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Zeroing in on religious hubs, atheists to gather in Salt Lake City for Easter

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  • MrPlate Lindon, UT
    April 19, 2014 5:35 p.m.

    @ Karen R - I was being kind to suggest atheists are equal or greater than the religious in terms of historic atrocities. Actually, I would say that nearly all atrocities have been committed by people who did not believe in God, but I'll admit some exploited people's believe in God and religion to control the masses and wield power. I don't think many of the world's cruel despots ever really considered whether they were accomplishing God's will, or whether their heinous acts were satisfying to God. Selfishness, greed, and godlessness are the hallmarks of despots from the beginning of time.

    The Scientist's point is not a valid one, and I for one would feel a lot easier if atheists were willing to acknowledge that godlessness and unwillingness to adhere to the lofty principles of most religions leads to most of society's ills. I agree - denial and side-stepping responsibility do not induce confidence or trust.

    I challenge you to name one cruel despot whose atrocities reflect the teaching of Jesus Christ.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 19, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    @ MrPlate

    Your reply to The Scientist seems to say, "If it was done in the name of religion and the result was good, it was religion. If it was done in the name of religion and the result was bad, it was not religion."

    It is indisputable that more than one religion exists and that each is open to interpretation. There is disagreement of interpretation even within those religions that claim to be "the one and only."

    So it is false to claim that religion is a single thing. This clearly is not the case. Religions are as diverse as humanity and the human minds that create and interpret them. And because humans are capable of both good and bad, it follows that religions can be used in the service of both good and bad. Human history bears this out.

    The Scientist's point is valid and I for one would feel a lot easier if more religious people were willing to acknowledge this. Denial and side-stepping responsibility do not induce confidence or trust.

  • MrPlate Lindon, UT
    April 18, 2014 5:50 p.m.

    @mmccandless11 - There's a big difference between accumulating knowledge about God, and knowing God.

    @The Scientist - despots and rulers kill to gain territory and power. Some cloak it in the name of religion, others cloak it in the name of the "greater good," but it's all the same lust for power. None of them are following the tenets of any religion. Therefore, anyone who claims they are doing it for God is a blasphemer and heretic, not a true adherent, and all good religions reject them.

    Religion is not the basis or cause of their misguided power grabs, and attempts to pin their atrocities on religion, while claiming that godlessness has not been an equal or greater force of atrocity in this world, is intellectually shallow at best.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    April 18, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    Can believers please stop perpetuating the lies?

    "Stalin killed millions indirectly in the name of atheism. To deny that atheism is used to justify evil just as much as religion is disingenuous at best".

    While there IS evidence of some Muslims yelling "Allahu Akbar(God is greatest)" as they killed others, and there IS evidence of Christians killing others "in the name of the Lord" (e.g., the Crusades), there is NO evidence of anyone yelling "in the name of atheism, I kill you!" There is NO evidence of any atheist killing other people and claiming that "atheism told me to do it".

    The fact that a person who professed no belief in god did something does NOT mean they did it "in the name of atheism". It does not mean atheism was the motivating, compelling force behind the action.

    Similarly, just because a Christian does something bad does not mean Christianity was the motivating cause of the action.

    But that is not what we are talking about.

    When we cite examples of religion leading to bad acts, they are acts done explicitly and deliberately "in the name of god and religion".

  • mmccandless11 Salt Lake Cty, UT
    April 18, 2014 1:22 p.m.

    I've seen a few, "If only they would do some research" sorts of replies from the religiously affiliated in this comment thread. It is possible that us atheists have actually done more research than our peers in the areas of religions and spirituality. Actually, it's not just possible, it is a fact: Check out the Pew Forum's religious knowledge survey. I scored 29. Turns out I don't know much about Judaism.

  • GBH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2014 12:05 a.m.

    ...The word “Religion” in the rephrasing of Mr. Silverman’s statement above could be replaced with such words as Marketing, Advertising, Dieting, Exercise, Medicine, Science, Progress, Technology, Charitable Endeavors, Education, Politics, Patriotism, Government, World-views, or even Atheism. These words describe what many would believe can be good things, but nevertheless can be turned into bad. Their potential for misuse does not in and of itself make them false. Mr. Silverman might assert there is no truth to the revised version of his statement above, but I would assert there is much inaccuracy in the way he stated it.

  • GBH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2014 12:02 a.m.

    Mr. Silverman is quoted as saying the reason he has animosity towards religion is “it’s a lie, a scam, it hurts people. (Religion) makes them act in a bad way.” I would remind Mr. Silverman that most, if not all, over-broad, absolute statements are often incorrect. A more reasonable and perhaps more accurate rephrasing of his statement might be, “Religion can sometimes be not totally correct, or not totally used correctly, or turned by some into a scam, or used by some to hurt others or to induce others to act in a bad way.” The truth of the matter is that all seemingly good things can sometimes be somewhat incorrect, adulterated, misused or misapplied, turned into a scam, used to hurt people, or used to motivate people to act in a bad way....

