I had no idea CNN had gotten this bad

I mentioned that ghastly CNN hit piece on atheists the other day; I just saw it myself, and it’s far, far worse than I had imagined. You can see the whole thing with a transcript, too, and you should be appalled.

It starts off reasonably enough with a segment on a family of atheists who were ostracized in a small town; then it closes with some young Republican-looking talking head who babbles about how atheists bring it on themselves, and we should blame all the militant atheists for the fact that people feel compelled to shun those who don’t believe as they do. It was a weird blame-the-victim moment.

Then there’s the panel afterwards. Others have mentioned the odd omission of any atheists from the discussion, but I was also flabbergasted at the question they were debating, which was displayed in big letters on a board behind them:

Why do atheists inspire such hatred?

Whoa. Hey, Debbie Schlussel, how would you feel if a panel of Christians and Muslims met to discuss “Why do Jews inspire such hatred?”, and they decided that the problem is that Jews need to shut up and quit mentioning their beliefs in public? It’s probably silly to ask that of Schlussel who seems to be vapidity personified, but that’s really what the panel was about, with two (one was not sympathetic, but at least realized that atheists have the same rights he does) Christian twits telling us that atheists ought to shut up (literally) and that we ought to have prayers in school to restore morality.

It convinced me of a couple of things. I apparently have not been militant enough, and am going to have to work harder at aggressively promoting godlessness. And I’m adding CNN to my list of news agencies to ignore, along with Fox.

Update: I might just watch it tonight. They’re repeating the episode, this time with Richard Dawkins afterwards.


  1. Steve LaBonne says

    I don’t watch TV (and don’t have cable, much to my daughter’s chagrin) so I don’t see any of this shite myself. But from snippets I read on the liberal blogs it seems as though CNN has been trying to be Fox-lite for quite some time now. Just another example of our “liberal media” at work…

  2. ceibatree says

    I’ve been trying not to watch CNN since they hired that idiot, Rush wanna-be, Glenn Beck. Now after hearing about this, I’m going to block the channel, along with Headline News. Sure, I’ll miss seeing that sweet peach, Robin Meade in the mornin’s , but hey, I have my principles.

    No excuses Ted!

  3. says

    I hardly ever watch CNN (I have a basic package from a satellite service), but usually when I watch it either Blitzer, Zahn or Cooper is on the air. Of them, it’s quite common to see half-baked, half-accurate hit pieces on Democrats and liberals in general on Blitzer and Zahn’s programming. I also seem to remember that Zahn gave a fawning soft-ball interview to Roy Moore during the whole courtroom 10C controversy. Cooper isn’t as bad as the other two, and is usually tolerable in his reporting (especially given his recent smackdown of Sylvia Brown, which you do not see enough of in the MSM).

  4. amph says

    “I’m adding CNN to my list of news agencies to ignore, along with Fox.
    Your last sentence and Steve LaBonne’s comment sort of reflect what was my first thought: CNN must be losing viewers to Fox. Atheist flaming is the answer.
    Please don’t ignore them. Watch the enemy.

  5. says

    Oh, man, Beck…I hadn’t realized he was on CNN. I’ve caught a few minutes of his drooling idiocy, and had to turn the tv off before I saw any station identification.

  6. Loki says

    From the transcript:

    If they had hallmark cards, maybe they wouldn’t feel so left out.

    Er — no, but I think having public schools adhere to the law might help, with maybe a side of tolerance.

    I love how the only sympathetic guy in the discussion was listen as an “ESPN Analyst.” What, was it too much effort to call up American Atheists and ask for somebody to come over?

  7. MReap says

    I saw parts of this when I flipped over during a commerical break on Olbermannn (MSNBC.) This segment reached the nadir of the series. I’m one of those Christian types (sort of)but this “report” had me yelling at the TV – “Where the *&^%# is the atheist on this panel?” Scared the poop out of my dog.

  8. Zed says

    CNN also has given unqualified air time to Silva Brown and (talks to the dead) John Edwards, not to mention Glenn Beck. There are whores first. Where public benefit falls on their list is unknown to me.

  9. MorpheusPA says

    CNN’s Board Said:

    Why do atheists inspire such hatred?

    Because we make so much more sense than they do most of the time and fairy-tale believers hate that.

    Not to mention the fact that the narrow-minded’s response to anything different is to shout “Kill!” and grab the pitchfork. However, that’s another story.


  10. says

    Why do news networks, especially Fox, typically have people on their panels who have nothing to do with the topic at hand? I haven’t had cable in roughly 5 years, but my old job had nothing but Fox and Glenn Beck on at every break. I would have gone insane but I was never the only one blasting the bias at the break table.
    I think the entire media needs to be reformed, if not simply held financially accountable for bias and false information. Fox’s persistant coverage of the completely made up Obama scandal is probably the best example I can give, as of late.

  11. Tatarize says

    I loved how they blamed the ‘backlash’ on militant atheism. Because everybody knows there was no bigotry at all before or because of atheism before it got all ‘uppity’!

    The ESPN guy totally jumped to ‘I don’t believe they are the most hated’ while at the same time being on a panel about atheists without an atheist. Maybe there’s some truth to the statistic and disregarding it out of the blue was a little premature.

  12. Caledonian says

    The panel comments were just excuses for the audience to rationalize their dislike of atheists. The denial of clear facts (“I don’t believe atheists are the most hated”, etc.) isn’t meant to convince anyone, but to let people who want to be convinced feel good about their beliefs.

  13. Fatmop says

    Maybe they sent a letter to the American Atheists asking, “Would you like to send a delegate to our show to discuss why you are so hated?” and they decided to just throw that crap in the garbage. Far more likely, though, is that they decided to take the no-controversy route by not having one of those evil, controversial god-haters on the show.

  14. Carlie says

    Hopefully CNN will get several thousand letters protesting their treatment of atheists. I’ll send one, but the larger organizations should organize a campaign too.

  15. daenku32 says

    “They are infringing on our right to impose prayer in schools” WTF? I do think that the worst thing about all this is that they didn’t actually have an atheist on the panel. All we can do is take all the BS that is thrown at us.

    Yesterday we went to medical office and there was this guy who was leaving chick tracts on the tables. I’m not sure what about it offended me the most. Maybe it was that they had a lot of kids there when we got there. Maybe it was that the guy started getting confrontational when my wife and I started reading and laughing at the tracts. I tell you, if I honestly did not simply feel sorry for the +500lbs guy over his own obvious problems, I would have torn right into him. For that I’d like to think I was the more respectful one. But damn, I’ve read enough of the tracts to know that they, or the people who peddle them, deserve NO respect. Pity perhaps, but no respect.

    Oh, and the tract was one about evolution or something.. Didn’t really analyze it all the way because his distraction.

  16. Fatmop says

    I’ve never seen any of those tracts, personally. What I HAVE seen is a yearly ritual at Indiana University, wherein some crazy guy from Kansas or Kentucky brings his entire family and preaches in front of one of the main classroom halls about how all college kids are going to hell. His children hold up anti-abortion signs along the pathways to class. Finally, last year, the cops drove up and told the guy he didn’t have a permit or something to be standing there yelling at people, and made him leave.

  17. jm_II says

    This story is far from surprising. The panel is not representative of the South because ‘down yonder in the land of cotton’ there’s not even the token level of support found on CNN. And it’s recently gotten worse. There is zero chance that this will change in my lifetime; so why be militant? I’m sick of running on the “spiritual,” “believe ‘in’ Christ’s message,” and “deep mystery” euphemism treadmill, but they are necessary if you have young kids in the South. Militancy only serves to punish your kids in the South. My heart goes out.

  18. DrBadger says

    Glad I don’t have cable, so I am in no way paying for the idiots on foxnews or CNN. I’ll only get cable if we could pick and choose which channels we want to pay for (and there’s no local monopoly).

  19. Fatmop says

    Punish how? And in what state? I certainly was never especially vocal about my atheism, but not believing in a Big Ole’ Mystery never lost me any friends, to my knowledge. While I can see how an overzealous person might get their kids ostracized by the community, it’s not as if atheism is the only subject that bears that risk, and it’s not even such a risk if you live somewhere like Austin or Houston – the closer to a city you get, in general, the higher the education level and acceptance of other viewpoints.

    “The South,” while it certainly is in Republican hands, is not a fetid pool of uneducated and bigoted filth. It has its filth, but there’s room for tolerance and cooperation there, too.

  20. furcifer says

    Its amazing right after they said “Nobody should force their beliefs on anyone” they said “Keep prayers in school”. I’m still seething and I don’t even live in the United States.

  21. Chris says

    In other news, an all-white panel agreed that racial tensions were primarily caused by “uppity n*****s”, then discussed where to buy white sheets in bulk, how to get stains out of your hood, and why America is a “white nation” and it’s important to maintain that heritage. Why, practically all of the Founding Fathers were white, doesn’t that just settle it? (Male, too, but I think I’ve made my point.)

    Did they really expect to have a meaningful discussion of the issue when one of the sides (the subject of the discussion!) was excluded a priori? You don’t have to be a journalism major to see the problem with that approach.

  22. Steve LaBonne says

    Actually it often seems to me these days that you have to be a journalism major NOT to see it.

  23. pamela says

    Instead of ignoring them and exacerbating the network’s ignorance along with the ignorance of their viewing public, why don’t you try and educate? It seems that ignoring them only perpetuates the problem. I will send them a carefully worded complaint and hope that educates the network and will leave it up to other viewers to do the same. Perhaps that will bring about a change.

  24. commissarjs says

    Fatmop, It’s not just IU. The same fellow brought his family to Purdue, Butler, Ball State, and other Indiana campuses. He used to have an ~10 foot tall cross made of 4×4’s that he would plant in the ground behind him. Does he still yell at women calling them whores, harlots, sluts, and baby-killers?

  25. jm_II says


    I live in southwest Georgia and I am squarely in the “never especially vocal” camp and I have not had many problems. That is my point. My comment was to address the “I apparently have not been militant enough” comment. That would only serve to punish my kids and business prospects in my community. Punish is a strong term, but I have personally seen business deals lost and jobs not offered because ‘the Lord was not being glorified’ in the home. Is this punishment? It persuaded me to sit down and shut up.

    A good example from down yonder:

    My son’s teacher announces “a moment of silent worship” before the start of class at a public school.

    Now, how would you react?

  26. says

    Shortly after I joined the military (Canada, 1983), I declared myself to be an atheist.

    Sunday church parade was a mandatory event at basic training, so atheists like me were required to report to the church of their choice and stand at attention outside for the duration of the service. If you would not choose a church, one would be chosen for you. I complained and was told by the base chaplain that being an atheist was not an officer-like quality and I would find it career limiting.

    Oh yeah, I definitely brought that upon myself… no discrimination there at all.

    Later at military college, there were less church parades, but no accomodation for atheists. You went to church and attended the service. If you could not choose, a church was chosen for you. My complaints here also went unanswered although the protestant chaplain was at least sympathetic and accepted my reasoned choice. He admitted finding it amusing that the only student trained as an altar boy was the (seemingly) only atheist. However, he was also powerless to have me exempted from these services and suggested that it was just one of the trials of becoming an officer.

