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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. mama k

    I stated on page one, and then on page 22 that I would love one of the theists here to tell us what we historically know with all certainty about the origins of the four gospels. That to put any kind of weight to such writings, we should certainly know quite a bit about them. That it seems that, beyond the specific story being told, we don't seem to know much about the writings themselves.

    The initial responder (Mike from CT) mentioned a fragment of John and Clement, St Irenaeus quoting scripture around 150. He then mentions internal consistency and "no contradictory writings by any of the people named in the gospel (specifically Alexander and Rufus)".

    And I still don't get it. I'm sure some would argue about internal consistency, but so far, I don't see much about the writings of these stories that should cause someone to take them seriously.

    The responder goes on to ask "Now do you know how much we know about Plato and Aristotle's writings, or anything from Caesar?"

    I don't have a problem with the fact that we may know just as little from Plato, etc. My response to that is – 1) it's OK to simply claim we don't have much proof of Plato – we just can feel confident that most likely, some human came up with the words that we can still read from a physical source; and 2) how much do you think the world would be rocked today, if it were suddenly discovered that Aristotle's writings actually came from someone else verses a major discovery that would positively refute the four gospels. I think both of those are unlikely given that there is so little remaining from those times, but my point is, the latter would obviously have a much bigger impact.

    On page 22, Jim says "Your question is one that requires far more space and time than is allowed on a board . . "

    But no responses from the theists?? Why the shyness? What space and time constraints?

    So, again, for something so important, something that has caused wars, something that resulted in Jefferson adopting an eighty-some page version of his own Bible, I still would like theists to explain why there is any reason to believe the stories in the four gospels by first explaining the validity of the writings themselves.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Good, mama k. I'd add to "Now do you know how much we know about Plato and Aristotle's writings," :

      Whatever valid and useful ideas or concepts which are attributed to those men are what's important... there are *some* valid and useful ideas and concepts which are attributed to Jesus, granted, although they were not new even at the time. There is not a shred of verified evidence for the validity of the supernatural tales that he allegedly told, nor verified evidence of their usefulness.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • snowboarder

      religions are maintained by indoctrination, groupthink and the constant threat of expulsion from the religious community, and ethereal punishment.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And by the devotion of the faithful in praise and thanksgiving

      December 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Topher

      Hey, Mama

      If you're still around, I'd be happy to discuss this with you. First, check out this chart ...

      Here's a look at the time gap between the original and first surviving copies of some very important books that give us information on important historical figures ...
      Bible: 25 years
      Homer: 500
      Demosthenes: 1400
      Herodotus: 1400
      Plato: 1200
      Tacitus: 1000
      Caesar: 1000
      Pliny: 750

      Now, here's a look at how many of those manuscript copies we have ....
      New Testament: 5686
      Homer: 643
      Demosthenes: 200
      Herodotus: 8
      Plato:7
      Tacitus: 20
      Caesar:10
      Pliny: 7
      Yet we put more faith we know what happened in the Gallic Wars than what happened in the NT.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Topher

      Second, you have to recognize the Bible for what it is. It is a reliable collection of historical doc.uments written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses that claim to have seen supernatural events.

      Do you understand what it means to have the eyewitness accounts? That means if the author exagerated something, stretched something or flat out lied, the other eyewitnesses would have called them out on it. Automatic bull detector. Its historical accuracy gives it credibility and each of these back up it claims of the supernatural. You can completely trust the Bible.

      I'd love to hear your thoughts.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • mama k

      Hi Topher, I imagine you might guess my response to your chart but, I would say no I don't "put [any] more faith we know what happened in the Gallic Wars [than anything else from that long ago]". And I certainly wouldn't put any faith in anything supernatural claimed from the Gallic Wars.

      Topher: " [Bible] . .reliable collection of historical doc.uments written by eyewitnesses"

      Well that's my point – I'm having trouble seeing it as reliable at all.
      And by whom? Exact whom are the eyewitnesses that wrote the accounts?

      Topher: " [eyewitnesses] . .if the author exagerated something, stretched something or flat out lied, the other eyewitnesses would have called them out on it. "

      What eyewitnesses? I mean from something outside of the Bible itself? And from someone that wrote later that just believed?

      Topher: "historical accuracy"

      Accuracy as determined by what?

      Obviously I am looking for something that is not circular / self-validating.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • mama k

      ( Exact who are the )

      December 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Topher

      mama k

      Merry Christmas, by the way ... (having trouble posting this response, so in my editing I hope I don't make anything unclear)

      I appreciate your questioning the Bible. I had to go through the same thing before I was saved.

      "And I certainly wouldn't put any faith in anything supernatural claimed from the Gallic Wars."

      I understand. But when you've got extremely reliable historical accounts combined with eyewitnesses, it is certainly given more credibility to look into those claims.

      "Well that's my point – I'm having trouble seeing it as reliable at all. And by whom? Exact whom are the eyewitnesses that wrote the accounts?"

      Well, for instance, Matthew and John were apostles, so they were traveling around with Jesus. Luke was a physician and historian who interviewed a bunch of them and wrote his account. Being a doctor, he had a lot of credibility among the people. Jude and James were Jesus' brothers. Even Peter wrote a few books.

      "What eyewitnesses? I mean from something outside of the Bible itself? And from someone that wrote later that just believed?"

      The other eyewitnesses were other apostles and pretty much anyone that would have been in the massive crowds that followed Jesus. For instance, in Acts, Luke writes that more than 500 people saw Christ after He was risen all at the same time. He was basically telling his readers, 'if you don't believe me, go ask them yourself.' And did you know there are at least 10 (I've heard there are even possibly 12) docu.ments from non-Christian writers from the time that told of Jesus? That's one of many reasons even atheists believe Jesus existed at least as a man. We know he lived and did a lot of the things the Bible claims He did. The parts we have to figure out is was He God as He claimed to be.

      "Accuracy as determined by what?"

      By this I mean it got its facts right. The 66 books of the bible was written over a long period of time by something like 30 or 40 different authors (I can't remember the number off the top of my head right now.) Pretty amazing numbers considering how nothing got messed up. When the Bible says "this king ruled here between this date and this date", history and archaeology have proven it to be true. In fact, not one single thing in the Bible has been proven wrong.

      Hope this stuff helps. I'm going to disappear for a while, but if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask. I'll try to answer them when I get back. Have a good day!

      December 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • ME II

      @Topher,
      "Here's a look at the time gap between the original and first surviving copies of some very important books that give us information on important historical figures ...
      Bible: 25 years
      ..."

      First, why argue the fidelity of the copies to the originals we have found, aren't they supposed to be inspired by God? Doesn't God validate? Or, are we supposed to guess which version is correct?
      Second, the fidelity of the copies says nothing about the accuracy of the originals.
      Third, I'm not sure where you got 25 years, but aren't the first (nearly) complete copies of any books in the NT only from around 350 AD? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript) Prior to that there are just fragments, correct?

      December 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      mama k,

      Your seeming wantonness desires to tread the waters of religiosity via negativities are well and good. Even Dawkins has concluded that 'Intelligent Design' is a reality to be considered. The fabricators of all gospel literatures did so write their anthropomorphic anthologies for the beneficiaries of future kinds to ponder and yes even question the validities of its works. Just as science believes that all matter was at a state of singularity in great smallness, the question yet remains as to just exactly where does such smattering of matted material come from! All science can infer is that matter was induced into becoming by the sheerness of absolute nothingness!

      December 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  2. TheRit

    Final Question: Do you honestly not see the DIRECT correlation between the complete decline of society and the decline of religion (being taken out of schools, public displays,etc.)/ rise of atheism? Who can possibly argue that we have not become a horribly narcissistic society in the last 50 years?

    December 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Please explain all of the school shootings, murders, lies, thefts and other wrong doings during the time that religion was allowed in schools. Need an example? The Bath School massacre of 1927. Ill await your answer, but wont hold my breath.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Do you honestly not see the DIRECT correlation between the complete decline of society and the decline of the typewriter (being taken out of schools, public displays,etc.)/ rise of atheism?

      Do you honestly not see the DIRECT correlation between the complete decline of society and the decline of the horse and buggy (being taken out of schools, public displays,etc.)/ rise of atheism?

