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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

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. JCK

    Does God exist ? I have no idea but I believe he does. Whether one is a believer or a nonbeliever there is one unavoidable truth, one day , maybe sooner, maybe later we are all going to find out.

    December 21, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      That is not a logical conclusion if ceasing to exist is one of the possible outcomes.
      Without existing after death, there would be no way of "finding out" if you were wrong or not as well as no way of letting any still-living people know the truth, as seems more likely considering no one ever comes back from death to prove that there is any kind of afterlife at all.
      You claim supernatural abilities for elements of your religion, yet do not appear to have thought of all the logical ramifications that would, ironically, show you that your religion makes no sense and cannot function as advertised as this would require thousands of logical impossibilities for it to occur.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  2. justwondering

    Why doesn't Mr. Silverman put billboards up against Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. Is it because Christians are just easy targets or is he scared a U.S. embassy will be attacked somewhere?

    December 21, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      No doubt Mr. Silverman is targeting you personally because he covets your attractive foil hat.
      It's a very nice hat, but it is covering your eyes and ears. Bigfoot would be ashamed of you.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Rick

      He/they did.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • n8r0n

      Are you really that dense?

      Wait a second ... you're religious, right? Mystery solved.

      Silverman puts up billboards ridiculing Christianity, because this is the United States, and Christianity is the dominant religion here. Railing against Hindus in the US would be as effective as ... lemme think ... mumbling to yourself with your eyes closed before dinnertime every night in the hopes that an all-powerful being hears you, and chooses to improve your life.

      I know plenty of Atheists, and most of us believe that either (a) all religions are equally harmful, or (b) currently, Islam and Mormonism are worse than mainstream Christianity.

      But, of course, you wouldn't be a real Christian, if you didn't feel like you were the persecuted victim in a country where you are the overwhelming majority, and have your representatives making almost all the rules.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • justwondering

      You use the word believe as one would if they belonged to a certain religion. Your atheism is nothing but another religion. So by your arguement just as harmful as Christianity, Islam, etc. You believe (hope) there is no God. I believe (hope) there is.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      A lack of belief is just that: a lack of belief and nothing more. That is the dictionary definition of atheism. Look it up.

      What confuses people like you is your ignorance of how each individual came to have that lack of belief.
      You assume we all have this lack of belief in the same way and then you lump everyone together in an ignorantly bigoted way. No surprises there.

      I am one of those rare people who are atheist (having a lack of belief in any deity) who actually knows with 100 percent certainty that there are zero gods inside this space-time continuum. What you have is a perceptual bias that colors your whole world-view and makes you schizoid.
      All it takes is enough ignorance on your part for your primitive fear of the unknown to kick in and reinforce your delusions and biases. You will likely die of old age just as delusional or worse than you are now.
      That is a sad thing. To see innocent people brainwashed into believing total bullshit and wasting so much time and energy catering to the sleazy whims of their religious "leaders" who are just con artists in the sweetest "racket" known to "work" very well.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Xmas

      Jesus, just, you have it all wrong, pay attention. Aethiests of course know there are gods, a multi*tude of gods. in so many different story books. We just do not think that any of the stories are true. One of the silliest being Jesus on a stick dying, being resurrected and ascending to some mythical heaven, so you and I can sin our asses off and still be saved. Silly stories of supernatural beings/gods, get over your delusion.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • Why just christians?

      It’s because members of the Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism religions in America aren’t nearly as pushy or obnoxious as Christians

      December 21, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      "Why doesn't Mr. Silverman put billboards up against Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism."

      1. He has done that:

      2. More for Christians, yes, because Christians are more prevalent here and wish to rule the land according to their fantasies and superst'itions.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  3. pray

    Atheists are bully's pure and simple. They are terrified of something they claim they do not even believe in. Stick your head back in the sand and let the rest of celebrate the way we would like and stop pushing your lack of belief on everyone else. Thanks and Merry CHRISTMAS to you.

    December 21, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • larry

      No we aren't, I believe you will find the opposite to be true. Let anyone know that you are an atheist and 2 things happen, they try to convert you and they ostracize you. Followed by any chance of job advancement if there is a single christian in the deciding factor. I used to had my belief, now , I just say screw it.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:22 am |
    • Rick

      I remember reading about the Atheist Inquisitions and the Atheists Crusades! So, you must be right!

      I think what you meant was; "Why don't the Atheists just shut up."

      December 21, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "Atheists are bully's pure and simple."

      Pot meet kettle...we're not the ones bullying the school's in to having christian prayer in secular countries. We're not the ones threatening people with hell (eternal torture) for not believing as we do. We're not the ones who make up 75% of the prison population within the USA. We're not the ones telling people who they can and can't marry. We're not the ones telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies or telling people they can't use birth control.
      Next time try thinking before you spew about us when obviously all you know is what is being spewed to you from the pulpit..

