Atheists plan Salt Lake convention

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  • Heidi T. Farmington, UT
    Nov. 1, 2013 1:31 p.m.

    " their expense." Not mine. I am a Latter Day Saint and do not live, nor do I believe others live, at anyone's expense unless they choose to do so. It's called free agency.

  • rfpeterlin Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 1, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    There are countless non-members in Utah and through out the world that share the same societal views as do we. It would be a long convincing in calling the way that the southern baptists and apostolic penticostals view society as owing to oppression of the Church in Salt Lake. That billboard is inflammatory and would not be permitted by the ADL if the faith depicted was different!

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 1, 2013 12:04 a.m.

    "The theory of evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics."

    Sorry, Pops, you are wrong. The second law of thermodynamics does not apply to the system of evolution. Perhaps ask a scientist why. Or read about it in a book. Anti evolution sources won't help. Seek a source from people that understand science.

    Oh, by the way, I don't have to take anyone's word on rather the earth orbits the sun or if water is made from hydrogen and oxygen. I can conduct the experiments that will prove these things. And so can you. You don't have to take anyone's word on it.

    "As far as I'm aware, nobody has witnessed life arising spontaneously from inorganic matter, nor do I expect it to be a reasonable event. Likewise, nobody has witnessed one kind of life form become a new life form. "

    Oh. . . I see the problem now. You don't understand the theory of evolution or science. Well that's okay. Most people don't. And there are many people that don't realize they don't understand it. But go ask a scientist, or a student, they'll help you out.

  • Mr. Smitty Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2013 7:29 p.m.


    So what you are suggesting is we should abolish scientific knowledge because knowledge is impossible. Your vision is a nihilistic one.

    Oct. 31, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    @Mr. Smitty,

    First a quote from Spagetti: "It appears that you are ultimately anti-science, and indeed, anti-knowledge."

    Second, my guess is that you don't truly know that the earth revolves around the sun, but accept that it does on the basis of what others have said and done; likewise with water being made of 2 H + 1 O. Your knowledge is book learning - you know what is found in books, as long as your eyes and memory have not deceived you, but not whether what the books say is true.

    The theory of evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. Given that the latter is more fundamental than the former, I choose to believe that rather than accept the contradiction. As far as I'm aware, nobody has witnessed life arising spontaneously from inorganic matter, nor do I expect it to be a reasonable event. Likewise, nobody has witnessed one kind of life form become a new life form. What we do observe is extinction and gene pool deterioration, which is in line with the second law of thermodynamics. (I don't recall mentioning religion.)

  • Mr. Smitty Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    @Pops: I read Spagetti's posts, and he never said nor implied that it's anti-science to acknowledge the limitations of human endeavors. Acknowledging such limitations does not mean we are incapable of knowledge.

    I know the earth revolves around the sun. I also know that water contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Given there are unknown unknowns, how does my making this claim make me arrogant? I've noticed a double standard among LDS members and other religious conservatives. If I tell them there is overwhelming evidence supporting the theory of evolution and begin explaining the evidence, they imply I shouldn't be arrogant about what I claim to know. However, when I talk about scientific theories they perceive as not conflicting with their religious beliefs, they never call me arrogant. Why the double standard? Isn't it obvious that a certain religious belief explains the double standard?

  • Mr. Smitty Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    @Alex 1:

    Religious beliefs have real consequences in life. I appreciate religious believers who focus on love and acceptance and who serve others, something both non-believers and believers engage in, but some of their beliefs are harmful. For example, I think it's harmful to base families on the acceptance of beliefs based on insufficient or no evidence. If you are taught, for example, that you will go to hell if you don't believe in Jesus, and decide to abandon your family's religion, you will cause your parents and siblings great deal of grief and concern. I think a belief in hell causes suffering that could be avoided. There is a great deal of conflict in many families simply because a family member decides reject claims based on a insufficient evidence.

  • Mr. Smitty Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2013 4:19 p.m.


    What is unorganized matter? At any rate, while it's true that no one knows exactly how life began (scientists are still working on it), not knowing does not disprove the theory of evolution. Indeed, there is overwhelming evidence supporting the theory evolution. Genetic evidence supports the theory of evolution; Whales, for example, have genes for legs, but a mutation occurred that kept them from expressing. However, sometimes a whale is born with legs. Whales are the descendants of land mammals that lived 35 million years ago. Look it up. The fossil record supports the theory-- in fact, scientists have made many prediction of what they would discover in the fossil record. I only have 200 words, so I can't explain much here. I encourage you to educate yourself.

    You claim that the beginning of life is not related to evolution. How do you know this? I find it odd that religious people call people arrogant for claiming to know that the theory of evolution is solid science, that we know evolution happens, but they never make such claims about other scientific theories they accept why? Religion?

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2013 3:31 p.m.

    @Mr Glass

    "The theory of evolution by natural selection has been validated by science." But this does not explain how life came to be formed from unorganized matter. The two are not related.

    Pops explained it best. His second paragraph was outstanding and I completely agree with everything he said.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 31, 2013 1:08 p.m.

    Have you ever thought about the fact that if there is no afterlife and God, then you will never be conscious of having been wrong about it when you die? If there is no life after death, then it really doesn't matter whether you are right about it.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 31, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    Maybe in their lunch break, they can take a tour of Temple Square! Who knows what could happen after that? :)

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Oct. 31, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    I wonder what Muscato's family history looks like and if he is related to anyone from the midwest. Reminds me of church history when the people in the midwest didn't like mormons and making trumped up charges.

    Oct. 31, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    @Spagetti - epistemology is a fascinating area of study. I highly recommend it. One might learn, for example that it is not anti-science to acknowledge the limitations of human endeavor. Scientific theories (or "facts") are "knowledge" only until we find out they're wrong or incomplete - that is, until we find an exception to an established pattern. Given that we cannot know the unknown unknowns, we shouldn't be arrogant about what we do claim to know.

    The contradiction in the theory of evolution is that we observe in nature - without exception - a pattern we call the second law of thermodynamics. We intuitively recognize, for example, an iPhone must have been created through intelligent action. Yet some assert that a homo sapiens, which is orders of magnitude more complex than an iPhone, and, perhaps ironically, a possessor of intelligence, is ultimately a product of unintelligent action. Go figure. "But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation" [Sir Arthur Eddington].

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 4:02 p.m.


    I never said religious people who reject the theory of evolution are uneducated.

    What is your position on evolution by natural selection? If you don't accept the theory, I would still say religion prevents you from accepting it. I know only one Mormon who accepts it.

    It's even more tragic when a very well educated person's religious beliefs prevents them from accepting the theory of evolution.