    After graduation, I was never made to attend another church parade, although that could have just been coincidence of not being in attendance at a place where a church parade was being held.

    As a lieutenant, I formally applied to have my dog tags changed to reflect no religion (somehow, I had originally been listed as Anglican, presumably because someone asked me if I’d ever been to church and I said which one), and was lectured by senior officers on two occasions about how not believing in God was career limiting. The change was made, though, and I never heard about it again until I was approached by Masons. Since I cannot profess a belief in higher powers, they went on their merry way. I must say, for theists, the Masons are very accomodating – I may not have qualified for membership, but they made no overtones that I was limiting my life or career.

  27. Dunc says

    And the really funny part of it is that the wingnuts still refer to CNN as the “Communist New Network” beacuse it’s not sufficiently batshit-insane for them.

  28. Science and Art says

    Y’all might be interested in a “poll” going on in a diary at the daily kos:

    Found here

    The question is: “What Kind of God(s)/Higher Power/Spirit, if Any, Do You Believe In?…”

    Currently the dominant answer is: “Does not exist and never did; and there is nothing supernatural, no spirit; the universe is completely natural and has no higher aspect.”


  29. says

    Filed under ‘backlash’. About which I’d make five points:

    1. It’s far from as uniform as I might have imagined in my darker nightmares. Generally positive reviews of the recent popular works by Dawkins, Harris et al do come up in the press, here and there, including in several quite major organs.

    2. Nothing among the various apologiae offered up by those apparently frightened or offended by these works’ popularity (McGrath et al) is the least bit novel. We get the usual, predictable abuses of epistemology, empty rhetorical whines about ‘arrogance’… yap yap yap from the usual lapdogs of institutionalized superstitious woo… Perhaps there are only so many ways one can embarrass oneself in this regard? Or are are the sorts of minds who tend to write such blather generally not terribly creative as a group?

    3. There is something both a bit disheartening and encouraging about said backlash… it’s disheartening in that it confirms most of what I’d have suspected about the entrenched nature of religious delusion: merely writing a book that points out the hollowness of the arguments that support sufficiently established nonsense is hardly going to convince someone who’s invested so much of their ego in it (let alone those whose salaries depend upon it), and this is hardly news to anyone; it’s hard for anyone to admit they’ve been had, and religious superstition, in this sense, is probably the ultimate con… but it’s also encouraging in the sense that at least it looks like Dawkins’ et al have touched a nerve. It’s gotta be galling to see that gloriously succint title on the bestseller list… week after week…

    4. The generally poor quality of the arguments mustered against the popular works means almost certainly that the backlash will have at best only a rather limited effect: it will provide those looking for an excuse to ignore the arguments given by publicly visible atheists with just that excuse… which, realistically, they probably could have come up with on their own anyway (it’s not as if they need particularly good ones)… and following from this:

    5. I’d rather expect a lot of ‘crypto-freethinkers’… unbelievers who for the various social reasons have tended to keep their unbelief under their hat will, at least, take great encouragement from the appearance and popularity of these works, and, more generally, from the increased public visibility of unbelief… Just probably one of the nicer aspects of said increased visibility, which I’d see as something of an achievement in itself…

    So: in short. Genie’s outta the bottle. And all the howling the apologists have done is unlikely to reverse that.

    But yeah, re:

    I apparently have not been militant enough, and am going to have to work harder at aggressively promoting godlessness.

    Yep. What he said.

  30. False Prophet says

    I don’t watch TV news of any stripe any more, because the ignorance on display fills me with murderous rage. That CNN panel only confirmed that.

    WTF? Why is there a sports columnist on a panel discussing religion and atheism?

    Even more bizarre–why is he the only one on that panel demonstrating anything approaching a rational perspective? (Steven Smith is still ridiculous, but compared to Schlussel and Hunter he’s a Rhodes Scholar.)

  31. says

    The biggest issue that atheism/promoting godlessness has going against it is that it is inherently negative. To promote atheism or godlessness, you really must convince believers that their thinking is without basis in reason – that it is, for lack of a better term, a delusion.

    It’s probably fair to say that most people, irrespective of religious belief, do not like being called delusional… particularly if you can enumerate the facets of their delusion and offer evidence that they are, in fact, deluded. Look at the terms in this thread: batshit insane, narrow-minded, wingnuts, etc. And even though those terms are probably quite accurate, their accuracy doesn’t erase the negative overtones that they convey.

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure there’s an adequate solution to this problem. How do you convince someone that they’re deluded when their delusion is so self-reinforcing?

    I suppose that if I had a good answer to that question, I wouldn’t have to write comments on blogs :)

  32. Steve LaBonne says

    On the contrary, I think the negative overtones are actually of great value in themselves. They put the deluded on notice that their dream world, in which their addled beliefs are entitled to automatic and unthinking respect, is gone. And their obviously moronic panic-responses to this discovery are hardly likely to impress any fence-sitters who might be watching. (Check out demographic data on religious belief vs. age in the US. The religionists know they’re losing the future.)

    I think “moderate atheists” are about as useful as moderate Democrats. Both are merely engaged in the enterprise of putting lipstick on the other side’s pig. Why should I support that?

  33. says

    At this point I’d settle for persuading them that it’s OK not to believe– in fact, I think that’s the most important hurdle. Once you accept that atheism is a legitimate point of view, the epistemic problems of theism become overwhelming. So I think we need a two-prong approach– First, we need to argue that atheism is legitimate– that people have the right to be atheists and to full and equal treatment in the public sphere–in school, work and politics, as atheists. The key point to establish is that atheism doesn’t imply moral corruption, dishonesty or the meaninglessness of life (pace Locke– incidentally, there is a nice point here about the moral optimism of atheism: That people really don’t need an all-seeing supervisor who practices torture on a cosmic scale to behave well….). Second, we need to keep the epistemic issues on the table: Appreciating the problem of evil and the success of science (je n’ai aucune besoin de cette hypothese) can give us a taste for an understanding of the world that actually does some work. Maybe last (and hardest of all) would be to persuade people that the finite sort of thing we are really does not need (and isn’t suited to) eternal life… some of Twain’s comments on conventional ideas about heaven come to mind.

  34. squeaky says

    Actually–I would welcome a panel exploring the question

    “Why do Christians inspire such hatred?”

    I think it is an important question for Christians to explore. I think it is the more militant ones in that camp that drive the stereotypes…and thus degrade the message. As a liberal Christian (isn’t that an oxymoron?) it’s a discussion I welcome.

    But, I’d have to say from the comments and the description of the coverage (I didn’t watch it or read transcript) the fact there was not even ONE atheist on the panel was ridiculously stupid. It’s not a fair, balanced approach to the issue and only builds and reinforces stereotypes–I know I’ve certainly learned a lot coming to this blog, and it would be nice to have more open conversations with real people involved, rather than caricatures…but then again, in the CNN panel discussion, they didn’t even have a representative CARICATURE!

  35. Jim Gitzlaff says

    FYI, I went to CNN’s web page for feedback (http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form5.html?11) and sent the following negative response to the show. Sorry in advance for its length, but I though some might find it interesting or even helpful. Maybe if they get enough responses they will take some action. (ha! not likely):
    I am writing in regard to the Jan. 31 episode of Paula Zahn Now! in which CNN aired an openly discriminatory segment against an atheist family, indirectly blaming them for the discrimination they endured at the hands of militant theists. The show compounded the problem by airing a panel discussion in which caricatured, straw-man atheist views were lampooned by a group of theists who played fast and loose with historical fact.

    Why did CNN not even ask the usual token atheist to join the panel discussion in order to at least illustrate, if not alleviate, the segment’s theistic bias? If three white people were invited to comment on discrimination against blacks and made comments — indirectly sanctioned by CNN’s editorial and production staff by virtue of their inclusion on the show — such as “if only black folk understood that the USA is a white country, we wouldn’t have to sit here on this show and explain why it was OK for us to run them out of town for being so uppity” (see, e.g., the transcript for the comments by Schlussel beginning with “Listen, we are a Christian nation” and by Smith beginning with “We’re a Christian country. There’s no question about that. I love the Lord. So does Karen, so does everybody that I know.”).

    CNN’s panel discussion was patently biased, and in that regard it inadvertently illustrated the tacit exclusion of atheists from society generally.

    Indeed, Paula Zahn’s show merely regurgitated the tired old theistic caricatures of atheists as somehow opposing the free speech of others. My experience is quite the opposite, that the main things which atheists actually “oppose” are (1) spending public money on indoctrinating children in religious beliefs and observances, (2) spending public money on religious paraphernalia or displays of religious belief, and (3) enacting laws favoring religion or enforcing religious dogma. Because of demographics in the USA, atheists obviously find themselves butting heads with Christians more often than other groups, but otherwise they have no special rancor against Christians.

    More broadly, Christian political groups are accustomed to getting their way and by virtue of their majority status, they almost always succeed in making society mirror their own religious beliefs. On the very rare occasions they are denied by public opinion or the courts, they lash out at whatever opposes them. Take, for example, the persistent arguments by theists of many stripes that the because the US court system has generally supported free speech and the separation of church and state, it is an undemocratic institution opposed to their objectives and hence should have its jurisdiction over Constitutional questions limited by act of Congress. Theists’ complaints against individual atheists often come from the same wellspring of misdirected, frustrated hostility, but of course it is easier to casually threaten or discriminate against private atheists than against the federal courts, an arm of the government. CNN’s piece could have discussed this fairly, but instead it chose to take the easy path of sympathizing with the majority and diminishing the suffering of the persecuted minority.

    Just how pervasive is discrimination against atheists in America? Well, if the 1/31 Paula Zahn show was any example, it continues to be extremely widespread.

  36. says

    Honestly, I’d seen this coming for a long time. They always report science stories months after they break in the journals, and their understanding of modern culture is obscenely out of touch. I’m commonly known to remark that it’s run by a bunch of 80-year-old, highest-tax-bracket Republicans, holed up on an estate in Montana.

    …and to think my parents think CNN is too liberal.

  37. Will E. says

    “The biggest issue that atheism/promoting godlessness has going against it is that it is inherently negative.”

    What if we framed it as, “Yes, there is no god! Hooray!” Would that work?

  38. says

    Thanks for the link, PZ. My head melted with rage and then I wrote a letter to the douchebags at CNN. The basic friggin’ question is: How do three people with the same goddamn opinion count as a “panel”?

  39. giscindy says

    I have to agree with the comment at #18. I work in the south with what I had always assumed to be educated people. However I came within a hair of losing my job over a chance comment concerning evolution. If my lack of religious beliefs was widely known I would be in the street immediatly.

  40. says

    I’m not sure there is a positive spin that can be put on saying to something like 4 billion people “you’re deluded”. But that’s what we’re all saying and it has to be expected that they’ll act negatively.

    It is, in my opinion, unreasonable to presume that someone who thinks you are, at best, an unfaithful sinner who hasn’t found the calling of the almighty or at worst, an evil tool of some arch-fiend who is doomed to eternal punishment, upon the hearing of your logical and well-reasoned argument that believing in god(s) is essentially a self-reinforcing delusion, will have an epiphany and accept your argument. No, it will be viewed as an attack and they will defend themselves.

