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Atheists, Mormon scholars talk religion

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  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    April 22, 2014 5:04 a.m.

    I believe in an afterlife, but I truly believe that "religion" is simply the hokiest thing that humanity has ever devised. The myth of the "son of god", Zeus, Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Jehovah Witness, etc. etc. all contain so little substance with so much importance attached to it. If Jesus, God, Jehovah, Christ, etc. don't come to me, why should I go to them? Religion was the first and greatest Multi Level Marketing scheme in history.

  • nycut New York, NY
    April 21, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    @toddybear: "If we don't believe in God, does that not mean we believe we came from nowhere, are here for no purpose and are going soon to everlasting oblivion?"

    Leave god out, consider: you came from what came before, are here for a purpose that can be found only in life, and yes, are soon rejoining everlasting oblivion. You end with your death, no matter how achingly you want to live forever surrounded by the people you love. Your ancestors are as dead as your descendants will be. This is the beauty and horror of life: Life is precious because it ends.

    You live only in the Children and Art you leave behind. Children: all the lives you touch; Art: whatever you create that makes the world a better place for those that follow. You find life's meaning in today, you find satisfaction and comfort knowing you've done something in your life that will help someone else find the meaning in theirs. You love. In this way will you be connected to the human race, and play whatever part you will in the wonder of the universe.

    In this you may glimpse the morality of atheism.

  • lonepeakstudent Alpine, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    I don't think any of you understand that atheists do not get their morals randomly, there is a specific branch of philosophy (endorsed by the Dalai Lama I might add) called secular ethics. Understand what you're criticizing before you criticize it.

  • Ray E. LITTLETON, CO
    April 20, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    Atheists in general have no room in their lives for God or religion, and many are offended by its mere existence. Religion has been eliminated from schools, and most atheists would have it banned from the media under the guise of "separation of church and state." The topic of religion belongs in the public square because it is such an important part of most of us, but it is slowly being marginalized due to a few who say it violates their constitutional rights when it is heard over the airwaves. No religious person I know would ever offend an atheist by "over-evangelizing" yet atheists are holding a convention in one of the most religious cities in the nation in order to push their agenda. Such hypocrisy.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    April 19, 2014 5:09 p.m.

    Wendy D in beautiful Colorado: why can't faith include weighing the evidence? Romans 10:17 faith comes from hearing (and I would add) reading the word of God. You have to hear the word or a preacher or read the word before you can say, "I believe" or "I don't believe." Faith can be many things, it can be a gift from God, it can be saying, "I want to believe" it can also be, "this sounds right" or this is "common sense". Lastly faith has to be tied to action; to stop swearing is tough for some (and not a trial for others), and requires a change of lifestyle and takes time, and one may occasionally stumble and say negative vulgar things, yet the blessings do come, and we control our tongue more and more (blessings come with positive words and thoughts). Yes we all agree that robbing a bank is wrong, lets now focus on the commandments that deal with subtle things of the heart, and the Book of Mormon changes the heart more than any other book. It mentions the word "heart" around 400 times.

  • Wendy D. Colorado Springs, CO
    April 18, 2014 2:34 p.m.

    I attended the panel discussion.

    Most interesting moments for me:

    (1) Professor Haws thanking BYU for allowing him to be a member of the panel. I am sure he was sincere and didn't realize how his comment reinforced the stereotype of the church and the university as Big Brother.

    (2) Professor Haws indicating that his membership in the LDS Church was a result of his weighing of the evidence. What happened to faith?

    (3) President Silverman's point that awe at the sight of a sunset is not evidence of God.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 18, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    @ Schnee in response to ChuckP

    Exactly. "Do unto others" did not originate with Jesus or Judeo-Christian religions. We likely lived by it long before we could articulate it.

    The comments here are similar to those I see on the threads regarding SSM: heavy on stereotypes, misinformation, and propaganda; light on facts and reality. Which answers the question of why attempts at outreach are wise.

    I hope that at least some of you will be open to actually getting to know the atheists in your midst rather than deciding who they are before even introducing yourself. I have been getting to know Mormons and Mormonism better since I started visiting this site (as well as Utah residents in general). So far I see little difference between us. People are pretty much people wherever you go.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    @ChuckP
    "I find it odd that atheists claim to choose their morality, but then proceed (for the most part) to choose the same morality that has been established in our current world as a direct result of Judeo-Christian beliefs"

    'We should be decent people to each other' is pretty much standard in every religion ever and pretty intuitive to the non-religious (at minimum you'd get "I want people to be decent to me so I should be decent to them"). It's hardly Judeo-Christian exclusive.

    The more Judeo-Christian specific things tend to get rejected (they'll eat pork, won't worship on Saturday or Sunday, may be fine with sex before marriage...).

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    April 18, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    ChuckP

    You pretty much knocked it out of the park with that point.

  • ChuckP LAS VEGAS, NV
    April 18, 2014 2:25 a.m.

    I find it odd that atheists claim to choose their morality, but then proceed (for the most part) to choose the same morality that has been established in our current world as a direct result of Judeo-Christian beliefs. Why pick the morality of the religious groups that you claim to be delusional?

    In addition, the morality that has evolved as a direct result of our Judeo-Christian beliefs are the reason they can advocate for their minority position freely and without fear of retribution. No other belief system in the history of the world has been tolerant of minority belief. For the most part they bite the hand that protects them when the attack religious institutions.

  • Danclrksvll Erin, TN
    April 17, 2014 11:44 p.m.

    How can two walk together unless they both agree to the same thing? Atheist and Christians are polar opposites and both views cannot be correct. The scriptures clearly teach that we are lost without Christ and that our own interpretation of morality is filthy rags without justification through faith in Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith personally saw God and Jesus Christ and that first vision cleared away the cobwebs of false doctrine concerning our Creator and the eternal plan of salvation. Either God is or He is not and there is nothing really to ''understand'' except which doctrine you will choose and which path you will take, the path that leads to salvation or the road that ends in utter darkness.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 17, 2014 11:34 p.m.