  • COCougar Northern, CO
    Oct. 30, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    @spagetti (sic) and aseguin
    Thank you for speaking in simple terms to us backwoods religious folk. Clearly no member of the LDS faith has any of that there learnin from books and such fings. Wait! I have a doctorate, my wife has a degree, many members of the Quorum of the Twelve have advanced degrees and are highly respected minds in the worlds of business, law, healthcare, military, etc. Sure, some religions have tried to keep their membership from learning (see Catholicism) back centuries ago, but my religion promotes education and has from the time of Joseph Smith. Our dictrine is riddled with admonishments to learn as much as we can. I love delving into the works of the greatest minds that have graced this Earth over the millenia. Science strengthens my testimony, as do the arts, literature, and mathematics. I am not alone in the LDS world in this viewpoint. We are taught constantly to seek learning about things above and things below. My religion doesn't hold me back from any of this, but I am also not limited to an understanding of science -

  • LittleDrummerMan ,
    Oct. 30, 2013 2:44 p.m.

    So they're going to have fun at our expense? Well then let's get a big ol' group down there and sing I Am A Child Of God and other hymns! Oh but then they'd probably be unhappy with us for having fun at their expense.

  • Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 2:10 p.m.

    Wait a minute.

    Aren't all Mormons atheists too...with respect specifically to Hindu Gods?

    They are atheists with respect to every other deity ever imagined, except for their own deity.

    And Hindus are atheists.....with respect to the Mormon God.

    Atheists just believe in one fewer God than Mormons do, that's all.

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 1:24 p.m.


    The theory of evolution by natural selection has been validated by science. The theory has improved over time as more evidence has been gathered, and the accuracy of prediction has improved over time.

    It's sad the religious beliefs prevent people from understanding scientific theories. It's kind of tragic, really.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    @Mr Glass

    You are right and neither does anybody else who claims that somehow it is validated by science because it isn't. That is my only point.

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    @Stay the Course: Don't confuse the common usage of theory with scientific theory.

    Wikipedia does a good job of explaining what a scientific theory is:

    "A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation.[1][2] Scientists create scientific theories from hypotheses that have been corroborated through the scientific method, then gather evidence to test their accuracy. As with all forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and aim for predictive and explanatory force.

    The strength of a scientific theory is related to the diversity of phenomena it can explain, which is measured by its ability to make falsifiable predictions with respect to those phenomena. Theories are improved as more evidence is gathered, so that accuracy in prediction improves over time. Scientists use theories as a foundation to gain further scientific knowledge, as well as to accomplish goals such as inventing technology or curing disease.

    Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge. This is significantly different from the word "theory" in common usage, which implies that something is unsubstantiated or speculative"

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Oct. 30, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    I still beleive they call it the theory of evolution
    Theory is different than absolute truths

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 12:21 p.m.


    Why are you suggesting that non-randomness implies intelligent design? You obviously don't understand evolution. Sigh.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    @Spagetti Monster

    So you are saying there is some intelligent design behind it all?

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Oct. 30, 2013 11:24 a.m.


    First, most LDS I know do not serve to avoid punishment. Is there a reward? Sure. But you miss the whole part about learning to serve and to love those you serve. That has certainly been my experience.

    Just out of curiosity, what is the service rate of atheists vs. the LDS or other service-oriented denominations?

    As to education? Studies indicate that, for the LDS, higher education levels lead to higher rates of activity.

    Pew Research says: Mormons are significantly more likely than the population overall to have some college education. Six-in-ten Mormons (61%) have at least some college education, compared with half of the overall population. However, the proportion of Mormons who graduate from college (18%) or receive postgraduate education (10%) is similar to the population as a whole (16% and 11%, respectively)

    From Orson Pratt: The study of science is the study of something eternal. If we study chemistry, we study the works of God. If we study chemistry, geology, optics, or any other branch of science, every new truth we come to the understanding of is eternal; it is a part of the great system of universal truth.

  • Spagetti Monster Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 11:09 a.m.


    If you knew anything about evolution, you would understand that it has little to do with randomness.

  • Spagetti Monster Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 10:55 a.m.


    It appears that you are ultimately anti-science, and indeed, anti-knowledge. If you reject the notion that science is evidence based and assert that it's ultimately faith based, there is no objective standard by which to believe that the earth is round. In fact, you might was well flip a coin: heads, the world is round; tails, the world is flat. If you believe such truth claims are faith based, the flat world claim would be just as valid as the round world claim.

    It's unreasonable to suggest that all scientific knowledge rests primarily on faith in scientists. Why would a scientist repeat an experiment to test the claims of other scientists? Indeed, scientists often try to disprove new theories. Do you believe scientists engage themselves in a elaborate hoax and conspiracy to create fake experiments and discoveries?

    Does it really make sense to say that believing in a virgin birth and believing that the earth revolves around the sun involve the same kind of faith?

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    Why are the atheists/evolutions planning a convention in the first place. Shouldn't they be more consistent in their beliefs and assume that they will just evolve into getting there at some random time.

  • aseguin Draper, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    A basic inquiry into atheism will quickly reveal that atheists tend to be more educated and less likely to commit crime. Check it out - the evidence is there, and it is compelling. Those who suggest that without faith in god there is no imperative to act morally are simply making things up. The evidence is to the contrary. Moreover, non-believers act morally for the right reasons - to improve the human condition, and to treat others with respect out of a prudent desire to live in a mutually secure and satisfying social environment. As I have seen in many comments here, those who profess faith in god act morally for two reasons - to avoid punishment and to achieve reward in the hereafter. Sounds pretty selfish (and IMmoral) to me. Another thing I see clearly here, as with all discussions of religious influence, is how religious faith acts to retard human understanding rather than to augment it. Evolution is one example, where reliance on religious texts supersedes overwhelming scientific evidence (biological, chemical, geological, paleontological, archeological, cosmological, etc.) that substantiates the science. "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." Richard Dawkins

    Oct. 30, 2013 7:47 a.m.


    All human enterprise is faith-based, including science. You have to believe what others tell you. You have to believe what's published. You have to believe what your instruments tell you. The human mind is separated from the universe, and must rely on sensors (eyes, ears, etc.) to communicate information about our world. We arrogantly claim to "know" when we observe certain consistencies and patterns, but it really isn't knowledge; it's just an acknowledgement of a consistent pattern.

    "evolution by natural selection" is a particularly interesting word association. Given that natural selection is the method by which nature destroys life forms that aren't viable, it's not logical to attribute to that that process the creation of new life forms.

    The big contradiction in scientific atheism is the conditional belief in the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  • JanSan Pocatello, ID
    Oct. 30, 2013 12:46 a.m.

    When they come to town PLEASE saints remember - that you can teach better by example then you can by hot words or snubs. You are going to be watched and they are most likely going to blow up any and all little thing that they can find. Most of them will come from Utah or around that area so they already know what Utah is about. I get the feeling that they are going to be coming in like Westborow and just itching for trouble... so please be aware and act as Christ would in that situation or we will be hearing it blaring from the TV and newspapers for months to come

  • jasonlivy Orem, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 11:14 p.m.