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    @SCfan - I continue watching COSMOS because it's a treasure trove of mankind's breathtaking accumulation of scientific knowledge. The amount of stuff we know is incredible, and how we come to know it testifies to me of a divine intelligence within the human race.

    But, they do infuse the show with an underlying assertion that it all happened by chance, that belief in God is a gap-filler for uninformed feeble minds, and that religion only serves to stifle scientific enlightenment. And, that's not just the 3rd episode. That part is disappointing, because despite having some merit, that premise is not universally accurate. All believers in God are not science deniers as they'd have you believe. At times, the show asserts as settled fact that which cannot be fully explained by proven science. Still, that which is scientifically sound is staggering and impressive.

    @Karen R - it seems we're on the same page. You seem to me to be more of an agnostic and not rigidly atheist. A confirmed atheist could make no logical judgment of me other than being a liar or a deluded person. I appreciate your respectful tone.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    Hey Joggle, I believe in reason, science, and the power of the human mind. The difference that I have is, my belief in my religion complements reason, science and the power of the human mind. Until it can be emperically proven that there is no God, I'll still continue to believe in him. I believe that some day, we will know enough to accept that there is a God, and science and reason will point to that fact.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 17, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    @ DSB

    You misunderstand. I am not disputing the experience itself. I am saying that it proves only that a) a person had this experience; and b) that they attributed it to a transcendent power.

    And perhaps I was unclear about my experience when I let go of religion: It felt as "spiritual" as any I'd experienced as a believer. In fact it felt even more powerful. But I do not claim that this experience of mine should prove anything to you. It cannot, nor can others' experiences serve as proof for me.

    @ SCFan and DSB re: Cosmos

    I watched Episode 3 first, mistakenly thinking it was Episode 1. I was dismayed at the constant references to religion and thought much as you: It was neither a tribute to Carl Sagan nor anything I cared to watch. Show us the science, please, and leave the personal agendas for another venue. But some friends told me of my error and assured me that the tone of the other episodes is different. FYI, I have found this to be true.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 17, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    Silverman claims it's religion is a lie. That is his belief. I just happen to believe differently. His antagonistic approach won't win him any friends, except from the disgruntled Mormon crowd, who are always looking to grind an axe.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    @Karen R - it's arrogant to tell those who experienced anything, that they didn't experience it. Maybe you arrived at atheism by logic, but I question those who say they arrived there by a feeling akin to the spiritual experience of a believer. What would be the source of the feeling?

    We both could use our experience with logic and facts to debate God's existence. If you have never experienced a spiritual feeling, how could you begin to debate that kind of knowledge with someone who has? Spiritual knowledge is not something you can disprove, or that I can prove to you. Only you can prove it to yourself. If you sincerely followed the steps to gain your own spiritual experience, and experienced nothing, it would be rather arrogant for me to make a judgment on your efforts, but it certainly does not disprove the spiritual confirmation experienced by me and billions of other people.

    Whereas an agnostic can reasonably express skepticism about the spiritual experiences of others, an atheist has boxed himself into a position of certitude that necessarily concludes all believers are either liars or deluded fools. The pinnacle of arrogance.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    RE: two_cents_worth:

    1) Bad people have never had trouble finding excuses for their bad behavior. Religion may have been an excuse in some cases, but certainly not all.

    2) Treating others with kindness and respect is not the same and condoning or celebrating their lifestyle. I love my gay friends and treat them with kindness, but I do not support all of their choices. It is possible to disagree respectfully, and most religious people do just that.

    3) Stalin killed millions indirectly in the name of atheism. To deny that atheism is used to justify evil just as much as religion is disengenuous at best....

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    DSB
    So the COSMOS series negates intelligent design possibility and even runs down religious believers? I've recorded all of the series and have yet to watch them. Maybe I'll just delete it since apparantly the producers are trying to put in their own form of a religious dogma. Funny isn't it, that we are supposed to limit the idea of God in the public arena, but when it comes to secular humanism or Godlessness, that is OK to promote all one wants. Anyway, thanks for the heads up on Cosmos and the PC agenda they are trying to work in. I'm sure Carl Sagan would be proud.

    P.S. It occurs to me that at least with a religious belief it can have a wide variety of belief systems. With atheism or secular humanist philosophy, there is only ONE. "Don't believe in a God." Not much variety of life in that.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 17, 2014 7:17 a.m.

    " . . . (Religion) makes them act in a bad way."

    Well, yeah, sometimes. Muslims wouldn't don suicide vests if not for their religion, and true believers in Southern Utah wouldn't have murdered an entire wagon train of non-believers.