    @ Doklove and Smokyhiker

    Appreciate the thoughtful comments. I too believe in what I learned of Jesus' message. I don't believe in gods, so I don't believe in his divinity, but in any case his story seems far more impressive to me if he is human.

    Agree that neither religious belief nor non-belief are necessarily indicative of morality, character, capacity to be a jerk...I am equally capable of all three, often in the same day. My observations tell me that many, many others also share this, um, "gift."

    Smokyhiker, I like your phrase, "When we die we go back to our origins." This has always been my sense too. I don't know what our origins are and don't expect to know before I die. It may simply be matter/molecules. I'm okay with that. I remain thrilled to get to experience life at all.

    Thanks to you both.

  • Danclrksvll Erin, TN
    April 17, 2014 11:27 p.m.

    Our Church is all about God presenting Himself to mankind and giving us Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins.We also believe that God burst the chains of silence when by grace He and His Son visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and removed the false doctrines that had held mankind in ignorance as to the Nature of our Creator.

    Atheism denies any sort of Divine being or Creator, and by following that idea it means we die alone, there is no such thing as eternal moral standards because the Lawgiver does not exist. It also means that at death we really do die, and go nowhere except an empty void without friends, companions, or the promise of seeing the face of God and our Redeemer who is Christ. Both world views cannot hold hands and agree because they are eternally opposed to each other throughout eternity.

  • smokyhiker Pleasant Hill, TN
    April 17, 2014 8:50 p.m.

    I am a 92 yr old Methodist who believes that Jesus did exist, that he did profoundly influenced the people around him, but the later written story of his life has been beclouded by fancy, driven by greed for power. I have trouble attaching human qualities (hate, revenge, destruction and, yes, love to the divine.
    Let's start with a premise with which we can all agree. The universe is a creation. I have no doubt about that. The Hubble telescope reveals "the ultimate reality". Now, I cannot imagine a creation without a creator, but beyond that I am completely lost.
    I seriously doubt the virgin birth (some insects do this--parthenogenesis. An amoeba does too.
    As for life after death, I have trouble with that too. I believe we have a finite span of time here on earth and when we die we go back to our origins. So, let's do our best with this life we have, working to improve the life of others.
    Non-believers can be moral too, if you use the 10 moral rules as outlined in Gert's book, MORALITY, Dartmouth professor of intellectual ethics philosophy.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 17, 2014 8:49 p.m.

    @ Florien Wineriter

    "Respectful dialogue! What a welcone change from the usual angry exchanges."

    Your comment made me laugh out loud! If it is sarcasm, well done! If not, then I refer you to the comments that follow a YouTube video I stumbled across in which a prominent evangelical Baptist speaks of Mormons in the same tone as people here speak of atheists. Same stereotypes too. Seems atheists and Mormons DO have much in common.

    @YoungPuppy

    Welcome. Always happy to see more young faces in our midst.

    @ Hawk

    "I do not understand why atheists some are so concerned about the perceived 'exclusive' nature of the LDS church's view of salvation..."

    Any religion that claims it is the "one right way" concerns me because it is inherently divisive. It says both "our way is better" and "you are doomed if you don't agree with me." To most in the human species, such messages are heard as something less than welcoming. Remove these claims and – well, I can think of some YouTube videos that will have no reason to exist!

  • Joggle Somewhere In, HI
    April 17, 2014 7:02 p.m.

    Sad to see many misunderstandings of atheism here. Maintaining open dialogue is a positive goal, but as evidenced by all the hostility and stereotyping of atheists here progress will be slow. It's claimed that atheists speaking out forcefully or even existing in the public square only creates negative attention, thus encouraging distrust of and animosity towards atheists, but can't the same be said of anyone who dares disagree religious majorities and their beliefs? The religious want to portray atheists in negative ways that don't reflect reality. People are atheists for a variety of well-considered reasons, but believers are only projecting their own insecurities onto nonbelievers by suggesting that disbelief is due to rebellion or other false propaganda they've come to believe. Religion has the most to lose if disbelief reaches the point where it is no longer privileged and treated as special, so they will say whatever it takes to embarrass/shame atheists back into the closet. It's just another form of peer-social pressure. Believers have a right speak out against atheism and they do often as forcefully as atheists, but atheists shouldn't be allowed the same privilege it seems.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 17, 2014 6:19 p.m.

    Here's the deal folks. I'm an atheist because I have seen no evidence of a supreme anything running the show. None, nadda, zilch. I don't "not believe" in god, I simply see no credible evidence of god. Having said that, I begrudge no one their belief in whatever deity they choose to follow. However, many of the religious folks I encounter today, despite being told not to do so, tend to be a judgmental lot (a lot of that in this thread) who take great pride in telling me who I am, why I am the way I am, and seem to even take a childish delight in telling me where I'll spend eternity if I don't get "right"; all this without even getting to really know me. My second issue, and this is a big one, is the concerted effort by the Christian right to foist their religion on the rest of us through legislation and the police powers of the state. Rest assured I will defend your religious rights but will vigorously oppose any efforts to impose your beliefs on me or attempt to make your beliefs the law of the land.

  • jaredw007 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    In the good 'ole days, if someone was an atheist and someone was religious, they would civilly let each other know their differences and agree to disagree and that would be that. In today's world you have this growing militant brand of atheism where the concept "to each his own" is simply not acceptable. Religious people, instead of being just good folk who are just superstitious and believe in imaginary things are now seen as brainwashed sheep who are incapable of thinking for themselves and will end up like the Branch Davidians or Jonestown. Religious folk are also now seen as bigots who hate gays. And then there's my favorite of all: Religion is responsible for all the bad things that have happened in the world.

    I suppose part of this trend could be attributed to a reaction to the rise of the far religious right in the American political scene but both sides are headed down a very dangerous path if we fail to meet each other half way and maintain an open dialogue. As the late Stephen R. Covey would say, "Seek first to understand then to be understood" not the other way around.

  • Florien Wineriter Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 17, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    Respectful dialogue! What a welcone change from the usual angry exchanges.

