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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. Pedro

    The new atheists belong to a cult with Richard Dawkins as their leader. They believe that our great, great, etc. grandparents were fish. They believe that a frog can turn into a prince. They belittle scientist who are NOT atheists like Michael Denton and many others. They believe in FAIRY TALES and MYTHS! They believe that life is a product of blind chance. Can living matter come from non-living matter? There are some aspects of atheistic philosophy that led to Hitler coming up with his philosophy. You can't have a conversation with someone who believes in myths and feels that you are unintelligent for believing in an intelligent designer.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • richunix

      Better than "Simon say's"

      December 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Yesw, its Pedro! The walking billboard for atheism! Please keep deconverting pete!

      December 21, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Huebert

      You might want to loosen your aluminium foil hat there buddy. I think it is cutting off blood to your brain.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'There are some aspects of atheistic philosophy that led to Hitler coming up with his philosophy'

      And hitler also said he was doing god's will in killing the jews.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • RonFromNM

      You clearly don't understand evolution or molecular biology, for that matter. Your time, the Dark Ages, were called that for a reason.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Which God?

      Pedro, You must have dropped out of school in the 5th grade. Your powers of reasoning are nonexistant, and your posts are moronic. Go back to scholl, son, you are a prime example of 'ignorance is bliss." You don't even know how ignorant you are.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Which God?

      @ cedar rapids. You might want to change your handle to rabid. This is what you are, rabid. you post things that you have no knowledge of. You knew hitlers mind, like you know your goD's? Wow, a fukking mind reader, and a historian to boot. Unfortunately, you, like Pedreo need to go back to school, or were you home schooled by your village? They are missing their idiot.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Mike D

      Pedro, that post read like a laundry list of wrongheaded creationist propaganda. Literally everything you just wrote was wrong. Give this a shot instead: go to Youtube and look up Ken Miller's talk on the Dover trial, where ID was tossed out of the school system there. If you can refute even one point Dr. Miller makes in his talk - even one! - I promise I'll reconsider my opinion on creationism. A Youtube search for "ken miller dover trial" should turn it up.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  2. Open Mind !

    God in Quran says, (holy Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! [5:75]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued. [22:73]

    They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.[22:74]

    If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Mike D

      If nothing else, your post should help cure my insomnia.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • nO POST

      Why do you think the devil never opposed Mohammed and tempted him to bow down to him like he did to Jesus? Because any religion that denies Jesus is in the devils favor. Thank you.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Which God?

      If you belive even half of what you posted, your mind is about as open as a piece of granite, blockhead. Let those who can think, do so for you, if you have to go on about a petty goD and the myths around it. Qur`an is just as full of nonsense as the xtian babble. Both are moderm day spam for the mind.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Because any religion that denies Jesus is in the devils favor.'

      guess the muslims and the jews are in trouble then huh?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  3. Andy

    There has been a mid-winter festival at this time since way before Christianity was invented. I always enjoy the holiday and just ignore all the supernatural, religious drivel.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  4. Mark

    Why is this group not being persecuted for hate crimes agains the Christian Church?

    December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Why isnt christianity considered a hate crime when it tells others they will be tortured for eternity?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Mike D

      Because, brainiac, we have this thing called the First Amendment. You should try reading it sometime. Then get mommy and daddy to explain it to you.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Huebert

      Mark

      Because they haven't committed a crime.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Which God?

      Mark, because that "group," as you put it, doesn't have followers that blow up abortion clinics, use goD to commit killings, doesn't condemn others to a fiery pit for eternity, and doesn't try to regulate how others should think and act, through law, their beliefs like your "group" does. Get It? Probably not, you are to thick-headed, and your babble has filled your mind with bullschitt.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  5. Buzz Light Year

    Religion is Based around hypocrisy....and every Religious person is just that!!!

    December 21, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  6. nO POST

    It's not Jesus' fault – it's the Hypocrisy of the "believers" that have perverted His message of Love mercy and grace and turned it into a judgment and fingerpointing business.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Which God?

      Jesus never lived. The guy on the so-called cross was a myth. God had no son (can a male goD fukk himself and get pregnant? I guess so, if he is almighty and can "do all things). Your goD is myth also. If he does exist, where has it been all these millenia?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  7. Primewonk

    Perhaps if theists wouldn't spend so much time trying to get their religious myths ensconced into our secular laws, and taught as science in out public schools, we wouldn't have this problem.

    The theists are upset that atheists put up a couple billboards around the country. Meanwhile, in the first ten miles of interstate leaving my town, there are five billboards damning me to hell for not believing in their version of a god. Why no umbrage over this hate speech?