      December 21, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • Xmas

      Jesus, pray, I do congratulate your lot for coming a long way since the dark ages. Back in the day Silverman would have been rounded up, declared a witch/warlock, tortured for a while and then burnt on a stick. Celebrate all you want, but allow those that disagree with you the freedom to have their say, the American way.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  4. Anthony La Macchia

    Hey Dan:

    Santa CLAUSE?????? Are you being facetious, were you just tired, or did CNN editors fall asleep?
    Or do you really not know?

    December 21, 2012 at 5:02 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      I have seen it spelled both ways so often that I consider the "e" to have two possible effects: clause as in legal clause, or an anglicized spelling of the old Germanic "Klaus" and so on. Many people make the mistake and it is a small one that is easily ignored because it is a proper name and not literal, i.e. surname Miller does not mean they mill grain.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  5. Beth

    If you are secure in your belief, there is no need to push others to share it.

    December 21, 2012 at 4:38 am |
    • n8r0n

      Yeah, actually there is a need, when the belief that others have causes massive ignorance, hate-mongering, war, bigotry against gays, oppression of women, and resistance to science. Religion does all that.

      Letting other people engage in religious nonsense is not virtuous. It's just lazy, irresponsible, and pathetic, for grown adults to submit to fairy tales that shouldn't even fool children, they're so outlandish.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:15 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Beth, if you are delusional there is often the hope that someone might be able to talk some sense into you. It's that simple.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • Rick

      You are correct! That is why we are fighting against such things as Blue Laws. That was the christian why of forcing their beliefs on the rest of us.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:30 am |
  6. WillieLove

    Pagan holiday.....so those who believe there is no God should love christmas.

    December 21, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  7. WillieLove

    christmas is a RCC tradition and not christian....

    December 21, 2012 at 4:09 am |
  8. Bill

    Nobody NEEDS religion, if you wish to believe in something go for it. If your beliefs make you happy and do no harm to others I have no problem with you. If you a a religious freak, and spend all of your energy pushing your beliefs on others we can do without you. If you can't tell the difference between right and wrong you are not lacking religion, you are lacking common sense.

    So...in short, and although it come from a religion, I will leave you with this...An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will

    December 21, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • pray

      Yes but my problem is that the only people pushing any thing is you atheists and I am tired of youre shoving it down my throat. Shut up!

      December 21, 2012 at 5:10 am |
  9. John

    Atheists are as silly as people who have religion, they claim absolute knowledge in an area defined as unknowable. However preposterous religious beliefs are, atheists cannot know the unknowable either. Until you get there, if consciousness continues which I doubt. (Although 'creativity' exists, so maybe that recycles too.)

    The more practical thing here is tolerance, each for the other. Attacking faith is of questionable moral value, why interfere with what gives some solace? After all, the raw truth is pretty disgusting. Grow older and wiser in proportion to your coming end. I can accept that, but do NOT try to push it down my throat. My throat is none of your business, either.

    December 21, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • n8r0n

      You have a real deficiency in your logic circuits, don't you?

      You are claiming that the religious, who claim to know the unknowable, and also belief in magic, are only equally as silly as Atheists, who also claim to know the unknowable, but believe in no magic?

      Somehow, you've conflated the concepts of "silly", with "overconfident". Perhaps, we're all overconfident in our beliefs, but the difference is that I'm smart enough to know that an invisible man didn't conjure up the world in 6 days, before resting on the 7th day, presumably to watch some football.

      "why interfere with what gives some solace?"

      Uh, let me take a stab at that. Because the religion that gives some solace causes great hardship for others. Without religion, the majority of our wars would go away. Without religion, bigotry against gays and women would be infinitely less common. Hell, Mormons didn't even let blacks into their cult until about a generation ago. Without religion, scientists wouldn't constantly be held back by nonsensical skepticism from ignoramuses on everything from stem cell research, to climate change.

      That's why it matters. Your childish security blanket is not worth holding back the progress of humankind.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Rational Humanist


      December 21, 2012 at 5:33 am |
  10. John

    Atheists are as silly as people who have religion, they claim absolute knowledge in an area defined as unknowable. However preposterous religious beliefs are, atheists cannot know the unknowable either. Until you get there, if consciousness continues which I doubt. (Although 'creativity' exists, so maybe that recycles too.)

    The more practical thing here is tolerance, each for the other. Attacking faith is of questionable moral value, why interfere with what gives some solace? After all, the raw truth is pretty disgusting. Grow older and wiser in proportion to your coming end. I can accept that, but try to push it down my throat. My throat is none of your business, either.

    December 21, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      You make the claim that something is "unknowable"? Then you'd better cough up some evidence to support your claim.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:04 am |
  11. Observer


    That's just one of several easily proved errors like where it equated the ratio PI to 3.0. Ooops.