  • I-am-I South Jordan, UT
    April 17, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    Religion is based in faith. Theists have faith in there being a a higher power (something they can't empirically prove). Atheists claim they have no faith but in reality exercise faith in believing in nothing (something they can't empirically prove). Atheists then create organizations to help people leave their faith and provide support living the atheist life (religions or quasi religions) and then have the audacity to say things like the good expert and say morality is assigned to theists through their faith as if the atheist quasi religious organizations aren't doing the exact same thing (influencing moral beliefs). Atheism isn't a lack of faith. Atheism is having faith in nothing. True lack of faith is agnosticism. The rules of logic say it is harder to disprove the existence of something than to prove the possibility of the existence of something and therefore atheists who have been known to be think theists are naive for believing in God through faith are actually exercising more faith than the theists just their faith doesn't promise Heaven or Hell just oblivion. I was hoping this conference would have addressed that, but apparently it didn't.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 4:25 p.m.

    In response to a previous post of mine, "dmcvey" asks, "samhill, what is the evidence of theism?"

    Assuming you are actually asking what evidence a person who believes in some Theism might claim as proof of his/her belief, I can think of several examples I've heard.

    Some feel the very existence of everything is evidence of a God. Others have said they've felt a spiritual assurance that convinces them of the existence of a God. I'll bet you know someone who is Theistic and can tell you why they believe as they do. Ask them.

    As for the **scientific** value of such evidence, I don't think there is any. Science requires evidence that is demonstrable and repeatable by and to others as part of the empirical method of verification. Theistic evidence is too personal for that. Something alluded to in Carl Sagan's book and subsequent movie, "Contact", though he, I believe, was Agnostic.

    However, as one of my favorite quotes goes, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Thus the irrational nature of Atheism which positively asserts the NON-existence of something based on lack of evidence, scientific or otherwise.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    April 17, 2014 4:24 p.m.

    Why bother with atheists, you say? They are also children of our Heavenly Father, and need to hear firsthand what the Gospel is and what we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stand for. When they are in a forum, where they have to listen, a message is sent. Their followers also listen. He is the Shepard and wants us to seek even the least of these, which he said he was.

    A friend of mine once said to me, "Any publicity is good publicity, why, because it introduces people to the'Mormons,' and then they can listen, if they wish, to the message. But, at least they come to know us and we become more commonplace rather than a stigma in their minds. We then can teach them "face to face," just as Jehovah did with Moses.

  • gwtchd Mountain Village, AK
    April 17, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    All I have to say is, there have been to many people who have seen God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ to deny that they exist. So simply put, they exist.

  • abtrumpet Provo, UT
    April 17, 2014 4:02 p.m.

    I think there are lots of good comments here and I'm surprised that most are not simply trying to start a fight.
    If it's not too much, I'd like to counter YoungPuppy's statement. The idea that science can "back itself up" but the LDS Church "cannot" is a misunderstanding of what the Church teaches. We believe in a higher source of learning. Everyone gains a testimony by Holy Ghost. The simple truth is that those who are honest with themselves, who have received a testimony from the Holy Ghost cannot deny that, regardless of any sort of evidence to the contrary.
    I am sure that in time, all things will work themselves out and that our understanding of science will continue to grow. I think science is great. However, what saddens me is that men deny the power of God, which is the only true source of knowledge and happiness in this world.
    Atheists are welcome here as they are anywhere else. To call them the "minority" may not be the case in some parts of the world. Regardless of what's popular, I will never deny the truth that I have learned for myself.

  • Doklove Quincy, IL
    April 17, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    @ I know Utah
    "I have a LOT of Disdain for Most Mormons". I think you need some qualifier on that statement as there are 15 million of us and I would guess that you know an extremely small part of us. I would also imagine that there are A LOT of Mormons that you'd really like if you knew them.

    That said I like your point- we should all have the privilege of worshiping (or not) God as we choose and we should allow all men that same privilege to worship (or not) how, where, and what we want.

  • stuff Provo, UT
    April 17, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    First, Faith is EVIDENCE! It is not an unfounded belief in something. It is evidence of things we cannot see with our physical eyes. (Hebrews 11:1.) How does someone gain that evidence? What is the evidence that can be obtained?

    A person who truly has faith has had at least some type or extent of a spiritual experience in which a prayer was answered, an impression was given, etc. Just like physical laws, the spiritual laws amust be conducted under the required conditions. Two are sincerity to ask for or about something appropriate.

    An atheist is a person who has either 1) not made an attempt to find out, 2) did not recognize the result, 3) did not meet the requirements to get a response or 4) refuses to accept the response or 5) refuses the consequences that come with faith.

    Anyone who makes a sincere attempt at communicating with God, and meets the other required conditions, will get a response. The answers are there. The evidence can be obtained. Faith can be grounded in reality. This process is a very personal process and cannot be witnessed by others or experienced on their behalf.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    @Jumpyman
    "Maybe these atheists think they can help others by trying to destroy what many hold most dear, but I don't think so."

    A cynical way of looking at converting believers of other faiths would be claiming that missionaries are trying to destroy what many hold most dear (and then replace it with something else). I'm not that cynical (snarky and sarcastic, yes, but not cynical). I would say that the atheists who try and get others to have a similar belief are after the same thing as religious people, in that they're all trying to share what they believe to be true.

  • Nerd herder 12 Spanish Fork, UT
    April 17, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    I have found it takes as much or more faith to be an atheist than most other religions. The Big Bang theory that everything exploded from a singularity is missing explanations in it from the initiation of the bang to the expansion rate, and missing dark matter, etc. The only way to accept it as fact it with a huge amount of faith. Just because you have faith there was no God involved does not make your faith superior since it is far from proven, or for that matter explained.

    Abiogenesis (Life evolved from nothing) likewise requires another leap of faith. The theory that RNA or DNA could have come from Methane interactions (however statistically unlikey it is) does not address cell membranes and the other necessary components of life for the DNA theory is based on.