    And in a sense, they are correct – it IS an attack. It is an attack from people who have as much courage from their convictions as the religious do. From a theistic point of view it makes very little difference whether the attack is from some godless heathen or from some other religion… it’s all the same.

    In the case of the CNN thing, if that family were Muslims, or Shintoists, do you think it would have changed the situation at all? I don’t.

    As a member of the minority view, atheists have an uphill battle. It will be a long time before the sort of discrimination we see today will be eliminated.

    What if we framed it as, “Yes, there is no god! Hooray!” Would that work?

    I know you were being facetious, but in truth, it might help. Remember, you’re dealing with people who have been indoctrinated into believing that unless they go through a life of specific religious douchebaggery, they will be punished eternally. They’re indoctrinated to believe that there is an otherworldly cuddle-bunny to help them through the hard times. They’re thoroughly convinced that their path is the path of righteousness and that they’re just that much better than everyone else.

    So atheist activism should concentrate more on the positive than the negative. You won’t be punished forever. There is no cuddle-bunny to help you but you can help yourself and be proud of your successes… that sort of thing.

    I don’t know how the “we’re better than you” thing can be addressed. That’s the toughest bit.

  41. says

    Remember that old phrase from the first Iraq war? “The CNN War”. That’s how us outside the US look upon CNN. We certainly don’t expect unbiased reporting from them.

  42. Jim51 says

    I saw the piece in question and I coudn’t believe my ears. This so-called panel spent most of the time provided (perhaps 90 seconds) shouting over each other. None of them knew anything about the story in question. And yes, they did actually say that they (atheists) should just shut up.
    Paula Zahn was clueless. She spends more time in front of a makeup mirror than she does doing background work on the stories she broadcasts.

  43. Matt T. says

    Evolving Squid,

    Concerning the positive portrayals of atheism, as in the losing of spiritual shackles is a liberating process, I fully agree. My parents have recently started going back to church, and I think it’s a combination of encroaching mortality (the Old Man turned 60 this year and both have shakey health) and a sense of community (the church they go to is the same one Momma went to as a little girl, very rural community, sort of thing). Momma and I have had a lot of religious discussions – particularly on how modern mainstream American Christians woefully misread and misunderstand the Bible – and she’s amazed that one can still find a sense of hope and joy in a world without God.

    I’m also reminded of a convorsation I had with a co-worker. She’s the daughter of my bossman’s rabbi, but more of a spiritual-New Agey type than hardcore Jewish type. She said a cosmos without some sort of divine guidence scared her, and I told her the idea of total freedom – without fear of punishment over arcane, incomprehensible “laws” or promise of reward if I toe the line unquestioningly – was liberating. I’m in control and, thus, responsible for my actions and thoughts, and my future – indeed, my existence – is solely what I make it and not at the whim of a caprecious, unpredictable, unquestionable diety.

    A life without God isn’t one without happiness or joy or wonder, just as a life with God doesn’t mean you have all those things. She said she’d never thought of it that way and it gave her a lot to think about.

    As for the Southern thing, yes, if you stir up shit concerning your disbelief (or even questioning of mainstream, accepted Christian doctrine), you will catch hell. Even before I became an atheist – at the time, I was a wishy-washy “well, there’s gotta be something” agnostic type – I caught all kinds of hell in high school from some of my peers for sneering at the whole Ham-means-black-people-deserved-slavery thing. Still, it’s not so much attacks of Christianity that bother Southerners, it’s attacks of tradition that gets up their noses. Anything that ruffles the status quo in a small Southern town is cause for frothing rednecks, frankly. I got long hair, down to my rearend, and it drives the homefolks up the wall, man.

  44. Eric MacDonald says

    Thanks for the piece on CNN and atheism – well, it really wasn’t about atheism at all, was it? It was about Christians (and Jews) being offended by atheists – who should just shut up! I watched the clips and was completely blown away! Being Canadian I simply can’t understand the American love affair with religion, even though some of it sneaks across the border. But this segment of Paula Zahn’s program is really beyond the pale. So I took the suggestion and posted a negative comment to CNN.

  45. Uber says

    I work in the south with what I had always assumed to be educated people. However I came within a hair of losing my job over a chance comment concerning evolution. If my lack of religious beliefs was widely known I would be in the street immediatly

    Interesting and sad. I teach biology and evolution without any problems in Texas.

    Also this comment illustrates what I have long said, the number of atheists, agnostics, skeptics whatever is MUCH higher than any poll shows. It’s simply a matter of making it safe to say so. I am sure quite a few people you work with have the same feeling.

  46. stogoe says

    Hey, Texas ain’t all bad. They’re the first state to mandate HPV vaccinations..

    Must be Austin. Frakkin’ weirdos.

  47. George says

    I don’t have cable, I don’t watch t.v. People who watch that crap are wasting their lives. People who watch and swallow it are fools.

    T.V. is a wasteland through and through. That includes the news. This is just more of the same.

    Complaining to CNN would amount to complaining about one pussed-filled zit on a zit-covered monster.

  48. llewelly says

    Fatmop, It’s not just IU. The same fellow brought his family to Purdue, Butler, Ball State, and other Indiana campuses. He used to have an ~10 foot tall cross made of 4×4’s that he would plant in the ground behind him. Does he still yell at women calling them whores, harlots, sluts, and baby-killers?

    He’s just doing a real-life enactment of the popular video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

  49. Dark Matter says

    PZ Myers wrote:

    I’m adding CNN to my list of news agencies to ignore, along with Fox.

    The problem with ignoring them is, when the pro-authoritarians finally get around to replacing “The Star-Spangled Banner” with “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” on national television, you will not know what key to sing along in….and that would be embarrassing… =-)

    CNN and Fox are now only useful as indexes of the the amount of hysteria and fear we are expected to have…

  50. Matt says

    Is there anything we can do to show this on more and more websites. It’s disgusting and needs to be talked about. This is the first time, 7 days after it aired, that I’ve seen it and I am constantly following the news. It’s just sad that america still hasn’t changed. This nation is still filled with millions of people who think like this. All the same people who hate homosexuals. The same people who fostered those two kids who killed Matthew Shephard a while back. Nothing has changed. I feel like PBS or the NYT should have a response to this horrible, one-sided, slanderous piece of shit. What can be done? Anyone?

  51. says

    What if we framed it as, “Yes, there is no god! Hooray!” Would that work?

    With apologies to Spike Jones…
    “Yes! We have no Jehovah!
    We have no Jehovah, hooray!
    No Allah, no Ares,
    Ganeshes or fairies,
    Or all kinds of myths. And say,
    We have no old-fashioned stone idol,
    Nor drive to be homicidal.
    ‘Cause yes! We have no Jehovah
    We have no Jehovah, hooray!”

  52. Sterango says

    I really cannot handle how these supposed “good” and “holy” religious people think they’re being in any way good by persecuting non believers. But I guess that’s the catch 22 of their religion. “Sure we’re nice people and we love everyone! But only if you believe too!”

    What in the history of time have non believers ever done as a whole that was bad? Last I checked it’s the religious crazed zealots that have caused hassles, and now CNN is looking to start a fire within America, a religious civil war.

  53. Matt says

    Can someone on Youtube make a video exactly like this panel one using the transcript and just substituting Christianity for Atheism. “Are we now going to have to have prayer in schools?” “Are we going to have to look at their huge megachurches, crosses, and nativity scenes all the time?” “I think they just need to shut up!” “Don’t impose upon my right to actually have a life and not listen to all your bible-pushing, one-sided, Fox news loving, gun touting, every-other-living-thing-on-earth bashing shit. Don’t infringe upon that right.” etc. etc. etc. That would make my life if someone did that.

  54. impatientpatient says

    What does anyone expect with a station that has a Faith and Values correspondent/segment?

    Crazy stuff. And it just about beats the inanity of the old days when Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala and Robert Novak and the bald dude used to freaking scrap on TV. Thankfully that stopped when Jon Stewart did a smackdown- and Tuckers show was soon gone. Maybe a prominent athiest comic could do the same here???


    Anyways……. I stopped watching Paula Zahn a long time ago. As a confirmed news junkie, she struck me more as a scaremonger and overzealous protective mother of the ultimate kind. She just creeped me out. The only time we do watch is when she is talking about a “new” religious phenomenom- the big church book deal concept comes to mind- Joel Osteen and The Purpose Driven Life guy. Usually one of my kids and I are flipping out about the huge money involved in these organizations and how many people that could feed/innoculate/educate…..

    I did not get to watch this segment as I was held hostage to Fox News on the big screen at top volume all last week, due to dealing with family issues 2500 miles away. Yeah- From 7 am until 4am the next day _EVERY DAY for four days… with a person who called people of other colours things I could not ever imagine, and who thought that the current US administration was bang on. And who was a global warming denialist. If I had not relied on this person for lodging and transportation I might have done more than just ask “tell me YOUR views on (whatever idiocy was being spouted off)” which helps me to identify with those here who keep their views to themselves for fear of repercussions. As feisty as I would like to be, I wussed for the sake of family peace, convenience and just because I did not want this person’s spouse to have one more thing to worry about, as they would have made life difficult for them.

    This just in: Ted Haggard on CNN says he is NOT gay. Why is this on?

  55. says

    THANK YOU for writing about this! I saw this on CNN last week and was SO upset by their misconceptions of Athiests. I wrote them a letter of complaint which, of course, was never replied to. In the letter I:

    – Asked why they didn’t include an actual Atheist in the panel discussion
    – Pointed out that their statistics that 3% of the population of the US is Atheist must be wrong because those statistics are given to them by churches and Athiests rarely call the church they grew up in that they are Atheist.
    – Told them they should get in touch with some of the Atheists interviewed in Wired a couple of months ago to clear up some misconceptions.

    I’m appalled that they make good people like me look like a criminal.

  56. Steve_C says

    Suuuuure he’s not. All straight men get high on Meth and get “back rubs” from male prostitutes. The self loathing is sad.

  57. says

    “The biggest issue that atheism/promoting godlessness has going against it is that it is inherently negative.”

    I found that “losing my religion” freed me, made me more accountable for myself and my actions, and made me happier as a person. Besides not many atheists gather once a week to sit around proclaiming that there is no God; we just fill the time we spent on religion with something we consider more meaningful.

    In fact I have yet to meet another person like myself who rejects all of the lessons we learned from our previous religion’s beliefs, we just discard the more negative and fallacious aspects (which to an atheist includes the concept of God).

    Once we notice that our lives are better, sure we get offended when people tell us it’s somehow worse. It’s no more negative than a theist getting offended when an atheist tells them their life would be better without theism.

    I’ve personally found that the difference is that most atheists don’t hiss and spit when their beliefs are challenged, and far fewer seem bent on harming or killing over it (maybe there are just fewer atheists, I don’t know).

  58. Selma says

    ‘Why do atheists inspire such hatred?’

    Because intelligent people have inspired hatred throughout history. It’s one of the few emotions the trogs can muster and recognize.


  59. says

    “My worldview is portrayed in worse terms on a regular basis.”

