You don’t need God—to hope, to care, to love, to live.

March 1, 2011


We at CFI hope that you will be seeing and hearing these words a lot.  It is the core message of an advertising campaign we are launching today .

Another bus/billboard campaign by a secular organization?  Is there really a need for it? 

CFI thinks so.  Although campaigns by other secular groups have received some well-deserved attention, advertising by secular groups is still swamped by the promotional efforts of religious organizations.

Moreover, our message has very little overlap with previous secular campaigns.  Those campaigns emphasized that nonbelievers are morally good people and questioned the truth of religious claims.  Our campaign does not focus on morality per se or evidence for God. 

Our message is about the lives of the nonreligious, or, put another way, we’re addressing God’s relevance, not God’s existence. 

CFI maintains we can have fulfilling lives without religion.  The proof is right in front of us—in the lives of millions of people who have rich, rewarding lives—lives with hope, care, and love—without resort to religion.

We’re not trying to convert anyone by this campaign, if conversion implies persuading people there is no God. We are trying to prompt people to consider and converse about some of the myths surrounding the nonreligious, in particular the myth that life without God means a joyless, meaningless, selfish, self-centered life. That’s false, and we hope (there’s that word again) that a not insignificant number of people will come to realize how ridiculous such a view is.

That such a myth is all too common is probably not something that I need to remind my fellow nonbelievers about.  We see evidence of this attitude everywhere, not just in Sunday morning televangelist diatribes.  But let me cite one example that brings home the persistence and pervasiveness of this myth. 

Last year, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a highly respected institution, hosted a debate between Christopher Hitchens and his brother, Peter, on the topic “Can Civilization Survive without God?”  Undoubtedly, part of the motivation for staging this event was the interest in seeing siblings, both of them are skilled polemicists, go at each other. But, presumably, this was not the sole motivation.  Rather, those who held this event must have thought this is a serious question—do we need God to remain civilized?  Or put less delicately, can you expect atheists to do anything other than gratify their own immediate selfish desires, with the result that a godless world will begin to resemble some of the more horrifying scenes from The Road

I do not fault the Pew Forum for holding this debate.  To the contrary, I would rather have such questions brought into the open and discussed.  But it is discouraging to see such a topic being taken seriously.  Would the Pew Forum hold a debate on whether civilization can survive without acceptance of Jesus as our savior? 

As Daniel Dennett argued in his excellent book, Breaking the Spell , a number of people don’t accept God at an intellectual level, but they refuse to give up or criticize religion because they “believe in belief.” That is, they maintain that religious belief is necessary to give people something to live for and to help ensure a just and stable society. This is a poor excuse for clinging to religion; it is based on prejudice, not evidence. Belief in God is no more necessary for a good life and a just society than belief in the divine right of kings was necessary to secure acceptance of government authority or a peaceful transition between heads of state.

People can live without God. Millions of us do so already. We need to discard once and for all the myth that one needs God in one’s life to be a caring, loving person.

Comments:

#1 Sandra H Howerton (Guest) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 1:10pm

I think this ad campaign is a good idea. It is not confrontational or insulting to religion. It just presents a reasonable, positive alternative. Hopefully, it will counteract some of the negative stereotypes of the nonreligious.

#2 Jim, Religion is Bullshit on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 2:17pm

I fully support an ad campaign.  The only hope our dumb, mean spirited species and the only hope for the greater biosphere is for humans to understand ourselves and our planet rationally.

The greatest hurdle to this is religion. 

Emphasizing that by giving up religion one does not abandon hope, love, or caring is a good message.

Keep it positive.
Good work

#3 Info Dave (Guest) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 5:50pm

I like the delineation you are trying to make. I question my religious friends when they bail on responsibility and say, ‘It’s in God’s hands’. You’ve got to at least try.

My secular friends abide by the 10 commandments, not because of the religious connotation, but because the rules make sense. The Bible isn’t a religious creed, it’s a collection of really good stories.

I like the distinction you are trying to make.

#4 Paul (Guest) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 6:17pm

Ronald, you write,

“People can live without God. Millions of us do so already. We need to discard once and for all the myth that one needs God in one’s life to be a caring, loving person.”

In one sense I agree with you: People don’t need to make affirmative faith statements about “God” in order to be good and loving. That is clearly and manifestly false. It is a bad idea pushed by people who are trying to convince *themselves* of the truth of their own religion.

But from another point of view your statement is frantically comedic: Whether or not God is “in one’s life” is simply beside the point. This is because, from a traditional Christian point of view, all life is in God.

As professed by many believers and as rejected by many atheists, “God” is a small and altogether laughable red herring. But God, as professed by countless theologians and thoughtful Christians, is not.

Yours,

Paul Wallace

#5 Paul Wallace on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 6:19pm

Ronald, you write,

“People can live without God. Millions of us do so already. We need to discard once and for all the myth that one needs God in one’s life to be a caring, loving person.”

In one sense I agree with you: People don’t need to make affirmative faith statements about “God” in order to be good and loving. That is clearly and manifestly false. It is a bad idea pushed by people who are trying to convince *themselves* of the truth of their own religion.

But from another point of view your statement is frantically comedic: Whether or not God is “in one’s life” is simply beside the point. This is because, from a traditional Christian point of view, all life is in God.