    Spagetti Monster:

    The evidence you speak of can't be interpreted any different, right? In the science community, which is made up of a bunch of really smart people, who've deemed it the 'law'...that anyone who doesn't fully embrace evolution is simply uneducated (could this be considered discrimination?). I'm not one who fully disregards evolution. I think many of it's tenets are worthy of discussion and further study. However, evolution doesn't disprove that God exists. Perhaps this was part of intelligent design?

    My feeling is the close mindedness of those who are so set on empirical evidence, they miss out on the most amazing things this life has to offer!

    I also think it's a copout. If you don't believe, blaming it on the lack of evidence in support of an existence of God, then you are supposedly 'free' from any of the commandments and laws of God. I have faith in God therefore I recognize the role His laws have in my life. I understand that choices of consequences, some severe. I am so grateful that I have a guide to help save me from the chaos so many suffer from.

  • Truckina phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 29, 2013 9:45 p.m.

    scwoz wrote:

    |The Church will probably have converted some of them by the time they are done..|

    I almost spit out my coffee all over the screen. This was almost the funniest thing I ever read...

  • Spagetti Monster Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:50 p.m.


    It does not require faith to know that the earth revolves around the sun. It requires evidence, and if you would like to pay a visit to acquire this knowledge. Understanding evolution by natural selection also requires knowledge. If you accept a man's word that evolution by natural selection happens without learning about the abundance of evidence to support the theory, then you are certainly relying on faith. However, if you spend considerable time learning about evolution by natural selection, you will learn something. It makes sense to use the word faith only if you are talking about confidence based on evidence. Believing in evolution based on fact based theories is much different than having faith that Jesus was born from a virgin.

    In light of the many facts about the contents of the Book of Mormon, it makes more sense to conclude that there is sufficient DNA studies to conclude the stories in the book are just stories. And what are the chances that Archeologists would never find evidence that steel was around during the supposed times of the B of M?

    Oct. 29, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    I don't believe in unicorns, and for that reason I don't spend any time thinking about or talking about unicorns. Perhaps these atheists really do believe in God, but are trying very hard to maintain the illusion that they don't.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Oct. 29, 2013 7:28 p.m.

    Lane Meyer: You do realize that apes are primates as well. You are basically using sematics when you describe it as extinct primates. Considering that most evolutionist state we came from apes as they were here before men and that a special breed evolved into man. That is why we are classified in the same category as apes. So yes my statement by most evolutionist is correct.

  • jasonlivy Orem, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    JD Jones:

    You say you don't believe in faith, but I have to disagree with you. We all have faith in something. I happen to have faith in God based on many very personal experiences both spiritually and temporally. For me to deny these experiences would be incredibly ungrateful and selfish. The evidence of God's existence is solid to me.

    On the other hand, you have faith in man. This assumes, of course, that these men made zero mistakes, that they had a perfect knowledge of DNA and the migration of every man who ever came to this continent, and there is no way they could be wrong, misguided, biased, etc. As well, you also have faith that those who have studied evolution have a perfect knowledge of how a single cell could morf into a human being, no matter how much time was allowed for this change to occur.

    Men are weak. We only use about 5% of our brain! No matter how great we think we are, how smart, how enlightened, to think that on our own we have even the slightest grasp of how man came to be is the height of arrogance!

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Oct. 29, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    The Scientist
    Wow talk about the kettle calling the pot black

  • Filo Doughboy Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 29, 2013 4:53 p.m.

    @Proud Atheist-

    Curious: If your social/ethical experiment does not bring a better society and world in 30-50 years, would you want a Messiah to come Who could bring world peace?

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 4:41 p.m.

    One hundred and fifty one comments. Hahaha.

    The ATHEISTS are coming!!

    The ATHEISTS are coming!!


  • aseguin Draper, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    When you believe something only through faith you should not be surprised to be ridiculed for a lack of critical thinking and maturity.

  • aseguin Draper, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    The original article on which this comment thread is based told of the refusal by local billboard companies to accept the American Atheists' designs for advertising their 2014 conference. It then went on, ad nauseum, to proclaim all of the virtues of the LDS faith, and how tolerant, loving, and wonderful the Mormon religion is. Perhaps we should consider the fact that the billboard companies found it prudent to deny this group the ad space as evidence of the INTOLERANCE experienced by non-believers in this state, which is operated as a theocracy by any standard. Only through subtle intimidation would a billboard company choose not to accept these signage layouts, which are totally innocuous. You know what? I'm offended by the plethora of religiously-slanted billboards I see in Utah County, but I support the right to erect them. And please get it right - atheists don't claim to know everything; in fact, the opposite is true. Atheism is based on the knowledge that humans know very little, but through scientific research, incremental advances in knowledge may occur. Religion claims to provide answers to everything, based solely on ancient texts written by ignorant desert-dwellers millennia ago.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 1:42 p.m.

    RE; : Myth Busted They assume the religion that their parents or the society in which they grew up had picked the correct one for them??

    What is God doing in China? This year actually marks 200th anniversary of the first protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison. Missions to China goes back to the 1500s with the Jesuits.

    Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by the National Catholic Reporter’s veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world’s largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history.
    Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it.

    The Problem is they have a major bible shortage and Christians are falling prey to heresies and such without a “Biblical only“foundation.

  • teeoh Anytown, KY
    Oct. 29, 2013 1:31 p.m.


    I recommend that the first agenda item at the Atheist Conference should be to coordinate with Webster and Cambridge on the definitions of Atheist. Webster says, “one who believes that there is no deity” and Cambridge says, “someone who believes that God does not exist.” This is very different than the definition you provided, which sounds more like the definition of an agnostic.

  • Breathe Deep Eagle Rock, ID
    Oct. 29, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    Question: What is an atheist?

    Answer: Someone who does not believe in god or the lack of evidence that God exists.

    Therefore: No God = No commandments, No commandments = No Sin, No Sin = No guilt, No guilt = Do whatever you want without the worry of condemnation.

    It’s pretty simple really, it’s just a small group of people that don’t like to be told what they should do and should not do even by God Himself.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 12:58 p.m.


    Maryville, MO

    "JD Jones: You state that it is solid science that we come from apes."

    No, it said "extinct primates." That is a big difference. Look it up if you don't know the difference. PS - man IS a primate.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Oct. 29, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    JD Jones: You state that it is solid science that we come from apes. Sorry this is a theory at best, not solid science. Most Scientists will tell you they agree that there is a God and that Science only confirms that belief.