      Do you honestly not see the DIRECT correlation between the complete decline of society and the decline of rotary telephones (being taken out of schools, public displays,etc.)/ rise of atheism?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Please also explain why Canada doesnt have these problems, even though god is evcen more unwelcomed there.

      So to answer your question, NO, i dont see a correlation there. No sane person would.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I accept the assessment that we are a narcissistic society. Our collective obsession with celebrity is a good measure of that.

      How do you measure that ours was not an equally narcissistic society 50 years ago?

      50 years ago, the south remained segregated. Are you adocate a return to racial segregation?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • The Truth

      " Do you honestly not see the DIRECT correlation between the complete decline of society and the decline of religion (being taken out of schools, public displays,etc.)/ rise of atheism?"

      So allowing women and blacks to vote is a "decline"?

      Allowing blacks and whites to marry is a "decline"?

      No longer allowing children to be worked 16 hrs a day in factories is a "decline"?

      What America did you come from? The one everyone else lived or your own idealized version of white picket fences and a chicken in every pot?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • snowboarder

      therit – correlation is not causation. a much more realistic cause would be that over the last several generations women have realized that they have value other than simply as a mother and housewife, leaving generations of children to raise themselves or be raised by nonauthoritave parental surrogates.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Lisa

      Crime rates are down. What you consider a decline in society are actually the progress we have witnessed regarding gay and reproductive rights.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Huebert

      50years ago black people were still under yolk of segregation, women didn't receive equal pay for equal work, and hom.ose.xuality was still criminalized in some states.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • mama k

      That is absurd. But it figures that one who puts such faith based on so little evidence is able to make such a huge assumptive leap.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • lol??

      The republic wasn't even 100 years old and the progressives were already on the path to destruction by messing with the balance of power. Now it's harvest time.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Primewonk

      It is my hypothesis that everything started going to hell, specifically in schools, began in the mid 1950's. This is a result of Congress inserted "under god" into the Pledge, and "in god we trust" on our money.

      Prove me wrong.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • snowboarder

      lol – the founders of this nation were the progressives of their time.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • mama k

      The republic wasn't even ONE year old before the fundamentalists were fighting with one another in trying to create a theocracy with their own religion in control.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • HarryJ

      lol??
      "The republic wasn't even 100 years old and the progressives were already on the path to destruction by messing with the balance of power."

      You mean, when the progressives ended slavery? Yeah, that sure did mess up "the balance of power."

      December 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • HarryJ

      Primewonk
      Well, the first modern "mass shooting" occurred in 1949.

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/20/us/worst-u-s-shootings-timeline/index.html

      December 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      "The Bath School massacre of 1927."

      Decline of religion at fault? Nah..probably more the increase of taxation on that one.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Yes, that is the reason. But using your logic, it was becase there was prayer in school.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Rit,

      If there is any correlation between society and religion it is a negative one. The more religious a society the more individual freedoms are censored. The least religious countries are also the statistically the most peaceful and happyist.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      ReligionIsBS- "Yes, that is the reason. But using your logic, it was becase there was prayer in school."

      You mean someone else's logic.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  3. ncgh

    For years there were complaints that Christmas was too commercial, that stores were using it for profit.

    Suddenly in the past few years we are getting complaints that stores are NOT pushing Christmas. Apparently it's not commercial enough.

    Go figure.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Bev

      Yeah, they started saying "Seasons Greetings" so as not to offend Christians with their sales and now that's wrong too.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  4. hypatia

    really don't care what anyone believes. just keep your god(s) out of my government.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • lol??

      Our fadder, who art in washington, hollow is thy name.....

      December 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      lol??,

      Why do you think that we must grovel and worship ANYTHING?

      December 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Good question A Frayed. Let me ask you, where do our rights come from? A man must, in some measure, at the minimum be subservient to the source of his rights lest they be taken from him. If your rights come from man, from his government, then you are obligated to pay those taxes and adhere to those laws and provide such service as that government requires. If, on the other hand, your rights come from God, then you are bound by the higher order of God's counsel. Which, as far as Christianity is concerned includes the proper adherence to earthly government. But what happens when that government transgresses, as governments are wont to do? Witness our own trouble with the Crown of England, the atrocities of Nazi Germany and most recently in Syria under al Assad. If government is the ultimate purveyor of rights then these governments had the right to act as they did and their citizens are, in reality subjects. But, if man is a free creature, invested with divine authority, then he has a duty to rise up against totalitarianism and repression in whatever system of governance man devises which debases his dignity. Without God, the limitation of your rights ends at the stroke of the strongest power.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bill, the limitation of your rights ends at the stroke of the strongest power.

      This statement holds true always. It holds true if your god is the strongest power and it holds true if some other god is the strongest power and it holds true if some government or alliance of men or aliens or unknown intelligence is the strongest power. It's the reason humans sometimes revolt--so that their combined power overcomes the power of the "unfair" government against which they revolt.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And since this is Christmas, this demonstrates how Jesus overthrew the Roman Empire. Not by force of arms and not by insurrection. Rather by installation of the Kingdom of God within the hearts of men. So that we might comprehend the limit of Caesar. This is why any man may be imprisoned, impoverished and even crucified but he cannot be made to surrender his divinity against his will. This is why Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, in that he triumphed at Calvary. As such he is due all respect, all honor and all glory.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Yay for more assertions. It would probably be a waste of time to tell Bill that all those assertions require evidence.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      True enough Moby. Reminds of the Apostle Peter (Townsend) "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss". Stronger men will always subjugate lesser men without God's presence. This is the old "Might makes right" rule. Christ showed us that whoever would be greatest must serve.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hawaii, my evidence is the Declaration of Independence which I provide as the historical manifestation of man's attempt to design a government which holds these truths to be self evident.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      1) Does not designate the christian god, merely ambiguously says "Creator".
      2) Them putting it on a non-binding document that has no bearing on our laws doesn't =god exists.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bill, don't leave out the other part of what I said. Your god is the ultimate strongman in your worldview. He is right because he has the might. If god weren't the mightiest, and some other being were more mighty, you'd be following his rules (or attempting to and proselytizing for them).

      It's just like the case of god's subjective morality. You believers want to claim that morality is subjective without a god, but then you allow god license to break the rules and change them from old testament to new and on and on. Christian morality is based on "might makes right" and the "subjective morality" of your god. All the things you claim you don't like about a humanist-based morality.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill,

      The Declaration of Independence is not a legal docu ment that created our gov't nor our rights. Rights come from what man as a group bestows on individuals. You have nothing to support your contention that rights come from some supernatural source.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes Moby if there were someone with more power God, the Father, the almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen, I would worship that being instead.

      Hawaii you seem to be trying to force the argument into the proof of the existence of God, which is not my argument. Frayed's question was why we should worship anything based on the choice between government and God. I merely supplied the reasons why God is superior to government as a basis for man's dignity and rights which are delineated in Catholic catechism, supported in the Declaration and ratified in the U.S. Constiitution. The rights of free men, as granted to them by whatsoever God they choose to describe and worship as they see fit is the foundation and structure of our society. Not the will of kings, not the force of tyrants, not the policies of committees or congresses.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Cheesy What part of "self evident" escapes you?

      December 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bill

      The reasons you provide for god's superiority are neither satisfying nor sufficient; thus, there remains no reason to believe as you do.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Self-evidence is claimed but not proven by the Con.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Oh yes, believe and obey or burn forever is such a human dignity driven model we should all build on. Are you hgih or something?

      December 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Maybe this will help. I am free because I am. I do not require any legal docuument to grant me freedom. I am free because I am created by a God who deems me to be free as my natural condition.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Bill, you are free because you have not been enslaved by a power mightier than yourself.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hawaii you're so far off track I can't even think of a response to you

      Moby, I'm a little surprised. I know you're not a believer and I know you lean left politically but I didn't think you'd actually admit that one man can take away another man's rights simply because he has more power.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bill

      And I'm surprised to hear you state the glaring contradiction that might makes right in all cases except yours.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Ok Moby, refer to my earlier post. I can be imprisoned, I can be impoverished and I can be crucified but I cannot be made to surrender my divinity. From the book of Galatians: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      And, if a right can be so easily taken from you, doesn't that make its origin irrelevant?

      Man being enslaved: "But wait!! I have the right to freedom!! God gave it to me!!"
      Mightier man enslaving: "Make sure to do what I say or you won't like the consequences!"