    December 21, 2012 at 3:30 am |
  12. TheTruth

    Atheism is a religion. Why is the government supporting this religion and attacking Christianity?

    December 21, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • The Facts

      Fallacy of Equivocation, followed by a flat-out lie. But it was a nice, compact example of hysteria.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:06 am |

      because they do not want to admit that it was the whole reason and purpose as to why this nation was formed. The pilgrims came here for religious freedom. Because it was a crime to be a Christian in England at that time. This country wants us to forget that. Because with out God as a foundation everything collapses. Sodom, Gamora, Rome, Greece all Fell because of their lack of faith and choosing to do what the world wants instead of what it needs.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • Observer


      Nope. Guess again.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • Cesus Jhrist

      Did you just say Atheism is a religion? It's uninformed statements like that that make religious people look like ignorant fools. Atheism is the exact opposite of a religion. Religion is a belief system. Atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Do some research next time if you don't want to appear to be an ignoramus.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • pray

      I am always amazed at some people. Atheism is the belief that no deity exist and a belief is what a religion is comprised of. Get your facts straight if ytou are going to claim you are a free thinking person.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:15 am |
    • Nonsequitur

      Someone must have missed that day in History 101 when the Edict of Milan was covered.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:02 am |
    • AmtheystApple

      I think what many are trying to say is that Atheism is a religion in that it props science as it's idol, creating a worship system that is similar to the way other faiths worship a deity. Anything can be an idol if one gives it's allegiance and way of life to it, if it becomes your entire world and forms the basis of every thought or action you commit to. In Christian circles, when you are accused of making something or someone your God or idol, we are essentially saying that you have found something that you believe – by devoting a great deal of time, money or personal energy to – will give you and/humanity the salvation it seeks.

      So going with the aforementioned understanding of an idol, yes Atheism is a religion where:
      a)science is the worshiped idol, and
      b)paradise/heaven is a world where everyone seeks enlightenment through scientific advancement and everyone agrees to this sole premise.

      The same way I would have reservations about living under a government that mandates any particular religion (even though I am Christian, but that's another topic), I would also have reservations about living in a world where Atheism is thought to be the answer to all of humanity's problems. Many atheist's believe that science and logic are a good replacement for God, but I worry all the focus on logic leaves little room for the unpredictable and irrational reality of human behavior and emotion. If your entire world view is constructed from a realm in which everything can be quantified and manipulated to achieve an expected result, how do you reconcile this view within the realm of human emotion? A vast and dark place that doesn't always require overt rationale to be accepted as valid.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:56 am |

    Atheists have the right not to believe in God or anything for that matter. They have the right to protest anything that has to do with God. But they do not have the right to stop anyone who believes in God to stop doing so because it is against what they believe. I am sick and tired of the sub groups telling me that i cannot say Merry Christmas because it is against what they believe in. If they had their way they would make Christianity a crime in this country because they have no concept of God.
    Stop trying to take away my rights, because you have no right to do so.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Sandvichmancer

      Don't forget, the Pope isn't too fond of you celebrating Christmas either.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • McDonald

      Would you mind listing all those occasions when you personally were told you could not say "Merry Christmas?" Indeed, what groups have been telling you that? Who has been forcing Christians to stop believing? – specific references please.

      This ought to be good.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • SixDegrees

      "Would you mind listing all those occasions when you personally were told you could not say "Merry Christmas?"

      At the last company I worked for, we were explicitly told not to celebrate Christmas in the office.

      Oddly, the reason was the presence of a Jehovah's Witness on staff who was affronted by such celebration, which is forbidden by her brand of christianity. A few other faiths share the aversion, if not the outright prohibition.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Alex

      first of all stop playing victim. I would like to say no atheist has ever tried to stop you from saying merry christmas. Next grow up they are fairy tales. Also, it's called separation of church and state, i know you probably want the ten commandments at the center of court houses but can't name all the commandments.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  14. Sandvichmancer

    “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.”

    When you can't tell the difference between the rhetoric of people who believe the bible is the only book you ever need to read in your entire life and the people who hold knowledge and fact above anything even remotely unproven or debatable, you realize that deep down most humans are stupid crazy jerks who's thought process goes solely into grouping people into "They're just like me" and "I hate them, why won't they die" categories.