As professed by many believers and as rejected by many atheists, “God” is a small and altogether laughable red herring. But God, as professed by countless theologians and thoughtful Christians, is not.

Yours,

Paul Wallace

#6 Jim (Guest) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 7:03pm

@ Paul:

How do you falsify your god idea?
If you can’t, then why should your position be taken seriously.

#7 Paul Wallace on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 7:13pm

@Jim:

Thanks for responding.

Falsification, as I understand it (a la Popper), is a strictly scientific category. I’m not sure why it must apply to all ways of knowing.

Put another way, I am not a strict rationalist. I understand that this may automatically disqualify anything I say in the eyes of many, but I’m willing to take that risk.

But I need to ask: Such a blanket disqualification is not a truly scientific response, is it? What evidence is there that Enlightenment-style rationalism is the only way to know anything?

Paul

#8 Jim (Guest) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 at 8:47pm

@Paul:

Falsification allows a manner to consider what can be examined and what can be dismissed.

I’ve written about adorable undetectable purple aliens that control human governments before.  This logically unverifiable idea cannot be disproved, just like the christian god idea can’t. 

However, if I really want to understand how human governments work, I must dismiss my logically unverifiable aliens as an explanation because without the ability to falsify it, it cannot be tested.

If you were in a political science class and the instructor used a logically unverifiable ideas to explain the behavior of governments, I imagine that you would demand that the instructor to be fired.  I would.

I don’t see how logically unverifiable ideas about the christian god idea are any different.  If one wants to understand human behavior, the history of life, or the history of humans, using a logically unverifiable idea just doesn’t work.

If you accept the logically unverifiable god idea as a way to explain the origin of the cosmos, how is this superior to this statement:

Undetectable monters from an undetectable universe conspired to create our universe.  Since our universe was created by these monsters, our nature is monstrous.  I know this because these monsters favor me and have revealed it to my mind.

How is this statement any less “true” than the idea that an immaterial christian god created everything, controls everything, and this is known because it was revealed to a select few who then wrote it down.  I would be most interested in an answer to that question.

That should answer your question as to why logically unverifiable ideas get dismissed.  As to what evidence is there that the scientific method is the only way to know things, just consider the history of medicine.  It was by observing the nature of the cell and then constructing tests as to what can kill, say an unpleasant bacteria, did human knowledge lead us to anti-biotics.

This is not to say that trial and error have not also been useful.  Fermenting foods, for example, happened by trial and error.  It has been very useful.  However, nothing about trial and error is logically unverifiable.  Science, for me, is the better method (though I have to admit that trial and error has been integrated) because the scientific method allows greater control and thus faster results.

#9 Deb Sturm (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 6:42am

My, my. You have it all figured out. Just how has humanity survived all this time without your insight? Dude, you got some real issues. I will include you and your organization in my prayers.

#10 Barbara B. (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 7:41am

Dave wrote,
“My secular friends abide by the 10 commandments, not because of the religious connotation, but because the rules make sense.”

Yeah, especially the first three.

Dave wrote,
“The Bible isn’t a religious creed, it’s a collection of really good stories.”

Yeah, especially the ones that justify infanticide, genocide, animal sacrifices, war, slavery and oppression of women.

#11 Thomas (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 8:06am

Deb Sturm wrote: “My, my. You have it all figured out. Just how has humanity survived all this time without your insight? Dude, you got some real issues. I will include you and your organization in my prayers.”

Deb, considering all the wars which have torn apart our species in the name of religion, we Humanists often wonder the same thing.  You’re going to pray for us?  Good deal.  As a threat, that rates about on par with waving an empty gun. 

#12 Barbara B. (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 10:01am

Deb Sturm wrote to Thomas: “My, my. You have it all figured out. Just how has humanity survived all this time without your insight? Dude, you got some real issues. I will include you and your organization in my prayers.”

How has humanity survived without the scientific method? Very miserly I would say.  Would you like to go back to the Dark Ages and live a hard life and die at 40 of some plague? People prayed a lot back them and it did them no good.

#13 Jim, Religion is Bullshit on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 11:31am

@Deb:
If you don’t understand basic logic then perhaps you don’t belong on a site where people not only understand, but live by it.

As to praying, go ahead and waste your time.  The great prayer experiment a few year back proved that prayer does nothing.

Don’t you find it odd that prayer and revelation led to nothing but theocracy, brutal monarchies, oppression, and not very good medicine.

Don’t you find it odd that when we in the west used enlightenment, secular reason, and science, the lives of people improved.

The conditions of humans have improved the farther societies remove themselves from religion.  I’m sure your sense of superiority is grounded on believing make believe stories, but you’re not convincing anyone here.

Best

#14 Paul Wallace on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 12:01pm

@Jim, you write,

“I’ve written about adorable undetectable purple aliens that control human governments before.  This logically unverifiable idea cannot be disproved, just like the christian god idea can’t.”

You are right. The Christian God can’t be disproved. I admitted this already. But in the the act of framing the issue in this way, you have a priori discounted any religious way of knowing, and have done so prior to investigation.

This approach also discounts the reality of any idea that cannot be empirically verified, like love, courage, hope. You have also brushes aside, in their entirety, artistic and literary ways of knowing. All this is fine, if that’s what you want to do.