      December 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bill

      But you're making up the philosophical term for yourself. I may as well state that nobody can take away my larponika-–but I can't prove to have larponika except that it stands for other philosophical concepts that I define for myself in my own way.

      And by the way, if someone were to perform a lobotomy on you, wouldn't they take away your "divinity" regardless of how you define it?

      December 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Moby, I must have not been clear. I do not state that might makes right EVER. What I am saying is that in a world where man has no sense of his own divinity we are reduced to a planet of competiitors wherein might makes right. I am not advocating that system, I am protesting it. The lesson Jesus taught us is that even if one have the power of Caesar and rule the entire world that there is still a rightness that surpasses might. The thread of this is traceable to the rights of the minority present in our democracy This is starting to seem a little remedial to me.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Sure. That's a nice way to get out of defending the indefensible.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Ah "If a right can so easily be taken from you.." Now you're making an argument for the second amendment.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hawaii, You're a Catholic, go read the catechism on hell and then tell me how you can make an argument for "love me or burn" with any integrity.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      I am not a Catholic you dishonest pile of shit. If you're so pathetic that you need to go to that again, then you have nothing worth saying. What's worse is, you can't even admit it to yourself.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Then your ignorance on the state of hell is excusable

      December 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Don't you mean my ignorance on your specific interpretation that someone else came up with that you have adopted because you agree with it?

      December 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  5. Mohammad A Dar

    why do atheists target Christmas always, not Passover, Ramadan, Diwali? My feeling is Churches are more alienating Christians than Synagogues, Mosques, and temples!!

    December 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Maybe because this is an article on Christmas, a christian holiday. You dont think atheists would be responding to the nonsense in muslim article?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • snowboarder

      i have never seen anyone declaring a ficticious war on ramadan or passover.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Really??

      I target ALL religions equally Religions are false creations of man.They are all equally irrational and unreasonable.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • The Truth

      I just so hate all that "Ramadan" music being played in every shopping mall in America, sooooo frustrating...

      Oh, wait, iv'e never heard Ramadan music being played anywhere, ever...

      That might give you a clue as to why more atheists are frustrated with Christmas...

      December 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • HarryJ

      If this were happening during Ramadan then the same Christians who are criticizing atheists here would be joining in.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  6. Colin

    Sorry "The Rit", but I'm afraid Jesus is not the reason for the season.

    Before Jesus, Horus was a mythological figure from Egypt who was said to be born on December 25 to a virgin. A star in the East heralded his arrival and three kings came to worship the baby. At age 12, Horus was a prodigal child teacher and at age 30 he was baptized and began his ministry. He had 12 disciples, travelled about performing miracles such as healing the sick and walking on water and was known by terms such as “as the good shepherd.” After he died, he was buried, but three days later he rose from the dead.

    Likewise, before Jesus, Attis of Phrygia was said to be born of the virgin Nana on December 25, was crucified to save mankind and rose from the dead after three days, as did the Indian god, Krishna. So, for that matter, did Dionysus of Greece (who also appears before the authorities on charges of claiming divinity) and Mithra of Persia, who was also born on December 25 and had 12 disciples. Other figures from the Mediterranean who died and were resurrected include Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Tammuz, Asclepius and Orpheus.

    It is important to keep the religious atmosphere that pervaded the ancient Mediterranean in context when evaluating any claims about Jesus' birth and life. It is not as though Jesus dropped like a bombshell into a religious vacuum. His life and those of the later authors who docu.mented Jesus’ life (a generation or two after the fact) all took place in a rich environment of mysticism and mythology.

    It is this pervasive mythology that is the "reason for the season".

    December 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      You posted this on page one and still have to address the obvious misunderstanding of what you are posting.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Colin

      Which is what?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Yes, Mike, enlighten us.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Colin

      I like the way eminent biblical historian Bart Ehrman introduces his pellucid course “The Historical Jesus,”

      “I’ve decided that the best place to begin our study is by summarizing the life of a remarkable man who lived nearly 2,000 years ago. Before he was born, his mother was visited by an angel who told her that her son would be divine. His birth was accompanied by miraculous signs and as a child he was religiously precocious. As an adult, he left home to be an itinerant preacher, teaching the good news that people should live for what is spiritual, not the material things of this world. He gathered disciples and performed miracles. He raised the ire of those in power who had him brought up before the Roman authorities. His followers saw him after he died and he ascended into heaven. I am, of course, talking about Apollonius of Tyana”

      Add Apollonius to the list of mythological figures who the authors of Jesus life plagairized.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      What you couldn't click on page one and find out.... I will do the work for you

      Horus, again... 1 was not born of virgin 2 Jesus was not born on Dec 25th

      Unfortunately because of filters I can not post the whole argument but please see thedevineevidence website at the COMmon domain. Horus is number 5.

      ---
      Attis is 8

      All it takes is a little critical thinking is all.

      Now the intellectual question which only you can answer is why do you not believe the historical account of Jesus, especially seeing the results of a huge cultural shift in the area at the time of the 1st century?
      ---
      I will also try and post this in pieces to see if it will post ... warning many replies to follow

      December 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      According to Egyptian mythology, Horus was originally believed to be the son of Ra and Hathor and the husband/brother of Isis. Later he
      was seen as the son of Osiris and Isis once Hathor and Isis were merged into one being. Horus was considered the sky, sun, and moon god
      represented by a man with the head of falcon.

      VIRGIN BIRTH There are two separate birth accounts in regards to Horus (neither depict a virgin birth):
      Version 1: Hathor, the motherly personification of the milky way, is said to have conceived Horus but we are told her husband, Ra, was an
      Egyptian sun god. Hathor (a sky goddess) was represented by the cow whose milk brought forth the milky way. By the will of her husband Ra,
      she gave birth to Horus:

      "I, Hathor of Thebes, mistress of the goddesses, to grant to him a coming forth into the presence [of the god]... Hathor of Thebes, who was
      incarnate in the form of a cow and a woman." Source and Source

      December 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Version 2: When we examine Isis as Horus' mother, we are told Isis was not a virgin, but the widow of Osiris. Isis practices magic to raise
      Osiris from the dead so she can bear a son that would avenge his death. Isis then becomes pregnant from the sperm of her deceased
      husband. Again, no virgin birth occurs:

      "[Isis] made to rise up the helpless members [penis] of him whose heart was at rest, she drew from him his essence [sperm], and she made
      therefrom an heir [Horus]." Source and Source

      December 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      THE FATHER AND SON UNITY Critics suggest the Christian trinity was adapted from the notion of Osiris, Ra, and Horus being one god in
      essence. Because Horus was born after the death of Osiris, it came to be believed he was the resurrection, or reincarnation, of Osiris:

      "He avengeth thee in his name of 'Horus, the son who avenged his father." Source

      Throughout the centuries, the Egyptians eventually considered Osiris and Horus as one and the same. However, this son-as-the-father
      comparison more closely resembles the metamorphosis of Hathor into Isis than it does the Christian trinity. We see Horus first as the son of
      Ra, then being the equivalent of Ra, then Ra finally becoming just as aspect of Horus. Similar to Hathor and Isis, we simply see a merger of
      one being into another. In Egyptian mythology, each god had a distinct beginning by being conceived from other gods. In Christian
      theology, God and Jesus always existed as one and the same, neither having a beginning or an end. Jesus' birth did not represent His
      creation- only His advent in human from. Furthermore, the father-son concept was not created by first-century Christians. Prophecies in the
      Old Testament referred to the future Messiah as the Son of God up to 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. I Chronicles 17:13-14

      December 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION Horus is never said to have been crucified, nevertheless to have died. The only connection we can
      make to Horus being resurrected is if we consider the eventual merger of Horus and Osiris. But such a theory results in an catch 22,
      apparently noticed by the Egyptians as they later altered their beliefs to fix the contradictions. In the Egyptian tale, Osiris is either
      dismembered by Set in battle or sealed in a chest and drowned in the Nile. Isis then pieces Osiris' body back together and resurrects Osiris to
      conceive an heir that will avenge Osiris' death (although technically Osiris is never actually resurrected as he is forbidden to return to the world
      of the living). Source and Source

