First on CNN: Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians
March 3rd, 2013
05:00 AM ET

First on CNN: Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – An atheist organization known for being provocative plans to take that reputation to the next level this week by putting up seven billboards that call out prominent politicians and religious leaders.

American Atheists plans to target three Republican politicians: former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former House Speak Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

The seven signs will go up around Dallas and Austin, Texas.

In one billboard, a picture of Palin is featured on the left, with a quote attributed to her. "We should create law based on the God of the Bible," the quote reads. Underneath the graphic is a tag line "GO GODLESS INSTEAD."

The billboard, however, misquotes Palin. In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O'Reilly, Palin addressed the growth in American secularism by saying America's founding fathers "would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments," not "should."

Each of the billboards has a similar format and includes a pitch for the group’s 50th anniversary convention in Austin.

Santorum is condemned for when he told an Iowa crowd last November that, "our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God's law," while Gingrich is criticized for a remark he made at a CNN debate on October 18, 2011, in Las Vegas. "How can I trust you with power if you don't pray," Gingrich posited.

Virginia Davis, spokeswoman for Santorum, thanked American Atheists for the publicity.

"At a time when many are trying to remove God from the public square, the senator is appreciative of someone helping him very publicly express his strong belief that we are one nation under God," Davis wrote in an e-mail to CNN.

American Atheists President David Silverman, however, sees the billboards as a way to shame the targets.

"We at American Atheists are shaming these leaders for their bigoted and backwards remarks and attitudes, and conveying a message to today's atheists that we need not take it anymore," Silverman wrote in an e-mail to CNN.

Two religious leaders, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor at the First Baptist Dallas, and Benedict XVI, now the pope emeritus, also are featured on billboards.

Jeffress' billboard includes a quote the pastor said during a 2008 sermon titled, "Gay Is Not OK." "What they [homosexuals] do is filthy," reads the billboard. Under the quote is the phrase "Go Godless Instead" and a rainbow flag, a symbol of gay rights.

This will be the only ad placed in Dallas, featured in a busy stretch of Interstate 30 and only a few miles from Jeffress' large church.

The First Baptist Church of Dallas is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. Jeffress, who has been in its pulpit since 2007, is no stranger to controversy, including comments about Judiasm and Catholicism. After introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington in October 2011, Jeffress told reporters he believed Mormonism was a cult, expressing a personal position and one held by his denomination. The move was seen as a particular slight to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a lifelong Mormon.

The billboard featuring Benedict XVI, who stepped down Thursday, cites a New York Times article entitled, "Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys." "The Church Protected Priests Who Abused Children," reads the billboard.

Silverman says the group plans to spend $25,000 on the billboards, which will go up on Monday and remain up for the rest of March.

"Everyone should be allowed to profess their faith, of course, but that does not shield them from criticism," Silverman wrote. "Everyone has the responsibility to lead moral lives, and 'It's my religion' is not an excuse for bigotry or immorality."

Silverman continued: "Some Americans seem to think that bigotry in the name of religion is somehow permissible. It is not. We hope that the believers of Austin place anti-atheist bigotry in the same category as anti-Semitism or racism - a relic of the past that needs to be jettisoned for all the right reasons."

Six of the billboards will be dispersed around the Austin area, with four placed on high traffic freeways.

This is not the first time American Atheists has used billboards to get its message out.

Last March, the group targeted Muslims and Jews with billboards that called God a "myth" in both Arabic and Hebrew.

In November 2010, the same group posted a billboard around the holiday season that read, "You KNOW it's a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON."

Silverman, who has been criticized for this in-your-face atheism, has long defended the tactic, saying that the confrontation is meant to "grow the cause and benefit the country."

"That's why companies buy billboards - to get attention," Silverman wrote.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Catholic Church • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Pope • Rick Santorum • Sarah Palin

soundoff (3,513 Responses)
  1. PeteH

    Atheists believe everyone should be as unhappy, bitter, and angry as they are.

    March 3, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Danno

      This atheist is more than happy not to be part of historical ignorance and bigotry. I'm still waiting for a reason why I should choose Christianity over Islam, Judaism, or Hinduism. I would even be happy with evidence that even one supernatural occurrence has ever happened, ever. But there isn't, because supernatural activity is make-believe.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Pete

      That's why the data has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians.