You also write, “As to what evidence is there that the scientific method is the only way to know things, just consider the history of medicine.  It was by observing the nature of the cell and then constructing tests as to what can kill, say an unpleasant bacteria, did human knowledge lead us to antibiotics.”

Certainly one cannot conclude from this that the scientific method is the only way to know things. That’s like pointing out how well a hammer works on nails and concluding that the hammer is the only thing you need to build a house.

Paul

#15 Barbara B. (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 12:29pm

Paul wrote to Jim: “Certainly one cannot conclude from this that the scientific method is the only way to know things. That’s like pointing out how well a hammer works on nails and concluding that the hammer is the only thing you need to build a house.”
A hammer is not the only tool needed to build a house, but it is a tool and it works.  What does religion do?  What can we use it for?  What has it helped us achieve?

You know what my answer is: NOTHING!  Religion is good for nothing (at least nothing good).

#16 Jim, Religion is Bullshit on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 12:31pm

@Paul:

Love and other emotions are not discounted by the scientific method.  In fact, the science of psychiatry is that we can understand the brain and the emotions by its chemical characteristics.

As to literary knowledge: figuring out what people meant when they wrote something is problematic.  When I was in graduate school, I was introduced to deconstruction.  The construct was unbelievably flawed.  Something like literature should just be read and enjoyed.  One might examine writing styles, content, historical context, etc, but it cannot bring forth a truth.

And, you’re taking my medicine argument out of context.  I also wrote that trial and error is a proven method to acquire knowledge.  Science allows control and faster results.

As to making an a priori assumption:

a priori:  relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge that proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience

You have used the term incorrectly in my argument.  Before one can observe something, it must first be shown to exist.  Falsification allows one to chose those things that can be observed and tested. 

You cannot investigate the christian god idea because there is no way to observe it.

You’re making this more complicated than necessary.

#17 Paul Wallace on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 12:55pm

@Jim, you write,

“Something like literature should just be read and enjoyed.  One might examine writing styles, content, historical context, etc, but it cannot bring forth a truth.”

OK, good. I happen to disagree, but it’s good to know where you’re coming from. (I just can’t bring myself to believe that people throughout history have pushed themselves to read great literature for mere personal entertainment and/or as a kind of emotional masturbation. Because it seems to me that’s all that remains once “truth” is removed. Also, I don’t think the only task of reading a great novel is to figure out what the authors meant when they wrote it. For example, for me at least, reading someone tough like Dostoevsky is not merely a game of “guess what the author’s thinking.”)

You write, “You cannot investigate the christian god idea because there is no way to observe it.” This is true, if you are using the word “observe” in its strict scientific sense, as in “Last night I observed Saturn’s rings’ Cassini Division with my telescope.”

But, once again, is all seeing the same as observing? I mean, as understood in this narrow way? Scientific skepticism is one approach to life, true. But its *sufficiency* as an approach (even when one throws in trial and error) is not self-evident. At least not to me.

P.

#18 Barbara B (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 1:39pm

Paul wrote to Jim: “(I just can’t bring myself to believe that people throughout history have pushed themselves to read great literature for mere personal entertainment and/or as a kind of emotional masturbation. Because it seems to me that’s all that remains once “truth” is removed. Also, I don’t think the only task of reading a great novel is to figure out what the authors meant when they wrote it. For example, for me at least, reading someone tough like Dostoevsky is not merely a game of “guess what the author’s thinking.”)”


I agree.  One can derive moral truths from fictional literature, or guides how to live one’s life.  But what can one get from reading the Bible?  As a science book, it is complete rubbish (the writers were so ignorant that they did not even know that bats are mammals and not birds).  And as a moral guide, it is even worse. It justifies slavery, human and animal sacrifices, wars, homophobia, oppression of women, etc., etc.  It is worse than Machaiavelli’s “The Prince” and even worse than Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.

#19 Herb (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 2:05pm

See, here’s the problem. The nonbelievers (that would be me,) specifically the non-theists (that would be me too,) have been invaded by the dreaded New Atheists (that would NOT be me,) who believe that the believers’ emotional investment in their beliefs can be squashed and torn asunder by reason alone. I don’t know why the AHA and the CFI and the other freethought organizations don’t “get it!” If you’re going to pull a crutch out from under somebody, you’d better be damn sure that that somebody is going to be better off without the crutch. Otherwise, you’ve lost all credibility and have only succeeded in coming face to face with Pogo’s enemy.

And to say that, “We need to discard once and for all the myth that one needs God in one’s life to be a caring, loving person,” shows a level of intolerance and disdain that is embarrassing to me as a non-theist and, hopefully, to other nonbelievers as well. When we in the nonbeliever community start telling believers what they “need” to do and what they “need” to believe, then we have, in my humble opinion, crossed the line and revealed a level of arrogance and hubris that should be unacceptable to all of us.

So, to those nonbelievers who continue to support such ad hoc and strawman arguments, along with a few implicit ad hominems, I suggest they be required to return their Happy Human T-Shirts as they exit the building.

#20 Jim (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 2:30pm

@Paul:

Literature is opinion.  Some opinions are more interesting than others, but it is still opinion.

As to observation, there are ways to test to ascertain whether what one sees is true.  Optical illusions can be understood.