    You poor persecuted soul. What can we do to relieve you of your immense suffering?

  60. S. Coopmoore says

    I’m an Atheist I have been all my life. By it’s very definition it’s a lack of belief. I don’t have any beliefs. I’m not offended by others beliefs, and don’t want to push mine on others, I have none.

    Reading your reactions to this article, you all just sound like another religion. Atheism is not an opposing point of view to religion, it the complete abscence of one.

    The best thing about being an Athiest is that you can choose to become one, your not left open minded from birth, you manage to stay open minded despite religions constant indoctrination.

    Don’t get me wrong, I see religions destroying the world and being polluted by individual agendas. The truth is that could be any group, even Atheiests. If you get enough people together we do bad things.

  61. Tim Smith says

    Ironic. CNN was started by one of the most successful atheists ever…Ted Turner.
    “Christianity is a religion for losers,” he once said. On another occasion, Turner joked that the pope should step on a landmine. Seeing CNN employees wearing ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday, he remarked, “What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox.” He is so viscerally uncomfortable with the Christian faith that he blamed his divorce from his third wife, Jane Fonda, partly on her decision to become a practicing Christian.
    from an article by a Christian at

  62. says

    There was a program on the life and death of Madelyn Murray O’Hair last night on Australian TV. It strikes me reading this that she’s the atheist that they would have liked to be on the panel, and she’s the atheist that the panel is arguing with…

    She’s DEAD. Deal with the rest of us, please…

  63. Luke Adams says

    There are so many things wrong with the panel portion of the broadcast that I have to pick just one or I’d be writing for days. How could anyone make a blanket statement like “Atheists believe in nothing” and hope to be taken seriously. As an atheists I would like to say that I believe in many things. I believe in the strength and dignity of mankind. I believe we should treat others the way we would like to be treated. I also believe that the ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians had just as much faith in Zeus, Apollo and Ra as modern day believers do in Jesus, Allah and Yahweh. Since there have been thousands of supernatural and magical gods worshiped by mankind over the centuries, every monotheist is an “atheist” in regards to every god but the one they were either taught to believe as a child or were converted to by either good marketing or peer pressure.

    At the risk of over simplifying, I also believe that there are two kinds of people in the world: People that believe in a magical supernatural realm and those who do not. If you do not believe in any kind of magic, you are an atheist. The group of people that do believe in magic can then be divided into subgroups such as people who believe in Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Ra, Apollo, Isis, Aphrodite, ghosts, pixies, unicorns, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, trolls, fairies and all other things that cannot be proven. To me it seems a bit backwards that the people who believe in magic have chosen to speak in such a condescending way about people who have chosen to live a life based on reason and logic instead of magic and superstition.

    And finally, I believe that most people do not want to consider that their parents and peers might be wrong about religion. Because of this and the overwhelming desire to fit in with society, most Christians do not take the time to read their own bible with a skeptical eye. How can anyone truly believe that if there is an all powerful, loving and compassionate god in the universe that this is the book he would write and endorse? It condones misogyny, rape, murder, racism and is full of some of the silliest stories ever written. (i.e. Jonah lived inside a fish, two of every animal fit on a boat etc..) Wouldn’t a perfect god write the best book in the world? Why not dictate to Shakespeare or Hemingway?

    Anyway, I just wanted to demonstrate that even though I’m an atheist, I do not believe in nothing.

  64. Overseer says

    CNN has always been junk TV, but now it has gone too far. Still, please do not confuse Fox News, CNN or anything on television with journalism. Some of us are still plying the craft, but it is as it has always been…the written word.

  65. jedi says

    Religions are inspiring hatred. Aren’t we tired of the war between religions? I already don’t watch or read CNN, this is another good reason not to trust them.

    In the end of the age, we will win. No room for imaginary friends in 21st century!

  66. Lisa says

    When’s the last time you saw violence committed in the name of athiesm? I can’t figure out why we are so feared and hated, when we’re the only group that hasn’t tried to go out and kill people in the name of our beliefs. It’s also really hard to believe why the majority of people in this country apparently don’t care about keeping their civil rights and religious freedom.

  67. John Patron says

    I thought CNN was a little I hate FOX NEWS their moneymaking schemes which made every news network start to have conservative bias, but that’s what they Daily Show & The Colbert Report is for. It’s a good show & they have actual news.

    Also I’m atheist. I’m respectful but sometimes I get pissed when this scenario happens:
    LIke abortion & sex with Roman Catholics. Don’t screw it up for the rest of us. If you don’t want abortions then don’t have it. Don’t let everybody else’s lives screwed for your beliefs, you should respect other people’s needs & beliefs. Also Evangelism is not good. Religion is used to create guidelines for that religions ideal for what is a better life. The reason I am an Atheist is due to the fact when I believe in a higher being I have a fear of life. Without the fear of going to heaven or hell I feel that I can do anything without an consequences & do more to accomplish in life. Plus don’t force religion on everybody else. If a muslim or an atheist doesn’t want to be Catholic or Christian then don’t try. people can make their own decisions.

  68. jiggaJay says

    so angry that it was such an injust show but it was to be expected, CNN is a joke. Does anyone honestly eat the bullshit that is flowing from this channel 24/7? well i guess if your a white american christian you will. Im canadian and not one person i know; regardless of race or religious belief would swallow one ounce of it. PROPAGANDA.

    Next they should do a segment on how anyone who isnt a white christian is wrong and should STFU.

    P.S. god if you are reading this, please know im only kidding, but im sure you already knew that

  69. llewelly says

    The group of people that do believe in magic can then be divided into subgroups such as people who believe in Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Ra, Apollo, Isis, Aphrodite, ghosts, pixies, unicorns, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, trolls, fairies and all other things that cannot be proven.

    Err, wait. I don’t believe in any of these critters, except trolls, which can be found on any populated blog.

  70. Leni says

    At first I thought it was offensive too, but think about it…

    The panel answered the question about as honestly as they could be expected to: Because we’re pretty much a bunch of shallow, self-righteous, ass-licking hypocrite media whores who care more about making money and feeling privileged than we do about other people or common decency.

    Hell, that’s what I would have said too.


    One more thing. Schlussel, aside from being about as articulate as the gaseous blasts released from a four-day old cow carcass left rotting in the sun, TYPES IN ALL CAPS ON HER BLOG. SERIOUSLY, GO LOOK AT HER REPLIES IN THE COMMENTS!

    PZ you should take a page from Schlussel’s book: people will think you are a better person if you type in all caps. More intelligent, more important, better educated and more well-adjusted than others… Incidentally it will also make your arguments appear better reasoned and more compelling. More…sane.

    It’s weird how it works that way… You wouldn’t really expect it to, but it does.

  71. says

    Karen Smith is a Pulitzer Prize winner, believe it or not.

    Why did they stop at saying America is a Christian nation.
    Why not say that America is a White Christian nation? I wonder what Karen would say about dat.

    Talk about a crew of retards.

  72. Skeptyk says

    Here is the email I sent to that show:

    Your recent panel about atheists, which included not one atheist, was disturbing to say the least. Perhaps this short shout-fest is some infotainment excuse for a discussion, but even within that format, you could have included someone with some knowledge, even expertise, on the issue.

    As an atheist, and as a person who is thinks democracy works best with an informed citizenry, I was dismayed at Karen Hunter’s repeated admonition that I should “shut up”, as well as other evidences of ignorant bigotry about atheism.

    Try respecting your viewers enough to have a panel that presents the truth about US history and Supreme Court school prayer rulings, as well, rather than have a couple of panelists display their ignorance about those things as they did in the panel.

    BTW, I can no more choose to believe in a god than I can choose to believe in leprechauns. I think some of the god-stories are lovely, and I used to think of Jesus as a great friend. I stopped believing in hell long before I stopped believing in the God of my Catholic Church, because I believed in a benevolent god, which was inconsistent with an eternal hell. As a 10-year old, I could not reconcile God and Hell.

    Gradually, all my supernatural beliefs faded away. No big conversion event, just introspection and evidence – or lack thereof. The last vestige of God lingered as simply “Something Big to Thank”. I live with great gratitude, and the morals my mother raised me with: kindness, compassion, justice, honesty. These are readily available and practiced both within and without a religious frame.

    I make an educated guess that most folks act with such morals because we have evolved as bright, social animals. Rarely do we “do the right thing” because of fear of punishment (either by gods, demons or other people); those are motivators and restraints, of course, but most of us are, in most cases, reflexively nice most of the time.

    Of course, I am looking at humans through the rose-colored glasses of atheism.

    Be well,

    JeanneE Hand-Boniakowski
    Wells, Vermont, USA

  73. Fred Neechya says

    Its funny. I have a sort of built in contingency plan. Not on purpose mind you. If I’m wrong about what I believe, I will just cease to exist. Godless people on the other hand, have quite a time ahead of them if they are wrong.

  74. J says

    Woo hoo. Finally someone else figured out that CNN is true liberal media! Oh wait they were kidding. I’m sorry that the poor atheists were “represented unfairly”(my nice way of saying it). Boo hoo. In the words of I’m sure another one of your liberal favorites Justin Timberlake, “cry me a river.” The fact is the “Christian twits” are the ones that get mocked for believing in something that spreads moral and ethical behavior. However, congratulations! You are using your constitutional rights (that apparently haven’t violated by the Patriot Act) to have a pathetic blog that spreads virtual crap to people who are just dumb enough to believe.
    Thanks for spreading more crap to the idiots!
    You go Liberals!

    p.s. are you serious? You get your political news from Comedy Central? Moron. The future of America people. The FUTURE of America! God Bless! ;-)

  75. Troublesome Frog says

    Reading your reactions to this article, you all just sound like another religion. Atheism is not an opposing point of view to religion, it the complete abscence of one.

    And I’m sure it would be left at that if it weren’t for people saying “Atheists are X” where X is some sort of bad thing. People here aren’t getting riled up because they oppose religion. They’re getting riled up because they were misrepresented and generally dumped on. I don’t see how taking offense at being caricatured and blamed for social problems is automatically equated with some sort of religious fervor.

  76. says

    I hadn’t watched CNN for a long time, but just watched a clip of this segment. I have to say that it was a complete shambles. The moderator had no control at all; the panel members came across as loudmouthed fools shouting over the top of each other; Smith did have some sensible things to say, is commendable for his defence of basic liberties, and showed up the extreme illiberalism of the others; and in fact, those other two came across as wild-eyed, raving fanatics.

    This was a farce. Is CNN usually that bad these days?

  77. says

    The fact is the “Christian twits” are the ones that get mocked for believing in something that spreads moral and ethical behavior.

    Yeah, fundie moral and ethical behavior like relativism, convenience-oriented values, nihilism, sloth, hate, slander, discrimination, etcetera.

    And when we point out those objective evils of the fundie population, they pretend it’s a sin to be “offended” by immorality and injustice, but it’s absolutely wrong for us to “offend” them with the truth of the situation.

  78. says

    Why do atheists inspire such hatred?

    Older-school “Doctor Who” said it best…

    “His first impulse will be to kill me. It’ll be more important to him than anything else.”
    “Does he hate you that much?”
    “Yes, because I contradict what he thinks is real. I’m a threat to his world.”