    It's just a different flavor of ignorant, but the same product.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • Nope

      “"I hate them, why won't they die" categories. It's just a different flavor of ignorant, but the same product.”
      I don’t wish harm on Christians. I just wish they would mind their own business and stop trying to get their religious rules enacted as law for all of us

      December 21, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Psychologically, it has more to do with a person's perceived group-identlty than the details of what people might think, believe, or whatever. Humans have a strong animal instinct to belong to a group. Any group. I call myself a humanist because that is the BIGGEST group we have on this planet. Every other group is a sub-group of general humanity. I will fight for your rights, but you have to be IN the right and not in the wrong for me to respect your opinion. That's just me.
      Assuming everyone who doesn't share your narrow views as being all "haters" without any proof shows your ignorance and paranoia. When's the last time an atheist came to your house to preach or sent you crap in the mail to proselytize for atheism? Never, I'd bet.
      Hypocrisy is all too easy to do. Please make some effort in reducing your own before you go making accusations. Thx.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:54 am |
  15. Sam

    It's my dream that one day humans will grow out of this and begin to think rationally and logically.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  16. KJV

    This guy is just mad because he didn't get the toy he wanted for Christmas when he was a kid.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • I_get_it

      Perhaps that would be *your* reason, Kiddles...

      December 21, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  17. cybercmdr

    Most Christians are amazingly ignorant about what is in the Bible.
    Mankind has worshiped thousands of gods and goddesses throughout human history. How do you know you believe in the right religion? If it is so obviously right, why aren't people brought up under other faiths flocking to it?
    Because that was how they were brought up, right?. Which, by the way, is the only reason why you think you have the right belief system. It is what you were brought up on, so it makes sense to you.
    The basic message is, all religions look like nonsense from the outside, because they are. If it is what you were told was true when you were young, then despite the inconsistencies and flaws, it feels right for you. That is why you believe.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      I wonder how many christians know that Solomon, who god called the "wisest" man, EVER, built a temple to the "false" god Moloch. Moloch's worship required child sacrifices. I guess that's why he found it okay to cut a baby in half a solution to a dispute between 2 mothers.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • cybercmdr

      I'm sure most Christians don't know that God caused two bears kill 42 children, because they teased his prophet Elisha for being bald.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Still, it's better than building a temple to the Morlocks.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Edward

      GodFreeNow, you must be very excited about finding this information, probably heard it from someone else vs. reading it in the Bible. Sounds like a great way to show how sealy Christians are, but as with many other things is because you do not know the whole story. According to the Bible, long before the Israelites had a King, which they desired as a form of government – popular in that time, they were warn about having a king and predicted many of the things that happened not only with Solomon but with other kings. The people insisted and they got the king. They all started good, but became corrupt, and will do many bad things. Solomon fall in love for a woman that worshiped Moloch and built her the temple you mentioned. So the story does not contradicts Christian believes, actually rather enforces them.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Edward, none of us here are surprised to hear that some controversial passage in the bible, that would make any moral person have second thought, actually strengthens your belief. As they say, "in for the penny, in for a pound."

      I hate that I have to repeat this so frequently. I'm sure most people have it memorized by now, but there always seems to be some new guy on the scene spouting the same fallacy. Correction: Most atheists come from religious backgrounds. I spent 18 years in a baptist church and 13 years in a fundamentalist christian school. I've read the bible from cover to cover and have much of it memorized still. You don't have to dig deep to find biblical atrocities and absurdities. The book is full of them. Open it and point to a passage and you're likely to find some absurdity.

      For the record, I know the story of Solomon and the indoctrination that goes along with it very well. He was kind of a hero for me growing up. I'm impressed with any man that can handle 300 wives and a thousand concubines. I have trouble with just 1.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  18. Andrew Thall

    There is a difference between an atheist and an anti-theist. An anti-theist is against all religions and actively tries to disuade anyone from believing. Frankly, that is an arrogant position. No one has the right to tell someone else what to believe or not believe.

    I am an atheist. I do not believe in a divine being. I have many friends who derive much comfort from their faith. We mutually respect each other's position and we get along just fine.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You're confusing anti-theism with anti religion.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Isn't the English language a hoot?

      December 21, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • cincinnatidavid

      What do you think about the right to tell someone what to believe if the specific religion justifies, for example, jailing Galileo?

      December 21, 2012 at 3:17 am |
  19. calvin

    the good news for all that god forgives everyone. my problem is the atheistget all the press and the judgement this is still the land of the free. the atheist use the linerty judes to stop freedom of god.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I really hope you're a troll.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Observer

      You did get some of the words spelled correctly.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • calvin

      hard iz iz a writin afterin all sluggin down all that jack daniel's jesus juice

      December 21, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Your god is a pri.ck.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      1% of the US population is in jail in the "land of the free." Women have to fight for the right to choose, get contraceptives, equal pay in the "land of the free." Gays cannot marry in most states in the "land of the free." 18 year old teenagers can carry guns and kill for the govt, but they still can't drink alcohol in the "land of the free." Merry Christmas, your "land of the free" mantra is an illusion.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Nope

      “the good news for all that god forgives everyone”

      If your god forgives everyone why are Christians so fond of telling me I’m going to hell

      December 21, 2012 at 3:44 am |
  20. Raider

    That billboard is fantastic! I wish we had some of those around here!

    December 21, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It's terrible.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:05 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.