      By the way lying is a sin.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Pete, take a look at the posts by Chad, Live4him, Austin, and Topher and tell me they sound like sane, happy, loving people.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Frank Bonora

      To be honest Pete it kind of makes my day when I see someone crying suffering in pain. Just the other day I saw someone get run down by a car . The guy was in horrible pain . I didn't call for help. Figured let him suffer a little longer before somebody helps him.. That really made my day.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      PeteH: But we're not unhappy or angry. We're simply good without gods. We don't need a fear-mongering imaginary creature to dictate how we live...we're not weak minded like that. However, if you want to see true hate look at the comments made by some of your fellow believers and then look at 75% christian prisoner population (opposed to the 1% Atheist). For that matter just read your buybull for the true effect of hate.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • P. R.

      Sure, because VOLUNTARILY enslaving the mind, soul, and body to a hateful, petty, childish, arrogant deity through participation in oppressive dogma designed only to control and frighten sounds like SUCH A BETTER OPTION than thinking for oneself and living a life of TRUTH over fiction.

      I imagine you spend more time judging those who don't believe as you do rather than learning to understand them or even befriend them. As a former Xtian (who wised up to the fact that he was being conned by the biggest scam in Human history), I can tell you my life is MUCH happier (and in a much more genuine fashion) now that I no longer live in fear of the vengeful "Sky Father's" threats of damnation and suffering nor under the persecution of fellow Xtians from their holier-than-thou perches. I am also happier being moral because I desire to be good to my fellow Humans and NOT because I have entered into a transactional salvation-based morality wherein the only reason I do good works is out of fear of reprisal and punishment from some jealous and mean-spirited deity that is fond of letting thousands of children die of hunger each day because of "His" plan or some nonsense like that.

      You want to be REALLY happy, my friend? Throw of the chains, refute the lies, leave the Iron Age dogmatic prison you have chosen and THINK FOR YOURSELF. Because, if you don't, trust me...someone else WILL. And, if you are a blindly worshipping Xtian, you can bet your sweet salvation that someone else ALREADY IS.

      Wake up everyone. For yourself and all those around you. Religion does NOT equate spirituality and NO RELIGION HAS A FRANCHISE ON THE TRUTH. Not a SINGLE one. To believe otherwise is willful delusion.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Starman

      Atheists are 20% of the US population and make up <1% of the prison population.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Rob

      As an atheist, the only time Im angry is when believers try to legislate my morality. You want to be religious? Fine. Keep it to yourself .

      March 3, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • swami545

      Pete / truth – making up stats?

      You make up only 11.46% of the world's population. And BTW, over 75% of those incarcerated are Democrats.

      You don't sound happy to me, you sound bitter.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • swami545

      Starman – That's because there are SO few of them in the world. DUUUHHHHH!

      Only 11.46% of the world's population is atheist. DUHHH

      March 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • swami545

      Danno – And that's why you are intolerant and hateful of anyone who is religious, right?

      "Look at me – I LOVE ALL PEOPLE". Isn't that what you just got done telling us?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are you so concerned if there are so few atheists? Why do they bother you so much?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  2. Nanners

    Although your intentions may be good, This is not going to end well, and is a total waste of money. Texas is not the place to start your attack, and if you cannot quote correctly your credibility is lost.

    March 3, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Austin is very secular.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Jim Brody

      @TruthPrevials: Austin has a larger secular community than other TX cities, but that doesn't mean much. Austin's seculars are by no means is is a significant segment of the population, that town is overwhelmingly religious.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  3. GO_GOP

    I believe Christianity is the only true religion on earth since it is based on the Bible which is the word of our Lord in heaven. He sent his Son Lord Jesus to die for our sins. We ignore HIM at out own peril. Scientists say all the complicated stuff like nothing can go faster than light (light is everywhere; if there is speed of light how can it be everywhere), quantum theory which says a thing is both a wave and a particle (how absurd is that!!) and that we came from Monkeys and Chimpanzees (but we do not have a single record of a Monkey or Chimpanzee turning into a human being). They say they have proof but offer complicated equations and other stuff 99.99% of people do not understand. How funny is that? Seek our Lord and be saved. Science is but a tool of Satan to take us away from our Lord, for all we know...