    But for the most part, religion is a positive force, especially Christianity.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:05 a.m.

    my two cents worth

    Only you miss that biological life is a million time more complex than a wristwatch, or any other technology. Tin is a simple element found everywhere. But a tin can? That suggest an intelligent designer. No matter how long nature works it, it will not create tin cans by chance. Yet we are to believe that the complex biology of life is by chance.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 17, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    @ sg

    How do the efforts of atheists to let people know there is another view differ from, say, sending people door to door, or on missions?

    @ DSB

    "...it is the pinnacle of arrogance to tell someone...that his experience did not happen."
    Agreed. Religion was imposed upon me when I was too young to do anything about it. But it was never a good fit for me and I experienced a sense of liberation when I freed myself from what felt like shackles. Countless well-intentioned people have told me, "No, this is not what you experienced. It actually was (fill in their religious-based view)." Only some did this with arrogance, but all were misguided.

    I would also say that neither your experiences nor mine prove anything except that we experienced something. And like you, I have the right to share my experiences too.

  • Joggle Somewhere In, HI
    April 17, 2014 1:31 a.m.

    Three pages of mostly hateful comments toward atheists who are simply having a convention and are mostly letting other atheists know that they have support. Religion has had a strong voice in the world for centuries while atheism's voices has often been silenced. As shown by the comments...religions still wants to stomp out the voices disagreeing with them by perpetuating myths and false assumptions about atheism. They are having a gathering to celebrate their belief in reason, science and the power of the human mind. They are discussing topics of interest like separation of church and state, science education, equality, rights for women and the influence of religion on politics, among them. People who portray atheists in such a negative light do not understand atheism. Atheists also want others to realize atheists can still have high morals, live happy lives, be charitable, have values and still be atheists. They are just regular people. But...anti-atheists would rather bash them than try to understand them. It seems rather hypocritical for Mormons who send missionaries out to gain converts to accuse atheists of doing the same like some have here.

  • LiberalJimmy Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:12 p.m.

    @Psittacus...Absolutely brilliant post if I do say so myself. Many thanks. You hit it dead on. Seriously. I'm shocked this intelligent well thought out articulate comment made the light of day for all the masses to see.

  • sg newhall, CA
    April 16, 2014 10:52 p.m.

    If these people really don't believe, then move to a country where God has been removed. In fact, why don't they go ask the people of former communist countries their thoughts now that communism is gone and they can worship without reprisals? Apparently, these atheists don't believe in tolerance and wish to push their disbelief upon those who do. What arrogance and misguided thought.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 16, 2014 9:02 p.m.

    Californian#1@94131 said, "All it takes to be an atheist is to deny the existence of any deity."

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

  • Cheesecake Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 8:03 p.m.

    "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 16, 2014 8:01 p.m.

    I'm glad the nonbelievers in the area are receiving this high profile support. It's always good to know you're not alone.

    To those who responded to the "religion leads people to do bad things" comment with lists of good things done in the name of religion: How many of those things actually require religion or a belief in a god to be good - or to even be done?

    To those who accuse atheists of claiming certainty: I'm CERTAIN that some do! Others - like me - are probably as certain that your god doesn't exist as you are that Zeus or Thor don't exist.

    To those that complained of their beliefs being mocked/disrespected: I am obligated to respect your right to belief whatever you choose. I am not obligated to respect the belief itself.

    A few people have already responded to the "life is pointless without God" comments. Those always make me especially sad. How could your family and friends ever be "pointless"? And how can you look upon this incredible Earth and this wild Universe and ever think it can have meaning to you only if you look upon it in a certain way?

  • Californian#1@94131 San Francisco, CA
    April 16, 2014 7:35 p.m.

    Most religions, Christian and non-Christian, are based on belief in something positive: a Deity who has created us and to whom we owe everything, the desire to bring others closer to Deity, a creed by which to live, a higher purpose in life, a set of ethics or morals, or all of the above.

    All it takes to be an atheist is to deny the existence of any deity. I know of no religion based solely on something negative, where all it takes to be part of that belief system is the act of rejection. Not one single legitimate religion has as its primary goal the destruction of other people's beliefs. Only atheism.

    It seems like a sad and negative way to utilize one's energy, but if that makes some folks happy, let 'em enjoy themselves.

  • Rainman Syracuse, UT
    April 16, 2014 6:51 p.m.

    I can't think of a better place for people who don't believe in God to be on Easter Weekend. Welcome! Hope you find what you're looking for.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 5:22 p.m.

    @The Deuce
    "Now, as a betting man, my question to this group is do you really want to take the bet that there is no God? "

    I would bet that God would prefer sincere lack of belief in him over insincere belief in him. (This is basically the logic I used to leave a church except substitute God with a particular denomination since I still consider myself Christian).

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    April 16, 2014 5:12 p.m.

    Right on, Midwest Mom at 3:51. As far as the atheists are concerned, I say "whatever." Not sure why they feel like they have to do this over Easter weekend, but it's of no consequence to me. I'm not interested in their message, and I could care less if they meet.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    April 16, 2014 5:06 p.m.

    "Lots of atheists feel repressed by religion..."