It seems to me that you want to believe in a god.  Who cares.  Logically unverifiable ideas are numerous, so you have a broad range to choose from.  Just remember that there is no difference between your immaterial christian god and the undetectable monsters that created this universe and gave us a monstrous disposition.  Each of those logically unverifiable ideas is as legitimate as the other.  For the rational person, though, both get tossed.

@Herb,

Seems to me that you’re making the straw man.  Your comment might be true if you were commenting on a christian site with offensive secularists making offensive comments.  However, the invaders to this thread have been christians who have been rude, patronizing, and rather stupid.

I don’t think it is unreasonable for “new atheists” to defend their positions with reason.  That is the point, after all.

#21 Barbara B (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 2:45pm

Herb wrote:  “See, here’s the problem. The nonbelievers (that would be me,) specifically the non-theists (that would be me too,) have been invaded by the dreaded New Atheists (that would NOT be me,) who believe that the believers’ emotional investment in their beliefs can be squashed and torn asunder by reason alone.”

I know it can be squashed.  I know it for sure because mine was squashed once I understood the theory of evolution.  And then the theory of the Big Bang really squashed it for good.

Herb wrote:  “I don’t know why the AHA and the CFI and the other freethought organizations don’t “get it!” If you’re going to pull a crutch out from under somebody, you’d better be damn sure that that somebody is going to be better off without the crutch.”

I am better off without that crutch, MUCH, MUCH better off.  Religion is prison.
Now I live my life the way I want to live it.  I live by my own morality, which is based on reason.  No more nonsense that using condoms is immoral but forcing women to bear children of men who raped them is moral (and other such stupidity).

Herb wrote:  “When we in the nonbeliever community start telling believers what they “need” to do and what they “need” to believe, then we have, in my humble opinion, crossed the line and revealed a level of arrogance and hubris that should be unacceptable to all of us.”

No, we don’t tell them what to believe, we force them to think for themselves, to think rationally, to come to their own conclusions.

They (the believers) want to force others to believe in their nonsense.  That is why they fight so hard to bring creationism into public schools.  They want to brainwash the children because they know that children are not yet capable of critical thinking.

#22 Herb (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 3:56pm

Jim,

Two things. First, the “strawman” argument is meant to apply generally to the those atheists who contend that theists are mostly ignorant and that their unwillingness to let go of their emotive beliefs is somehow immature, or, at a minimum, “irrational.” At least, that’s the message coming across to the religionists. But, that is simply a false characterization of believers in general and theists in particular. Ergo, a strawman.

Second, I agree that the “new atheists” can “defend their positions with reason.” But, it’s my contention that that is a flawed strategy for making any converts. As the old axiom goes, you can draw more flies to honey than to vinegar. I’m yet to see any measurable effort by the atheists to start raising bees.


Barbara B.,

Congratulations on “seeing the light” and coming over to “our” side. As of 2008, there were 182,198,000 people in the U.S. who claimed to be religious. Now we just need 182,197,999 more and we will have made great strides.
                 
As to your references to the religionists, that, “They (the believers) want to force others to believe in their nonsense, that, “they fight so hard to bring creationism into public schools.” and that, “They want to brainwash the children . . ,” I refer you to my response to Jim above in re the strawman argument.

#23 "An Dis-interested Observer " (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 4:33pm

@Herb:  As a fellow non-theist who also happens to NOT be a “new atheist,” I tend to agree with most of what you have said here. I would only add the obvious: The reason the various freethought organizations are trying to outdo each other with billboards, bus ads, etc. is basically pretty simple: A: There are a handful of wealthy “donors” who love the idea of atheism receiving widespread exposure via mass marketing methods; B: All of the organizations are desperately clamoring for the attention of these big donors so they can secure large donations; and C: it plays good with the peanut gallery—that is, the oh so enthusiastic “new atheists” out to convert the masses to atheism! What has not been pointed out, however, is that all of this is really quite sad, as it represents in a very real way the triumph of spectacle over substance, something I have come to expect in many areas of American life (the media, politics, etc) but which I never thought I would see in the humanist movement.

#24 Barbara B (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 4:47pm

Herb wrote to Jim: “First, the “strawman” argument is meant to apply generally to the those atheists who contend that theists are mostly ignorant and that their unwillingness to let go of their emotive beliefs is somehow immature, or, at a minimum, “irrational.” At least, that’s the message coming across to the religionists. But, that is simply a false characterization of believers in general and theists in particular. Ergo, a strawman.”

No, that is not a false characterization of the believers.  I know many and they fit this description perfectly.  The only thing you are missing is the clinging to the hope of eternal life.  That is their no. 1 reason to cling to religions.  Take that away and they would abandon their religions in a second.

Herb wrote to Jim: “Second, I agree that the “new atheists” can “defend their positions with reason.” But, it’s my contention that that is a flawed strategy for making any converts. As the old axiom goes, you can draw more flies to honey than to vinegar. I’m yet to see any measurable effort by the atheists to start raising bees.”

Reason is not vinegar.  They use reason in every other aspect of their lives except religion.  Reason is a very good tool.  In fact, most religionists are afraid to apply reason to their religion and, if you try to force them, they run away.  But we must force them.