    March 3, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • RES

      I am Christian also. Your narrow view of God is not learned from the Bible. Jesus is all things to all men. Your attempt to define an infinite God is not based on Scripture. The four GOPs depicted in this article live hypocritical lives. Jesus commanded us to love God first and love others as yourself. That includes not judging them.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Danno

      You seem to have no problem using technology and science to profess your love of an idea that you have no physical evidence of. If science is the devil, get off the computer, stop going to the doctor, and get to praying.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Danno

      By the way, your understanding of science and evolution is at an extremely low level.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Aydin

      They aren't actually quite that stupid.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Aydin

      This was obviously a joke folks...I just saw after posting that people answered it!

      March 3, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Frank Bonora

      Let me get this straight so I understand. God sent his son here so he could be tortured and executed and be a scape goat to suffer so I could be forgiven for the sins that someone else committed. I think that's the way it went down. Oh yeah. Now I get it. Makes perfect sense. .

      March 3, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Razor

      The school system that you were educated in should be closed. Your reasoning is laughable.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Jay

      You know Islam is the only true religion since it is based on the Koran, the word of god.
      You know Judaism is the only true religion since it is based on the Torah, the word of god.
      Hmmm 3 books all the words of god.. now which one is the 'true' religion?
      GO-GOP how can you say yours is the true religion when others have holy books that are the word of god too?
      No evidence of ape evolution, have you heard of osteopithicus or Lucy? Both skeletons found in Africa fill in the evolutionary gap. Your bible claims the earth is less than 10,000 years old. I guess all the fossil records for eons of Earth evolution were created by the devil. In this light is seems the devil reveals more truths. Your comments on the superiority of your religion over all others is completely laughable. Good thing you chose the right religion and the right god, otherwise you'd go to hell like all the Jews.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Then please don't seek medical attention the next time you get sick if science is a tool of satan's. Pray and see how that works for you. While you're at it, disconnect your computer...without science and an Atheist(s) you wouldn't have it.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • buteor90

      What Christian science class did you take? Man did NOT eveolve from monkeys nor chimpanzees. We have a COMMON lineage with them but not a direct evolution. So I guess you think that man and dinosours lived together and the world is 4000 to 6000 years old as well. If you can't understand the diversity of science then you are seriously aflicted with the "ostrich syndrome". You know stick your head in the sand (which they dont'b by the way) and hope all will be alright or don't want to understand. No wonder why the U.S. is so far back in the ratings with the rest of the world.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Nameless

      Seriously? Wouldn't the fact that light IS ALREADY EVERYWHERE display its speed? Seems simple. Same with quantum physics–the particle-wave theory implies one is all and all is one, just depends on your perspective. Can't get more religious than that. I used to wonder how God could be everywhere at once (as was taught to me). Then I turned the concept around–everywhere WAS God, he didn't need to try and get anywhere. There's no use in trying to reach logical conclusions to questions which defy logic, and no need to "personalize" the energy that composes everything by naming it God.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Starman

      a child dies ever 3 seconds on this planet of terrible starvation while they pray to one of the hundreds of different visions of a Christian god and nothing happens. That's probably 300 dead while you wrote this great post about how great god is. Sam Harris "Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely."

      March 3, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Mike

      Hi Danno: Christianity is a historical faith based on historical evidence. It would be as pointless to apply the scientific method to an issue of history as it would be to apply the historical method to an issue of science. Just a thought. Although you might not agree with anything he has to say, you might find it interesting to read the book "Christian Apologetics" by Norman Geisler. It is a fairly technical work by a well-known scholar...but really well written. Many blesings

      March 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • TNPatriot

      go_gop, first of all Christianity cannot be the one true religion because it embraces several different religions. Christianity is simply s 'style' of religion. But according to you it is the one true religion 'because it is based on the bible', so how do explain which 'one' of the hundreds of versions of the bible is the true 'one'. As for the bible being the 'word' of god, well truthfully, It IS NOT. The bible is a collection of writing by various men and there is actually no way to even verify who the authors really were. Combine the truth, with the fact that even those original words (many of which contradict each other) have been changed through thousands of interpretations over the centuries.
      If there truly was a 'god' as all organized religions profess, and he is 'all good and powerful' as they all say, please tell us all WHY, he would allow and not step in to prevent the mass killings that we have seen here over the past century? No REAL 'god' would have allowed the killing of all those innocent children at Sandy Hook! The TRUTH is that everyday we see proof that 'god' as you believe, simply does NOT exist, but is truly a myth created by and furthered by the church 'industry'.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Mike