    – the Doctor and Leela, “Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil”

  79. says

    Whoops. One more, from the same place, to show the same face…

    “You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: they don’t alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit the views. Which can be uncomfortable, if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

    – The Doctor, “Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil”

  80. Rey Fox says

    Well, sure, based on that little two-word pulled quote, he maybe looks kinda sorta bigoted. No need to read the rest of the post, of course.

  81. Mark Lewis says

    (Thanks for a great web site and your hard work. This is what I wrote to CNN.)

    Hello CNN,

    I am writing in reference to a news segment that ran on your January 31 edition of Paula Zahn Now, with Karen Hunter, Debbie Schlussel, and Stephen A. Smith on Atheism. This is by far the most unsophisticated, biased and blatantly hate filled commentary on an American minority that I have ever seen in a major media outlet. Any network that would approve a banner that says, “Why do atheists inspire such hatred?” is a network where heads should roll. Consider what sort of fallout would occur if the word “atheist” were substituted with the word, “Christian”, “black” or “women”. Congratulations on a new journalistic low. To indicate my level of concern, I would like you to know that this is the first “letter to the editor, etc.” that I have felt compelled to write in the last ten years.

    Mark Lewis
    San Pedro, California

  82. Stogoe says

    Nice to see pascal’s wager show up, godd-botherer. (up at #88)

    In the immortal words of Homer J Simpson, “What if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we’re just making God madder and madder.”

  83. Chris says

    I am all for bible study in school. Miss Mary Rottencrotch’s first grade class will discuss why God says that if a man has sex with his wife and her mother, then they must all three be burned to death (Leviticus 20:14).

  84. says

    Ummm….. Please be aware that who ever posted as”Okie” above with my website, I would appreciate if you didn’t post stuff intending to look like me. Don’t be a coward and use your own name and website. Thank you!

  85. Chinchillazilla says

    She’s DEAD. Deal with the rest of us, please…

    Seriously! Everyone who finds out I’m an atheist is like “But that woman was, like, teh bad!!”

    Atheism =/= not the cult of Madalyn Murray O’Hair. I was too little to have even heard of her when she died, and I don’t base my views on hers.

  86. DTSLW says

    It’s nice to know idiots still have a home on the idiot tube — good thing they don’t know about the interwebs yet.

    But really, I’m starting to think atheists need to stop protesting in Washington and start protesting in front of news agencies that slander and scape goat atheists for the problems in society.

    They should spend less time worrying about us and more time worrying about themselves.

  87. says

    I think Chris Hedges’ “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” should be required reading so that everyone would know that it is the Christian Right that is responsible for all the hatred.

  88. 1234 says

    It just proves there are alot of stupid people out there. If you dont follow what they beleive you are obviously wrong… These people need to get intouch with reality.

  89. Graham Heaton says

    My responce to CNN:

    This comment is regarding your show aired on January 31st. The topic of that day’s episode was of Atheism and the discrimination behind it. The beginning of the show prior to the commercial break was very interesting and have no complaint with how it was produced; however, the debate that followed could be defined as nothing short of infuriating. When the only person defending Atheism is a Christian ESPN correspondant, there is a major problem. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, however CNN’s choice to air select opinions is ridiculous. “I think they need to shut up and let people do what they do.” “…but I recognize we’re a Christian country and freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.” “Maybe they need to get some atheist cards…” Such statements are intolerable to the Atheist community.

    I thank Stephen Smith for respecting and protecting their views, even while disagreeing with them. I cannot say the same for Hunter or Schlussel.

    To Mrs. Schlussel:
    What would your opinion be if they stated on television ‘it’s the Jews fault for killing Christ.’ Regardless of your beliefs, Mrs. Schlussel, we are expected to socially respect those of others.

    To Mrs. Hunter:
    Atheist Cards? Do you think Black People Cards would have helped during the Civil Rights Movement? Not only are you a bigot, but a fool.

    To the both of you:
    I think it is you who need to ‘shut up.’ Despite what you and others of your narrow-minded sort, this is not a Christian Country; this is a Free Country. You have drifted far away from the roots of this great America. Apparently you have forgotten the ideals based on what this Country was founded on. Puritains who were escaping religious prosecution came to this land to start anew. While Religous Prosecution is thankfully not one of our worries as of today, we are being socially prosecuted for our religion. In a country where students have been punished for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. In a country where Christian side comments are sneaked in at every point. God Bless America. In God We Trust. Under God. Our own president saying God chose him to lead this nation. Our children are filled with these statements as if they were subliminal advertising. This is the reason we complain. (Pardon me for my generalization.) You want to raise your Christian children in schools and a world where evolution isn’t taught, and anything that may jeopardize your belief system you have instilled into them must be hushed. We feel the same way. We want to live in a country where anything that may jeopardize OUR childrens beliefs should be hushed, or at the very least not flaunted in our face every fleeting moment. Just because the demographics say the majority of this country is Christians, doesn’t mean they have a right to sovereignty over the rest of us.

  90. Ronald Fleming says

    You know what causes hatred, people, human beings, Homo Sapiens! Does anyone on here know why?
    I’ll tell you why. Because we have two main elements in our system and societies that have so many indifferences that it creates hatred within variances. That is governments and religion.
    Eliminate (governments & religion) both those elements in their entirely and that will be the only time humans will ever have everlasting peace and harmony.

  91. me says

    the whole idea of atheisms is stupid anyway. in order for you to believe or “know” there is not a God you would need to be all knowing which would make you… say it with me… God so what have we learned today class. Atheists are proof that doing drugs while pregnant is a bad thing.

  92. autumn1971 says

    Disturbing but expected. No major network is going to air views that a huge majority of its viewers are going to find abominable. Imagine if a segment on child pornography was commented on by a member of nambla. The answer, as has been addressed above, is to make atheism visible every chance we can. Not too many years ago it was acceptible to ridicule jews and roman catholics. It was only the increased prominence of these groups that made them visible to most of the American public. As non-theists we should do what we can to gently insert the idea of atheism into the minds of individuals. When enough people discover that they have athiest friends their attitudes will slowly change. There is no public figure today wo would ever say anything blatantly discriminatory against Jewish people, but only a few decades ago such comments were commonplace. Athiests need to have the same aggressive push to make America realise that America is that much diminished by not including athiests.

  93. Daniel says

    I sent them a good long email.. it just made me so incredibly angry. In fact, I’ll just post my email here for the hell of it:

    Where was the breaking point? When was the exact moment that CNN devolved into the equivalent of a Fox News clone?

    I watched a special on Atheism the other day on CNN and was simply appalled! I sat aghast as a determined hit piece on 10 million Americans was shown before me. I watched as CNN spread horrible propaganda via background foxnews-esque banners (e.g. “WHY DO ATHEISTS INSPIRE SUCH HATE?”), as four clueless, woefully ignorant, predatory panelists — not one of which was Atheist of course — attacked a huge group of people based on their beliefs. I can only imagine how minorities in the past felt when going through the equivalent. The African Americans, the women, the Japanese, the slaves, the gays (still), the disabled, the Muslims (current), anyone who opposed Bush 5 years ago or the war 3 years ago, and Atheists in America since it existed.

    It is as if Americans don’t know the background on their own country anymore! There was only one panelist in the CNN hit piece who had an ounce of understanding of the importance of our Constitution, and the meaning of equality for all of America’s citizens. It is simply despicable what I watched and heard on a NEWS program!

    I had sincerely began to regard CNN higher than the other cable news channels. I though CNN had begun to take the high road — used facts rather than slander, intelligent discussions on current situations facing the country and world, real information without the added bias and agenda. It never was quite there but it was closer to real journalism than any of the other cable news stations. I saw CNN striving to become the opposite of Fox News (and I use that program in my comments a lot as THE ultimate insult to journalism), and suddenly CNN is on the same level as them! I mean, the propaganda evident in the news piece actually RIVALED Fox News in the magnitude of your attack.

    What is particularly incredible is that CNN had just shown a video detailing EXACTLY what the interviewees had been describing! The irony is so vast that I find it impossible to understand how your studio didn’t come to the realization. Here, a couple of citizens in some southern town is forced out of their lives by the religious community there who take great offense at their differing beliefs, and then a CNN panel take it a step further and calls for all Atheists to “SHUT UP” and leave! Paraphrase: let’s eradicate all Atheist Americans so we don’t have to hear their point of view.

    It’s too bad the concept of the Bill of Rights and our founding father’s vision for America is lost on so many of its new citizens. Time to open a few history books CNN! In fact, if you’re going to do a report on a mass group of people, maybe it would be wise to do some type of research on them before you broadcast your bullshit to the rest of the country! Maybe then it’ll become apparent that an Atheist have individual beliefs stemming far from “nothing”, and just as importantly, maybe CNN can get a reminder of what it means to be a real journalist, and become that responsible television media that we are so lacking today. Welcome to the spin zone..

  94. Morten says

    I’m an atheist.

    This was a debate. It was out of balance, granted, but none the less it reflected the voice of America.

    “Why do atheists inspire such hatred?”

    Is a valid question. It IS a valid question! Atheists DOES inspire a lot of hatred from believers. We saw that from the debaters themselves. “Inspire” is the key word.

    Dear atheists of the world – let’s not start to act like the religious and get offended by stuff like this. It was a debate and the people they invited did not defend our opinion very good. I don’t feel discriminated by CNN more than I would if someone said they didn’t like my favorite color. It was bad from a journalistic point of view and CNN should know that. That’s it.

  95. Vegas Vic says

    The ‘news’ is not about telling the truth, it’s about selling advertising time.

    Just turn that #### off. You can get an hour’s worth of TV ‘news’ in 5 min on the net and triple check it with outside sources in 15.

  96. Shaun says

    Next on CNN: ‘Why do coloured folks cause so much trouble?’ We ask Prussian Blue their thoughts on this important issue.

  97. Charles Darwin says

    I echo the fact that generally, Atheists should Shut up as in minding their own business. Every Atheist should be free to do as they ‘think’ individually or collectively. But at the same time I have a comment towards you the Atheist reading this: just like your so sensible about liberty rights, be fucking coherent about other things as well will ya, like the Law of Masses – its unfair to have the public follow by your guidelines if your batch makes up 10% (conservatively speaking) of a nations population. Its real easy looking at things from your native point of view, but think about this for a moment. If you happen to have kids yourself, have you or will you ever bother(ed) to give them a fair choice of decision on the existance of god ?; have you cared to ever tell them that you believe in Atheism because thats the best conclusion YOU could come to ? Once youve explained your points of view clearly, do or would you give them a chance to decide on things from then on ? Or do you mentor them and make sure that they abide by your beliefs? The typical Christian Family has the same problem (admitted). But Dont play victim when you would do the exact same (if not worse) had you been demographically in the same position.

  98. says

    At okie, #70: “You poor persecuted soul. What can we do to relieve you of your immense suffering?”

    That “wah” was sarcastic — I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m suggesting Pharyngula grow a thicker skin.

    Or are you unable to see the emo whining in Pharyngula’s original post because you share in the the same persecutions, you poor persecuted atheist? Wah.