    Everyone feels repressed--Christians, atheists, Jews, Muslims, gays, conservatives, liberals...

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 16, 2014 4:49 p.m.

    Re: "We're not the old scary atheists who are trying to destroy religion . . . ."

    Yeah, you are.

    Such a statement only proves that neo-atheist groups are no different from thousands of other historical iconoclastic "religious" movements. Its ranks are filled with narcissistic, thumb-in-the-eye misanthropes and worried, desperate misfits, hoping to find strength and relief in numbers, from an all-consuming cognitive dissonance.

    Tiny activist atheist groups, like the one described in the article, have adopted an article of faith to the effect that the higher the number of adherents they gain to their comfortable, but preposterous, counter-intuitive, unscientific, and thoroughly unprovable dogma, the more it is validated.

    But, as climate "scientists" have so aptly proven, consensus is not confirmation.

  • fish8 Vernal, UT
    April 16, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    I love the head line. Athiest's gather for Easter!! Not sure if it was on purpose but it's a good one.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 16, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    RE:“psittacus,”Banning abortion from the very first heart beat, or equaling all embryos to successfully-born humans is not reasonable. Wrong,

    .”(Psalm139 :13-16 NLT) “ You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

    You shall not murder”(Ex 20:13 NIV) The verb (ratsakh) refers to the premeditated or accidental taking of the life of another human being; it includes any unauthorized killing (it is used for the punishment of a murderer, but that would not be included in the prohibition). This commandment teaches the sanctity of all human life(abortion). VS Pro-murder.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    April 16, 2014 3:51 p.m.

    Excuse me, Oregonian, be careful of the name calling. I consider myself a Progressive and am liberal on many subjects, abortion not being one of them. I vote for a candidate for a wide variety of reasons, the least of which is party affiliation.

    I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My husband and I were married in the temple over three decades ago, our sons served missions and our children marry in the temple. We tithe. We actively serve in the Church. I believe that the best political decisions are the ones that are made locally. Today you judged me, and thousands like me, because of a prejudice. Your church did not tell you to do this. Your bias does not contribute to this discussion. Instead, I submit that such comments help to fuel the arguments of the anti-religious.

    Look for the good in people. Work with that and you can build something. Concentrate on the differences and all you will do is destroy. Please stop.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 16, 2014 3:32 p.m.

    @Kindred,

    You asked, "But do my atheist friends really think that those relative few who oppress or kill others in the name of religion would be kind, considerate, helpful individuals if there were no religion on earth?"

    Maybe, maybe not, but they would definitely need another excuse to do what they do.

    "The bulk of religious persons treat others with kindness and respect."

    Unless you happen to be gay, of a different religion, or of no religion at all and you want your rights respected by the religious. That is, after all, what this is all about.

    "Famous atheists of the past hundred years include Stalin, Mao, and Fidel Castro"

    Oh, please. Name one person or one group that has murdered millions in the name of atheism; just one.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    April 16, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    "These atheists need to see the movie "God's Not Dead".

    It's all about An Atheist Professor in a college setting who
    gets challenged in his Atheistic beliefs."

    They need to see a fictionalized movie that presents the empty stereotype of a hostile atheist professor as a strawman? What, exactly, is to be learned? I see the movie certainly helping a lot of believers nurture and grow their persecution complex, but I see nothing instructional for an atheist.

    Your advice is essentially as useful as telling a Mormon to watch the Southpark episode about Mormons in order to really understand why they're wrong.

  • Kindred Mesa, AZ
    April 16, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    I'm often surprised by the view from atheists that religion causes is the primary cause of violence in the world. It is true that religion has occasionally been exploited by evil men as a means to their ends and as a justification for their deeds. But do my atheist friends really think that those relative few who oppress or kill others in the name of religion would be kind, considerate, helpful individuals if there were no religion on earth? The bulk of religious persons treat others with kindness and respect. That's what most religions are all about.

    I am more concerned about the effects atheism has had on the world. Famous atheists of the past hundred years include Stalin, Mao, and Fidel Castro. Collectively, these men have been responsible for the deaths of over 100 million individuals as well as the suffering and oppression of millions more.

    Neither world war was fought over religious philosophy and there have been many many additional wars with no religious overtones. While people do contend over religion, as we have over all our differences, I fail to see how religious persons are some plague to humanity while atheists occupy some moral high ground.

  • Brother Dave Livermore, CA
    April 16, 2014 2:45 p.m.

    These atheists need to see the movie "God's Not Dead".

    It's all about An Atheist Professor in a college setting who
    gets challenged in his Atheistic beliefs.

    Good movie that shows why some people choose Atheism...
    And why some Don't.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    April 16, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    "I love the part where these guys say something like we aren't negative to Mormons, only the Mormon Church. Kind of like terrorists when they say they don't hate Americans, only the American government."