    Having faith in no God is still faith in a set of unexplained and unknown process that all happened by chance is still a religion, just a godless one.

  • Jumpyman Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    Why do so many atheists concern themselves on what I believe in? Why do they have to try and tear down my beliefs? You might turn the question around to ask why I try to convince others of my beliefs. What it comes down to is that genuinely, I care about others and I believe that my faith can help others to be happy. Maybe these atheists think they can help others by trying to destroy what many hold most dear, but I don't think so. My beliefs tell me that there is an adversary helping out that wants them to do this.

    Not much to do with this article, but after looking at the picture of the Salt Lake County Library, I have to say, what a waste of taxpayer money on architectural elements that serve no purpose whatsoever then to look abstract.

  • I Bleed Blue Las Vegas, NV
    April 17, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    Imagine there's no convention
    It's easy if you try
    No one to contend with.
    Just be kind to all who walk by
    Imagine all the people
    Just trying to get along

    Woo hoo hoo you may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only Mormon
    Who hopes the Atheists have a good time
    and we can all get along.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    @History Freak
    "I can't think of anything more unhealthy than atheism. Believing a total lie could never be healthy."

    So... if I think your church is incorrect do you think I should be thinking of it as a harmful cult instead of just being incorrect? That's the sort of argument you're making, you know.

    "There is almost always an emotional reason. "

    There's almost always an emotional reason for someone to join religion too. Not to say that's a good or bad thing, just a thing.

  • Charles H Atlanta, GA
    April 17, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    I went to an athiest's funeral once. He was all dressed up with nowhere to go.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    April 17, 2014 12:38 p.m.

    Usually when atheists apply the word "brainwashing", its either because they don't know what brainwashing really is or they don't understand how people can believe in something they don't understand or both.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 17, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations, “2 Nephi 2 is a very powerful chapter in”…?

    2Nephi1:23,the armor of righteousness=(2Cor 6:7) ;2:5,by the law no flesh is justified=(Gal 2:16) ;2:6,full of grace and truth=(John 1:14) ;2:8,the first that should rise=(Acts 26:23); 2:9,the firstfruits unto God=(Rev 14:4); 2:18, that old serpent who is the devil=(Rev 20:2); 2:18,whois the father of all lies=(John 8:44) ...2:4, because ye ask not=(James 4:2)

    KJV/3 Nephi Sermon on the Mount. LDS Scholar Stan Larson finds 12 examples where JS copied the 1769 KJV errors. E,g..,

    3Nephi 13:13&Mt 6:13, Both have the doxology, For thine is he Kingdom and power and the glory forever amen. The KJV is based on 9th to 12th century texts. Earlier and better manuscripts do not contain the doxology.

  • I_Know_Utah Mesquite, NV
    April 17, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    I know I am going to be hated by everyone for my comment... First, I was raised Mormon, and was Ezra Taft Bensons Neighbor in Midway Utah. He bought property from my adoptive father, and was a close family friend.

    I have a LOT of Disdain for Most Mormons. Not based on religion, but instead by there Attitudes. That also attributed to many "Christians" who Chastise Mormons for the way they believe...

    Now for the Clincher... I am an Atheist now, And I despise "Atheists" who claim it is a Religion, or organization... An Atheist has no religious belief, and can believe in creationism or whatever they decide... FYI for all, the U.S. constitution states FREEDOM OF RELIGION!!!! That is to believe or Not believe whatever you want. There is a Cross on a Hill in California put up by an owner of the Property (Mount Helix) That went to court because of a Group of (Atheists) Or so they say. I look at it as this, They have 1 hill with a Cross. And Non believers have Millions more with no Cross... So to the Group of Atheist who cause problems for others... BACK OFF!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 17, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    wow this ought to be productive. Maybe instead they should just have a soft ball ball game and sloppy joes followed by a group hug.

  • Doklove Quincy, IL
    April 17, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    "information available on the Internet will lead more people to abandon their faith, making religion a “nonissue” in the future".

    Should we call atheism "Church of the Internet"- Because after all, if it is on the internet it MUST be true.

    I respect others rights to believe, or not believe, as they wish. I believe everyone has the right to proselyte their beliefs and seek converts. It would be nice if they will do it civilly, but likely not everyone will. That is not because they are atheists, but because they are human.

    Religion has been the stated reason for many evils done since the beginning of time. Had religion not existed the evils would still have occurred, they would have just had different stated reasons.

    As humans we like to pick others apart and look for reasons why "they" are bad. When we find (or invent) these reasons then we seek to marginalize and in some cases eliminate others because of the perceived differences. This happens in religion, sports, politics, etc.

    I think this is a reason that Jesus taught to not focus on motes, but try to root out beams.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    April 17, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    viejogeezer:

    The Book of Mormon answers most of the questions you pose, I believe. In particular, 2 Nephi 2:13:

    "13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away."

    2 Nephi 2 is a very powerful chapter in the Book of Mormon and answers many of life's great questions.

  • Bruce A. Frank San Jose, CA
    April 17, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    I am disturbed that the LDS church, or any religious faith for that matter,thinks there is a need for or that there is common ground for "understanding" or compromise with the faith of Atheism. Know with all you heart that "negotiations" such as this is much like Israel trying to compromise with Radical Islam. It is just a bit difficult to engage in talks when the first demand of Atheism is that religion cease to exist!

    The Mormon Church is on a fools errand. Such conferences encourage and actually strengthen Atheism by creating the impression that the LDS faith can somehow be in error correctable with input from a group whose deepest desire is for you to disappear from the face of the earth.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    April 17, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    My two cents, and that is about all its worth. Personally, I think Atheist are mis-understood a bit. Many people and even myself, I am not sure completely what an atheist believes or thinks. As I understand it, an Atheist is not a non-believer, rather their belief system/ideology, what ever you want to call it is just different from those of us who believe in a God. I think even and someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I think even some if not all may still believe in a God or Supreme Being? So like I said, and even the President of the group is right, we do not know enough.