      "[Set] brought a shapely and decorated chest, which he had caused to be made according to the measurements of the king's body... Set
      proclaimed that he would gift the chest unto him whose body fitted its proportions with exactness... Then Osiris came forward. He lay down
      within the chest, and he filled it in every part. But dearly was his triumph won in that dark hour which was his doom. Ere he could raise his
      body, the evil followers of Set sprang suddenly forward and shut down the lid, which they nailed fast and soldered with lead. So the richly
      decorated chest became the coffin of the good king Osiris, from whom departed the breath of life." Source

      December 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      BORN ON THE 25TH OF DECEMBER Horus' birth was actually celebrated during the month of Khoiak, (October/November). Though some
      critics claim Horus was born during the winter solstice, this shows more of a relationship to other pagan religions which considered the solstices
      sacred.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      TWELVE DISCIPLES Superficially this similarity seems accurate until we see Horus' "disciples" were not disciples at all- they were the twelve
      signs of the zodiac which became associated with Horus, a sky god. However Jesus' disciples were actual men who lived and died, whose
      writings exist to this day, and whose lives are recorded by historians. Because Horus' "disciples" were merely signs of the zodiac, they never
      taught his philosophy or spread his teachings. The fact that there are twelve signs of the zodiac (twelve months) as compared to Jesus' twelve
      apostles is an insignificant coincidence.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      MOUNTAINTOP ENCOUNTER Critics point out the similarity of both Jesus and Horus having an encounter on a mountaintop with their
      enemies. Instead of dissecting this piece by piece, I will simply give each version of events and let the reader observe the (obvious)
      differences:
      Jesus: After Jesus completes His fast in the wilderness, Satan tries to tempt Jesus by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus
      agrees to worship him, but Jesus refuses. Matthew 4:1-11
      Horus: During battle, Horus rips off one of Set's testicles while Set (sometimes called Seth) gorges out Horus' eye. Set later tries to prove his
      dominance by initiating intercourse with Horus. Horus catches Set's semen in his hand and throws it into a nearby river. Horus later
      mas.turbates and spreads his semen over lettuce which Set consumes. Both Set and Horus stand before the gods to proclaim their right to rule
      Egypt. When Set claims dominance over Horus, his semen is found in the river. When Horus' dominance is considered, his semen is found
      within Set so Horus is granted rule over Egypt:

      December 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Now the intellectual question which only you can answer is why do you not believe the historical account of Jesus, especially seeing the results of a huge cultural shift in the area at the time of the 1st century?"

      Ever wonder why the people who still live in the area where jesus supposedly lived, dont even beleive in him? Less than 1% of people in that area are chrisitians today. hmmmmmmmmmm

      December 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      "O that castrated one! O this man! O he who hurries him who hurries, among you two! These- this first corporation of the company of the
      justified... Was born before the eye of Horus was plucked out, before the testicles of Set were torn away." Source "It is the day on which Horus
      fought with Set, who cast filth in the face of Horus, and when Horus destroyed the powers of Set." Source "Then [Set] appeared before the
      divine council and claimed the throne. But the gods gave judgment that Horus was the rightful king, and he established his power in the land of
      Egypt, and became a wise and strong ruler like to his father Osiris." Source

      December 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Colin

      Mike from CT- the myth of Horus, Appolonius and many, many others follows the Jesus pattern – 12 disciples, a virginal birth on the 25th of December and a resurrection or rebirth of the central figure three days after his death.

      Some historians have posited that these particular themes have their roots in earlier astrological mythology – the 12 zodiac signs as disciples of the sun and the birth on the 25th of December, which is three days after the Winter Solstice, being the point at which the sun rises from its temporary “death” during winter and begins its northward march across the sky.

      I don’t know how much scholastic support there is for this proposition, but the parallels are undeniable. In this scenario, Horus, Jesus, Krishna and company effectively take the central place of the ancient sun.

      Perhaps, when all is said and done, all we have done is migrate from being sun worshippers to son worshippers. Two thousand years of theological musings and all we have changed is a vowel.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Ske.ptic Interj.ection: Does the sim.ilarity between the names Set and Sa.tan hold any significance?
      Answer: Set's variant names include Seth, Sutekh, Setesh, and Seteh. The root Set is usually considered to translate into dazz.ler or stable
      pillar.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      There is some key word that is throwing an issue after this point but I think that is enough for now.

      Another website I like the ehrmanproject com it address Ehrman's scholarship questions.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Ever wonder why the people who still live in the area where jesus supposedly lived, dont even beleive in him? Less than 1% of people in that area are chrisitians today. hmmmmmmmmmm

      Yes that is extremely fascinating and a great point. Hinduism and Buddism have not spread much and Islam just recently. But Christianity covers about 90-95% of globe. It transcends all cultures and people groups. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Go and spread the gospel.

      Now your 1% is wrong. you are only counting Jerusalem, which didn't believe him the first place. Go back and look at the numbers for Turkey Greece North Africa and Italy.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Colin

      Com'on man I did all the work for you. I even brought it you to read but you still didn't

      Ok let me give you the ADD version

      Horus - not a virgin birth
      Jesus - not born on Dec 25th
      Horus - not crucified
      Horus - no bodily resurrection, but a merger between Horus and Osiris, but there are two versions of this also

      December 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Yes you guys definitely got the preaching, scare tactics and indoctrination down. You still cant explain why jesus isnt even beleive in, in his home town.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Hindus and Buhdists also didnt have crusades, inquisitions and witch burnings to further their movement.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
      (Matthew 13:57 ESV)

      Amazing how 2000 years that is still a true statement

      December 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Amazing how that was written decades after he allegedly existed, when it was already known that people there didnt beleive in him! Just amazing!

      Also, every othere hero in the history of the world is a hero in his hometown. But jesus isnt. Just amazing!

      December 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      ReligionIsBS
      Hindus and Buhdists also didnt have crusades, inquisitions and witch burnings to further their movement.

      Yes there were many atrocities done in the name of Christ, but none of them are found in Christ life teachings death and resurrection.

      Using the followers of Christ to discount Christ is dishonest for two reasons:

      1) the bible tells you this is coming so to affirm it is to affirm the bible.
      Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

      (Acts 20:28-30 ESV)

      2) you don't apply this "logic" to any other field.

      "Electricity is bad because I met a crooked electrician" - said nobody ever

      December 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      ReligionIsBS
      Amazing how that was written decades after he allegedly existed,

      Sorry they didn't have twitter back then, but what do we see all writings occurred within 60-70 years the first 15 years after.... far closer than any other writing about an event from that time period

      December 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " But Christianity covers about 90-95% of globe."

      And yet, less than 30% of the world's population chooses to worship your sick twisted psychotic monster god.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. Where did I say christianity is wrong because there are bad christians? Nowhere! In fact, if you read the bible and how evil the abrahamic god is, I would expect his followers to be evil too. Just because he and his followers do evil, doesnt mean he doesnt exist. The fact that there is no evidence for him is the reason I dont beleive he exists.

      You stated that christianity covers 90-95% of the world. I explained to you why. I didnt say thats why christianity is bs.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Sorry they didn't have twitter back then, but what do we see all writings occurred within 60-70 years the first 15 years after.... far closer than any other writing about an event from that time period

      They didnt have twitter, but they did have historians. In fact there were as many as 32 historians that lived in that area around the alleged time of jesus. And they wrote about all kinds of events that took place during that time. Funny how none of them wrote about the savior of the world. And dont use josephus as an example, because even most christians admit that was plagarized. Funny how Pliny the Elder and the other historians seemed to have missed the story.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • TheRit

      Very Good! Did you read "The Jesus Mystery" all by yourself? And by the way, did you go to those places and research all of that by yourself, or did you possibly read that in a book and take those words based on...FAITH? LOL!

      December 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      The population of the world at present is a bit over 7 billion.
      Mike from CT,
      "Christianity covers about 90-95% of globe."

      There are approximately 2.1 billion Christians, which is around 33 per cent.
      http://chartsbin.com/view/3nr
      http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0904108.html

      Over 2,000 years now and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe the Jesus legend. It took probably less than 50 years for the theory of gravity to be accepted world-wide... and it is the same for any other proven ideas, eg., mathematics, the telephone, radio, engines, penicillin, etc., etc., etc.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Very Good! Did you read "The Jesus Mystery" all by yourself? And by the way, did you go to those places and research all of that by yourself, or did you possibly read that in a book and take those words based on...FAITH? LOL!"