      TNPatriot: Your post is interesting. I would recommend you read the following book...you might find it interesting. "Christian Apologetics" by Norman Geisler. He does a really good job addressing some of your objections/assumptions. Many blessings.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Christian Pitbull

      ^^^ This is what is wrong with this country. ^^^
      This is religion at it's purest. GO_GOP...I feel sad for your lack of intelligence.
      Whoever let this happen to you should be ashamed.

      March 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Why anyone would waste money on that rag is beyond me.

      March 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  4. Aydin

    Around here long-term secular Republicans are fleeing their party like rats from a sinking ship. The two reasons consistently cited: "control by the religious right" and "obsession with guns".

    March 3, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • DemFromSC

      Let's hope that "religion" spreads around the entire country, and that the GOP dies along with all belief in mythical sky creatures!

      March 3, 2013 at 10:51 am |

    Sen. Sick Santorum, who wrote THE God's law books in the first place?

    March 3, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  6. Nietodarwin

    Keep voting these mentally ill xstians OUT of public office. Going AGAINST these nuts is to go FOR our country.

    “Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.”
    _ Greg Graffin

    March 3, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • HarryGP

      Heretics want everyone to forget God and become animals, which are not smart. They also have a strange obsession with test tubes and beakers, like we all came from school lab project instead of God. I don't believe them, I believe God.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • hawkeye

      No god, no gods, just the natural order and laws of science.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Harry, it does not help your cause to lie. Why do you do it? You made this same absurd claim on another thread and you were soundly trounced for it. NOBODY claims life came from beakers and you know it. If anyone did, you would be able to cite the source.

      Why do so many true believers have to lie to make a point?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Really-O?

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son – "Why do so many true believers have to lie to make a point?"

      Because their beliefs are not supported by facts (or reality).

      March 3, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If they only lied about those, I could understand it. But they lie about everything. They lie about what's in the news. They lie about what someone said here. Harry's lying about something he was called on yesterday.

      Why do these dimwits think lying is going to persuade anyone?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • HarryGP

      Tom, I didn't really expect a heretic to admit that science can't make life any more than evolution can. But if that's what you want to say, I won't argue with you. Or go ahead and publish it in a newspaper somewhere, maybe other heretics will figure it out too when you tell the truth about it.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're a troll, Harry. Any Christian wouldn't need to lie to make a point.

      Nobody claimed that life began in a beaker, yet you continue to pretend someone did. Nobody ever said that science could create life, either, you lame-azz little twerp. Keep lying. It just makes you look like the imbecile you are.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • HarryGP

      That was what I've been saying all along Tom. If science can't make life even when trying hard for years and thinking with the best computers out there, millions of minds working on it, then how is evolution supposed to do it without trying? I rest my case, God is the creator.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can troll all you want, lolly. It won't help. Creationism is bunk.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  7. larrylinn

    Social commentator and former alter-boy George Carlin sums it up, “Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.” Now, you talk about a good bull*** story

    March 3, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullspit.”
      _ Richard Pryor
      If god created man in his own image, how come I'm not invisible?”
      _ David Powers

      March 3, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • counter

      If George Carlin, a bitter man that just got up and swore a lot in front of people, and hated religion, is your hero, have at it. SInce atheists are like 3-5% may be 8% of the population, you can be ignored. Most people intrinsically know there is a creator. It's the atheists that get so up in arms at the audacity of believers to actually believe in the Lord, but to tell others about it.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Theron

      Counter – for thousands of years, most people intrinsically knew the Earth did not move. They were wrong. Our brains are wired in ways that generally help us, but sometimes fool us badly.

      March 5, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Will

      There is an old testament passage about the earth on an axis.

      March 5, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  8. HarryGP

    This is how you write a billboard:

    Job 38:1-4
    "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who [is] this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding."