    With that said, and I know this is a DesNews article. But, the Atheist Pres, I thought in his quotes was very disrespectful to those who were there to have a discussion. If you don't want to be stereotyped as a bad or hateful person, then don't be so argumentative in a discussion of faith and values with your comments or questions. Be a little more open to learning as much as you want to teach yourself.

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    April 17, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    Atheists within my experience tend to share much the same moral values as religious people and religious people sometimes behave as badly as anyone else, occasionally in the name of religion. My question is this-- Are moral behaviors influenced by religion or by culture? Does religion determine the moral standards of the culture? If by religion there may be an absolute good or evil and some logical basis for moral behavior. If by culture I can see no absolute evil, only cultural acceptance. If by culture is there anything wrong with Putin's annexation of Crimea, or with slavery, apartheid, or genocide, all of which were acceptable within the culture where there were employed? If each person chooses his own morality is there any such thing as morality? Is there anything such as evil, or good?

  • brotherJonathan SLC, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:40 a.m.

    Our constitution guarantees equality under all laws, freedom of speech, freedom of religion/beliefs. I am LDS, a follower of Christ. To me that means never forcing one's beliefs on another, tolerance of others beliefs and to be willing to use logic and use of the facts to convince others, who are interested, that there is a God, and Jesus Christ's gospel of how to live one's life is perfect.
    I have had conversations with atheists and the strongest physical evidence of God or advanced intelligence that created life is now available to mankind.
    We can't prove what God is, but using science we can prove that life did not create itself.
    Hardwired instinctual behavior mechanism - sub-conscious mind are two terms that have no meaning.
    Other than unknown force. This unknown force is brilliant beyond our technology and can adapt to changes in current reality for every living life form. It is Independent, Intelligent, Operations, Management doing the impossible: brains to run independent life forms.
    The bottom line: trillion of lightning strikes will never ever create and intelligence program capable of self-duplication and operating DNA based life.
    Probability of that ever happening is Zero.

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    It seems to me that the very reasons that atheist are seen as mean-spirited, intolerant and unkind— things that are seen as acting badly— are things that are seen as virtues in religion.

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks says: "Any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God, must belong “to the church of the devil” = good.

    Atheist say that a belief in God is irrational = not nice.

    Religious say atheists promote immorality and evil in the name of non-belief = awesome.

    Atheists say that many of things religion teaches are harmful = bad + intolerant.

    I get that atheists are one the least liked groups in the US if not the world but what really is happening here is that they are finally just speaking up for themselves. This not some attack on religion anymore than religion is an attack on non-believers. Religion is just used to saying what they want without push back. Times have changed and views have shifted. Religion I think would be smart to use this long overdue critique as an opportunity to change for the better.

  • Heidi T. Farmington, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    I never would have believed I would see the day when Atheists become an organized religion.

  • njpray Polson, MT
    April 17, 2014 10:23 a.m.

    Many comments state that a person cannot know if God exists......I say that we can. Faith is not without knowledge. We can have faith and know that God exists. I have lived long enough and seen, felt, and experienced many things that tell me there is a God. While dialogue can be good with an atheist.....I doubt that it will change anyone's view.....but we can always hope for some understanding.

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    April 17, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    So the atheists feel a need to gather as a community of like minded individuals to find comfort and understanding among their fellow (non)believers. They have a desire to proselyte their beliefs and bring people to their version of the truth. Gosh that sounds like a religion, do you think they will produce some kind of creed or statement at their convention?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Here is what is funny about these Atheists. They have their issue with religion, but are establishing themselves as a religion.

    Just look at what Atheists are doing. There are Atheist groups that meet on Sundays for mutual help and support. During their meetings they share messages of inspiration and enlightenment. Now, they are having a convention to unite the Atheists in a common cause.

    They complain about religion while becoming a religion themselves. The difference between Atheists and mainstream religions is that rather believing in a God or other higher power, they belive that there is anot a God or other higher power.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    The current atheist negative "evangelism" seems mean spirited in its intent. I wish them happiness in their personal lives, but they have very little that's positive to offer. It's a bit sad, really.

  • YoungPuppy west Jordan, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    @samhill

    I believe in almost everything you said. "Constant skepticism is a hallmark of a true scientist."

    That is the beauty of Science is that it builds on previous knowledge and can forever be changed as new knowledge is understood. What I am saying that will never change is the absolute truths of cosmological and Mathematical Constants. Things like algebra and geometry and other such things will always continue to be the same and can be verified independently. But if changes are found they can be discussed and changed as needed.

    Faith by definition is not truth. Faith is the belief in something without having evidence to its proof. You don't have to "believe" in facts. Challenges to and differences in religious beliefs is what we historically call War. So the fact that religions can not be independently verified means that it is not fact. Do you think I can go to a random person on the streets of Iran or India and they would say that Christianity is an absolute "truth"? There are hundreds of religions believing in thousands of deities. Please show me some proof that one and only one of them are the "truth".

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    @FT

    Unless the core tenets of the gospel and salvation have changed, then the changes you may be referencing are not significant.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 17, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    Failure to observe the many evidences for the existence of Deity is the problem Atheists own. Just because they choose to not observe doesn't mean numerous others have actually personally witnessed God. Their experiences are written in Scripture. If they reject these witnesses, what witnesses do they have of their beliefs? Absence of evidence for them is not evidence of absence for millions of others!

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    April 17, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    My goodness the history of this world is ripe with people fighting for liberty and the right to use their agency as independent human beings. Where does this innate thirst come from? Order, civility, morality, freedom, and happiness flow from law. Who made those laws? Who gave them the right to make those laws and where did they come from? Evolution? A law is not a law nor can it be unless there are two ingredients. The reward of Freedom and it's opposite, Bondage. The 10 commandments allow one to choose Freedom or bondage. If there is no God, there is no one to be accountable to... It is easier to say there is no God and feel no accountability to anyone or anything. People have done that, and do that over and over again and find themselves in physical, emotional, and spiritual bondage bringing with it the collateral damage to others. If we kept the Ten Commandments alone, Freedom would reign. But that takes selflessness which is the very heart and soul of revealed religion and the pathway to ultimate freedom. Ironically, the pathway to ultimate freedom is surrender of self to the blessing of others.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    April 17, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    The problem with some atheists is they have a tendency to demand evidence for God or they arrogantly declare there is absolutely no evidence of God. However, evidence or signs that God exists is really the last thing they really want. If there is a God, that will imply atheists will have to change their ways and repent of various things. The issue, then, actually boils down to the intent of the heart and how sincere they are to know the truth.