      I get ALL my answers from 1 book. And it was written 2000 years ago by bronzed aged goat herders. Oh wait, thats you! I read many books for info, not just one. And I didnt have to go to those places, books are transportable. They can even travel magically through wires between computers now too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  7. TheRit

    You guys are absolutely right! War itself was actually an invention of religion! It never happened before until Abraham came along with his lies, did it? The world before religion was such a peaceful place, completely without harm to anyone! Absolute utopia! In fact, we as people, did not even have the desire to murder, cheat, steal, fight, etc. It was religion that created all those desires wasn't it? The flaws of religion are the flaws of man. Simple as that. God provided us with the plan as to how to treat each other. We either choose to follow or not. It would be a SCARY world if that plan was never revealed.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      So you're stating that when wars, lies and murders dont occur, its because of religion.

      But when wars, lies and murders do occur, its because the followers of that religion are human?

      LOL

      You've seriously gotten destroyed evey time you've posted.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Colin

      The Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Jains, Zoroastrians and Shintos will be amazed to learn that your Judeo-Christian God gave them their morality.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • TheRit

      ReligionIsBS. Look up the word SARCASM.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Wars are not a religious invention........neither is morality.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      I know what sarcasm is. I still get to respond to your nonsense. When i destroy your horrible logic, you cant just claim SARCASM! LOL.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Colin

      Abraham very likely did not exist.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Lisa

      Abraham did not invent religion. Idols have been found before evidence of war amongst humans.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Lisa,

      You hit on a funny point, Christians don't think anything other than the Abrahamic religions are actually religion.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Man ...where do people like you come from? The Garden of Eden is a fairy tale.The world of early man was never a utopia like you say. Humans clawed or way to intelligence in a desperate struggle to survive in a vicious world full of predators and hidden dangers. Life for them was brutal ans short. When man finally gathered toegther in groups for mutual pretection and cooperative hunting and gathering for food the groudwork for ethics and morality were established. Rudementary rules of conduct were observed to benefit the group over the individual. Primitive societies were still barbaric but provided better odds of survival than fending or yourself.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Lisa

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers
      They may think that Judaism and Islam are other religions, but that doesn't stop them from thinking that those religions are wrong and that those people are all going to hell because they aren't "saved".

      December 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  8. 4spdstick

    sometimes i think people argue about this stuff just for the sake of arguing. i'm o.k. with that because argument moves the knowledge pool forward. i try to keep my emotions out of it, however, because the argument does not need my emotions, just my intellect.
    i have never, not even for a minute believed in the christian structure of reality. i celebrate xmas because i like the tree, santa and giving gifts to friends. nobody asks me about my beliefs which i take to mean nobody cares. they probably care more about their own beliefs. if i don't get emotional about it, i can enjoy christmas in my own way sooooo
    merry xmas everybody!

    December 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • TheRit

      Exactly! But remember it was atheists insulting Christians in the story that started the whole conversation. And even though, Christmas is the season of Giving because of the story of St. Nick, you are free to celebrate it how you wish. It is just extra insulting to be so hated upon when Jesus IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON! As corny as it sounds, it is the truth. Give some credit where it is due. (FYI 4spdstick: I liked your comment very much!)

      December 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Christians give gifts on xmas becuase they ripped off that tradition from saturnalia, the pagan holiday. You dont even know what you beleive!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Really??

      TheRit
      The solstice is the reason for the season. The churches attempted to hijack the solstice celebration by claiming Jesus was born on DEC 25. There is evidence that Jesus was born in the summertime. The church also hijacked the spring celebrations as well, and they called it easter. It is a celebration of fertility, hence the bunnies and chicks. Bunnies and chicks don't have anything to do with your religion.

      Also Sir Isaac Newton really existed and was born on DEC 25. so Merry Newtonmas

      December 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Topher

      Merry Christmas!

      Oh, and the reason gifts are given on Christmas is because God gave us the gift of the Savior. Then the Wise Men brought gifts for Him. Not because of Santa Claus.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Manny

      TheRit
      This billboard is as much an insult to Christian beliefs that Christian beliefs are an insult to atheist ones, correct?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Hey Topher,

      WHy did you ignore my honest question yesterday when you said you don't do that?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Manny

      Topher
      Did Jesus' family declare the Wise Men's gifts on their taxes? 🙂

      December 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Topher

      Remind me.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Primewonk

      New research shows that the whole Santa and flying reindeer myth along with coming down the chiminey, indoor decorated trees and red and white packages under the tree are all linked to a type of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Northern areas of Russia and Scandinavia.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Topher,

      God made man and according to your beliefs man is flawed and corrupt, so why would a god that wants to get his message across to his flawed creations, USE his flawed creation (man) to get that message out? It is a completely inept way and by definition your god would absolutely know that said message would be, in the end, FLAWED. It is absurd.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Topher

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I as.sume you mean the Bible. God made man perfect, but we sinned and now due to the curse that came with that we are all flawed and corrupt.

      I'm sure you've heard this explanation before. The authors were inspired by God (meaning God used the men to write the books). If you are truely curious and not just out to complain about Christianity, this might help you. When you receive a letter in the mail, whom do you give the credit to? The pencil or the person? The person. They used the pencil to write down what he wanted. That's how God used men. He willed them to write down exactly what He wanted them to though the authors' personalities were preserved in their words.

      You claim it is flawed and in a way you are right. There are small things like a king's age being inconsistant. But we are smart enough to figure out that it is there, how it happened (copy errors) and which version is correct. Don't forget we've had 2000 years for real smart researchers to figure these things out.

      Hope that helps, dude.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, " God made man perfect, but we sinned and now due to the curse that came with that we are all flawed and corrupt."

      Except, of course, that your god knew in advance that Adam and eve would "sin". He knew this before he created the universe. Yet he created them flawed anyway. And then he has the balls to blame humans for HIS mistake.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Topher

      Primewonk

      True. God did know Adam would sin. But you're wrong saying He created us flawed. We were perfect with a free will. Adam willfully sinned. I have, too. And you. Those were our choices. Not God's. You can't blame Him for your mistakes.

      Those who die in their sins and go to Hell deserve it ... and God will be glorified for being just. And He will be glorified for saving those of us who don't deserve His grace. Amen!

      December 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Topher,

      You missed the point completely. I know you believe we were created pefect and then became flawed. The men god used to convey his message were part of the FALLEN world and by definition flawed. Then as you desribe it he used flawed men to convey that message when presumably he could have used other means that would have been better suited to get a clear and concise message out instead of the often controversial message of the bible (even among believers). My question is why he do it that way?

      December 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers...for they will be called the children of Gouda.

      Sorry, had to say that 🙂

      December 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Topher

      That's one of the most idiotic apologetic piles of crap I've ever heard. If god is perfect, can he choose to sin? If not, then how is it Adam, a supposed perfect creation, could have that ability? Are you saying god has no free will?

      December 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Topher

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If you are asking WHY He had the Bible done instead of something else, I have no idea. But because we have the Bible, why do I need to have anything else? I'm curious as to what you think would have been a better way.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oh what surprise. Topher is ignoring a question. Either that or he ran away again.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Topher

      Hawaii

      I haven't ran away from anything. I don't believe for a second you are actually interested in the answer. You just want to bark and complain about whatever my answer is.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Topher

      And when has that perceived outcome ever stopped you before? I ask you a legitimate question based on what you yourself said. If you can't answer it just admit it.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Topher,

      I can think of a multi tude of better ways, but working within the christiam dogma framework how about having Jesus himself write some information down that could be irrefutable that it cam from him. He could include information that would be verifiable that he was actually god instead of relying on flawed men to write that down and make that claim. In other words, using your analogy, don't use a FLAWED pencil.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher – I'm not quite sure why you are to fucking stupid to understand this. For the bajillionth time – you cannot have an omnipotent omniscient god AND free will. You can have one or the other, but not both.

      Your god knew Adam would sin. Your god knew this before he created him. Yet he made him anyway – knowing that he created an imperfect creation. And again, he then blames Adam for his own mistake. What a putz.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Topher

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I see what you are saying, but look at it this way. Let's say you were one of the authors. You sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His teachings and then wrote it down. You may be a flawed individual, but you have the capacity to be able to get your own thoughts across. You speak a language. You can read and write. So unless there is some reason not to trust you, why shouldn't I? Especially when what you write matches up with all the other witnesses' accounts.