    March 3, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Frank Bonora

      Why are you quoting scripture? This is a discussion group. Why don't you give your own opinions.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Harry: We have tried to explain this to you...imaginary friends are for children little one.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      I don't know any xstians who just vomit all over the table when other people are eating there. Why can't these deluded people realize that quoting scripture has about the same effect on people of reason. You are free to practice your mental illness, so do it behind closed doors. Quit puking on society, we have tolerated enough. Our time is here, and religion's time is fading fast.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • withoeve

      Challenge accepted:

      We know that our bodies are composed of chemicals, and those chemicals are composed of atoms. We also have an understanding that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed. Given this, when billions of years ago a star or many stars exploded out their matter, we were there. To quote a scientist, "We are star dust in the highest exalted way."

      March 3, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Mike

      Frank, this discussion is about...i hate using this word....religion. Atheists are attacking Christians in this country. The Bible, scripture, is the revelation of Jesus Christ, the one who we follow and believe in. Therefore quoting His word a part of this discussion/debate is totally appropriate, Atheists believe that truth means there is no God. Christians believe there is a God with their basis of truth resting in the Bible...Scripture. Jesus said in John 8: " If you abide in my word then you are truly disciples of mine and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Whether anyone likes it or not, that is my, and most Christians' position. Many blessings!

      March 3, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  9. Nietodarwin

    “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing "Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
    _ Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

    “If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion.”
    _ Edmond De Goncourt

    March 3, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  10. Nietodarwin

    Palin proves how stupid she is every time she talks. WE ARE A SECULAR NATION.

    The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus…will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
    Thomas Jefferson
    “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”
    _ Thomas Jefferson

    March 3, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • saggyroy

      John McCain is an idiot.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Mike

      What I have observed (the first step in the scientific method, incidentally) is a pattern (the next step in the scientific method); and I have now arrived at a hypothesis (third step in the scientific method): Atheists seem to generally resort to insults and personal attack to make their points rather than intellect and civility. That's just a hypothesis...but pretty obvious...Why is that?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Obi_donkenobi

      Mike: Being a Xtian and all, please forgive my atheistic brothers and sisters for their ad hominem attacks, and try to put yourself in their shoes. They have been, and continue to be rather harshly persecuted by the religious, and feel the need to strike back with force. The good news is: atheism *is* a growing movement, and so atheists are now feeling more confident in expressing their opinions and feelings.

      I would be happy to debate the existence of God or the Bible with you, without the use of personal attacks. In fact, here's my opening salvo: If God is omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent and otherwise "perfect," why did he create an imperfect world?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Mike

      Obi: He didn't. Part of the construct was the factor of choice. Another factor was the impact of the war in the kingdom and the banishment of Lucifer to earth. The two together, temptation plus choice, led to original sin, which corrupted the entire creation. See Romans 8: 19-21...

      March 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Mike

      Obi: Regarding your reference to the history of treatment of atheists at the hands of Christians, you may be correct to a certain degree. I absolutely don't condone arrogance or rudeness..and unhappily may be guilty of that myself. For my part, I apologize for myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are exhorted to speak the truth in love and humility with a heart of compassion and kindness. Very often we fail. Per your post, which I appreciate, I, for my part, will try to do better. Many blessings.

      March 3, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  11. Nietodarwin

    The Nones are coming, the Nones are growing in number. Religion is finally in decline, and will continue to decline. Gives one hope for this world.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Frank Bonora

      We might see one day the majority of elected officials that are secular. Then we can truly separate church and state.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  12. Reality

    Do not donate any money to American Atheists. Tis just another "non-profit" using a cause as a front for a tax-free investment company. Instead simply promulgate the following to family and friends:

    The Apostles'/Agnostics’?Atheists' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    March 3, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Obi_donkenobi

      As far as I am aware, there is NO evidence for the existence of the biblical Jesus outside of the Bible. He is not mentioned in any other surviving records or accounts from the time of his supposed life. Seems odd, a (theoretically) major historical figure like Him, not being mentioned anywhere else. And you can't use the Bible as evidence, any more than I could use the Harry Potter novels to prove the existence of Dumbledore. I await any reply from anyone who can cite any other reference to the existence of Jesus.

      March 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Mike

      Obi: Please check out the following for extrabiblical data re. Jesus: Cornelius Tacitus; Gaius Seutonius Tranquillas; Flavius Josephus; Pliny the Younger; Roman Emperor Trajan; Emperor Hadrian; to name a few. The Roman historian Livy is a critical piece of historical data for an understanding of Ancient Rome. Consider how many extant manuscripts exist and how close the oldest come to the original writing.