    Or, 'I don't hate homosexual people, just homosexuality

    ------

    "Atheists don't believe in God or any afterlife, is that correct? Am I missing something? Therefore this life is basically pointless?"

    Do you do everything solely for the purpose of receiving some reward? And to extend your question, what would be the purpose of the next life if there isn't another one after that one? Doesn't the existence of an afterlife give this life meaning, but then that meaning is completely lost once you're into your next life?

    I'm faithful to my wife because I love and respect her, not because I'm afraid of eternal punishment.

    --------------

    "God's parents created God."

    And who created them? At some point, no matter how far you go back, religion relies on the same assumption as science: at some point everything seems to have appeared out of nothing, or at least at present we can't understand where that something came from.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    April 16, 2014 2:32 p.m.

    Most people of faith would concede there's no way for one person to "prove" the existence of God to another person, although believers understand that steps exist for a person to prove it to himself.

    For the atheist, how do you "unprove" what a person has already experienced and proven to oneself? How do you prove that God does not exist? To me it is the pinnacle of arrogance to tell someone who has experienced spiritual confirmation that his experience did not happen, just because it did not happen for the atheist. I don't believe Australia exists because I've never personally been there.

    I find it interesting to watch the Cosmos series and see them try so hard to convince the viewers that people only believe in God when they're too stupid to know anything else. Yet, they describe unbelievably complex mechanisms at the smallest microbiological level that beg the question "How is it possible these mechanisms formed by pure chance?" They don't attempt to answer that one. To me, it seems far more illogical to not believe in a designer.

    Believing or not believing, both require a pretty big leap of faith.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 16, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    @EPJ

    "Your wristwatch documents intelligent design."

    If my wrist watch had one half of the face larger or smaller than the other half it would not work. Hold a mirror perpendicular to your face and see how imprecise your face is. If my wrist watch had meaningless parts thrown in to it, it would likely not work nor not be very efficient. We all have appendixes and tail bones and men have breasts with nipples. Why? If my watch was missing half the teeth on one gear it would not function very well at all yet living things get along fine with all kinds of internal and external structural flaws. No, my wrist watch is a testament to the creativity of man and a condemnation of the idea of an intelligent designer of life.

  • EPJ Grantsville, UT
    April 16, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    God's parents created God. Our finite understanding will never suffice when addressing the infinite. Have faith.

    Complex things like a pocket watch do not appear out of nowhere; . . .base elements are intelligently organized into more complex things.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 16, 2014 2:12 p.m.

    @Mountain Bird

    You asked, "Therefore this life is basically pointless?"

    Why? Can humans only do good things if there is a big reward by a "supreme being" in the "afterlife?" That sounds more like sucking up to the boss than respecting your fellow human beings. It has also been shown that some think the afterlife is so much better that they will fly airplanes into buildings to get there.

    You asked, "Do they think they are making this life better for others?"

    My life has real meaning. I focus on my family, the world around me, and treating others with dignity and respect and I’m always looking for ways to help out in the community. Ironically, some atheists have asked to team up with "Christian" groups to assist in feeding the homeless only to be rebuffed and told to stay away. And, I have had "Christians" tell me that my charity work is meaningless because I am not doing it in "Christ's" name.

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 2:10 p.m.

    @EPJ
    The watchmaker is a false analogy for proof of a god because it assumes that because two objects share one common quality, they must have another quality in common.

    I.A watch is complex
    II.A watch has a watchmaker
    III.The universe is also complex
    IV.Therefore the universe has a watchmaker

    The last step is wrong, because it concludes something that is not supported by the criteria. It is best clarified by another example:

    I.Leaves are complex cellulose structures
    II.Leaves grow on trees
    III.Paper currency is also a complex cellulose structure
    IV.Therefore money grows on trees (which, according to the idiom, it doesn't)

    Your argument doesn't hold water. This country needs more people that base their beliefs on reason and evidence and maybe this convention will sway a few individuals to think about things a little more deeply.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    April 16, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    The problem with your analogy is: who created God?

    You say it is impossible for complex things (like a stopwatch) to just appear out of nowhere. But then you expect people to just believe that God (more complex than a stopwatch) appeared out of nowhere. It doesn't make much sense.

  • EPJ Grantsville, UT
    April 16, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    What if someone encountered four sticks leaning up against each other forming a pyramid, or a pile stones balanced one on top of another, or a functioning pocket watch? Did those structures simply fall together by sheer luck, or did someone of intelligence, (utilizing the laws of physics), organize and build them? Our solar system is a much larger version of those sticks and stones.

    The movement of structures within our solar system is precise. Man-made timepieces testify of intelligent design as they mimic planet earth’s regular movements. Some people might argue that the Earth and our solar system were accidentally brought together by sheer dumb luck, without any intelligent influence, and that the blind laws of physics left to their own devices are responsible. Let’s go back to those hypothetical sticks and stones; . . . yes, the laws of physics blindly exerted their effects on them, but it still required an intelligence to organize material, and create complex structures. Whether organizing a planet, a pyramid, a pocket watch or a person, . . . intelligent influence and physics both become part of the equation.