#25 Barbara B (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 4:53pm

@ An Dis-interested Observer

Your reasons are all wrong.  Why do you think the New Atheist movement started in the first place?  You think it was for the reasons you stated?  No way.  It was because of 9/11.  Enough is enough.  We must stop the religionists from destroying the world, from attacking human rights, from halting scientific and moral progress, from brainwashing children, from recruiting terrorists, from oppressing and murdering women, from sacrificing animals, etc. etc.  This is not some war over billboards. This is serious.  If we want humanity to progress we must do away with religion.

#26 "A Dis-interested Observer " (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 5:31pm

@ Barbara B: “We must stop the religionists from destroying the world, from attacking human rights, from halting scientific and moral progress, from brainwashing children, from recruiting terrorists, from oppressing and murdering women, from sacrificing animals, etc. etc.”

You have just demonstrated one of the most perplexing things about “the new atheists,” a group ostensibly committed to reason and clear thinking, by engaging in an incredibly irresponsible over-generalization. You paint all “religionists” with the same broad brush. Almost all sociological studies have shown religious believers to be an incredibly diverse and complex group,showing great variability in their styles of belief and practice. There are millions upon millions of liberal or nominally religious believers around the world who do not fit in any way into your narrow characterization. You are describing behavior that is a result of certain psychological states influenced by dogmatism and fanaticism, and while you are surely right that we need to combat this group, you are dead wrong if you think you have correctly articulated the sensibilities of all religious folk. I suggest to read up on the latest progressive and moderating trends taking place within religious sects and communities, especially in America.

#27 "A Dis-interested Observer " (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 5:42pm

@ Barbara B:

One more thing:

“But we must force them.”

Another serious problem with “the new atheists,” as I presume you are a fine example. You have no more a right to “force” believers to abandon their faith anymore than they have a right to force you to believe in their god(s). I shudder to think what would happen to the idea of freedom of conscience in America if the new atheists (of your stripe) ever got real political power.

#28 Barbara B (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 5:52pm

@ A Dis-interested Observer

I know what religionists believe, I used to be one of them. I know what the Churches preach.  Take a look at what happened in Poland, for example, after the fall of communist the Catholic Church took over.  Now abortion is illegal and 14 year old rape victims are being forced to give birth.  Religion is bad for moral progress, bad for civil rights, bad for women’s rights, (well, I am not going to repeat myself).  Maybe because you are a man, you don’t feel threatened by religion, but I, as a woman, feel very threatened.  I have seen women’s rights stripped away because of religion.

#29 Barbara B (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 5:57pm

@ A Dis-interested Observer

I did not say we must force them to abandon their religion, I said we must force them to think for themselves, to think critically, to come to their own conclusions. There is nothing wrong with forcing someone to think, we do this to children from grade 1.  We humans have rational brains, we need to use them.

Speaking of freedom of conscience, what about the freedom of conscience of atheists in Poland who think there is nothing wrong with destroying a non-sentient cluster of cells (embryos) and atheist women who are forced to have children they did not want because a condom broke.  If religionists had their way, condoms would be illegal too.

#30 E. Carter (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 9:40pm

CFI-

Your billboard campaign is an open attack on God and the Americans who excercise their freedom to worship Him.  In a roundabout way, you are timidly setting out to persecute believers.  If you truly wanted to point out that non-believers could hope, care, love and live, you could have very simply gotten your message across by stating a truth: Anyone can hope, care, love and live.  Simply because YOU have rejected God and His word does not negate the reality of God or His truth.  We already know that not all will believe or enter the kingdom of heaven to spend an eternal life in the presence of God.  All will be judged by God and He will pronounce our eternal fate.  I cannot judge you or determine your ultimate fate however, if I am wrong in my belief what have I lost?  If I am right, look what I gain.

The Bible tells us of false prophets in the end days.  You go ahead and do Satan’s work of trying to deceive the masses and I will praise God and pray for His coming.  He loves you and is longsuffering so that no man will perish but judgement day is coming as sure as I live and breathe.  God have mercy on us all.

#31 informedone on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 9:44pm

I live in Indiana and I do not want to see the billboards for this campaign.  Freedom of speech does allow this to happen but it is a shame that a group like this needs to advertise in order to find followers.  I have reviewed this website and there is a “cult” type feel that is very concerning.  The games in the online store MOCK religion—very sad.  I am Catholic and I have NEVER mocked anyone from any other religion nor someone who is not religious.  Is it really necessary to get your point across by trying to demean other’s beliefs? 

I can only hope that people considering following this website or following the beliefs in this “cult” will see that it is preposterous. I think I have an idea for a new board game mocking CFI.

Freedom of speech—got to love it!

#32 Paul LaClair (Guest) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 at 11:00pm

This is yet another disastrous idea, abysmal public relations. Please see my comments and those of others in the General Discussion forum on this site.

#33 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 7:03am

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “Your billboard campaign is an open attack on God and the Americans who excercise their freedom to worship Him.  In a roundabout way, you are timidly setting out to persecute believers.”

In a roundabout way, you are not so timidly telling non-believers to shut up, you are telling us that we have no right to speak or to defend ourselves from hurtful accusations.

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “If you truly wanted to point out that non-believers could hope, care, love and live, you could have very simply gotten your message across by stating a truth: Anyone can hope, care, love and live.”

Why do you, believers, need our reassurance that you are caring, hoping, and loving?

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “Simply because YOU have rejected God and His word does not negate the reality of God or His truth.”

You accepting God and “His word” does not prove that he (she?) exists.