      March 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  13. frankb2910

    I am worried that elected people that have leadership in congress are making decisions for the fates of millions. There is a biblical prophecy that Jesus will return when things get real bad. Just imagine the US government believing that the world is about to end and the ending will be glorious. Or stopping stem cell research that could save thousands of lives because of their religious beliefs.

    I am worried that elected people that have leadership in congress are making decisions for the fates of millions. There is a biblical prophecy that Jesus will return when things get real bad. Just imagine the US government believing that the world is about to end and the ending will be glorious. Or stopping stem cell research that could save thousands of lives because of their religious beliefs.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 3, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Lying theiving troll. Do not feed the troll.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • truth be told

      Truth is never trolling and there are two wonderfully accurate Truths portrayed.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      TBT: Off your meds again??? Prayer is only for you weak minded individuals who are too lazy to actually do anything in this world!!

      March 3, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • Annonymous

      Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it's contained.
      Religion is there somewhere, and you, you're like waiting, you're waiting for a train. A train that'll take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can't know for sure. Yet it doesn't matter. Because either way you'll be fine!
      And without religion, you would be in that ride with FEAR, and you won't feel comfortable because you were raised that way. Yet it goes to the same place if you just lay back and relax!
      As atheism, too much religion is not healthy either.
      I pray for your mind to change. Maybe that'll work!

      March 3, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!:`

      March 3, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Mike

      Truthbetold: I have two master's degrees and am a very successful professional. I pray a lot...and guess what, God answers my prayers. Many blessings.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  15. o

    Nobody would recognize an atheist

    March 3, 2013 at 6:26 am |
  16. AtheistSteve

    Here we go again. Silverman and his group will be demonized for being overly confrontational toward those of faith. Never mind that proselytizing Christian billboards far outnumber these few nonbelief examples. For every God Delusion there are dozens of counter publications. For the few Atheist Experience like TV or radio shows there are hundreds of religious broadcasts. For each freethinker youtube channel myriads of religious ones. The entire world is awash in theistic fanaticism sowing discord, prejudice and intolerance toward those who don't share their unfounded beliefs yet atheists are labelled the trouble makers.
    So be it. For as long as superstition and ignorance continue to dominate every aspect of society the voices of reason will be countered, despised and ostracized but never silenced.

    March 3, 2013 at 6:07 am |
    • captain america

      Since neither you nor the pos that claims relationship with you or the ever present ah hot air are Americans your combined opinions on American politics is of less value to US than a honest American dogs daily crap. There's your sign.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      CA: Out for a weekend pass?? Too bad they didn't up your meds before they let you out.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • captain america

      Liar prefails one line wonder but still without a legitimate voice in American politics. Tend to your own yard sweetie and leave US to ours. There's your sign

      March 3, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      captain asshole...since my post was aimed at religion and its fundamentalism and not politics your entire rant is as usual moot. Just because political leaders were singled out for display of their religious views is superfluous and beside the point. While I do think the republican party platform is far too religiously motivated my own political leaning is more bipartisan than strictly democrat. Don't you ever get tired of being completely wrong every time you post?

      March 3, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • captain america

      Since the story is directed to Americans and the all the people quoted are patriotic Americans it is by definition none of your F'n business . You got issues with religion, poor baby, deal with your own country not US. We got no use for you. There's your sign

      March 3, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Frank Bonora

      I think it will be a slow process before we become a secular society. Take a look at England , Australia. Many other industrialized countries. Religious influence is diminishing. I used to get frustrated debating theist until I realized however strong you assert your reason they just will never get it. I am sure they think the same for atheists. I feel a sense of responsibility to continue arguing. Maybe it's like the slow process of evelution. The history of this world dictates that things always get better. I am confident that we are heading in a good direction.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      CA: Wow...first you accuse me of not being Steve's wife and then you spew more crap. You're no more American than I am. You do not represent the Constitution or at least you don't adhere to it. The USA imposes itself upon all other countries and until it stops that we have no reason to not voice our opinions about it. We get it though, Mommy withdrew you from school when you were in Grade 3 due to the fact that they wouldn't use only the buybull to teach you, so your lack of understanding on reality and how the USA affects other is understandable. Now be a good little troll and get back to your bridge. (oh and stop using things created by Atheists...the computer; the internet)

      March 3, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      captain, just shove it up your ass.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • captain america

      Tom tom = lemming. There's your sign

      March 3, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      CA...when American Atheists becomes a political party your argument might hold water. Until then you are just a bickering troll.