    Your DNA says Jews yet that actually only pertains mainly to those of the House of Judah. Yet the Book of Mormon states emphatically that Lehi and his followers were mainly of the House of Joseph. Has anyone been able to give anything pertaining to the House of Joseph. The answer is no. So again the DNA is inconclusive at best.

    Faith is the belief in things unseen but yet are still true.

    Scientist: You talk of intolerance and hate a lot about Christians, especially Mormons but from my experience here on the board what you say is more in line with Korhior in the Book of Mormon who was an anti-Christ. As someone above mentioned. If you are anti-gospel of Jesus Christ then you are anti-Christ. Do you deny this?

  • InspectorC Wasatch Front, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 11:44 a.m.

    I do *not* believe that this American Atheist group actually exists!

    I have never seen them. I have never experienced or sensed them in any way, shape or form.

    Therefore, they just absolutely cannot exist! I cannot fathom such a preposterous concept!

  • C.J. Greeley, CO
    Oct. 29, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    @A Scientist - "Intolerance and hate"? please be specific, what are you referring to?

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Oct. 29, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    Well, if we don't get a chance to chat during the convention period, certainly we can catch up in the hereafter. ;)

  • Lindy-Lou San Antonio, TX
    Oct. 29, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    @ Red Headed Stranger: "need $ to rent a great and spacious building" -- hilarious!

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    @jasonlivy: You wrote, "Oh yeah? What 'strong evidence' do you have that religion is wrong, specifically the LDS faith? Is this strong evidence in your own mind? What do you know about the concept of faith? Please, humor me by trying to disprove that faith does not exist. Do you even have any idea what faith is?"

    I didn't say faith does not exist. Of course I know people have faith. However, I do not believe in faith, and I don't believe it's worth having, nor do I believe people of faith are better than those who don't believe in faith. Some Christians have faith that the world is only 6,000 years old, which clearly contradicts scientific evidence to the contrary, and about half of Americans, most of whom are Christians, don't accept the theory of evolution, which is solid science. Only 15% of Americans accept that humans are the descendants of extinct primates. Mormons believe that Native Americans are the descendants of Jews, yet there DNA evidence based on solid clearly contradicts the claim.

    Faith is in someone's own mind. Science helps us understand objective reality.

  • Californian#[email protected] San Francisco, CA
    Oct. 29, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    -- "We'd love to be proven wrong on that, but everything we see and hear about how the Mormon Church controls things in Utah seems to be a prime example of religious oppression," Muscato said. "They are pushing Mormon values on people." --

    If a group of people habitually litigates to get "One nation under God" or "In God we trust" deleted, campaigns to have the Ten Commandments, the foundation of Western moral codes, removed from courthouses, derides religious expressions and people of faith, and anticipates having "fun" at the expense of any religion, that doesn't count as pushing their values on anyone, does it?

    I hope they have a good time, don't feel "oppressed" or "intimidated," and enjoy the hospitality of Salt Lake City. Perhaps they will be invited to meet with LDS Church leadership as many diverse religious leaders have been, resulting in more cordial relationships among people of different philosophies (even if those are founded on denial rather than belief).

    Their convention coincides with Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter, and Passover week. Perhaps during that time they will experience the special spirit that love of God should generate among people of faith and good will.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    The bias, prejudice, and misunderstanding of atheists and atheism that is evident in these comments is not only appalling, but it reflects very badly on "believers".

    Read your own testimonies against yourselves and then tell us (atheists, nonbelievers) again why we would want to worship a god that inspires such intolerance and hate (even if such a being did exist)?

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    what does a feeble understanding mean? The concept of atheism is not deep to require a profound understanding or am I missing something?
    If Desnews lets me post this I will save someone the trouble of posting indicating my comment just makes the point I have a feeble understanding

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    VA Saint
    Chester, VA said:

    "I always find it so humorous when others move into the state, a state that was founded by Latter-day Saints and built by Latter-day Saints into the beautiful state it is today, that they are so 'offended' at the LDS lifestyle and so-called 'oppression.' "


  • Kaladin Greeley, CO
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    @Proud Atheist - Ah yes, the old we have more people than you argument. The I can do things that you can't argument. Why do you think we go door to door teaching others about our religion? Because we want to bring the joy of the Gospel to others. It's not so we can see that percentage go up. We know our numbers will always be small in the world. It is in our scriptures. I am not going to decide whether I believe based on polls. I am not driven about by every wind of doctrine. If angels came down from heaven many would still not believe. Faith is a seed that grows through adherence to God's commandments. When I follow His teachings I find myself happier, kinder, and more at peace. When I strayed a bit in my youth I was like a boat without a rudder, listing in the sea. We should not have to hide our beliefs any more than you should. It truly is sad that you find so much delight in trying to destroy the faith of young people. That is exactly why atheists get a bad rap.

  • aseguin Draper, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    Every comment I see posted here is from the Mormon perspective, which is no surprise, considering that the Mormon Church OWNS this so-called "news" organization. What is also obvious is that Mormons display an egregious arrogance that comes from living in an environment where there is little diversity of thought, and that Mormons in general have a feeble understanding of atheism. As stated in the recent Mormon Conference, the Mormon tendency is to "doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith". This position reveals the backward nature of religion generally, and Mormonism specifically.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    Morgan Hill, CA
    (on page 4 of these comments)

    You hit it right on the head.
    Well said.

    Oct. 29, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    @ JD Jones:

    It is your opinion that there is a "harmful impact on believing in something based on insufficient evidence". I would disagree.

    Since my return to the LDS Church in 2006, I have seen a huge change in my life. My family agrees. I am recovering from addiction, I am less negative about things, I am not angry, and I love others more. My actions show a better person. I did not change myself; Christ changed me.

    If there were objective evidence of God, there would be no need for faith. We are asked to believe in God on faith. I choose to do just that. It is fine that you choose doubt over faith, but that does not make you inheirently right.

    Stating opinion as fact is one of the most distrubing and annoying things about atheists. You have no more monopoly on truth than a religious person does. Your "evidence" is not irrefutable to those with intellectual honesty.

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    To the "Proud Atheist", you may be riding high in your life and feeling like your on top of the world, but let's just give it some time. Life has it's way of humbling us all. Someday you may be laying in a hospital at deaths door and you may feel differently then. Way down deep in your soul you may tap into that at some point. I hope you find it before.

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    Oct. 29, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    I am not LDS, but I find it amusing that while atheists say the LDS church makes up so little of the American religious spectrum (less than 2%), it seems to take up almost 100% of their concern. Yes, it is true, LDS conferences are a consistent mix of the same old same good, love one another, be faithful and respectful of your spouse, and all free of charge either in person or every conceivable media, while the atheist conference seemingly will be all about those darn Mormons and how can we embarrass them and needle them in public. Oh and I forgot, they will charge you for the opportunity to do so. What happens to that money? What happens to your dues? Do you ever have any talks about improving the lives of others? Do you have an organized system to take care of 'your own?' After disasters, do you rush in with aid or collect money to help? Are you a good and loving neighbor who is there in times of good or bad or are you the Jeff Dunham cranky old guy who sees fault in everything and everyone...except yourself?