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “We already know that not all will believe or enter the kingdom of heaven to spend an eternal life in the presence of God.”

Honestly, if there were god and his “kingdom of heaven”, I would not want to be there.  We have gotten rid of kings here on Earth long ago.  It was a bad idea.  Democracy works better.  I would not want to serve some dictator (and a mean one too—just read the Old Testament) for the rest of eternity.

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “All will be judged by God and He will pronounce our eternal fate.”

I can judge God too.  He is a criminal. 

#34 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 7:05am

cont…

I can judge God too.  He is a criminal. 

#35 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 7:06am

cont… It won’t let me paste a link to an article “God is a Criminal”.  Search Google, you will find it on infidels dot org.

Why should I care what a criminal, worst than Hitler, thinks of me?  He can take his judgment and shove it up his nose!

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “I cannot judge you or determine your ultimate fate however, if I am wrong in my belief what have I lost?  If I am right, look what I gain.”

Sure you may judge me, I have no objection.  Or do you mean you cannot judge me because you don’t know what I do in my bedroom?  That seems to be the most important thing your God is concerned about.

What have you lost?  Your life, your only life. 

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “The Bible tells us of false prophets in the end days.”

Whom are you calling prophets???!!!!! 

E. Carter wrote to CFI: “You go ahead and do Satan’s work of trying to deceive the masses and I will praise God and pray for His coming.”

Praise your God all you want, but keep it to yourself.  Don’t try to bring your BS into public schools.  Don’t attack women’s rights!
E. Carter wrote to CFI: “He loves you and is longsuffering so that no man will perish but judgement day is coming as sure as I live and breathe.  God have mercy on us all.”

I am not a man, I am a woman.  Don’t even tell me that god cares about women.  If it were so, he would not make pregnancy and labor as painful and dangerous as he did.  Before modern medicine (thanks to science) one out of 5 women died in childbirth often after days of agony.  Thanks a lot MERCIFUL god!  Take your love and shove it up your nose!

#36 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 7:08am

informedone wrote, “I live in Indiana and I do not want to see the billboards for this campaign.”

Too bad!  I am an atheist and I do not want to hear your BS everywhere, but that does not concern you.

informedone wrote, “Freedom of speech does allow this to happen but it is a shame that a group like this needs to advertise in order to find followers.”

Why does freedom of speech do not allow to say that someone is loving and caring????????!!!!!!!!

And like the Churches do not advertise to find followers, hypocrite!

informedone wrote, “I have reviewed this website and there is a “cult” type feel that is very concerning.”

Religion is a cult.  Look up “cult” in Merriam Webster dictionary.

informedone wrote, “The games in the online store MOCK religion—very sad.”

It’s not sad, it’s funny.

informedone wrote, “I am Catholic and I have NEVER mocked anyone from any other religion nor someone who is not religious.”

I am an atheist and you may mock me for it all you want.  You have my permission.  In fact, I am sure I would find it rather entertaining. 

informedone wrote, “Is it really necessary to get your point across by trying to demean other’s beliefs?”

How is saying that atheists are loving and caring demeaning your beliefs? (not that it would be wrong to demean your beliefs)

informedone wrote, “I can only hope that people considering following this website or following the beliefs in this “cult” will see that it is preposterous.”

This website does not advocate any beliefs.  It only rejects the belief in god.  Why do you see it as preposterous?  Could you explain yourself?

informedone wrote, “I think I have an idea for a new board game mocking CFI.”

Great!  What is it?

informedone wrote, “Freedom of speech—got to love it!”

I am sure you religious people would like to go back to the Dark Ages when you burned at stakes anyone who said anything you did not like.

#37 E. Carter (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 9:02am

Barbara B. #33-35-

It comes across clearly that you are an angry woman.  I see no message of hope, care, love, or living from you.  It is clear that you would deny others the right to free speech in order to further your agenda but frankly, I don’t see that your agenda has anything attractive to offer.

Every day that you wake, there is an offer extended to you.  It’s up to you to accept or reject it.  By way of example, a dollar offered to you is of no value to you until you accept it.  Only after you accept it can you reap the benefits of the gift.

You have no legitimate beef with me.  You can say and believe whatever you choose.  I happen to believe my message has more to offer.

#38 Jim, Religion is Bullshit on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 9:39am

@ E Carter:

That christian message you so cherish is one of condemnation and hatred.  All you have to do is google, Uganda Kill the Gays, to get the information about how good christians in Uganda overwhelming support a bill that calls for putting gay people to death.

The pending bill in christian Uganda was initiated by a number of good christian evangelicals from America.  They are angry that homosexuality cannot be criminalized here so they work very hard to get it criminalized other places.

If that is the dollar bill being extended to me, I’ll pass.  I keep my three dollar bill and work very hard to make sure that the same religious sensibilities are kept out of our government.

I find it typical of many christians that they consider people advocating for secular humanism angry people.  I don’t see secular humanists working to criminalize christians with the death penalty.  Yet, I see angry christians all of the time on television and at any gay marriage rally.  You may want to consider that christian religion does not make people less angry.  Rather, it gives bigots a holier than thou contempt for anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

I contribute to campaigns like this so that religion, particularly christian religion, is kept out of politics. 

Keep up the good advertising work CFI, I appreciate it.