      Frank...you're right. Mostly they will never get it. The debate however is fought on different terms by both sides. The theists view us as enemies of God. Unrepenting sinners deserving of everlasting torture. We on the other hand view them as simply mistaken. Tricked into buying into a lie that permeates their entire view of makind and its place in the universe. They accuse us of having inflated egos all while professing a personal relationship with the creator of everything. The hypocrisy is astounding.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      captain azzhole=troll. There's YOUR sign, fvcktard.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • counter

      Who defines what is reasonable? You?

      You guys set the criteria and then call those that believe in God nuts. Right. Nice play.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      No YOU set the criteria when your beliefs proclaim magical powers, miracles and bodies rising from the dead as perfectly reasonable occurances when they obviously are NOT. We are dis-believers in the propsterous claims you make. Finally the standards to which we assign belief are determined by the evidence supporting them. Not by faith which is nothing more than a euphemism for wishful thing.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      wishful thinking.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  17. HotAirAce

    Too bad they misquoted Palin as that will give the mentally ill delusional believer crowd something to complain about, but otherwise, I like the billboards and can't wait for the squealing to begin.

    March 3, 2013 at 6:07 am |
    • the AnViL

      it may be a "misquote" of sorts...

      here's her original comment: “keep this clean, keep it simple. Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant– they’re quite clear– that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments, it’s quite simple.”

      so – ya know.. they basically got the gist of it... there's no reason for anyone to pay particular attention to that. they captured the essence of her statement.

      but you're right – some delusional, xian suboid will probably take issue with it.

      fuck 'em.

      March 3, 2013 at 6:28 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Of course, Palin, AS USUAL, got it wrong. The Founding Fathers would never do such a thing.

      March 3, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • saggyroy

      "What Would Palin Do?" (WWPD) About kids having babies out of wedlock. Stone them?

      March 3, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  18. Science

    Separation of Church and State,

    Civil law trumps god, it did at the Dover trial. Pretty simple no god(s) NEEDED to make LAWS !!!


    March 3, 2013 at 6:06 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Science: AtheistSteve and I were tormented with a religious program on the radio this morning...it was our Sunday laugh. The guy kept referring to those who don't believe and was spewing buybull verses proving how horrible that god is.

      March 3, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • captain america

      No capacity to turn off a radio in canada? You lying sos. Keep your crap in your own house liar prefails and we will tend to US. There's your sign

      March 3, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      CA: When your opinion is required we'll rattle your medication...until then myob!

      March 3, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Mike

      I know you're going to hate this, but here goes: "Why are the nations in an uproar, And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His annointed; 'Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!' He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them!"

      I'm a history teacher. Whenever I think of the concept fo "separation of church and state," I have to chuckle a lilttle. As the passage states, God has a good laugh.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your god doesn't make the laws here, and if you're a history teacher, one can only hope it's in a private religious school, where state certification isn't required–just blind adherence to religious nonsense.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Mike

      Actually I'm a public school teacher with two MA's...selected to be a lead teacher, mentor teacher, been an asst. principal, principal. Spent the last nine years serving students in alternative education. Am currently a special education teacher working with at risk youth in a Juvenile Detention Facility. It's been a privilege serving students in public education. I know you're probably not going to aprpeciate this, but there are tens of thousands of public educators who are Christians serving children throughout the nation. And we manage to serve without compromising our faith or our professional responsibilities,

      March 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't give a sh!t what awards have been bestowed upon your little head, Mike. If you teach history and laugh at the idea of separation of church and state, you're a fraud.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
  19. the AnViL

    "Everyone has the responsibility to lead moral lives, and 'It's my religion' is not an excuse for bigotry or immorality."

    March 3, 2013 at 5:19 am |
  20. End Religion

    Since when is truth rhetoric?

    March 3, 2013 at 5:02 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Since when is rhetoric truth?

      March 3, 2013 at 6:32 am |
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About this blog

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