  • Filo Doughboy Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 29, 2013 5:52 a.m.

    Go Proud Atheist! We know you're winning. There is ample empirical evidence of America's increase of baby abuse: abortions/killings/beatings, starvation. Then there's uptick in teen pregnancies, drug use and school drop outs. Gang activity and inner-city crime looking good. Drunk driving and college alcolohism thrives; rape in the military goes unpunished; fraud and theft sky-rocketed in every sector. Major university cheating covers every major from doctors to lawyers.

    And see the poll recently on how we disdain our politicians? Empty those churches quickly. We've certainly failed the religious experiment. Your turn now.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:59 p.m.


    You said, "Atheist DON'T claim THERE IS NO GOD. We assert there is NO EVIDENCE any god exists."

    Okay, if that is true, then how come so many Atheists have taken the "Blasphemy Challenge" posting videos on YouTube proudly proclaiming God, Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit do not exist?

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:51 p.m.


    You said that you, " lawsuits on behalf of Separation of Church and State."

    But then you said, as a school teacher you, "...blatantly promote Atheism..."

    Does that mean you would support a lawsuit filed against yourself by parents and students who could prove you were using your position as a public school teacher to ridicule and bad mouth their religion?

    Sorry to tell you, but the term "Separation of church and state" does not mean, "Suppression of church by the state."

  • cebh Sandy, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:26 p.m.

    As far as the Billboards go for this convention....Go ahead, put them up advertising your event! However, don't bad mouth the LDS faith or ANY other religion on your Billboard. Go ahead and write "I am an atheist!" If you are proud of that, print it! Just have respect for others, regardless of their religious belief and don't bash down their name on your boards. I have never seen any media from the LDS church stating anything derogatory about another faith in print, nor do I approve of any religion bashing on any other religion to be hurtful to their beliefs. Remember the old saying, "If you can't say anything nice...don't say anything at all"...especially on a Billboard!

  • ProudAtheist Lantana, FL
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:25 p.m.

    Hi, I'm Preston and I've already bought by ticket to the Atheist Conference. Let's see, Mormon's in America: 1.7% of population. Congrats!! Holy Kolob!! You're abysmally tied with the Jews (who are mostly Agnostics anyways)!!! Non-believers are the fastest growing group among all religious categories in America, now 19.6% of the population -- up from 14% five years ago. (Pew Study, 2012). Raised as a Christian, I went to St. Phillips Catholic School during K - 8. I've also tried the Baptist Church, then the belief of Calvinism, and finally traveled to Thailand for a month to experience Buddhism. During the past few years, I've become a strong Atheist. I'm a paying member of American Atheists and support lawsuits on behalf of Separation of Church and State. As a middle school teacher in public school, I blatantly promote Atheism, evolution, and science. And guess what? We're winning; you're losing: 32% of Americans under the age of 30 now claim NO RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION, the highest ever on record (Pew Study, 2012). And, please, educate yourself: Atheist DON'T claim THERE IS NO GOD. We assert there is NO EVIDENCE any god exists (scientifically verifiable and peer reviewed evidence). Big difference.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:46 p.m.

    Myth Busted

    Twin Lights here.

    Agreed reference quotes. I think the evidence on Jefferson is "mixed" but certainly not enough to place him outside the camp of believers.

    You won't find one Christian that questions their beliefs? I and a few of my friends are former Catholics. I left the Catholic Church in favor the LDS Church. Not enough? I have an LDS friend who was raised Hindu.

    I had a period of questioning and investigation into a wide variety of beliefs (Christian and non).

    Good enough?

    As to reason and logic - I consider myself a fan. I think if you look at folks in the Quorum of 12 you will find several who are strong in logic and reason.

    Faith may be futile but as LDS we believe in personal revelation.

    Your point about believing in one less god than we do is interesting but that is a much wider gap than you indicate.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    Student of Reason, obviously you have never lived in the South.

    BTW, So what if I say that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's only true church on the earth? How does that affect you? If you don't believe then so what? You can say that you belief that the earth is flat and I wouldn't care. If you are offended, get over it and get on with life.

  • VA Saint Chester, VA
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:50 p.m.

    I always find it so humorous when others move into the state, a state that was founded by Latter-day Saints and built by Latter-day Saints into the beautiful state it is today, that they are so 'offended' at the LDS lifestyle and so-called 'oppression.'

  • Myth Busted Clyde, NC
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:49 p.m.

    Twin Lights,

    Quotes can be butchered and used to bolster ones argument either way. Read in context, Jefferson was a Deist. He considered God to be natural, e.g. Mother Nature.

    Yet, find a Christian of any of the 40,000 flavors and you won't find one that questions their beliefs. They assume the religion that their parents or the society in which they grew up had picked the correct one for them.

    Baptist parents raise Baptist children, Mormons raise Mormon children. If you were born in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or other Eastern Countries, you'd probably be Muslim.

    We inherit the beliefs of our surrounding influences, few question as Jefferson stated. Most atheists are ex - something. Most stopped accepting and began questioning. We used reason and logic and looked at the evidence. Faith is futile when deciding on which god one should pay alms.

    Most Christians believe in one God. But there are over 1000 being worshipped today. The difference between me and a Mormon, I don't believe in one more God than they do. It's rather simple.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    Red Frog Jumps,

    As your last quote indicates, Jefferson was not your standard Protestant but there are a lot of quotes that indicate he was religious – just very much in his own way.

  • Breathe Deep Eagle Rock, ID
    Oct. 28, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    JD Jones,
    yeah I"m interested in this 'strong evidence' also.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 6:05 p.m.

    Looks like they've touched a fairly sensitive nerve here. Look, if you want to play big league religion, you're going to have to get a thicker skin. Atheists will congregate. Comedians will poke fun (and wow, is there a lot of material available here). This is going to be interesting as this convention draws closer.

  • mmccandless11 Salt Lake Cty, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    As a non Mormon member of your community I can testify to the intimidating environment the LDS church creates despite the intentions or proclamations of its leaders. I was in fact denied friendship as a child because my family went out on Sundays. I have friends currently who no longer believe but haven't told close friends and family for fear of the consequences. I know people in the community who's businesses would fail if they were to leave the church. I have met people who explicitly say that they maintain their affiliation with the church so they don't lose their family. I personally know people that did lose their family as a result of leaving the church. You don't need to take my word for it. You can find these people in any of the many ex Mormon meetup groups in your communities.