    Your wristwatch documents intelligent design. Have faith.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    April 16, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    The basic concepts of religion promote many positive actions for individuals and society in general. Yes, there has been alot of bad in the name of religion. I also support the agency of others to believe as they want and to discuss their philosophy in an open environment. It benefits all. Now, as a betting man, my question to this group is do you really want to take the bet that there is no God? I am going to take the bet that there is a God and will want to have a front seat when this group stands before their maker (however you want to believe) and provide a convincing aurgument.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 16, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    " Atheists don't believe in God or any afterlife, is that correct? Am I missing something? Therefore this life is basically pointless?"

    Why is life pointless just because there isn't another life afterwards? That doesn't make any sense.

  • heathen WOODS CROSS, UT
    April 16, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    This article contains deceitful words like 'anti-religionists' and 'militants.' Not all Atheists are created equal just like the religious don't believe in all the same things. 'American Atheists' does not represent all Atheists and many non-religious have varying beliefs. If you feel mocked by these people ask why the mockery?

    Many Christians are conservatives and they hold onto many archaic beliefs. Non-believers are skeptics and question many of these outdated views. The comments here represent many fallacious arguments made by the Christian-right. So why should we not mock willful ignorance and intolerance?

    You say you have the right to your beliefs and I agree that you do. But you do not have the right to create your own facts. And it is a matter of fact that Science is the method by which we comprehend the world around us and not religion.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    April 16, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    We are certainly all free to believe or not believe what we desire. Some atheists believe all who are believing in God are of lesser intellegence. By mans present scientific methods one can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God.

    So as the atheists say "I don't believe in God"
    I say to the atheist that's OK because, God beleives in you. He will always love you.
    He will never foresake you. He will always be there ready for you.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    April 16, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    I love the part where these guys say something like we aren't negative to Mormons, only the Mormon Church. Kind of like terrorists when they say they don't hate Americans, only the American government. Anyway, these people will spend their money staying in SLC and much of it will go to businesses that are owned by LDS people, and therefore will end up in the Church as tithes or offerings. Fine with me. Rather live in a place where people with this view will be treated nice, than in a place that would protest against their speech. Like would happen on many college campuses if a religious person tried to speak.

  • Mountain Bird West Jordan, UT
    April 16, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    I'm baffled and somewhat amused. I'd be more amused if it wasn't so sad that people think this way. Let me get this straight. Atheists don't believe in God or any afterlife, is that correct? Am I missing something? Therefore this life is basically pointless? We will all die eventually and that's it. Illness, struggle, heartache, etc for no purpose whatsoever. Do they think they are making this life better for others? And, if so, why? Isn't it just pointless anyway? Why even bother? More proof that misery loves company.

  • psittacus Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    Response to the Oregonian:

    Blowing smoke distracts from the truth. Meme set defense mechanisms which quickly kick in. The canard/red-herring you've raised is a good example.

    Lenin & Stalin - creators of a de facto Religion-Of-The-State. The state became a religion. The leaders of the state could not be questioned, on pain of death.

    Nazi/Hitler/Mao/Pol Pot - ditto

    North Korea - ditto - one of the most religious countries *ever*, where the dear leader is akin to a god.

    progressive liberals: There's plenty of spontaneous abortions. Liberals can be stuck & wrong in various ways just as can conservatives. Equating a weeks-old embryo to born-human is not a reasonable equivalence. Banning abortion from the very first heart beat, or equaling all embryos to successfully-born humans is not reasonable.

    How many Indians got killed by the conquistadors? How many during the Middle Ages for apostasy?

    Bad elements of human nature are not removed either by religion or a lack thereof. Religion is a natural phenomenon (ref. Daniel Dennett). But just because something is natural that doesn't mean it's all that useful.

  • atrulson cohoes, NY
    April 16, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    Not sure what they mean by "Bad", but I act in a good way on account of my religion.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    Christianity's basis is, if ye have served the least of these my brethren, ye have served God. The atheist message would have some credibility if they went to Welfare Square, St. Vincent's, the Salt Lake Rescue Mission, Salvation Army and other faith based charitable agencies and declared that the Atheists of America were going to enter into services for the needy. As it is now, they are only presenting a negative, self centered message. Negative and self centered may be their most defining message.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    April 16, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    Using the tactics of bigoted, intolerant practitioners of certain religious organizations against religious organizations themselves, including ones that are innocent of such tactics, doesn’t accomplish anything except to win over the already (un)converted and make the entire group look obnoxious and hateful in the eyes of religious majority. Religion in America is not dying; it is simply changing. Atheists are making a dramatic miscalculation that will backfire against them severely in the end. But let them. Nothing discredits them faster than allowing them to open their own mouths and revealing their true colors.