      The pencil may be flawed, but it can be sharpened.

      Have a good day, dude. Merry Christmas.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Topher

      You truly are unbelievable. You cannot even answer or address such a simple question or point, like from cheesemakers. You seem to be utterly incapable of even fully comprehending anything that is written that does not assume your entire worldview is completely inerrant. Why are you even here Topher? You don't care about discussion, or other peoples thoughts. What purpose do you have here? To spew your opinions as truth and pretend your doing some kind of favor to others?

      December 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Topher,

      NONE of the authers sat at the feet of Jesus and WROTE ANYTHING, that is the point. It was an oral tradition that was only written down much, much later in a different language ofter passing through flawed person after falwed person. Why would a god play so loosely with his message, that according to your world view is THE SINGLE most important issue facing any human?

      December 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  9. Colin

    To those Christians extolling the "morality" of Christianity, I have a question.

    If you are worried that your children, who you love very much, will not believe something you tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," would you:

    (a) have your family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking;

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Insti.tute for Health on the topic;

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist that they rely entirely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if you ever catch them smoking?

    And what would you think of a "loving Father" who chose option (d)?

    December 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      c. set a good example by coming down off the thrown putting on flesh, being tempted in every way as the child, setting and teaching a good example and taking the penalty they deserve so that they may continue to live.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Colin

      Only if you believe the myth.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Mike,

      you and god obviously have different parenting techniques. And thats a good thing.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Colin,

      If you were God who loves all His children and wanted to keep them safe from harm would you:

      A. Create a priesthood to teach them that sin is a corruption of their true worth
      B. Breathe life and truth into the hearts of men that they might put it into Holy Scripture
      C. Offer a Messiah, Apostles, Saints and Martyrs as examples of right living
      D. Still allow your children the freedom to accept or reject you.

      E. All of the above.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  10. before the bible

    The Biggest Science Breakthroughs Of The Year
    Researchers sequenced the genome of the Denisovians, a group of ancient humans that lived 41,000 years ago in Siberia.
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sciences-2012-breakthroughs-of-the-year-2012-12?op=1#ixzz2FhmSqF4s

    December 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  11. ReligionIsBS

    The only thing from keeping TheRit from being a mass murderer is a bronzed age book of nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  12. TheRit

    A question for atheists: What does keep you from stealing/cheating/ or even worse, if you know you are not going to get caught? Obviously, your argument (at best) would be based on "humanism." It's worth noting that what you consider "humanist" is based on religious belief. Jesus Christ himself was a humanist! All good Christians are (and others). We just admit where are moral background comes from instead of trying to arrogantly claim it as your own.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • xmas

      the same thing that taught religions right from wrong, Good people.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Pete

      Morals such as don't kill or steal were around for thousands of years before the bible and Jesus, and they were added to the bible because the people already knew it was wrong to do those things.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Wait a minute, are you saying that if nobody told you not to steal/cheat or even worse, you would steal/cheat and do even worse? Wow, you lack apathy. If religion is the only thing keeping you from being a criminal, please continue on with the fairy tales. The rest of us dont need it. As you can see, im not in prision. Interesting stat, 99% of inmates in American prisions are religious. Less than 1% is atheist. hmmmmmm

      December 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • xmas

      you might use a bit of logic here. Living life is precious, precious has more clout with those who believe this is it. We can thank secular law in this country for keeping religions tamed. We sure know their bad behavior throughout history.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Huebert

      The reason I don't steal when I know I wont get caught is because I want the world to have fewer thieves, not more.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • mk

      'If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed' ~ Einstein

      December 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • TheRit

      You are correct xmas, good people who have been taught the true meaning of the Word of God. To love each other as you love yourself, To love your brother and pray for your enemy. To avoid lust and greed and dishonsty. These are all lessons from the Bible. Like Islam, Christianity has been hijacked at times by the crazy, but please don't judge and hate on the GOOD people that glorify the Lord through kind acts. Why do atheists only look at the Crusades when they think of religion?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • snowboarder

      therit – you only trot out these tired old debunked fallacious arguments. pathetic.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Empathy, I have empathy for others and therefore do not want to harm others unnecessarily.

      Are you saying without a god you would have no control over your actions and would just go around stealing/killing because you wouldn't care about others? Wow, that is kind of crazy.....if that is the case keep believing your myth for everyone's sake and well being.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • TheFlyingSpaghettiMonster

      Yeah your post doesn't make much sense. Why WOULDN'T you steal/cheat/worse when you have unlimited repentance for your sins as long as you confess to a figment of your imagination or a man in a fancy robe? Americas prisons are filled to the gills with religious men and women. Shouldn't these "good" Christians be following in the ways of Jesus? Oh that's right, let me enter the typical "canned" answer for you: "Well those people in prison aren't TRUE Christians like me." Damn people, take off the blinders strapped to your face and see the world for what it really is, not through the smoke and mirrors of a money-grubbing, fear-mongering, power-hungry organization that has been brainwashing people for thousands of years...

      December 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • ME II

      Unlike religion atheism does not provide a moral code, but leaves that up to the individual. Many, as you indicated, are humanists, but there are many ethical systems that advocate what you might consider "good".
      In addition, I would suggest that claiming morality as coming from religion is mistaken, because all current religions got their own morality from somewhere else. I would submit that all ethics are based on millions of years of human behavior and that cooperation, reciprocity, etc. have been found to work best in the long run for groups.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Personally, my morals come from the simple idea of do unto others as you would have them do to you. I wouldn't want someone stealing from me so I don't steal. See how that works? Morals in general come from the society that the person grew up in. No religion, or god required to be good. The fact that you need a god with the possibility of eternal torture to be good says something about how terrible a person you really are on the inside.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      " It's worth noting that what you consider "humanist" is based on religious belief."

      Is it now? Or is it based on a foundation of understanding the positive aspects of what religion offers and rejecting the mumbo jumbo?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • The Particle

      The Biggest Science Breakthroughs Of The Year
      The discovery of the Higgs boson confirms mainstream physics theories
      Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sciences-2012-breakthroughs-of-the-year-2012-12?op=1#ixzz2Fhwtm7g

      December 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • The Truth

      A question for Christians: What does keep you from r a p i n g small children and babies if you know you are not going to get caught? Apparently TheRit would be out banging every newborn he can if he didn't have the morallity bestowed on him by his religious beliefs...

      December 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  13. Kevin7Harris

    Lisa,

    My point was to offer a correction that AA has always been as tactful as they are today. And I am glad you seemed to be open and informed. I'm also sure you would agree that one does not need to be open minded to absolutely everything. I try to be open to truth where truth can be found, evaluate, etc.

    FWIW, one of the biggest indicators of the supernatural (as opposed to naturalism) is found in the beginning of the universe. Something beyond the natural (material, time/space) universe brought it into being. The beginning of the universe is supported by science (Big Bang Cosmology) and philosophy (the impossibility of traversing an actual, concrete infinite number of past events). While this does not immediately prove the God of Christian Theism, it does show that Naturalism is inadequate.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      There is no reason to believe the universe had a beginning, or there was a "time" when it didn't exist. Your whole argument is based on not knowing what happened therefore "god did it". It is an argument from ignorance and is a terrible reason the believe anthing, especially a supernatural thing.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Something beyond the natural (material, time/space) universe brought it into being." Please provide proof of that statement. What if it was something natural, like another universe exploding, or two universes colliding?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Lisa

      Kevin7Harris
      Since when have Fundamentalists or conservative Catholics ever been "tactful" when it came to criticizing other people's beliefs? All AA is doing is behaving like many Christians have for a long time before it's existence. Whether they are intentionally being satirical, or not their campaigns serve have the same effect. People are seeing, some for the first time, what it's like have your beliefs challenged publicly, something that many Christians have been doing all along. Perhaps they'll examine just how provocative their own messages have been?

      We can't study the supernatural, so you have no way of knowing that some even more powerful supernatural force wasn't necessary to create God, do you? When it comes to that field, the only limit it seems is the human imagination. If I can imagine a being more powerful enough to create God then that being is just as probable as God himself.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I'm always amazed when folks who purposefully choose to be ignorant about science, like Kevin, come onto these threads and post this insane bullshit.