  99. MartinM says

    its unfair to have the public follow by your guidelines if your batch makes up 10% (conservatively speaking) of a nations population

    We’re not asking anyone to follow our ‘guidelines.’ What we want is neutrality. We don’t want teachers leading our children in prayer to a God we don’t believe in, but we don’t want teachers telling your children the God you believe in doesn’t exist.

    Unfortunately, a shockingly large number of theists seem to equate ‘discrimination’ with ‘not getting their way.’

  100. says

    Morten, #117: “Dear atheists of the world – let’s not start to act like the religious and get offended by stuff like this. It was a debate and the people they invited did not defend our opinion very good. I don’t feel discriminated by CNN more than I would if someone said they didn’t like my favorite color. It was bad from a journalistic point of view and CNN should know that. That’s it.”

    Healthiest comment on this thread. Morten’s right that some religious people act offended, but what’s the point? Is everyone going to agree or like everyone’s point of view? No. So we’re all better off, religious and atheist and whatever else we are, taking a few lumps here and there. No one respects a soccer player who rolls on the ground with a fake injury just to draw a foul.

  101. God says

    For 3,000 years men and women have claimed to speak for me. Let me say this directly to you, there is no sin in denying that I exist.
    What really displeases me is the use of has-beens for super bowl halftime entertainment! Please rectify this or you’ll get more than rain during the the big game next year.
    Peace out-Yaweh

  102. says

    Morten’s right that some religious people act offended, but what’s the point? Is everyone going to agree or like everyone’s point of view? No. So we’re all better off, religious and atheist and whatever else we are, taking a few lumps here and there. No one respects a soccer player who rolls on the ground with a fake injury just to draw a foul.

    The issue is that Paula Zahn and the hatemongers on her panel deliberately and premeditatively lied about a whole group of people, the very real discrimination they handwaved away, the history of the US, the reality of prayer in school, and all for the purpose of ratings.

  103. Bob says

    I think the real issue hear, is that someone is still watches CNN.

    You want this crap to stop? Stop watching the channel. Watching it, is just as bad as believing that it’s right.

    As far as CNN is concerned, you watched the show, they still get to advertise too you. Why would they change anything?

  104. Jeff Hagen says

    To Paula Zahn: Your panel discussion on January 31, 2007 about on atheism was absolutely horrible. There was zero representation from the secular, atheist, freethinker, pagan, or even agnostic perspective. The truth is that there has been and always will be seculars everywhere… Thomas Paine, Bertrand Russell, Warren Buffett, Jodie Foster, Penn Jillette, Billy Joel, Angelina Jolie, Barry Manilow, Julianne Moore, and Andy Rooney just to name a few. And just because we don’t believe in the virgin birth, doesn’t mean we lead immoral lives. To myself and to millions who don’t subscribe to the notion of an all-knowning, all-powerful diety, the Golden Rule does and will always apply. Best of luck to you and your crappy show.

  105. says

    As far as CNN is concerned, you watched the show, they still get to advertise too you. Why would they change anything?

    I didn’t. Commercial-free YouTube.

  106. says

    America is becoming more and more a christian controlled totalitarian state. If anything the atheist population isn’t being militant enough. In my South African school other children used to throw stones at me because of their ill informed religious beliefs. Now i regularly complain if a colleague tries to practice their religion in my workplace – and those who try to convert me in the streets get assaulted. I think that this can’t possibly be enough. It is clear to me that anyone who has faith in religion is clearly mentally deficient – a clear cut case for some practices of eugenics. ;)

  107. Jonathan Smith says

    The land of the free, the great old U S of A. I wonder sometimes why people have so much hatred towards each other there.

  108. Dan says

    Given how atheists spend so much time slagging-off non-atheists publicly:
    a) This sounds like CNN ran a pretty fair show.
    b) It’s time you found out what it feels like. Now stop doing it to other people.

  109. daenku32 says

    Dan, are you serious? The theists don’t take a break from slagging atheists. Every time you say that Jesus-saves (from eternal hell fires and moral corruption), you are slagging atheists.

    When will the believers stop slagging at non-belief?

  110. says

    Yeah, Dan, we all know that if atheists vocally condemn hate, nihilism, deception, and hypocrisy, they must be good things, otherwise the atheists wouldn’t condemn them.

  111. GH says

    Given how atheists spend so much time slagging-off non-atheists publicly:
    a) This sounds like CNN ran a pretty fair show.
    b) It’s time you found out what it feels like. Now stop doing it to other people.

    Only someone completely detached from reality could think like this.

  112. ben says

    I think Paula Zahn should have to undergo her next contract negotiations in front of a giant backdrop reading “Why is Paula Zahn such an ignorant, incompetent c***?”

  113. Pissed-off Atheist says

    Unbelievable! I just fired off the following email to CNN:

    Wow. “Why do atheists inspire so much hatred?” What unmitigated bastardry. Would you ask a question such as “why do *Jews* inspire so much hatred?” when covering Middle East stories? I think anyone with a functioning brain understands that Jews and other targets of hate do not “inspire” hatred in those that hate them. Atheists are hated because religious extremists (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, whatever) are self-righteous assholes who think that if you don’t agree with their particular fantasies, you deserve to burn forever in some firey pit, even if you’re a perfectly nice guy who just wants to live according to the dictates of your own conscience.

    And would it have been so hard to find, oh, I don’t know, AN ACTUAL ATHEIST to be on your panel? Someone who could actually refute the insane ravings of Debbie Schlussel? Would you have a panel discussing Muslims without a single Muslim on it? Great galloping gonorrhea, you “journalists” have a lot of nerve!

    Y’know, I used to think CNN was better than Fox “We make shit up so you don’t have to” News, but I guess you’re ultimately not.

    Like the thoroughly awesome Jon Stewart once said, “STOP HURTING AMERICA.”

    Yours, etc.,

    Brigadier General Reginald Smith-Smythe-Smith, Mrs.

  114. mikey says

    The clue to the hatred can be found in the panel discussion when secular Europe was mentioned. The message is that atheism is an ugly, dangerous fad — the new gateway drug:

    atheism leads to islamism.

    They are preparing us for the new culture wars. Where was Sam Harris when we needed him?

  115. says

    At ‘the forester #120,

    Mr. Forester, the person who posted under ”okie” using a link to my website was posting under cowardship, they made themselves to appear as me, the freethinking okie, to make a comment, instead of posting as themselves. I am at this time working through the channels to find out who misrepresented themselves and see if there can be any retribution made.

    Please be aware that not everyone is who they say they are!

  116. BK says

    Atheists don’t “believe in nothing,” it’s just we don’t believe imaginary beings and imaginary people are responsible or dictate what occurs in our day to day lives. I was ridiculed by siblings as a child for having an imaginary friend, now I’m ridiculed as an adult for not having one? It’s a beautiful world that we live in but unfortunately religion has drawn lines in the sand and have perpetuated hate and wars between people who otherwise would probably get along just fine. And for what reason? My imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend? How rediculous.

  117. Ronald Fleming says

    To the poster of #126 who said “anyone who believes in God is dumb!”
    Creationism is all around you from the smallest microrganism to the universe and all scriptural content that relates to predicted prophecies have all come true and they can be varified without speculation studying chronological history.
    Evolution is a speculative teaching without varification or records to back it up, therefore it is suggestive imagination that keeps it alive from ones who claim there is no God.
    The attitudes of the populations of the earth and the present day events show the God theory to be right on track. The two main elements who cater to mankinds woes on earth (governments & religion) which leads to atheism, wars, famines and violence will be exposed and cut off from this world very shortly.
    The only survivors who will come out of the coming tribulation will be ones doing the will of God and respecting his purpose.
    I know it still sounds like a dumb theory to you, but it is a much better alternative to the coming inevitable fate of all non believers and counterfeit Christians. It is that simple.

  118. says

    i talk about this kind of bullshit on my blog all the time. most of the time it is fox news doing this, but again… what do you expect from big media?

  119. spin sycle says

    You know, it’s bad enought that I have to listen to my officemate’s gospel music, even though she has it turned down (too cheap to buy earbuds?) and it’s worse that I have to endure listening to her inane comments like “You’re god’s representative, you’re supposed to look good” but to have crap like this on CNN really makes me sick to my stomach. Where was Michael Shermer or anyone else for that matter? CNN must have selective phone service.

  120. says

    The big problem for me is the misrepresentation a great many people are making when they call themselves ‘atheists’. sorry, most people who babble on and on on the internet about atheism aren’t atheists, they’re antitheists. the minute you say ‘believing in god is stupid’ or ‘religion kills more people than atheists do’ then you’re spouting antitheism. i wrote about this a month or so ago on my blog, feel free to check it out, then post some nasty comments about what a jackass i am. you’ll help prove my point.

  121. llewelly says

    The only survivors who will come out of the coming tribulation will be ones doing the will of God and respecting his purpose.

    Past rapturist Christians (and even some today) used this sort of ‘argument’ against Jews, Muslims, Africans, and women. In each of the aforementioned cases, it has been shown the ‘argument’ was not supported evidence, but made solely out of prejudice.
    Atheists have every reason to believe that when this sort of ‘argument’ is used against us, it is advanced solely due to prejudice.

  122. Jamie G. says

    Sent the IP to the proper people. So far it came out of Indianapolis…the search continues.

    I think the a$$hole who thought it would be funny to use my info should probably say they are sorry here and now.

    I would appreciate it.

  123. Jack says

    You are absolutely right about the need for atheist activism in this country. Remaining silent for these past decades as we have, is directly responsible for the despicable superstitious state in which we all now find ourselves. I’m now a militant atheist activist!

  124. Steve_C says

    I’m an atheist and an antitheist…

    Should I shut up now?

    There are no god or gods. Religion is bullshit.

  125. says

    I lack belief in a deity. That makes me an atheist. I’d be content to only be an antitheist on the debate table, but all the hate-spewing fundies have to bring politics, deception, and coercion into it, so we have to retaliate by countering their lies with the truth about atheism: We’re actual human beings who care about stuff and that we bleed when the fundies prick us.

  126. JR says

    all I know is that the comments that I read in blog entries like this seem to be full of atheists getting angry and calling most other people stupid or narrowminded.

    Pot calling the kettle black, it seems.

    Maybe you should all stop getting so damned worked up and calling everyone stupid. Just believe what you believe and respect those that believe in God….don’t call those people stupid or narrowminded.

    some examples from above:
    “Religion is bullshit”
    “Anyone who believes in God is dumb”

    The irony, of course, is that many/most of these people also hold up ‘organized religion’ as being the source of all intolerance and the evils of the past. Ummmm….where did these atheists get their intolerance from if it isn’t from organized religion?

    Just like there is no proof that there is a God – you have no proof that there isn’t one unless you think that mankind is somehow all-knowing. And, really, there is no need to think that people who have faith in a God are “idiots” unless you want to be a shining beacon of all that you purport to hate.

  127. Steve LaBonne says

    There’s no proof that Zeus doesn’t exist either. Aren’t you afraid of being struck by one of his thunderbolts for your unbelief?

  128. says

    JR, there’s a big difference between being called dumb for performing lots of logical fallacies (like your shifting the burden of proof, for instance) and being called a nihilist who shouldn’t stand up for his rights or complain about unethical, immoral behavior in the government.