    December 21, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  8. citizenUSA

    Just Google "how Christmas began" unless you already know. It's one of the least religious holidays you can get.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  9. Bill Deacon

    Fragile fingers sent to heal us
    Tender brow prepared for thorn
    Tiny heart who's blood will save us
    Unto us is born

    December 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Xmas

      Pope's book debunks Bill Deacon as a myth.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Talking about a babys blood saving you? And he ends up getting sacraficed? Wake up bill, you're in a death cult.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • psst's understudy

      "Who's" = Who is

      "Whose" = possessive

      If you mean to say "Who is blood" then you're post is correct. I doubt that's what you intended.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • psst's understudy

      Ack! It's contagious! "YOUR post is correct."

      Sheesh.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  10. felix navidad

    There is no greater drain on the fabric of America than atheism. All other national ailments pale by comparison to the vicious hate filled rhetoric of disbelief.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Pete

      " All other national ailments pale by comparison to the vicious hate filled rhetoric of disbelief."

      I think the Westboro Baptist Church takes the cake on rhetoric.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • sybaris

      If what you say is true then all other non-christian regions/countries should be in total chaos. That is simply not the case and in some instances they have a much better quality of life.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • cedar rapids

      your post doesnt seem to be full of love itself there skippy.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Which God?

      @felix navidood. I don't know what your problem ailment is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  11. llatpoh

    The Bully Atheists are just as bad as the religious fanatics (pick your flavor) who want to force their beliefs on "non-believers".... I also find it curious how the Bully Athiests spend all their time focused on trampling over Christianity, but seem to be treating others with kid gloves... where is their outrage/opposition to public uiniversities from blocking swimming pools from men because certain believers require female-only pool time?? They could at least be equal opportunity in their bullying!

    December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • sybaris

      The Prophet Mohammed svcks cat c0ck.

      Happy now?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Pete

      What a dumb post because atheists do many of those things.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. We're crushing your religion and you're getting mad because you cant defend it...because its obviously fake.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • AndyInAtl

      Ha, you should ask John Lennon and Nikita Khruschev how well it worked out for them. After all, they wanted to crush Christians too.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • xmas

      so everyone who died,, were a disbeliever?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Andy, what about the billions and billions of dead christians? Howd that work out for them? LOL. You have to be an atheist posing at a christian to make them look bad. Nobody is this stupid.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • cedar rapids

      just out of interest, how are atheists trying to 'force their belief'?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Which God?

      @ llatpooh. You are funny,lol. You are another example of the home schooled by your village. Your village is missing another idiot. Your brothers, Pedro and Bill Deacon, are lonely.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  12. alan

    gonna laugh my ass off on judgement day and they found out they were wrong. Least if you believe, you cannot go wrong. If turns out to be nothing, no harm or foul but if God is out there, they are fugged

    December 21, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • xmas

      sounds like a life of hiding and not living is far better based on your reasoning.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Pete

      " Least if you believe, you cannot go wrong. "

      Nope doesn't work that way, you can't just believe in it just in case, if you do you're still going to hell.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • mk

      And this is the reason that they've given you to keep you coming back to church.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • sybaris

      Pascals Wager............fail

      December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Apple Bush

      alan, you are retarded.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Pascals wager. Dubunked hundreds of years ago, and you're still wandering in the dark. Arent you scared that when you die, you find out you were wrong about zues, and he spends eternity probing your rear end with lightinening bolts? Or what if you're wrong anout allah? Or Vishnu? Or Mithra? LOL. Have fun living your life on a guess.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You do know that the creator of the Pascal's Wager fallacy was a converted Christian named Anthony Flew do you not?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Huebert

      Bill

      The fact that a few atheist became believers is meaningless. especially when you realize that the majority of atheist were believers at one point in there lives.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'You do know that the creator of the Pascal's Wager fallacy was a converted Christian named Anthony Flew do you not?'

      wow wrong on almost every count.
      Pascal's wager was created by Blaise Pascal.
      And Flew did not become a christian, but instead claimed to be a deist. He basically believed a god created the universe and then sat back and did nothing else.....no answering prayers, no afterlife, no miracles etc.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Which God?

      Alan, I'm laughing now...at you. You are so delusional that it's funny watching you try to prove something that doesn't exist, or can to be shown to be so. Prove to me that there will be a judgement day (by your goD), without using your babblebook.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Primewonk

      You do know, don't you, that Flew suffered from dementia, right? And we don't have an actual time reference for when his dementia would have seriously affected the region of his brain associate with belief in religious myths.

      Plus, his book was "co-written" by a Christian apologist. And when that wasn't "gody" enough, an even more fundiot nutter was brought in.