      13.7 billion years ago this universe was an infinitely hot and infinitely dense singularity. This singularity was not "floating in space". It WAS space. This singularity began to expand. And, at the quantum level, there is no need for an event to have a cause. Today, high school kids can demonstrate the Casimir Effect. During this Planck Epoch – the very first femtoseconds of the expansion – gravity calved off the other 3 primordial forces. And time began. Now – here is the kicker – our math and physics is not sophisticated enough to state what occurred before time started. It's like asking what is North of North.

      And here's the funny part – fundiot nutters have had this explained to them over and over. And instead of learning, they turn around and re-post the exact same lies. It's like they wear their ignorance as a badge of honor.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Primewonk, please do not post such nonsense as you have posted concerning cosmology. You state many things that simply haven't been resolved by physics yet. If I weren't so tired I'd kick you in the crotch...figuratively, of course.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Science! It works, bitches!

      December 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Physics works regardless of our existence or knowledge. Science only works insofar as we find supporting evidence.

      A "singularity" has not yet been proven to exist in the math because we have no quantum theory of gravity yet or a GUT, so talking like we know all about singularities and how the Big Bang started with one is totally unsupported. Don't include that crap in the future unless you want to look like a fool.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Rational

      The singularity is azzumed because that's the only idea that currently makes sense. Why do you have a problem with the language that science uses in this case?

      December 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Without things like a quantum theory of gravity or whether there is a maximum energy density per unit volume possible, anyone suggesting that there was such a thing as a singularity containing the sum total of all energy in this continuum with an effective radius of zero, is quite mistaken and should be ejected into space where they can reflect upon their ignorant nonsense just before their eyeballs explode.
      Consider a maximum energy density per unit volume. If it exists as a physical limit to energy density, then any radius would be greater than zero. But we don't even know whether there is an upper limit to energy density per unit volume. We haven't even resolved the question of what gravity IS, including whether any gravity might have even been possible under such conditions.

      Talk about what you know and not about things you read in People magazine. That's all I'm asking.

      December 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  14. lol??

    Atheists are big believers in self sacrifice and always say, "You first!"

    December 21, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Huebert

      "Atheists are big believers in self sacrifice"

      Who told you that?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Sounds more like a religious position.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Gerry

      What do you mean? We give to charity and volunteer like anyone else. We're police officers, firemen, and serve in the military like anyone else. I don't know what you're trying to say.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • lol??

      They sacrifice to their god, their belly.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Huebert

      @lol

      So you are saying that atheist are big on sacrificing them selves because they sacrifice things to themselves? In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson "THAT DON'T MAKE NO GOD D@MN SENSE!"

      December 21, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • lol??

      Gerry why give examples of PAID PUblic Servants? Skimming off society isn't exactly the definition of charity, unless you're from Chicago. 'Sides the wages of many PUblic Servants outstrip the Masters. Alas, it's just one of the reasons so many atheists are Socialists.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Gerry

      lol??
      I'm sorry that you don't appreciate what police, fire and military people do for us.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • lol??

      Gerry, I bet the PUblic Servants rather enjoy what they do to the Masters. Wonderful places like California and New York really know how to pay.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Gerry

      Oh yeah, people become police officers, firefighters and military personal for the money. I guess we should add teachers to that list as well. You really do live up to your name, buddy.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • lol??

      BTW, appreciation is normally shown with gifts and not settling with a UNION. That's Chicago style hot doggin'.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • lol??

      Scratch an atheists belly, even by accident, and watch the wrath come! Road kill rage. Just like the mobsters out east.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      lol??,

      Most of the miscreants that you mention - Mafia mobsters, corrupt Chicago cops and politicians, etc., are majorly Christian (Catholic, even). Your point is...?

      December 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  15. TheRit

    Collin, you almost sounded rational and worth a conversation until that last paragraph. Once again, you proved to be just another vengeful atheist with a stronger agenda than most religious people have. Tell me, who is trying to push their beliefs on who? You, and those like you, are the biggest hypocrites of them all!

    December 21, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I wanna hear more about how evolution is a big conspiracy but your whole version of god, as opposed to someone elses, is real...

      December 21, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Colin

      My apparent personality flaws aside, do you wish to take issue with any point I made?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  16. JesusRocks

    Most atheists are atheists because they can't handle the responsibility of believing in God.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Pete

      That would be like me stating that you can't handle the responsibility of believing in Tinker Bell.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Colin

      Actually my Bible cuddling frined, you’ll find that most (ex-Christian) atheists don’t believe for one or more of the following reasons:

      The concept of an immortal being makes no sense to us.

      The concept of an all-powerful being makes no sense to us.

      The concept of an all-knowing being makes no sense to us.

      Throwing the three together into one being effectively cubes its already dispositive implausibility.

      We tend to have a good working knowledge of the age, size and history of the Universe. The idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 starts and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he could “love them” and send his son to Earth to talk to a nomadic group of Jews about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine (while ignoring the rest of the 200 million people then alive) makes no sense to us. We can’t help but ask ourselves, “did God make the Jews or did the Jews make God?”

      The answers usually proffered for what we see as basic logical flaws in Christianity – “you have been blinded by your lack of faith” “God moves in mysterious ways” “God is outside the Universe” or “our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God” are never satisfying to us. We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool.

      The common argument, “well, what caused the Big Bang?” with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, the Judeo-Christian god must have caused it – does not make sense to us. “I don’t know” does not equal “god” to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein’s equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We’re crazy aren’t we?

      We do not see miracles in things like tornadoes missing a certain trailer in a trailer park, cancer going into remission or Tim Tebow winning a football game.

      We understand that Christianity is one of many, many religions in the World, and we don’t think that we were lucky enough to have been born in the one part of the World that “got it right”. Likewise, we know how all faiths evolve, morph and change over time and do not think we were lucky enough to have been born in the one generation that “got it right.”

      We tend to have a basic knowledge of history and know that there is nothing magical or special about the supposed history of the Jews, gospels, letters, apocalyptic story (Revelations) and other materials that found their way into the Bible, in that they are largely indistinguishable from the other mythology and religious writings of the pre Dark Ages Mediterranean.

      Human beings are terrified of their own deaths and we see the various religious beliefs that try to “wish it away,” such as reincarnation, living happily ever after in Heaven with Jesus, having your own Mormon planet etc. as nothing more than childish stories for the more näive, timid minds among us.

      We do not see morality as predicated upon a belief in the supernatural. We accept that one can be moral without believing in the supernatural and that doing so is no guaranty that one will conform to the norms of society that people call “morality”.

      “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist” is not a convincing argument to us, or even a relevant point, as in inability to disprove something is a far cry from it being true. We cannot prove that the Hindu gods Shiva or Vishnu do not exist either, nor Santa Claus for that matter, but that is hardly a reason to believe in them, or even evidence for their existence. It is impossible to prove a negative in this context.

      When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed – Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, people living to be 700 or 900 years old, the Red Sea splitting, water turning into wine, a talking snake, a man living in a whale’s belly, people rising from the dead, Jesus driving demons out of people and into pigs – but which are now acknowledged by most thinking people to be mere mythology, it is pretty hard to give a lot of credibility to what’s left.

      It is hard not to consider Christianity as based on circular reasoning. Most Christians believe in God because the Bible says so, then turn around and say they believe the Bible because it is the word of God. To draw an analogy, “I believe Mao Zedong was a great man because The Little Red Book says so, and the reason I believe The Little Red Book is that it was written by Mao Zedong, who was a great man.” Do you even have the slightest idea of how your Bible was compiled over the centuries or who decided what to include and what to exclude and on what grounds? Can you even name one of hundred plus authors who contributed to it? One of the many people who decided what got in and what didn’t?

      To be bluntly honest, the more one comes to understand mother nature, the less reason there is to believe in a god and the more one understands human nature, the more one sees why so many of us still do.

      So, before you next proudly proclaim you know the secrets to life, death, the origins of life on Earth and the origins of the Universe, simply because your parents or priest taught you some comforting stories from late Bronze Age Palestine as a child, you might like to reflect upon the overwhelming enormity of the claims you are about to make and the complete paucity of evidence that underwrites those claims.