    Even then, there is ample evidence all around testifying of the existence of God. It is under everyone's noses but some atheists refuse to see it or decide to disregard it!

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    to History Freak

    "Believing a total lie could never be healthy."

    What if you have faith in whatever your values/beliefs are?

    "The fact is that most atheists are not atheists due to logic. Their position is actually based on emotional reasons"

    Religion is based on subjectivity and feeling therefore the antithesis of logic.

    "It just isn't true no matter how much they make that claim."

    Agreed. The louder and longer you assert something doesn't make it true. i.e. the perpetual squawking about religion being under attrack

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    April 17, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    Candide,

    Every law or rule given us by God or nature has a physical and real consequence. It's when we ignore these consequences and attempt to codify behavior that is unhealthy to the citizenry at large that we people of faith act. Everyone legislates morality. It just depends on your point of view. And by the way, the damage done by the religious is far outweighed (not even close) by the irreligious. If Mao, Stalin, and a few others don't come to mind then you are not a very good student of history, or are being willingly obtuse.

  • a bit of reality Shawnee Mission, KS
    April 17, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    When talking to a Christian, an atheist said, "you believe in Christ, but you don’t believe in Baal, Zeus, Apollo, Ra, Ah-Chun-Caan, Quetzalcoatl, Vishnu, or any of the other thousands of different gods people have believed in over the eons. As a Christian, there is a huge list of gods you don't believe in. The only difference between you and me is that the list of gods I don't believe in is one longer than yours."

    In principle, both atheists and Mormons believe in science, in making the world a better place, in being good people, and in freedom of conscience. Further, both atheists and Mormons share disbelief in the existence of over 99.9% of the various gods that have been postulated. From that perspective, are atheists and Mormons really *that* different?

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    April 17, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    samhill, what is the evidence of theism? No one is doubting that people believe in these things. It's whether there is any proof of the truth of these things.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    April 17, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    Cats, atheists aren't coming to SLC to "confront religion" they're going there to have a convention.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 9:19 a.m.

    Organized religion and atheism are both silly. God exists and we will ALL be surprised in the next life.

    That said, I have found Deism & Taoism to be far more useful than christianity.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    April 17, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    These people are precisely what they profess to oppose, in their entirety. And the more information becomes available, the more THEY will be discredited, not those who resist and challenge them.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    April 17, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    atrulson, atheists "complain" because many religious people don't just choose their faith and the morality that goes along with it for themselves--they also try to enact laws that will force their morality onto others. For example--someone thinks gay marriage is immoral so they pass laws against it that prevent those who disagree with you from participating in the same rights as heterosexuals rather than just not marrying someone of the same sex themselves.

    Also, great privileges are given to religion in this country. People are excused from having to follow the same laws as everyone else because they claim a religious privilege. Or, they think that their religious beliefs excuse them from the same society expected civility they expect of those who don't believe the same things they do.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Speaking of Science, to "YoungPuppy" who states, "It might take centuries or millennium but Science would come back exactly the same where religion would be completely different.", I suggest you take a look at the history of Science. The static model you seem to have is the complete opposite of fact.

    Science's goal is the constant quest for truth, which necessarily means change. Among thousands of examples, two would be the current "knowledge" of plate tectonics, and an **accelerating** expansion of the universe, both revolutionary ideas that utterly overturned previous scientific "knowledge". In fact, **all** scientific "knowledge" rests on a rubble field of previous scientific "knowledge", and properly so. Constant skepticism is a hallmark of a true scientist.

    Any scientist that claims absolute, complete and therefore unchangeable **knowledge** of.....anything, should hand in their science badge, cause they're done, when it comes to science. That's why I consider a true scientist to be, properly and necessarily, someone of faith.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    It's funny how worked up people are getting about this. Nobody's mind is going to be changed, none will be 'converted' one way or the other. Atheists have come here to tell the mormon world they're here, too, and have a right to be atheists. They'll spend some money in town and then leave, although there are always some among you, aren't there? It's a long weekend. Go to church, or a mattress sale, whichever you choose.

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    @ Hawk

    You can believe in unicorns, leprechauns, fairies or whatever you wish. I start caring when people try to legislate their unfounded beliefs into state secular law. If your unicorn says that he doesn't want gay people to marry or adults to be able to have a drink that's when we have a problem. I care because I want the world to be a better place for my children. I care because this is the only life I get; I am not waiting for better life after death. I care because I see the damage religious thinking has done to this planet.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    History Freak says:

    "I can't think of anything more unhealthy than atheism. Believing a total lie could never be healthy."

    Oh, the irony.

    I see a lot of "religious" people attacking the athiests in these comments and, all the while, your complaining about them attacking you. Oh ye hypocrites, you're so entertaining.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    My biggest problem with Atheism (a positive assertion of a negative, ie., that there is no God/s) is its complete irrationality. Especially when coupled with a simultaneous claim of complete rationality.

    Agnosticism (an assertion that a knowledge of God is impossible) seems the only rational alternative to any form of Theism (a claim of knowledge of, or at least faith in the existence of God/s) which has at least a claim of some evidence, whether Scientific or not.

  • CougarColby Fort Benning, GA
    April 17, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    I've always had a hard time with "atheists" and this zero-sum thing they try and cram down your throat. "Either we evolved from single celled organisms, or there was a creation". There is no middle ground in their logic. If you believe in evolution, then God doesn't exist, if you believe in a creation, then God lives.