#39 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 9:47am

E. Carter wrote, “It comes across clearly that you are an angry woman.”


Why?  Because I gave an honest and strong reply?


E. Carter wrote, “I see no message of hope, care, love, or living from you.”


Not for your fictional character named God, that’s for sure! My hope is in rationalism and science.


E. Carter wrote, “It is clear that you would deny others the right to free speech in order to further your agenda but frankly, I don’t see that your agenda has anything attractive to offer.”


You have a right to free speech, but if Churches have a right to put up stupid billboards, why can’t atheists do the same?  I am not afraid of your messages because I know they are nonsense.  Why are you afraid of ours? 


Where I have a problem is religious people using taxpayers’ money to spread their message (like teaching creationism in public schools). You have something to say, say it with your own money!


And what exactly is my agenda according to you?


E. Carter wrote, “Every day that you wake, there is an offer extended to you.  It’s up to you to accept or reject it. By way of example, a dollar offered to you is of no value to you until you accept it.  Only after you accept it can you reap the benefits of the gift.”


I see no offer, but even if I did see it, I would reject it.  And that is none of your business.  I live my life the way I want to live it and you live yours the way you want. I am not telling you how to live your life, you stop telling me about non-existent offers and that I should accept them.


E. Carter wrote, “You have no legitimate beef with me.”


Yes, I do: 
1.  Stop telling atheists to shut up.
2.  Stop using tax payers’ money to spread your nonsensical message.
3.  Stop meddling in politics and keep your religion to yourself and others who want it.
4.  Stop attacking women’s rights.
5.  Stop spreading hatred towards gays and lesbians.


I am sure I have forgotten a few things, there are just too many.

E. Carter wrote, “You can say and believe whatever you choose.  I happen to believe my message has more to offer.”


Do you want to rationally discuss it?  I am open to a rational discussion.  Tell me exactly what does your message have to offer.


I will say and believe what I choose, so stop telling atheists they cannot put up billboards!


Why didn’t you reply about women and the suffering your God has put on them?  I would really like to know what you think about it, how you explain it.  Or maybe you don’t have an explanation.  You just say “God is merciful” but these are just empty, no, downright false, statements, just like the rest of your “message”. Talking to religious people is like talking to a wall.  They never answer you.  They never explain anything.  And then they expect you to accept their “message” no questions asked.  This might work with children, but not with adult people who are capable of critical thinking.

#40 Eileen (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 10:24am

Please consider using the term “a god” instead of God/god.  There are/were many gods, thousands of them have been lost in time.  The term “a god” reminds everyone that their own “god” is just that, one of many.

#41 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 10:59am

@ Eileen

Good point, but sometimes we are talking about a specific god, like when I said God is a criminal, I was referring to the God of the Bible and no other god.

#42 sal (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 2:03pm

“We’re not trying to convert anyone by this campaign…”
My BS meter is pegging.  It is proselytizing.  Nothing wrong with proselytizing.  It is an innately human peculiarity, but this ad campaign reminds me of the Jehovah Witnesses who knock on our door and leave Watchtower tracts “just for information”.  Both examples demonstrate other human traits; deceit and dishonesty.  A uniquely human trait is recognizing that deceit and dishonesty are deficiencies of some sort, and that is one reason many humans embrace religion, whether by design or not.  We all, religious and non-religious alike, are collectively and individually guilty of harm to others.  And whether we recognize it or not and whether we acknowledge it or not, we all try to atone for our guilt; or we go to extraordinary lengths to avoid atonement.  And because this goes to the core of our being, many people on both sides of the debate must believe they occupy the high ground.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult territory to maintain.

#43 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 2:23pm

@ sal


How is saying that one does not need a god to be caring and loving supposed to convince someone that god does not exist?  Please explain.


sal wrote, “We all, religious and non-religious alike, are collectively and individually guilty of harm to others. And whether we recognize it or not and whether we acknowledge it or not, we all try to atone for our guilt; or we go to extraordinary lengths to avoid atonement.”


What are you talking about?  What harm to others do atheists do?  Please be specific.


sal wrote, “And because this goes to the core of our being, many people on both sides of the debate must believe they occupy the high ground.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult territory to maintain.”


Please explain what harm is atheism responsible for.


All you did was make empty statements.  Please provide some explanations. Back up what you said.

#44 Barbara B (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 2:24pm

@ E. Carter


Where are you E. Carter?  I asked you a specific question.  Are you going to answer it or are you going to run away, as religious people always do?

#45 Jim, Religion is Bullshit on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 2:29pm

@Sal,

You might want to consider that christians are using their propaganda very well: creationism in school rooms, anti-gay marriage campaigns, and don’t get me started on corporate christianity.

A counter force is needed to keep this country’s government secular.  An ad campaign for secular humanism is helpful in this endeavor.

I don’t understand why so many believers and non-believers who comment here criticize secular humanism, the “new atheists,” and who seem to think that christians are being mal-treated.

When I see secular humanists endorse campaigns calling for the death to christians as many christians advocate the death of gay people, then I’ll consider that secular humanists are being oppressive.

Until then, let’s remember that religion has justified torture, murder, slavery, a woman’s subservience to men and a host of other oppressive habits and institutions.  Christian religion still inculcates a supremacy in the believer that allows one to justify gay hostility, pro choice hostility, and the corporate take over of America.