    I am lucky that I have never been faced with the choice of my faith or my family, but it is a very real choice that your church often compels members to make. I support the efforts of groups like the American Atheists because they support real openness, not patronizing allusions to it.

  • Vertigayle Columbus, OH
    Oct. 28, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    To jimhale

    "An atheist is an agnostic who wants to be religious (i.e. a missionary) about it."

    I do not want to be "missionary" or militant. I simply want to get the word out to other people who do not believe in a higher power that it's OK to feel this way.

    The definition of atheist, from the word "atheos" meaning "without god", is simply no belief in a supernatural power. Over time, I came to realize that I didn't believe. That's it. I didn't decide I wanted to be some kind of radical. You're stereotyping. I try not to do that to believers and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

  • Kaladin Greeley, CO
    Oct. 28, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    "All atheists are smart and have degrees and don't commit crimes." Ah, there's the attitude we love. We simple folk (I happen to have a doctorate) that believe in God are just ignorant and living in the past. I know not all atheists feel this way just as not all of us religious folk think you are going to burn. Why do a large number of atheists have a lot of education? "O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish." Those of you who seek to make the world a better place, thank you. I just wish you would open your minds to possibilities beyond your comprehension.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Oct. 28, 2013 4:34 p.m.

    I guess there is an agenda here for these folks.
    Good luck!

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    I happen to be LDS, and a former atheist. I will agree that many atheists are highly ethical people, living their lives according to well-thought out and deeply-felt moral principles. This alone, in my opinion, disproves the contention (often heard from right-wing Protestants) that we are all "totally depraved," or "by nature evil."

    One question I would ask is this: Is there one political perspective or agenda which is expected among atheists, or can atheists come from different political persuasions? I' for one, would like to hear more from politically conservative atheists- perhaps of the Ayn Rand veriety.

  • jasonlivy Orem, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    JD Jones:

    Oh yeah? What 'strong evidence' do you have that religion is wrong, specifically the LDS faith? Is this strong evidence in your own mind? What do you know about the concept of faith? Please, humor me by trying to disprove that faith does not exist. Do you even have any idea what faith is?

    I find it interesting that examples used to describe religion are so far out there on the fringe. I would absolutely agree that there are some destructive principles under the tenets of 'religion'. However, we are not all under the same tent. The fact is there is more humanitarian work done to help people provided by religion than any other means available today. Teaching our youth to serve others, to be kind, to be civil, to love your neighbor more than you love yourself, to not do drugs, to not drink alcohol, to marry before having sex, to be a good provider for your family, to be honest, have integrity, and so on. Tell me where religion's (specifically the LDS faith) harmful impact is?

  • Born in Bountiful Provo, Utah
    Oct. 28, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    Bien venidos a Utah. Did you come to play or pick a fight? I can't tell by your language.

  • Red Frog Jumps Clyde, NC
    Oct. 28, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    Twin Lights and Red Wings,

    Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

    Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.
    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Oct. 28, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    Salt Lake is a great city, hope they enjoy their convention.

  • LoveTheKitties The Middle Of, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    Hmm...people are afraid to state they are an athiest therefore, a church must be at fault. Curious conclusion.
    What about, I am a coward therefore, I will not publicly affirm I am an athiest?
    Or, I am an athiest and nobody will really care therefore, I will keep my mouth shut?

  • Vertigayle Columbus, OH
    Oct. 28, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    I am an atheist and I can only speak from my own experience. Some of the comments illustrate the confusion people often have about atheists. Just because we gather in groups and have conventions doesn't mean we're forming a religion. It's tempting for people who DO believe to characterize our activities this way, but it's no different than belonging to a club. You wouldn't describe a quilter's convention or a HAM radio club as a religion, would you? It is our goal as a group to help people who share our point of view; to help them learn about navigating through life and society as a non-believer.

    It's not hard to imagine that folks like me sometimes take some fire in a society where most people have a belief system. Social pressure often sends atheists into "the closet", so to speak, for fear of being shunned and misunderstood by friends, family, & co-workers. I have noticed in my own travels that this is especially acute in certain areas of the country. We're simply trying to help like-minded folks through our own experiences and understanding.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    @RedWings: "Everyone has the right to believe what they choose to. Respecting that and not seeking to offend is the basis for a truly tolerant society."

    I disagree. I don't mean to shock, nor do I mean to offend. I would just like to point out that there are some beliefs you would even regard as deserving lack of respect. For example, most of us agree that a religion teaching parents to not seek medical help for their young is a religion that does not deserve our respect. What could I possibly avoid saying that wouldn't offend such believers? Would it be too disrespectful to call the hospital and report that you know a couple who refuses to seek medical treatment for their children based on their religious beliefs?

    Some atheists seek to offend, many of them are seen as seeking offense for simply stating the harmful impact on believing in something based on insufficient evidence and ignoring or trying to explain away strong evidence contradicting a religious narrative.

  • jimhale Eugene, OR
    Oct. 28, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    An agnostic is just an atheist without anti-religion zeal.
    An atheist is an agnostic who wants to be religious (i.e. a missionary) about it.

    An agnostic isn't sure where he is going.
    An atheist is sure he isn't going anywhere.

  • Mysticl Canada, 00
    Oct. 28, 2013 3:29 p.m.

    As an atheist I am appalled that the American Atheists are having difficulty purchasing billboard space in Utah. While many there may not approve of the atheist message, many other do and having the convention in Utah not only brings in revenue to your state it allows isolated Utah Atheists to connect with others which can be very difficult when you are a hidden closeted minority. Free Speach doesn`t mean that you should censor views that differ from your own nor does it mean you have to agree with the message but our right to profess our own beliefs is just as valuable as your right to profess yours and as such , should be allowed and in fact encouraged in a healthy society. To do otherwise reveals a hidden bigotry and it`s quite ugly to most of the rest of the world if not to you.

  • foldart OREM, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 3:13 p.m.

    I was quoting a Prophet from the "Book of Mormon". I believe in him, and if you choose to call him something else, that is your choice...I will not attempt to tell you that you are delusional. On the converse, your very act of coming here to educate us poor Mormons, is an act of telling me I am wrong. I hope, if you are coming, that you will enjoy yourself, but don't be too disappointed if you don't "convert" many to your way of thinking.

  • jasonlivy Orem, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    Whenever you get a large population of people who live a certain religion, you will run into opposition. As far as I'm concerned, living my religion is the most important aspect of my life. It is the catalyst that has given me my sense of worth, the only true source of lasting and sustained happiness, and has given me the perspective that my family and I can be together forever.

    I've lived as a member of the LDS faith my whole life and I can never remember our leaders ever condoning nor promoting discrimination. In fact, what I can remember is being chastised for not being as loving as Christ would have us be to our fellow man.

