism a religion. Anyway Merry Christ Mass.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Atheism is no more of a religion than abstinence is a type of s ex. You are a mowron!

      December 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Observer

      It's irrelevent if atheism is a "reliigion" or not by your definition. Faith in gravity apparently is a religion too.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Oh, and Merry Mythmas to you too.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Is "theism" a religion?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Chris

      Especially since the religion is based on faith in scientific theories. Which they teach you in college that they can never be proven, only disproven. Lol.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • the AnViL

      i see a lot of this twisting of wordage "atheists believe there is no god" – and that's highly inaccurate.

      it is more correctly worded: "atheists do not believe in gods"

      those who do believe in gods are delusional becaujse there are no gods.

      that there are no gods – isn't a belief. it's a lack of belief.

      stop being ignorant.

      cha cha cha

      December 21, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • sornord

      Atheism is a result of rational thinking. I THINK there is no Biblical god, or any other, because there is no evidence for any of them. The same rational thinking leads me to THINK there are no Tooth Fairies, ghosts, men in the moon, Greco-Roman or Pagan gods, Atlantis, or any other mythological being or place. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • apostate

      I have a lot of religions then; unicorns, bigfoot, UFOs, leprechauns......

      December 21, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Ken

      It doesn't take faith to believe that unicorns, vampires, and leprechauns were never actually real, it just takes common sense, and the same thing applies to gods, even God.

      December 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  14. sigilofnowhere

    I'm not religious but I still use the term Christmas, as I'm sure other non-religious people do as well. In my opinion, it's ironically become one of the most secular terms of all.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  15. Jim

    Atheists are bombarded everyday by religion... We get less push back from them than we do from other Christians. Christians can't even agree on which version of the Bible is the Word.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Because hinduism, stupidity called bible has no message of truth in it, just hinduism, absurdities of some unknown hindu's, ignorant s compiled to hind fool humanity.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  16. PaulieJ

    I was born into a Catholic/Christian household. Attended "church school" classes after regular school to prepare for First Communion. Never got Confirmed (think that's what they call it) and my parents, while believing in God, were not your regular Sunday church going folks. We would got at Christmas and Easter, especially if visiting my grandparents.
    At some point in my teen years I started to question Catholicism and faith based organized religions. And for a time I was agnostic, not buying into the man-made dogma of organized religions but, not ruling out the possible existence of a higher deity. Post college it's been pure atheism.
    Now, I state all that as to give some background on my current views of religious holidays. As a child, Christmas was about giving to others and spending time with family that you sometimes didn't see all that often throughout the year. It was a time of coming together. That was the overall theme and the celebrating the birth of Christ was really not overly emphasized. Nowadays, it's much the same thing. It's a recognized time of the year to do those things. To come together as a family, to give gifts and to help others less fortunate than ourselves. And so I will wish people a Merry Christmas or a happy holidays with sincerity. But, there's not an ounce of my being believing I'm somehow honoring the birth of the son of a deity.
    Do I need Christmas as a holiday? No. I get together with friends and family plenty of times throughout the year. Do i need it to receive gifts? No. Well not rich, I live comfortably such that pretty much anything a friend or relative would buy for me I can afford for myself. Do I need it as a reminder to be kind to those less fortunate? No. At various times throughout the year I give of my money or time to various charities.
    So while I don't need it for any of those things, I do not mind that it's a time of the year that all of those things become the focus of a day or period of time. Much like national pride surges on the 4th of July or Irish pride takes the forefront on St. Patty's day or people do something special for their significant others on Valentine's day.
    And with my atheist's heart and mind I can wish you a sincere Merry Christmas ... just like if I learn of you going out to a special event I would tell you, "Hope you have a great time!'
    I understand that some of you need Christ in this particular day to make it the magic that it is. But, understand that many of us can simply enjoy and appreciate the spirit of the season without bowing at the altar of your chosen deity.
    Have a safe and happy holidays everyone!

    December 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  17. Observer

    Chad
    Sorry. I assumed you had read the Bible. My mistake.

    – Genesis 7:8-9 “Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of EVERY THING that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah”

    @Chad "as I said, you base your disbelief in the God of Israel on the fact that the measurements of the diameter and circvmference were imprecise based on today's standards?"

    Do you have a reading comprehension problem? I find the Bible hard to believe because of a long list of logical problems, not just one. Isn't the Bible supposed to be perfect?

    December 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  18. Berk Demirbulakli

    The one thing the Athiests and Christians can agree on is that the Jews are evil.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Dippy

      Atheists, not athiests. Geez, can't you people spell?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • BinAlaska

      Uh we Atheists don't believe that Jews are any more evil than Christians.

      Now try and figure out that statement

      December 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • BinAlaska

      Dippy, Blessed are the dyslexics who believe in Dog,,,,,,,, Peace Brother

      December 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Dippy

      !nemA

      December 21, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  19. ala-kat

    Why does anyone feel it necessary to judge and condemn/approve my beliefs? Perhaps you should take care of your own back yard before feeling compelled to tend to mine. If our views are so diametrically opposed, we probably won't get along on other levels either. You are not wrong, nor am I right. We just see with different life experiences.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      *facepalm*

      December 21, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  20. Sense 34

    I do not understand this Atheist group. It seems they are trying to force people to give up their beliefs.
    Why not just tell people it makes no difference in what you believe so long as it makes you a better person.
    Then take the money being used for this ad campaign and help feed the poor.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Want to know, belief of a hindu atheist, filthy self centered, secular,watch your dog, both are same in their hindu filthy nature.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • the AnViL

      sense 34 – in case you didn't notice – it's a pastime of xians to work hard to secularize their theological ideals.

      that's a problem for a lot of people.

      it's great that you want to help and have something to say, though.

      one smiley face reward for trying: 🙂

      December 20, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Flint Fredstone

      "It seems they are trying to force people to give up their beliefs."

      Christians call it spreading the gospel, and evangelizing, and all sort of other euphamisms. So do most of the other religions. But it is only bad if atheists do it, right?

      For every atheist billboard you hear of, there are at least a thousand Christian ones. What about them not forcing their beliefs on others, or putting the money to better use?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Please explain how messages on billboards "force" anybody to do anything? There are far more Christian signs in this country, does it irratate you that they are "forcing" their beliefs on others? If not, why not?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • erik

      Because many believe that religion is a source of intolerance, ignorance and bigotry (among other lessor and greater evils). Religion can do good things, but far too often does not. Every time I hear some parent spouting about "my kid isn't gonna learn about evolution" I think well then I guess your kid will never be a doctor or a micro biologist or a______(fill in the blank with any profession requiring a fact based education)

      December 20, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Dippy

      That'll probably stump them, Blessed.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.