      Or, put another way, stop cuddling your Bible and wallowing in your ignorance and face the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death with a bit of emotional and intellectual courage. If you want to spend your entire life groveling and supplicating yourself to something, at least make it something that exists. You sound pathetic.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • LinCA

      @JesusRocks

      You said, "Most atheists are atheists because they can't handle the responsibility of believing in God."
      Believing in, and worshiping, a monster like that is indeed something that a reasonable person would have a problem with. But it is not because we can't handle the responsibility. It's because we've outgrown our silly beliefs in the Tooth Fairy and similar imaginary beings.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Most people who believe in god do so because they can't handle the responsibility of studying the root orgins of their myth and are unable of deal with the peer pressure to believe BS.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Summer

      I am an atheist because I genuinely do not believe the story I was told growing up. Just like you don't believe in the tooth fairy, I do not believe in God. It strikes me as too illogical to dismiss. It's right on par with fairy tales and urban legends.

      If we're going to exchange blows here, I believe that most religious people are religious solely because of the promise of a reward in the afterlife. Ergo, their motivations are entirely selfish and their claims of loving God and Jesus are BS. Or because they cannot handle the responsibility of admitting that the bad things that happen in the world may sometimes be their fault- no no, whenever anything bad happens, comfort yourself by saying "God wanted this". Don't admit to your own failure. Don't pay a fallen family member the respect of being upset about their death, instead say that it's OK because God meant for it to happen.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Akira

      Quite simply, nothing needs to be added to Colin's post.

      I have a feeling JesusRocks is a troll.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      All atheists are atheists because they dont beleive in a god. A person who beleives in a god but doesnt want to handle the responsibility of god, would be a theist.

      Its like arguing with a 2 year old.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Gerry

      Most atheists are atheists because they just don't see any reason to believe God actually exists. Are you saying that having good reason to believe that God is real isn't necessary to become a Christian?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Most atheists are atheists because they can't handle the responsibility of believing in God.

      Most theists believe in God because they can't handle the idea that death is final.

      What are Jesus Rocks by the way? Are they like Pop Rocks, or are they some kind of mineral?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Most atheists are atheists because they can't handle the responsibility of believing in God."

      Let me retune my response:

      Most theists believe in God because they can't handle the responsibility of living an existence that terminates in death.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • sam stone

      JesusRocks: Get back on your knees and beg for salvation, b1tch.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  17. Summer

    I am an atheist. I'm fiercely against religion for several reasons. But you want to know what this sounds like to me? A whole lot of butthurt.

    First off... that billboard. They are doing exactly what they accuse the religious of doing. Shoving their beliefs down everybody's throat. Except instead of doing so with something like a manger scene to spread holiday cheer, they're doing it specifically to attack somebody. If a Christian group put up a billboard about brimstone and hellfire, Silverman and his group would probably riot. Because it's rude, obnoxious, and totally uncalled for.

    Christmas is barely a religious holiday anymore. Anybody who does treat it religiously, normally does so in the privacy of their homes, or their church. The most public display of religion that they put out is the occasional manger scene- and honestly, who cares? It doesn't bother me at all to see it. I'm not insecure enough in my own beliefs to be afraid of somebody else expressing theirs. In fact, I adore Christmas. I love all holidays because of the spirit of it all. I disregard the religious parts of it because frankly I do not care, and nobody tries to make me care.

    It does not impede on your rights or your freedom. It has absolutely ZERO effect on your life, unless you choose to have the temperament of a two year old. And seriously, "Festivus"? I don't think I've ever seen something be so pretentious and yet so overwhelmingly pathetic at the same time. Just celebrate Christmas on Christmas, don't say any prayers, and don't put a baby Jesus ornament on your tree. Boom, problem solved, you are now celebrating a non-Christian holiday.

    Get over yourselves. If you have to give respect in order to get it back. It also helps to behave like a competent adult, instead of displaying the revenge mentality of the fat kid who always got picked last in gym class.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Ah, a fake atheist. Nothing like dishonest Christians popping up all over the place to remind a person that all religions are total and utter bullshit.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • TheRit

      Haha! Well said my friend!

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

      you noticed that too.. People who live by delusion need to continue fabricating. Much like the pope does with his discussion of limbo or no limbo. I compare them to a bunch of kids with tree house rules, they just pretend and make stuff up as they go along.

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

      Anyone up for a game of Calvinball?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Lisa

      Summer
      What do you propose then, that we remain silent and invisible until the day that they just decide that they're been wrong about us all this time? That sure worked for the blacks, women and gays, right?

      Nope, the only way to stop a bully is to stop being bullied. I'm tired of hearing that televangelists can say on public TV that people like me and my children deserve to be tortured forever because we don't believe what they do. I'm tired of the many church signs that say the same thing. I'm sorry if this hurts more moderate and tolerant Christians, but if pushing back is what's needed to show the Fundamentalists what it's like to be bullied, them more power to AA.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  18. TheRit

    "rather than consider historical, archeological, and scientific evidence." There is actually plenty of evidence to support Judeo-Christianity. Either way, when you try to TRULY connect the dots, it takes a leap of faith. To believe in evolution you must fill in all the blanks. There are way to many to call evolution of humans FACT. For example: how did eyesight develop when there are so many parts to the eye? Did they all come about at once? If not, according to evolution, the single parts (lens, iris, corneo, stem, rods/cones, etc.) would have been discarded cause they would have had NO USE WHATSOEVER! My question to atheists is, "What is wrong with believing we were created to special?" For God's sake, we are a young species and LOOK what we have done! Are we really just that lucky?

    December 21, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So there is plenty of non-existent evidence for your supernatural friend who used to do all kinds of detectable miracles but now whose tricks seem to be making his image appear on toast......but evolution is a big conspiracy.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • sybaris

      Your post is a repackaged irreducibly complex structure argument, another PRATT.

      Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean the default is "godidit"

      December 21, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Huebert

      Ah the irreducible complexity argument.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=evolution-of-the-eye

      December 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • snowboarder

      therit – what is wrong with believing we are created special? nothing is wrong with believing that, but the problem is that believers are constantly attempting to force those beliefs on the population in general via civil law and indoctrination of children in public schools. they work tirelessly to deny the rights of those whom they disapprove or disagree.

      if it were only that believers simply believed. unfortunately, that is almost never the case.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Primewonk

      If your god "intelligently designed" the human eye, he needs to have his Junior Magician card revoked. It's incredibly poorly designed. Why did your god do such a much better job with squid eyes?

      December 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  19. syntax77

    99% of atheists have no credibility. Why? I 'll tell you now – Where are the atheist bill boards calling Allah a myth? Why is the atheist voice an arrogant bellow in front of a church and then a cowards silence in front of a mosque? When people like David Silverman grow a pair and speak so disrespectfully in public about the prophet Muhammad THEN he will begin to have credibility. Until then he does not really believe in the cause he holds so dear. So it appears that atheism is making great strides in bringing down Christianity. I say to the atheist,,, Great, Feel free to pat yourself on the back. Good for you. However you are doing nothing more than the equivalent of picking on a skinny kid with glasses on a playground and calling yourself tough. All the while,, there is a 300 thug behind you (watching) and the nation of Islam can't wait to show you how tough you really are... and so, with your last breaths who would you call out to? Steve Jobs? Tom Cruz? oh wait I know, Bill Maher yea he'll help – done talking. have a Happy Apocalypse today:)

    December 21, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Gerry

      They had billboards against Islam in New Jersey back in March. Try again!

      December 21, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The biiggest and most imposing thug we have to deal with in this country is Christianity. American Atheists have had billboards up addressing Islam you just have not seen them, one reason is our media tends to focus on Christianity....funny how that works.

      Mohammed was a pedophile......feel better?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • sam stone

      syntax77: go fvck yourself, punk

      December 21, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Which God?

      Hey snytax77. Do you want a jihadist blowing up your hous,place od work? Do you want to have a fatwa put out on you? Islam is stupid crazy that way. Get real, punk. While your spouting your bs, you can shoot yourself in the other foot for your idiocy.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "sam stone", but "syntax77" is not physically built to permit svcking himself, much less fvcking himself.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • sybaris

      The prophet mohammed fvcks chickens

      There, satisfied?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      syntax77
      " – Where are the atheist bill boards calling Allah a myth?"

      Here ya' go for one example, earlier this year:
      http://observer.com/2012/03/american-atheists-post-anti-religious-billboards-in-hasidic-muslim-districts-video/

      December 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  20. IslandAtheist

    Keep up the good work Dave.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:52 am |
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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.