    To be honest, I'm tired of people playing the victim. It is a epidemic spreading amongst many different ideological groups. Every class, color, sect, and sex historically can claim that someone has done them wrong. Those who have true integrity and character will never play the victim. Instead they will look to better their circumstances by hard work, loving their neighbor, being honest, and looking outside themselves.

  • Msquared North Olmsted, OH
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:44 p.m.

    I would like to know the exact quote by Muscato regarding having fun at the expense of member so The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The only word actually in quotes is "fun." I question if that is what he actually said, or if it is simply the reporter's perception. reading the comments, I get the feeling that many believe Atheists are immoral unloving and lack compassion. As an Atheist, I can say nothing can be further from the truth. I give my time, money and heart to help those in need. My motivation for doing so, may differ than yours. I do not do it to get into heaven or because a book or church leader tells me that is what I should do. I am a good person because it is what my conscience tells me to do.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    If, as a Latter-day Saint, there is one thing I like about Atheists, it is the fact they aren't going to preach to me about how, when I die, I will will be sent to the depths of eternal misery, where the devil will be laughing while I spend burning in a state of endless suffering.

    At least from the Atheists I have met, most of them are easier to talk than a good number of religious people I have known.

    One question that I enjoy asking Atheists is this. If all things religious were totally wiped away from society, government and culture, when aspects of it would you miss the most?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    Twin Lights, We (the LDS) would all do well to emulate our leaders more.

    The 1850s through 1870s, when Mormonism was led by It was a time when apostasy from Mormonism could be a capital crime, and when sermons were preached from Mormon pulpits, and the people shuddered in their pews. It was a time when the Francher party, a group of Arkansas emigrants on their way through Utah to California, were slaughtered by Mormons hiding behind Indian guise.

    You brought up Origen as authoritative? No, I didn’t. but,“Ignatius” of Antioch, “Eusebius,” “Clement” of Rome, and “Polycarp”.."

    Oct. 28, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    @ Tyler D:

    Thank you for your post. Regardless of religious belief, we can all agree that there are moral and immoral behaviors. Those are what society - and government - should be concerned with. As to beliefs, that is a man's own business.

    Alma 30:11 states; "For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds."

    I do not oppose any man's belief, even the atheist. However, I do stand up for my right under the same principles when I believe it is being attacked.

  • John in St. Pete, FL St. Pete, FL
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    @ulvegaard -- You mean like nearly every war over the entirety of human history being the product of an "our god is better than your god" mentality.

    @foldart -- The burden of proof is on the side of those who claim absolute knowledge. Not the other way around. I will also lack a belief in Alma until I see some peer-reviewed scientific proof of his existence.

  • Skeptic Cash Asheville, NC
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    Dear Mark from Montana,

    You ask how one proves God does not exist? Prove to me that Vishnu doesn't exist.

    It's impossible to prove a negative. The burden of proof is on the one who posits a claim. The claim is "God Exists."

    It's not up to you or I to prove that invisible pink unicorns don't exist, it would be up to the person stating that they do.

    Belief in proposition X is justified because you can't prove it's not true is at very least a shifting of the burden of proof, it's a logical fallacy.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:10 p.m.

    Skeptical Cash,

    That partial quote from Jefferson is one in which he is showing his opposition to Trinitarianism.

    And when you say they make fun of Islam - do you mean they make pictures of Mohammed or do nasty things to the Quran? Or are there limits?

    Oct. 28, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    @ Skeptic Cash:

    YOu do realize that Jefferson was speaking aginst the doctrine of the trinity, and not against God, right? Jefferson was not an atheist. He was opposed to the overly beaureacratic make up of religion in his day. He did not speak out against Christ or His Teachings.

    I woudl bet that Jefferson would have openly embraced the simple, restored doctrines of the LDS Faith had he learned of them.

    Then again, maybe he already has......

  • pierzyna Glen Ellyn, IL
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    I support the American Atheists in their decision to have their conference in Salt Lake City and I think people from all backgrounds should attend to find out more about the organization.

    Oct. 28, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    @ Aposthoheles:

    Maybe if some in the atheist group would stop trying to shock and offend those who are not atheist, you would face less hardship.

    Respect and tolerance are a two-way street. I know many atheists, and it does not bother me in and of itself. But when they begin to offend me by stating their opinion as fact, and act as though I am unintelligent because I believe in God, then I lose respect for them.

    Everyone has the right to believe what they choose to. Respecting that and not seeking to offend is the basis for a truly tolerant society.

  • Bear With Me Orem, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    Hayden, ID
    Are they doing this to try to bring some relevance and meaning to their cause?

    Are conferences about "doing this to try to bring some relevance and meaning to their cause"?

    Bob A. Bohey
    Marlborough, MA
    For me this atheist group is no different than any other religion.

    Like OFF is a TV station?

    Salt Lake City, UT
    My guess all the kindness in the world from believers would only be met with the angst and bitterness that probably makes one an atheist to begin with.

    Your guess is wrong. Love ya!

    Can someone tell me specifically what rights, not self proclaimed Christian privilege, have been taken away? I see secularism being eroded away. Thanks!

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:56 p.m.

    Welcome Atheists to Salt Lake City, Utah!

    If you want to avoid any religious themed buildings during your time here, may I recommend the museums located on the University of Utah campus. Red Butte Gardens is a nice spot to visit, along with the State Capital building, Ensign Peak and the International Peace Gardens.

    If any of you are baseball fans, I just read the Salt Lake Bees have home games scheduled the evening of April 19th and 20th.

    Those of us who live here need to make these people feel as welcome as possible. Lets blow them away with kindness.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    A few years ago the Baptists came to Salt Lake to save the Mormons. I think, for the most part, they had a good experience even though they didn't save very many Mormons.

    That the Atheists are coming to town is great. Their money is as good as any Catholic's, Muslim or Baptist's. Every little bit helps the economy.

    I suspect though, that they are not coming to enhance the economy but to pick a fight. Interesting how most of the intolerance in this world is generated in the hearts and hands of those who pretend to abhor it the most.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    @foldart: "Prove to me there is no Vishnu. Prove to me there is no Thor. Prove to me there is no Zeus."

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    @gmlewis – “Modern revelation confirms… “

    Modern science confirms that we evolved large brains and that our foundation for morality is a product of cooperation & our ability to feel empathy. As our social tendencies grew (i.e., we began to live in larger groups) these traits and their associated feelings became more complex and nuanced giving rise to what we now perceive as a conscience.

    If we listen to our conscience and to those who show the greatest capacity to articulate and put it into practice (e.g., Jesus, Aristotle, etc…) we will generally lead happier more fulfilled lives. Of course we have the freedom to heed its promptings or not, but many of our moral intuitions have been codified into laws that will punish those who fail to do so at the expense of others.