    But what do I know? I’m one of those crazy people who think that systematic denial of the pursuit of happiness is a worse crime than being called an idiot for committing logical fallacies.

  129. Explicit Atheist says

    Paul Theodoropoulos wrote: “Sorry, most people who babble on and on on the internet about atheism aren’t atheists, they’re antitheists. the minute you say ‘believing in god is stupid’ or ‘religion kills more people than atheists do’ then you’re spouting antitheism.”

    Saying someone is not an atheist because they are antitheist, as if they are mutually exclusively catagories, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Some atheists are antitheists and some are not, but either way, as long as they claim to believe there is no God they are atheists.

  130. Steve_C says

    JR: Heaven, an enternal afterlife… is bullshit.

    Be offended. Fine. I would love for the religious to not be that way. They don’t deserve any more respect than someone who believes in Zeus, Xenu or Vampires. The do deserve tolerance. But that’s it.

  131. says

    they are essentially mutually exclusive. the atheist doesn’t care about god, it’s not important to him. the antitheist *does* care about god – the negation of same.

    i’m sick to death of antitheists bitching constantly about god and religion, while calling themselves atheists. it’s an affront to real atheists, who don’t give a crap about religion or god.

    i’ve never – at least not in seriousness – told anyone they’re going to hell for thinking XYZ. i don’t believe in hell. i don’t believe in creationism either. i don’t go to church. i don’t pray. i have little interest in religion. i do however ‘believe in’ god. i’m just not a zealot about telling other people what they should or shouldn’t think. antitheists however go around telling people they should not believe in god, they should believe in evolution, they should/shouldn’t do XYZ and a host of other things. atheists, on the other hand, are a lot like me – they don’t give a rats ‘nads about hell or creationism or religion – and in their case, god either.

    it’s hypocritical to call oneself an atheist when you hate religion and god, and go around telling people who do believe in god that they’re stupid. own up to who you are. for that matter, what are you afraid of? until ‘mainstream’ antitheists start correctly referring to themselves as antitheists rather than atheists, i’ll continue calling you on it. don’t be cowards. “atheist” is a copout.

  132. says

    Great idea, let’s have 3 ultrachristians discuss how evil atheists are. I have been steadily losing respect for CNN for years, but this has to be the nail in the coffin. Thank Darwin I left the USA to live in Europe where people aren’t so ignorant and we have alternatives like the BBC and world news.

  133. Steve_C says

    Only a Deist would have the balls to tell an atheist what to call themselves.
    All Deists are antiathiests. Stop pretending you’re not.

  134. says

    nice try steve_c, but your construct is fallacious.

    get a dictionary.

    i’m anti-antitheist. i’ve got all the love for atheists. because they’re not the one who are stomping their feet likek three-year-olds because they’re so oppressed.

  135. says

    Whoa. If I don’t believe in any god, that should make me an atheist. If I go one step farther and say that the belief in a god is harmful to human civilization, I’m an antitheist.

    In principle, I could subscribe to some Gnostic belief and tell everybody that the world was created by a malicious Demiurge, some kind of malevolent deity. This would make me a religious antitheist. On a Venn diagram, atheists and antitheists would constitute two overlapping but not coincident circles.

    To position myself, I personally have no belief in any god. I think the social harms brought about by religion (and organized religion in particular) are hard to evaluate, as are the social benefits; I think that investigating the evolutionary or psychological origins of religious belief is a legitimate area of scientific inquiry; I suspect that mainstream religions have underestimated how vulnerable they are to open inquiry, particularly in the area of cognitive science.

    I believe we’ve got more trouble coming to us before this will all be over.

  136. kmarissa says

    “i’m sick to death of antitheists bitching constantly about god and religion, while calling themselves atheists. it’s an affront to real atheists, who don’t give a crap about religion or god.”

    Since when did not giving a crap about the general level of society’s belief in a god become a definitive aspect of atheism? An “antitheist”, if you even want to use the term, doesn’t “care” about god, he or she cares about the effect that religious belief has upon society. And for all the talk about “bitching” and “whining,” did this person even read the original post?

    I mean, really. Wow.

  137. Steve_C says

    I’m pretty sure that panel wasn’t discussing Antitheists.

    You don’t seem to understand what it means to be an Atheist and human do you.

    Religion is bullshit, no matter how quaint or harmless the strain of faith is. It’s based on something imaginary and unproveable.

    So when the religious go around trying to make what they believe law and part of the educational system and want special exemptions for their brand of delusion, many if not most ATHEISTS have a problem with it. And they might even get angry.

    Just because we don’t fit into your little Deist box is not our problem.

  138. says


    Since when did not giving a crap about the general level of society’s belief in a god become a definitive aspect of atheism? An “antitheist”, if you even want to use the term, doesn’t “care” about god, he or she cares about the effect that religious belief has upon society.

    I concur. It is an unhappy accident of history which makes me care, but I could live in a different country or a different century and care either less or much more. Such changes of circumstance would not, however, alter the essential fact that I lack belief.

  139. Dark Matter says

    Paul Theodoropoulos wrote:

    i don’t believe in hell. i don’t believe in creationism either. i don’t go to church. i don’t pray. i have little interest in religion. i do however ‘believe in’ god. i’m just not a zealot about telling other people what they should or shouldn’t think.

    Then this is an admission of cowardice.

    Your “god” has been hijacked by a political elite who are only interested in religion as a way of getting the believers to go fight in a war that never should have been started in thefirst place.

    Your “god” is currently doing sockpuppet duty to frighten the faithful into trashing anything that stands in the way of a authoritarian theocracy.

    Your “god” is being used like a cheap whore, being passed around from politician to politician, to get in office, but you can’t be bothered worth a “rats ‘nads” to get angry about it.

    I don’t think Soren Kirkegaarde or CS Lewis would think very much of you or your apathy….

  140. says

    sorry dark matter, you must have me confused with someone who’s delusional enough buy into your histrionics.

    so much hostility! spare me the ‘christian fundie asshat right wing neocons are responsible for everything wrong in the world’ chanting.

    i love how the following always brings out the handwringing and backpedaling:

    stalin was an atheist. as was mao.

    have at it, antitheists!

  141. Jim Gitzlaff says

    I placed feedback on CNN’s website (see post 37, above). Can you believe this response which I received in return:

    “Dear I-Reporter,

    On behalf of CNN, please accept our sincere thanks for your I-Report submission during our memorial coverage of the tragic death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. Thanks to the many submissions from our viewers, our coverage carried the personal touch that came from his vast and personal outreach to his many fans. Our programming effort was a huge success, and you are part of the reason for that.”

    Um, the CROCODILE HUNTER? Not only was CNN clueless in its initial infotainment segment: now it proved itself clueless by mis-categorizing my feedback.

  142. Steve_C says

    And Hitler and Mussolini were Catholic. What’s your point?
    If you don’t pray Paul how are you ever getting into heaven?
    I noticed you don’t believe in hell… but you didn’t mention not believing in heaven.
    Does your god judge you Paul?

  143. says

    ‘and hitler and mussolini were catholic. what’s your point?’

    you’ve just made it for me. antitheists piss and moan about how religion is responsible for horrible suffering and countless lives in religious wars. but of course, when ‘atheists’ wage war – well, they weren’t really atheists, they were machines of government, atheist had ‘little to do with it’, blah blah blah. well if that’s the case, then let go of the childish notion that religion was the cause of all those religious wars. it wasn’t religion – it was pathetic human beings, who will use damned near any excuse at hand to cause suffering to fall upon others. religious people are human. remarkably enough, atheists are human too. and no more or less capable of evil than the religious folks. again, see stalin and mao.

    you’re just another anti-religion bigot, steve_c – just as bad as the religious bigots, with the same stink of superiority. you’re trying to pigeon-hole me because of your preconceptions of what a ‘religious person’ must be like. otherwise known as bigotry.

    i didn’t mention heaven because it wasn’t relevant to the point i was making. duh. am i required to mention all constructs of formal religion any time i mention it? sheezis. i don’t believe in heaven, either. happy now? as to whether god judges me, that’s a construct that is only relevant if one has some silly, archaic notion of god being some sort of corporeal entity. which is actually a pretty ironic construct, as that’s how the atheists and antitheists always talk about god, even though presenting it that way merely shows the grave ignorance of faith that’s endemic to the antitheist.

  144. Ronald Fleming says

    Defending God on basis of accurate scriptural content is far from bearing false witness, but producing material using speculative evidence to prove evolution is just plain false.
    Every single article I have read concerning evolution is entirely inconsistence with others, yet the creationism is consistant with historical facts according to secular evidence with all translations.
    If one wishes to believe in the Theory of Evolution, I have no qualms with that, to each his own, the day will come when all things will be revealed in the light and it will be God who has the final say whether you believe he exists or not!

  145. MLM says

    My religious belief’s or lack thereof are not the issue here, but I am embarrassed by this story. Because of the emotions and hatred that stories like this promote, I think we should ban ALL signs and symbols of ANY religion from our society. No more gold crosses and stars of David proudly worn around our necks. No more mega churches or temples or country parish’s or mosque’s and no more nuns habits or head scarves. No more priests collars and frocks and anything else that flaunts anyone’s personal……I repeat PERSONAL……feelings or beliefs in public. These things cause us to hurt one another. I have yet to see an atheiest who wears something that distinguishes him from anybody else. Why we haven’t evolved past this ridiculous petty crap is beyond me.
    Paula, shame on you for igniting this mean spirited one sided bashing of one element of our society. Why the heck are non believers so threatening to the Christian, Jewish and Muslem communities anyway? Atheiest’s don’t have churches they don’t come to our doors and try to recruit us or ask for money and they pretty much leave the rest of us alone. Unless of course they feel like religious groups are threatening them and their freedoms through the government and communities they live in. As far as I know Atheiests don’t get government tax exemptions or have lobbiest’s working the elected leaders trying to push agenda’s. Are we so unsure of what we believe that we need to lash out at a group that is prettymuch harmless. Get over it folks and learn to live with people who are different.
    I wonder about the passionate reaction to these people and why they turn so many of us into a base society that has no sense of REASON. Making people miserable is wrong and mean and does not reflect the teachings we hold to be true and good. I for one am willing to give up anything that creates discord and hatred in our society. If we don’t figure out how to live side by side… then all is lost.

  146. Ronald Fleming says

    To post # 164, religions have misevaluated the purpose and requirements of God, but to dismiss God because of religion, shows how lack we are about what the holy scriptures say. There is only one faith endorsed in the Bible, that means there are alot of false representations out there and unfortunately because of stubbornness and most of all, ignorance, very few people will recognize the true faith before the beginning of the coming tribulation.

    In my 57 years of life on this planet, I have never seen the religion of atheism grow to support such numbers as in the later part of the 20th century and beyond.
    Even when those numbers continue to grow Matthew 7: 13-14 becomes ever more clearly that in the final day there will be indeed a lot of wailing and nashing of teeth.