    Also, they have nothing to offer anyone in the place of what the Church has to offer, because their message tries to invalidate the very things that the Church teaches to begin with. So their efforts to fill the void that they create with something artificial and superficial in its place are ultimately as futile as their efforts to lead astray those who have already received a witness of the Holy Ghost.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    April 16, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    Since I happen to be LDS and a former atheist, could I put up a billboard that says "Atheist, Former Atheist, Mormon"?

  • lket Bluffdale, UT
    April 16, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    im a humanist and we dont believe in churchs but we do in right to any belief others have and resepct it. if an idea keeps people peacefull there is no wrong. jesus was a real person and spoke of peace and kindness. ther is no down side to it so live and let live.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    They are getting credit anytime we make comment about them. Just ignore it!

  • Samwise Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    I have no problem with people deciding to be atheist. I have no problem with them gathering. Heck, I don't even have a problem with them trying to convince other people to be atheist (that would be a little hypocritical of me since I share my religion with others, hoping they will decide to convert to my religion because I think it will bring them happiness, but I have never been pushy about it).

    I do have a problem with them specifically choosing dates that are related to or surrounding a religious holiday or other tradition, especially when the reason is to create conflict or confrontation. Why can't everyone just respect other people's beliefs? I respect your right to be an atheist, even though atheism is highly illogical to me. Why can't you respect my religion, even though it is illogical to you?

  • Oregonian Sherwood, OR
    April 16, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    "Religion makes them act in a bad way"

    Lenin/Stalin (athiests) - 20,000,000 dead Russians
    Nazi (Paganism its theological underpinning) - 20,000,000 WWI dead
    Mao (athiest) - 60,000,000 dead Chinese
    Pol Pot (athiest) - 3,000,000 dead Cambodians
    North Korea (athiest) - 2,000,000 dead Koreans
    Progressive Liberals (athiest underpinning) - 50,000,000 abortions in US only.

    I agree there is bad people in any religion, but no religion ever founded can compare to the athiests "acting in a bad way" over the past 100 years. The main difference in the above groups is the methods used to kill their undesireable citizens.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    Gandhi nailed it when he said: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

  • psittacus Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    Those who abuse people deserve to be attacked & ridiculed. Religion can no longer be an automatic shield, which keeps the spotlight of truth & accuracy from shining in all places. Revisionist history is the key phrase of the day, at the heart of "religious" Salt Lake.

    But, Salt Lake is not as religious as it used to be. Provo & Orem, maybe. Bountiful, ok. But Salt Lake? No. The hipsters have arrived en masse, and many home grown members of "the Church" have now come to their senses & left the religion of their youth.

    Not far from the Temple, one can buy a beer, or even buy some sexy underwear at a Church coordinated shopping mall. And about 9 blocks south and 9 blocks east, one finds the beginning of the heart of liberal Salt Lake. But there's many liberal more-free-thinking patches & neighborhoods. The old days are gone. Go to Utah County if you wish to return to the bubble. But in Salt Lake the bubble has largely been broken, and it's been broken open for some time now.

  • Santa Nella San Diego , CA
    April 16, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    Hope we have lots of Books of Mormon on hand to distribute‼️

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    @dansimp
    "To claim you are not attacking people, just religion is a logical fallacy."

    Wouldn't that be the same as people saying they don't attack/hate gay people, just homosexuality/same-sex marriages?

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    "Here in Salt Lake City, we have the LDS Hospital"

    ----------------

    The LDS church has been out of the hospital business for a long time. They gave away LDS Hospital in 1974, along with other hospitals they were running.

  • dansimp Layton, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    For a man who claims to hold strong to rationality, and reason, he makes a lot of inconsistent statements. To claim you are not attacking people, just religion is a logical fallacy. If religion is a lie and a scam, it is because there are people perpetrating the lie and/or scam. Religion is not an entity that can perpetrate a scam. So, their position is attacking people specifically. I think this is unfortunate, as I personally know atheists with which I disagree, but there is mutual respect and the ability to have dialogue. This group, or rather at least this group's leader, has demonstrated no such desire. Its not a great wonder that his group is so small. I don't think a lot of atheists really want to associate with this any more than they want to come down and attend General Conference.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    April 16, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    "As many as 13 million adults identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, "

    There is a huge difference between atheists and agnostics. Agnostics simply haven't found something they can believe in. Atheists are determined not to believe in something, even if they find it.

    Since the Light of Christ touches everyone who is born, then everyone is born an agnostic. Some will later find God by how well they follow the guidance of this divine influence. Finding something to believe in is a good thing.

  • BostonLDS Salt lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    I know many great atheists who claim atheism simply because they don't believe in a higher power. They, show respect for religion and do believe they can do great things in the community.
    Seems like the organizers here are not like this. Since joining the LDS church, I have increased the amount of volunteer work, charity work, and general good deeds that I do throughout my life. If that is "bad" then I don't want to be their definition of good.
    Clearly they are missing something, and I hope they find it.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    "Religion makes them act in a bad way."