      And for what it's worth – Flew stated he became a deist, not a theist, and most certainly, not a Christian.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  13. KLB

    Hell will be filled with people that believe Christ is a myth. It never ceases to amaze me that some people spend so much time shouting and fighting against God and Christ; who they don't believe exists. Let's start an organization to fight against the Easter Bunny or tooth fairy or...Santa Claus. Mr. Silverman is so smart that he thinks Santa is real and Jesus is myth? Wow!!! He is going to be surprised one day.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • xmas

      without fear, religion couldn't exist. Deny it's fear, you have the makings for a terrorist.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Pete

      "Hell will be filled with people that believe Christ is a myth. "

      More threats from the Christians, what's new. You do realize that only 30% of people on this planet believe in your religion, that means 70% of the people on the planet will end up in your version of hell. Now, use your brain and think about what that makes your God when it's burning all those people for eternity. If you need help with that image, think about Hitler.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. People dont buy your story so you threaten them with eternal torture! Guess what, you're full of nonsense and the intelligent arent buying it.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • richunix

      And so shall you:

      Stoic logic dictates:
      When you die, you will know if there is a Heaven or Hell, for if there isn’t you will not know nor will you care, therefore the fear of death is needless.

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      December 21, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Xmas

      Jesus, KLB, all your examples exist in the story books that have been written about them. I actually prefer Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, of course his followers are not trying to put Hobbit worship into public schools.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'It never ceases to amaze me that some people spend so much time shouting and fighting against God and Christ; who they don't believe exists.'

      We dont fight against those simply because, as you say, we dont believe they exist. What we 'fight' against are the followers of those myths that try to force their own views on society as a whole.
      Why is that such a hard concept for people like you to grasp?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  14. AndyInAtl

    An atheists have themselves a little problem with their belief system. It's easy to lose track of the truth when you live in place like USA, with all its wealth and money. It's another thing when you are staring death in the face, when you're sick, when the government is about to take your kids away, or about to send you to jail for your faith, like Christians around the world are experiencing. Christians endured communism, mass murderings at the hands of communists, and are still suffering persecution around the world. Yet, their faith is stronger then ever, and if you want to see God in action, that's where you oughtta look.

    Science can't explain everything; it tends to be very good at describing symptoms, but very bad at examining the root. That's the problem in general with atheists; symptoms are always visible, while the root behind those symptoms isn't. You can't explain everything away by science.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • sybaris

      You don't understand science

      December 21, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      And you cant explain anything with a 2000 year old book written by bronzed aged goat herders. Stop with the persecution nonsense. Christians dish out persecution at a greater rate than they receive it.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • mk

      Their faith is not stronger than ever. People are moving away from the churches in droves.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • AndyInAtl

      You should look at Somalia, China, Sudan, and many other countries. It's not all about the USA. And the Book you're talking about, is only the most read, most translated, most respected (with exception of atheists of course) Book in the world. And if you count the Old Testament, it's way older than 2000 years.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • AndyInAtl

      And regarding mk's comment; people are leaving the mainstream denominations in droves, as they have watered down the Gospel to the point they stopped being relevant. Why would people go to such church, when they can just pop the Tony Robbins CD in, for similar/same message. Overall around the world, Christianity is growing, and growing fast. Please get the facts before posting nonsense.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      What does age of a book have to do with anything? Older=more primitive. If its old you want, why not follow the religions that christianity ripped off. You might find the epic of gilgamesh, stories of mithra and vishnu facinating. They arent real, but i dont think you will mind.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Mr. Black

      Science can't explain everything, this is true. Religion can't explain anything. Did you really expect to learn all the answers all at once?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Science is questions that may (or may not) be answered, religion is answers that are forbiddened to be questioned.

      Funny thing about religion, each sect has its own unassailable answers that are mutually exclusive from the other sects unassailable answers.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Andy, show me a stat that christianity is growing as whole around the world. If you cant, you're full of it.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • say what

      You are right, science doesn't explain everything (yet). The problem with religion is that it tries to fill in those gaps of knowledge with completely fabricated rubbish.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • AndyInAtl

      It takes all of 5 seconds to search, but if you must: http://fastestgrowingreligion.com/numbers.html

      December 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      THats the fastest gowing religions, genius. If christianity and all religions are on the decline, and population is increasing, you can still compare which nonsense is gaining more sheep.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      If you want to take another 5 seconds, go over to google and type in atheism growth rates. Its crushing christianity.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  15. Lou

    Other Issues in the Garden

    Genesis 1:31 God was pleased with his creation.
    Genesis 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation.
    Which raises the question, how can an omnipotent, omniscient God create something he’s not pleased with?

    Genesis 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
    An omnipotent being required…rest?

    Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
    God placed temptation in the direct path of his two naïve children and allowed them to be tempted by the serpent (Genesis 3: 1-7), resulting in a single mistake that would contaminate hundreds of billions with a sin nature worthy of eternal torture?

    Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, ’You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?"
    A talking snake. Enough said.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • xmas

      "Which raises the question, how can an omnipotent, omniscient God create something he’s not pleased with?" or better yet,, why the need to even raise the question or observation.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • AndyInAtl

      1st Corinthians, 2:14: The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit

      December 21, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • sybaris

      @ AndyInAtl

      That verse sounds like a response a 5 year old gives when you ask them why they did something, "I'm not tellin' na nana na na!"

      Regardless, it's just circular logic

      December 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Which God?

      @ Andyin neverland. Why do you quote from a book of myths? It has no meaning to one who doesn't belive in the babble. Your so-called goD is another myth, as is his son -as-himself. Ridiculous concept to begin with. Learn to think independenly, and not watch those tv preachers or other highly paid fakes.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • AndyInAtl

      Which God? There is ONLY ONE God. And the reason i quoted from the Bible, is because the original poster quoted from it. He did it because of his ignorance, which shows in him trying to "debunk" something that really is not "debunkable"

      December 21, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'He did it because of his ignorance, which shows in him trying to "debunk" something that really is not "debunkable"'

      and yet you never answered him at all, instead you ignored the questions.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  16. Bob

    If you don't believe in God that's fine, no need to constantly attack and belittle things like this. Atheists can say they don't believe in anything yada yada all they want, the more you do things like this the more you are just making your own "faith" because you spend more time selling it than Christians do.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • xmas

      a rather childish post

      December 21, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Which God?

      Gee,Bob, look who is doing all the yada,yada bit.. Looked in the mirror lately? Athieists don't have 'faith, like you do. We believe in the knowable, tangilbe, and scientific method. You however belive in myths and fairy-tales, a sky-fairy you call god. You don't believe in Isis, do you? Why should one belive in a generic god called goD? Moronic, yes?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Which God?

      Sorry for my typos, should be atheists. *sigh* I can't type for schitt.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • AndyInAtl

      The atheists have to belittle Christianity, because of the guilty conscience. You can't do whatever you want, and not expect consequences. But oh well, it's pointless to argue with atheist, because if someone thinks they already know everything, stick a fork in it (figuratively speaking)

      December 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'The atheists have to belittle Christianity, because of the guilty conscience.'

      guilty conscience of what? if you want to make a claim you need to back that up with something.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  17. tera

    LOL for real!

    December 21, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  18. Apple Bush

    The way humans experience the world is limited by our evolved faculties. We can “see” light waves but not x-rays for example (without technology). What else are we missing? Just because we can’t experience something doesn’t mean it is not there. There may be many more dimensions we simply don’t have the mental or physical tools to perceive.

    The reason I am an Atheist is because I don’t how it all started or where it is going and likely never will. I accept that. I don’t need to fill that gap with gods and goblins. Whatever is “behind the curtain” of the Big Bang is probably not possible for us to know. I don’t believe in the “Super” natural. If something exists, it is natural.

    This is a simplistic post for a large subject, but the moral of the story is, it is ok to say, “I don’t know.”

    Now it is possible to enjoy the scientific journey of discovery with a clear and rational mind.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Jim

      Well said, Apple Bush

      December 21, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  19. RonFromNM

    As an atheist, I'm sort of embarrassed by these billboard campaigns. To each his/her own. As long as no one forces me to go to church, I can care less what others celebrate. Enjoy whatever holiday you believe in or care to participate in.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Laura

      Thank you for your respectful comment.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • xmas

      look at a dollar bill.. That is insulting to intelligence, 'in god we trust'

      December 21, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Kevin

      Absolutely. I grew up in a religious family. They are great people and I love them. While I do not share their belief in the literal Christmas story, there are so many positives about the holiday that transcend that. I just ask that Christians not be offended when I say Happy Holidays and I won't complain that tax dollars are used to fund religious displays in public areas.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  20. Hilikus

    The American Atheists group speaks for the majority of atheists the same way Westboro Baptist Church speaks for Christians. They are a fringe group, and in no way speak for the majority of us.

    I am all for the separation of church and state, but beyond that, be happy, believe what you want, celebrate how and what you want. Attacking someone's belief unprovoked is just being a miserable human being.

    There is no war on Christmas...only a ratings gimmick, and a few loud mouth jerks.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • xmas

      'separation of church and state'.. tax them, they are businesses and own real properties tax free. Time for them to pay their fair share and stop scamming us.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:56 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.