An ad campaign to keep our country secular is preferable to the corporate theocracy that many christians desire.

#46 sal (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 2:39pm

Barbara and Jim,
I think you may have misunderstood my message.  I am advocating honesty, introspection and responsibility; not religion or atheism.

#47 E. Carter (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 5:35pm

Barbara @ 44, 39, & 33.

Nowhere in my posts did I tell non-believers to “shut up.”  Nowhere did I say you had no right to speak.  There was no hurtful accusation leveled towards you.  The CFI billboard campaign takes a negative stance against God, by name.  Not a god but THE God, the great I Am.  Your group recognizes God but rejects Him.  Your choice.  I have nothing to do with your decision in that regard.  The campaign is negative rather than a positive message of truth that anyone can hope, care, love, live.  Your organization chose the verbage, not me.  It appears the mission is to steer people away from God based on the verbage chosen. 

You have distorted much in your posts.  You didn’t ask a question, you asked 7 of them based on distortions and faulty assumptions on your part.  Plainly the truth is not in you or your cause and I see no value in engaging you in any further exchanges.  I do not fear you as you have no power over me what-so-ever.  You have no reason to fear me.  If any message is full of condemnation or hate, it is yours.  At least have the integrity to acknowledge I have taken nothing away from you and you are free to believe as you will.  When you ernestly want answers, you know where to find them.

#48 Sandra H Howerton (Guest) on Thursday March 03, 2011 at 6:38pm

So you theists who are protesting actually do believe that one needs God “to hope, to care, to live, to love” in spite of the great number of people, including me, who are obviously doing those things without any belief in God?

The sign does not say that you can’t also do those things if you do believe in God; it just says that belief in God is not necessary in order to do them. Therefore, it is not saying anything negative about theists; it is just saying something positive about a non-theistic life. I don’t understand why that upsets anyone.

#49 yochi (Guest) on Friday March 04, 2011 at 5:17am

Love Care and Hope are nothing but chemical reactions in our brains. What makes these chemical reactions the “good” ones? Why are they any different than Hate, Contempt, and Despair? On what basis do we establish that one chemical reaction is better than another?

#50 Barbara B (Guest) on Friday March 04, 2011 at 8:13am

@ E. Carter
E. Carter wrote, “Nowhere in my posts did I tell non-believers to “shut up.”  Nowhere did I say you had no right to speak.”

You were against the billboard.  A billboard is a form of expression.  You don’t want atheists to express themselves.

E. Carter wrote, “There was no hurtful accusation leveled towards you.”

The billboard is answering a common accusation that atheists are uncaring, unloving, and have no hope.

E. Carter wrote, “The CFI billboard campaign takes a negative stance against God, by name.”

Oh yeah, saying that we don’t need a god to be caring and loving and have hope is really negative towards god!  Give me a break!

E. Carter wrote, “Not a god but THE God, the great I Am.”

Does the billboard name a god?  It only says “god”.  There have been and still are many gods.  Your god is not the only god people believe in.

E. Carter wrote, “Your group recognizes God but rejects Him.  Your choice.”

Of course we are aware that there is a concept of god that people have, and we reject the idea that a god exists.  We don’t reject god because you cannot reject something that does not exist.

E. Carter wrote, “I have nothing to do with your decision in that regard.”

Don’t worry about it.  You won’t go to hell because some people don’t believe in a god. 

E. Carter wrote, “The campaign is negative rather than a positive message of truth that anyone can hope, care, love, live.”

This organization speaks for atheists.  There are organizations that advocate for Christians, Jews, gays, etc.  Each speaks for whom it represents.  Why do you have a problem with his?

E. Carter wrote, “Your organization chose the verbage, not me.  It appears the mission is to steer people away from God based on the verbage chosen.”

How?  Please explain.

E. Carter wrote, “You have distorted much in your posts.  You didn’t ask a question, you asked 7 of them based on distortions and faulty assumptions on your part.”

Then please correct my mistakes.  Please answer at least one of my questions.  Please answer how a merciful god could have punished women so harshly by making pregnancy and childbirth so extremely painful and dangerous.  Why can’t you answer just this one question???????

E. Carter wrote, “Plainly the truth is not in you or your cause and I see no value in engaging you in any further exchanges.”

Here we go, running away when asked to answer a question.  All religious people are the same.  Then they say stupid things like “truth is not in us”.  Then PLEASE, tell me what the truth is.  ANSWER MY QUESTON!

E. Carter wrote, “I do not fear you as you have no power over me what-so-ever.”

Yeah right, you don’t fear me!  You are even afraid to answer my question!

E. Carter wrote, “You have no reason to fear me.”

Yes, I do.  You are attacking my civil rights as a woman.  Specifically, you are attacking my right to choose an abortion.

E. Carter wrote, “If any message is full of condemnation or hate, it is yours.”

This is an empty statement.  Please explain this.

E. Carter wrote, “At least have the integrity to acknowledge I have taken nothing away from you and you are free to believe as you will.  When you ernestly want answers, you know where to find them.”

Yes, you religious people have taken something away from me.  In my own country, you have taken my right to choose an abortion.  Many women have become handicapped or have died as a result of this law.  There have also been cases when 14 year old rape victims were forced to give birth.  What you have done to me and other women in my country is immoral, it’s pure evil.

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