    Here in Salt Lake City, we have the LDS Hospital, Deseret Industries, and Welfare Square. In the city where I lived for most of my life, there was the Episcopal Hospital, the St. Ann's Orphanage, and the St. Mary's Collection Center for the Poor. All of these organizations - and similar places in every city in the country - are run by religious organizations.

    I have never heard of an Atheist Hospital. Or an Atheist Orphanage, or donation center or, for that matter, any other privately funded charitable organization run by atheists.

  • pmccombs Orem, UT
    April 16, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    It is my opinion that the Atheists are wrong when they say that it is religion that makes people behave in a bad way. They are under a delusion that belief in God is responsible for much of the evil that has been done to others, because it has been done in the name of God.

    It is not that we believe in God that makes us mistreat others; it is that we believe in something. The world has not lacked for godless men and women who have done their share of evil. It is the gentle cynic and not the atheist who is the opposite of the true believer, wrote Eric Hoffer. Often the godless are anything but irreligious.

    It is certainty that has covered the world in blood; certainty in one's own rightness and in the wrongness of others. Atheism, much like the religion it decries, inhabits a world of absolute certainty, and thus its potential for harming those with whom it disagrees is no less than that of any crusading religion that has ever been.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    April 16, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    Atheism is a religion, and they are here to convert. I find it ironic that those coming to Salt Lake with their agenda driven movement state that religion makes people act in a bad way. Hmmm..., and atheism produces so much good in the world? Marx was an Atheist, his ideas have lead to the death and misery of millions......

  • eaglerun Midvale, UT
    April 16, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    To me, it is the strangest thing that people gather to say they don't believe?? If you don't believe then what is the purpose to gather? Human nature is to believe in God this was a gift God gave to all of us. The only reason people meet to say we don't believe is to get others to go against that gift God gave them, so they don't feel alone. If I didn't like apples I wouldn't put together a conference of non apple eating people. Why would I care if people eat apples just because I don't. My belief in God has never caused me to do something bad, but my belief in God has caused me to do something good. Too bad these guys just don't take the time to see what is being taught.

  • Wookie Omaha, NE
    April 16, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    Opposition in ALL things...

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    April 16, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    "How does religion make them act in a bad way?"

    We all know that religion has its flaws. A person who looks back through history can easily see that religion has a downside. Whether it be the crusades, the Salem witch trials, polygamy, banning interracial marriage, holding back science etc, etc, ect...

    It is easy to see that religion is not all good. Is there a benefit to religion? Of course! I think they are just trying to point out that there is a downside to faith and religion. Its not all good.

    P.S. I like how the commenters above say how offended they are by these people mocking them and then they proceed to mock the atheists. How ironic.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    April 16, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    Wow! A whole 600-900 people in SLC? Better watch the traffic cameras to make sure I get around all of the extra traffic. Wouldn't even have known they were here except for this article. A speck in the importance of humanity.

  • LP Grad, BYU Alum Provo, UT
    April 16, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    "It's not JUST about bashing Mormonism..."

    Oh wow. It's pretty sad when one of your convention's main purposes is to mock the faith that millions worldwide hold sacred. Don't we as Americans believe in freedom to worship as we choose? I'll give you the freedom to be atheist if you like, and I'll respect that. I only ask that you respect my right to believe in what I want. Personal beliefs should never be the target of mockery. Holding a convention for the purpose (albeit not the only purpose) of mocking (as opposed to logical discussion of) another's faith is shameful.

    "Religion makes them act in a bad way."

    Like teaching children to respect their elders? Like giving to the poor? Like staying away from mind-altering substances? Like being faithful to your spouse? Like centering your life around the premise "Do unto others as you would have done unto you"?

    I think it's time you recognized the good in the world. You can argue all you want about whether individuals follow the above-mentioned premise, but the fact that the church teaches it has to count for something.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    April 16, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    "It's not because we want to snub our faces at someone else's religion; it's purely a business decision," he said. "We're not going to avoid a weekend because of someone else's religion."

    That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. They are using Easter to make noise and try to drown out people who worship God; it'd be obnoxious to pretend otherwise, but no matter how obvious it is, it is against Satan's nature to be entirely honest, and it is he who endorses such a knowingly intolerant notion such as this.

    If I lived in Japan and I felt "suffocated" by the non-American culture and surroundings, no one would argue in favor of me parading there with the stars and stripes. If I lived in some sort of community with a bunch of people who have sex with others of the same sex, no one would argue in favor of me parading there with a marriage protection sign.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    April 16, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    "Religion makes them act in a bad way."

    What is this "bad" that Silverman speaks of, and by what objective standard does he apply it?

  • DWill Springville, UT
    April 16, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    "Religion makes them act in a bad way"

    Are you sure? I'm pretty sure that I see just the opposite when it comes to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and many other religions. Seems like the atheist movement is more to stir up contention than anything else.