    I think Mormonism, more than any other Christian sect, has the doctrine to support what science finds. IMO, God created the Laws of Nature. Because he created them, he must abide by them, or else cease to be God. We know through science how Earths are created and that it takes millions of years for that process. Why couldn't God set the plan in motion through the "big bang" for all of this to happen? Do species evolve, yes. Was that how we came about...I think science is still out on that one with a few missing links. But, if science proves we did evolve, then our understanding of God and his ways is only greatly enhanced. God created science, and I feel science proves God's existence. They are not mutually exclusive.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    From the article, it appears that there was little "discussion" of beliefs from Silverman and more attacks on the beliefs of others. Hard to have an open discussion of differences with a person who believes that your position will be eliminated from society.

    Too bad that atheist groups like this are the "face" of atheism. I am sure there are those who are atheistic that love others and do much good for those around them. That should be what we see, not this.

    Of course, the same can be said of my religion (LDS). Many do much good, but unfortunately there are those who do not show a good example of being LDS or Christian.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    For those seeking truth, the process of faith is essential. Once, we recognize this, better discussion between groups can occur.

  • History Freak Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    I can't think of anything more unhealthy than atheism. Believing a total lie could never be healthy.

    The fact is that most atheists are not atheists due to logic. Their position is actually based on emotional reasons--they were forced to go to church when they were a child, or they went to Catholic school and the nuns were mean, etc.,etc. The former head of American Atheists was one because her mother had spent "all her time" at church and she was angry about it. There is almost always an emotional reason.

    Don't accept their protestations about it just being based in logic. It just isn't true no matter how much they make that claim.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    I don't see the point of this meeting. It is held just to make the participants on both sides feel better about themselves, but nothing will be accomplished and no minds will be changed. I suppose if there can be civility on an ongoing basis, that's a good thing, but expanding civility to a wider audience is not likely to happen. In the end, I say whatever....

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    The problem here is that people keep ascribing science and religion to 2 different fields one being fact and the other belief however when examined from the aspect of "truth" they actually co-relate more closely than anyone realizes. Their are people in the realm of science who ascribe blind faith to their theories and current level of knowledge and yet there are theologists who use scientific method to disect faith and fullfill their own ambitions. Just like one must use natural scientific methods to gain results in the fields of research the same methods apply to things pertaining to God. Like science must always be open to further discovery the same must be applied to God as well. For example I have conducted spirtitual experiments based on scientific theory through testing hypothesees, Example one God exists and that if any scriptural account is worth its salt or if there is a supreme architect at all he should be approchable or able to be communicated with I have tried this and found it to be true by fullfilling the qualifications and processes. I cannot count the times I have recieved direction, specific information, impressions and council that have always yielded results

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    Never met an atheist without a huge complex of some sort. This article didn't help me to see them differently. Mr. Silverman's comments alone lead me to believe that he himself wouldn't believe God if he spoke to him.

  • Hawk Littleton, CO
    April 17, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    I have had a number of friends over the years who are avowed atheists, but our belief systems do not preclude finding common ground and maintaining a friendship. I have, however, also been associated with atheists who tend to be very confrontational and bent on tearing down other's belief in God.

    That having been said, I must admit that I do not understand why atheists some are so concerned about the perceived "exclusive" nature of the LDS church's view of salvation -- if they have no belief in god, in an afterlife, in eternal salvation or progression, then why would they CARE what LDS doctrine states? Likewise, I don't understand why they are so determined to steer people away from their faith. Christians evangelize out of concern for "unbelievers" jeopardizing the eternal consignment of their soul. Without such a belief or concern, again, why do atheists CARE what Christians teach and believe?

    Thanks for your concern; now if you don't mind, please let me worship "how, what or where (I) may"....

  • Dante Salt Lake City, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    Atheists--and articles and comments about them--are boring. Celebrating the absence of belief--yawn. Sorry.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    Religons continue to change and evolve. Mormonism has had numerous, significant changes since it's conception 150 years ago. Joseph Smith would be stunned at how his original scriptures have been adapted by numerous leaders over the years.
    We live in a great time, where one can freely choose what works for them. The only ones who may know the absolute truth are the dead, and they're not talking. In the mean time we all need to be respectful of the absolute truths that uniquely live in all of us.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 17, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    One of my good griends is an atheist. She is a moral person and very kind. She has been happily married for a long time. She is devoted to her children, her husband and is service oriented. I am a devout Mormon. I believe fervently in God and that morality is based on His instructions to us. I have been happily married for a long time and am devoted to my family and community as well.

    Our friendship over the many years we've know each other is not based on my ability to convert her or her ability to draw me to her way of thinking. We're just friends. She represents the truth that athiests can be good, moral people. Do I hope some day she can find God? Yes, absolutely, but even if she never does we will still share a friendship.

    The atheists coming to SLC to help make it a "healthier place" do not represent my friend, and I'm sorry they are here.

  • toddybear Chester, 00
    April 17, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    If we dont believe in God, does that not mean we believe we came from nowhere, are here for no purpose and are going soon to everlasting oblivion?

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    April 17, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    "Atheists choose their morality, where religious people say they are moral because of their faith"

    This struck me as another stereotype. While atheists think "people say they are moral because of their faith" (and perhaps some faithful people will actually say that) I think the reality is their religion (ie faith) makes them more moral by teaching them what is and what is not moral.

    Some religions teach that honor killings are moral and some less religious (those with no fear of God, ie atheists, etc) tyrants kill millions, who is to say what morality is? Who is to say what is good or who are good people?

    I am glad to hear atheists can choose to kill people as easily as faithful people can kill in the name of religion.

    Perhaps this is where we need to differentiate the true religion from false beliefs.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    What atheists and Mormons have in common is a lack of absolute certainty. We both walk in faith from different assumptions. Atheists, it is true, choose the easiest path, in particular if they are agnostics ("we do not know"). But many atheists are secret believers ("I hope it could be true, I have a desire to believe"), and many Mormons are hidden atheists ("I don't think it's true, but I belong to it and it is satisfying").