  147. Ronald Fleming says

    Interesting to note MLM, of what you say should be banned such as gold crosses and the star of David, no more mega churches and steeples, country parishes or mosque’s and no more nun’s habits or head scarves, priest collars and frocks.
    Exodus 20: 4,5 and Leviticus 26: 1 shows God doesn’t approve of images either and Acts 17: 24 also shows God does not dwell in hand made temples (churches).
    Hmmm, how much more correct can you be huh?

  148. Gareth says

    JamieG wrote: “Sent the IP to the proper people. So far it came out of Indianapolis…the search continues.”

    My name is Jack Bauer. Eighteen hours ago, someone posted a comment on a blog using my nickname and site address in their details. Since then, I have been doing everything in my power to clear my name, and bring justice to bear against this wrongdoer. This has been the worst day of my life.

    Except for yesterday, when I stubbed my toe on the coffee table. Man that hurt!

  149. Carlie says

    Ronald – read Misquoting Jesus, then decide how accurate you think those scriptures you keep reciting are.

  150. vagabond says

    Steve LaBonne: yes, CNN has been trying to be Fox lately. you know why? because it sells! (unfortunately)

    yes to sponsors, no to principals (if any)

  151. anpanman says

    i dont watch cnn. i saw the vid on 1goodmove. rather than whine at paula airhead, i think a message to the advertisers would be more effective. anybody know the segment’s advertisers? i think ill let them know that if they continue to support such b.s., ill stop buying their lard.

  152. autumn1971 says

    Paul, I don’t know very many atheists who are attacking religion with anything near the ferocity that commonly is employed against atheism. Yes, if you read Dawkins’s latest book you will find an attack on religion. The book was marketed as such, and I don’t recall it being read on national television; if one wanted to avoid its views, one was and is able. There are many books which attack atheism, and I generally try not to read those. I make exceptions if they seem interesting to me, but I assure you that myself and other atheists don’t go to Christian bookstores and purchase and read books that we know will annoy us. What gets atheists mad is not, as you seem to think, the existance of religious thought(O.K., maybe Steve C), but the unrelenting attacks on atheism in the public forum which atheists are seldom allowed to answer. I don’t think very many civil rights advocates in the 60’s demanded immediate ascension of black leaders to elected posts, they simply wanted their constitutionally guaranteed voting rights. Atheists are asking that our existence be aknowledged even if it is disliked. We are asking that we not be without thought consigned to the dustbin of irrelevancy. Yes, on the internet, with its relative anonimity, extreme views tend to be stated more frequently, but I can’t recall a single instance of a mainstream program or segment dealing with atheism as anything other than negative.

  153. autumn1971 says

    Ronald Fleming, Matthew 1:2-16 v. Luke 3:23-34. Mutually contradictory statements about unequivocal facts. The bible is proven errant by its own claim of inerrancy.

  154. says


    If we don’t figure out how to live side by side… then all is lost.

    Some of your sentiments are appreciated, but it’s abundantly clear: our ‘ilk’ are unwanted & unappreciated. Maybe you should be spreading your message on other blogs, or writing letters to CCN/Zahn/Hunter.
    Atheists aren’t the ones bombing churches, mosques, or trying to ban anything else. We’re the ones trying to get equal footing, equal time, & equal treatment.
    While I don’t see religion as the root of all evil or violence (our feral natures are the cause of that, inherited from evolution), it becomes blaringly obvious that superstitious belief systems are indeed antithetical to humanity ‘getting along’ (Rodney King, anyone?). Religion seems to aggravate xenophobia, rather than abbreviate it. History confirms this.
    I shan’t speak for anyone else, but for myself:
    I want equal time, equal rights, a seat at the table.
    & no more free passes. Not for religion: not for ANYONE.
    All special privileges should be revoked – all are entitled to believe as they like – but no one is exempt from criticism.

  155. wisernow says

    In post #172, Jim mentions his odd feedback response from CNN.

    I did a search all over CNN.com and found absolutely NO reference to the “Why Do Atheists….” segment of the Paula Zahn NOW program.

    It seems to no longer exist. ??

  156. MLM says

    I agree with you and only think that taking religion out of the public forum and view is the start. I am one who thinks that religion IS the root of most of the evil in the world. History shows it to be so and It will be the end of us because of the loop holes and political correctness that we all feel like we have to abide by. We are not allowed to question religion, but they can question anyone who does not think like they do. Oh I know there are churches that do wonderful generous things in their towns and around the world, but there is always a price it seems. “Think like we do and we will reward you.” The price is too high. I also know that humankind has a base nature within them, but religion gives them permission to act on that base nature. Why can’t we find ways to show human compassion and generosity without a church behind it. My own community has so many letters to the editor about wicca book stores and rainbow flags and to think that this is worthy of any space in a local paper is absurd. To hold a one sided slam of people who are not in the religious majority on a international news station like CNN is criminal. Some friends of mine were talking recently and I told them that I thought that the followers of religion ( all religion) should be very careful. That maybe they are not seeing the evil of their religion and not recognizing satan as that very evil they fear. Christian’s say satan will cloak himself in a disguise and that we will trust and follow him without question and he will decieve us. Could that “satan” be religion? Just a thought. MLM

  157. says

    “I am one who thinks that religion IS the root of most of the evil in the world.”
    “I also know that humankind has a base nature within them, but religion gives them permission to act on that base nature”

    by the same logic, the two unapologetically atheist regimes, those of chairman mao and stalin, were responsible for several tens of millions of deaths and murders in service to an ideology that rejected god and religion, and actively (and violently) supressed god and religion. therefore, atheism gave them permission to act on their base nature.

    please do promote the idea of banning all expressions of religion in public. what a brilliant idea. i love it when the politically correct suggest restricting the personal freedom of others because of what they don’t like.

    hey, lots and lots of people think homosexuality is a sin, that it’s evil, and that it should be suppressed. therefore, it’s “okay” to ban homosexual marriage and turn a blind eye to discrimination and persecution of gays. ‘just don’t shove it in my face’ they say. supress it. keep it hidden so it won’t offend their delicate sensibilities.

    what you propose is no different. just because 1/10th of one percent of religious zealots are high-profile, in your face, ‘you’re going to burn in hell’ types, we should supress the 99.99 percent of the rest of the people in the world who believe in god, have faith, and don’t shove it in your face.

    brilliant. let the purges begin.

  158. MLM says

    You are absolutely right that we would not know when to stop and I don’t have any practical solutions for it either. I have tried to keep my comments related to the CNN show.If I have lost my focus I am sorry.Again, I don’t have any problems with folks who are religious unless they oppress or bully or shun or impose it on others. I think about the recent 17 killings…no murders…. of people over a cartoon in Denmark as just one example as to our inability to responsibily have religion have such power in our lives. Humanity is still in the dark ages where our core beliefs are concerned and we react like paloves dogs when we are confronted with silly symbols of peoples various faiths. My only practical answer is to rid ourselves of those symbols. I for one was offended when the panalist told the non believers to “shut up” This was on an international news program . It incites othrwise rational folks and causes people like you and I to remark on it because of our of indignation. CNN was irresponsible in it’s actions. On a personal note and just so you know me a little better…..I don’t think it’s right for any other person to deny someone their happiness.Although, I do want the right to protect my family from religious zealots and people who would use their faith as a weapon against me and mine. On another note, Homosexuality is a human condition that has been here since the beginning of time. Gays marriage does not effect any of us personally. It’s only in the minds of people who were taught from childhood that being gay is an awful threatening thing. Those teachings are religious and nothing more. Why would anyone in the name of their religion try to make any other human being unhappy by denying them their basic human rights to love and be loved. I don’t get it. I do appreciate your comments though.

  159. says

    No, I don’t think for 1 second that we should ban any sort of jewelry that offends us. I will not debate the merits of whether that violates the speech or religion clause of the 1st amendment – it violates 1 of them, of that I am sure.
    If given the option of offending someone or being silenced, I will always opt for the former. The latter is repugnant.
    Keep religion out of the schools, the govt. & the state. Everything else is constitutionally protected.
    My letter to Karen Hunter is up, & sent, for any interested. I will update it if I receive a reply.

  160. moe szyzlak says

    the whole idea of atheisms is stupid anyway. in order for you to believe or “know” there is not a God you would need to be all knowing which would make you… say it with me… God so what have we learned today class. Atheists are proof that doing drugs while pregnant is a bad thing.

    “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, and I’ve read the entire Sweet Valley High series.”

  161. SEF says

    “Why do atheists inspire such hatred?”

    It seems the correct question in that context should have been: “Why are Christians* so hate-filled and dishonest?”. Eg did they become Christians because of those existing aspects of their personalities, or did their Christianity cause or promote those things in them.

    * Substitute “Jews”, “Muslims”, “religious people” as necessary.

  162. Ronald Fleming says

    Autumn in post # 186 you make a comparison to Matthew 1: 2-16 and Luke 3: 23-34 as a contradictorary error and if you are smart enough to read those linerage of Jesus, you would find that one desinates the line of David through (Abraham’s seed) and the other is a biological history leading to Joseph of which he was also in the line of King David.

    Why are Christian’s so hate full and dishonest? The Bible mentions that there is only one faith recognized by God, so it would stand to reason that all other religions and their factors would be motivated by the god of this system of things, after all, they were created by man using his doctrines as an affiliation to scriptures.

  163. Mike says

    Peoples mistake i would really, really like to squish out.
    “Athiests are on the attack”
    In god we trust and such were actually caused by christians on the attack by going against the law, and alienating all that opposed. A long time passed before the alienation at least slowed. But by that time, in god we trust was a tradition, we were going against america. The christians were for america. After all, a centuary ago there were words showing we were a christian nation. However, they failed to realize that again, all those pro-god quotes were only passed because athiests got swirlies. In fact, they were claiming because we broke the constitution a long time ago, it’s american. However, athiests manipulating that old rag (the constitution) are going against america.

    This, isn’t a twist on words. There is no trickery here. The only mention about one nation under god came after the constitution, when athiests couldn’t pipe up. If you have another explaination that supports christians breaking the constitution, say it.

  164. Not I, but the Christ in me says

    Atheism expresses alot of hatred. Just take a journey back in time and research the communist/atheistic countries that exterminated all religions, especially Christianity.

    Atheism has a very dark and evil past.
    I can prove atheists have killed more people than Christians.

  165. says

    Yes take a journey back in time and actually LOOK at the history. Communist regimes killed because of totalitarianism not because of Atheism. Stalin in particular killed because of a mixture of paranoia, deep seeded personality issues brought on by a violent childhood and an utter need to control everyone. Atheism is but a footnote to that.

    grow up

  166. Nick Gotts says

    research the communist/atheistic countries that exterminated all religions, especially Christianity.

    Liar. Some communist countries have persecuted some religions. IIRC Albania was the only one to officially outlaw religion.

    I can prove atheists have killed more people than Christians.


    You’re a coward too, commenting on an old thread in the hope that no-one will challenge you.

    Incidentally, isn’t it a bit tricky commenting while being buggered? (I assume that’s what your handle implies.)

  167. Nerd of Redhead says

    Atheism does not expressed hatred for your or for your god, just indifference. Hatred is what you see when you look in the mirror. You hate, so everyone must hate. Get a life.