    Bottomline: let's respect each other and work together for a better world.

  • YoungPuppy west Jordan, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:44 a.m.

    I think that religious people and Atheists talking together is a good thing.

    I was raised Mormon, my dad was even a bishop for 7 years. I even have pioneer ancestry. But now I am an Atheist. I have just seen no evidence at all that a supreme being of any kind exists or ever has existed. I think that our understanding of science has filled in enough of the answers to life's greatest questions that religion claims to answer with no evidence other than a book. You take that book and stories away and you have no true evidence that I have seen.

    I believe that science is the truth and that it is constant and can be re-discovered. If you take a group of people that have no previous knowledge of anything that has been previously know of Science or religion both come back. They would comeback to try and describe how the world works and answer questions. It might take centuries or millennium but Science would come back exactly the same where religion would be completely different.

    This is just my personal opinion others have the right to their own.

  • Allen C Christensen American Fork, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:43 a.m.

    Mortality is a testing ground, albeit a temporary state. A key part of character development is learning to make good decisions based on principle. Faith-based people see those principles as rooted in revealed or scriptural truth. Atheists do not accept the concept of revealed truth. There are those who think that science is the only basis on which to make decisions. Science has provided a great deal of technological advancement for which all should be grateful, but science is not the sole source of truth. For example, one cannot prove that he or she is married by science. They can only prove they are married or have been married by witnesses. Scriptural truths have been confirmed by witnesses, both those who were a party to the actual revelation, or by those who observed the results in the lives of those who attempted to live those revealed principles. It is not always easy to smile and turn away from those who have a different opinion, but such is necessary to achieve a civil society.

  • Joemamma W Jordan, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    Let's put aside the theology or the religious part of Christianity and look at it from a philosophical prospective.
    What it teaches far supersedes anything any atheist can teach as moral.
    Anyone who does not believe there's something greater, more loving than all of us has sense of grandeure, naecisistic, arrogant personality.
    Yes there are people in religion who also have those character defficiencies but they're not what Christianity teaches and no one it's perfect even in religion.

  • Dave T in Ogden Ogden, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    Atheists and the religious people can come together to produce great things. It will take a village of Americans to create many new companies, thus new jobs.
    There are those people who can write (attorneys, business plans developers), those good with the details (i.e. accountants, engineers, TEA party people), those who can finance new companies (Republicans) and those with lots of new ideas (Liberals, atheists), just to name a few. Though not all ideas will become winners.
    If we can find what talents the atheists and the religious are strong in. We can create new teams of companies and greatly reduce our unemployment rate.
    At the same time, I believe Newton's 3 Laws of physics dictate emotions. For example, if someone were to give you a nice smile or if someone lets you in traffic. It makes your day! Is it Newton's first Law of Emotions? "For every action there are like but opposite reaction." There is also the momentum affects. Emotions (both goodwill/hate) can be between individuals or groups of people.
    Thus by us working together, this will create goodwill among us all according to Newton's laws. And we can all build a better tomorrow.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 17, 2014 7:13 a.m.

    "There are a few reasons why I can see there are Atheists in the world: "

    Kelly you forgot one; they are right and there isn't a God.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    April 17, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    He says Mormons are victims of brainwashing and then wonders why atheists are stereotyped as not being nice?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    April 17, 2014 6:40 a.m.

    Why bother? Two athiest "experts". That really caught my eye. What, they are expert in not believing there is a God? How much expertise does one need for that? And, since they believe people will get their morals from the secular world, well, that just opens the door to "do your own thing man." Didn't we go through that back in the 60's?

  • atrulson cohoes, NY
    April 17, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    "Atheists choose their morality, where religious people say they are moral because of their faith"

    First: We can choose our faith.
    Second: If faith instills morality, then what are they complaining about?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    April 17, 2014 6:33 a.m.

    My Mom told me to look for the good in people. I think both are after the greater good. Desire, belief and expeditions makes the magic. Imagination, attitude and perseverance makes things happen.

  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    April 17, 2014 5:59 a.m.

    I can only wish them the best, but the belligerence and lack of respect shown by atheists generally does not bode well for any reasonable relationship between atheists and any kind of religion.

  • Joggle Somewhere In, HI
    April 17, 2014 1:56 a.m.

    Atheists are simply having a convention to mostly let other atheists know that they have support, in order to gain understanding, and to provide information. Religion has had a strong voice in the world for centuries while atheism's voice has often been silenced. 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. They want people to know that atheists are not the horrible people that are portrayed by many people who do not understand atheism. Atheists also wants others to realize atheists can still have high morals, live happy lives, have values, help others and other positive attributes and still be atheists. As an embattled minority that's frequently the target of prejudice, atheists benefit when they make their existence known to wider society. It shows the world that they're real people, and more to the point, that they're good citizens - friends, family, neighbors, coworkers - rather than a murky shadow onto which religious believers can project their worst untrue stereotypes.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:48 p.m.

    I think this is so funny that the atheists are coming to Salt Lake to confront religion.

    Do they actually think that the fact of having their convention here will cause people to suddenly stop believing in God?

    They have absolutely nothing to offer anyone except despair and hopelessness. Christ offers love, hope and blessings for those who choose to follow. I have learned for myself that following Christ is the ONLY way to find truth and happiness.

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    April 16, 2014 11:24 p.m.

    There are a few reasons why I can see there are Atheists in the world:

    1-Strange things taught and promoted as truth (a 3-in-1 God without body, parts or passions?),
    2-Terrible things people do in the name of religion (virgins for martyrs and honor killings?), and,
    3-Those who don't want to believe in God and have to face the consequences of their actions.

    When people are told to have faith in things that are not true or see the actions of those who claim to be "directed by God" it can lead to some not having any belief in God. We can hope that they will someday learn the truth and recognize where things went wrong.

    But the last group is different and in reality they are as puppets doing whatever the adversary wants them to do. There is still hope for them but something drastic has to happen for them to want to repent.

    In the end, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, and there will be no atheists in the next life, but a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.