    If we ignore it in this life we will likely be lonely & miserable (people generally don’t like to play with others who can’t play nice) and after we’re gone the only thing we know for certain is we will have left the world a worse place.

  • lqqk pocatello, ID
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:15 p.m.

    If God doesn't believe in aetheists, do they really exist?

  • Apostopheles Jackson, OH
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    This comments section goes to show that atheists are misunderstood. Part of the reason we come together is to dispel these misconceptions. From this misunderstanding, we often face hardship in our families, our communities, and even at our jobs.

    So we come together to fulfill a need of belonging. We come together so people can see that we're just everyday people: friendly, polite, moral, and reasonably attractive. :)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    Skeptical Cash,

    I am okay with your beach example. But when it comes to football and certain other sports, there are certainly those that take it like religion.

    Roll Tide

  • Al Thepal Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    Good for them, it is their Constitutional right to gather and to not practice any religion (or practice whatever religion they please. Ironically, it is also their God-given right to worship how, where, or what they may, even if the "what" is nothing.

    I would expect them to make fun of religion in general at their convention, as atheists are a very arrogant bunch who like to pretend that everyone who is not an atheist is completely unintelligent, but I don't get their rationale for singling out the LDS Church. The LDS Church does not actively control the politics in Utah. When one religion happens to make up more than 50% of the population of the state, then more than 50% of the government officials will be from that religion. These officials will happen to make decisions that go along with their religious beliefs. The LDS Church is one of the biggest advocates of freedom of religion, which includes the freedom to have no religion and not believe in God if that is what you so choose.

  • Skeptic Cash Asheville, NC
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    Dear DN Subscriber 2,

    You state, "Therefore I ask that they declare that they will be "having fun at the expense of the Muslim faith" as well."

    Why yes, we do. Google is your friend. Look it up. Regardless the religion, if they are violating others rights, you will find atheists standing in protest, defending, challenging and educating all.

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.” - Thomas Jefferson

  • Skeptic Cash Asheville, NC
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    Dear Albert Maslar,

    I united with friends at the beach, are we too practicing a religion? Are the Dallas Cowboy fans practicing religion when they meet for a game?

    Horrid logic.

  • Breathe Deep Eagle Rock, ID
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:46 p.m.


    Your claims are barely worthy of a response but here goes.

    Do you have any idea how much we are tax payer have to pay every single year for lung disease and alcoholism? As a medical professional I can tell you it is Billons.Its just common sense that the law has to regulate these substances because people can control themselves. There is nothing religious about it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if you smoke or drink so long as I don’t have to pay the bill when you are disabled.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:46 p.m.

    To believe in missionary work, is "un-American" according to Mr. Moscato? My meek opinion is religion is more important than politics, and the Bible and modern prophets are more important than the Constitution. Yes, we will obey the law, a higher law. Religious people live longer. If you think you can do without religion in your life, fine. There are many people in the world who need new scripture, community, truth, life, light, hope, commandments and blessings. Nobody could have invented the commandments, they came from above.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    "we see and hear about how the Mormon Church controls things in Utah seems to be a prime example of religious oppression,”


    Personally, I take issue with humanists pushing their morality on me. Why can't I just steal, hit, lie, and belch greenhouse gases to my heart's content? Every man for himself! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die! That's your philosophy, isn't it? (sarcasm off)

  • Miss H San Francisco, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    cambodia girl
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    You wrote: "I guess without God in their lives, the atheists don't have a problem being mean spirited. Maybe there is something to say about believing in God if it makes you kind."

    I'm not sure how you got the impression we're mean-spirited, but I can assure you that's not the case. Our conventions are always interesting and fun and we have a great time spending time together. I'd like to welcome you to visit one some day. Best wishes! (And by the way, I think Cambodian food is terrific. We have a restaurant here in San Francisco, and it's very popular.)

  • jclifford83 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    My biggest issue is that Utah prides itself on the ideals of conservative values. When listening to Rod Arquette in the afternoon on KNRS, people call in and talk about how invasive the government is in regards to the personal choices of the citizens. However the state of Utah does that with its alcohol and tobacco laws. Utah is like a big Michael Bloomberg, no large soda; no full strength beer, state liquor stores and sin taxes galore. Perhaps if we allowed the citizens to make their own decisions on the issues of alcohol and tobacco, perhaps people would not associate the state of Utah as a religious oligarchy. Let its citizens decide. People who have no idea what alcohol is or have no experience with it should NOT be making laws pertaining to its use.

  • John in St. Pete, FL St. Pete, FL
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:20 p.m.

    @sashabill -- Wait. Gays run San Francisco and spread their word going door-to-door? Jews do the same in New York? Catholics in Hispanic neighborhoods? Cajuns (which I'm not sure is a religion) do this in Louisiana? The Lutherans even get to run two states?

    Yep. There's your accepting LDS member there, folks.

  • jclifford83 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    I would have to agree about the church imposing laws upon the citizens of Utah through their own belief system.

    1. Make alcohol harder to obtain. Using this antiquated system of "State Liquor Stores" does not control alcohol any more than a Harmons or a Smiths can. It is an extra burden on the tax payer.

    2. People like State Senator Valentine who make comments such as "If you see an alcoholic drink being made you will be tempted to drink. This is why we need the Zion Wall in restaurants." is horribly inaccurate.

    3. Raising the smoking age above the federal standard. I understand that smoking is hazardous, but this is not the decision of the state to tell us that we can't smoke at age 21 or 19. I feel if the United States government says the age is 18 we should RESPECT the choices of the citizens to be able to make that decision for themselves. Utah is like a big Michael Bloomberg. No large alcohol in stores. If you are afraid people can't read "beer" or "hard lemonade" then the state needs to strengthen its reading comprehension initiatives.

  • Miss H San Francisco, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Dear kattawn

    You wrote: "My dear Atheist friends, Come and have fun! Bring your skis. Go out to eat. Take the tour of Temple Square and the Beehive House or whatever interests you. We welcome everyone here to the Best State in the Nation and you will love it! Just don't come with an attitude of "we're going to change those stupid Mormons" because you won't."

    I don't think any of us atheists would imagine Mormons are stupid, or interested in changing their views. Nor am I interested in changing their views either. However I am looking forward to welcoming formerly religious people to the atheist community. Thank you for your sightseeing suggestions. I've actually visited Temple Square and the Beehive House on a previous trip. I imagine I'll be very busy at our convention, but I do hope to visit a few restaurants. Thank you for the welcome.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    I found this article quite comical.

    Muscato said. “They are pushing Mormon values on people. I consider that to be un-American.”

    Ironic. What about all the campaigning by people of the Atheist way to remove God from EVERYTHING! Money, Pledge, School, etc. Is that not an Atheist value being pushed on others. Mr. Muscato must be un-American.

    Another quote by Mr Muscato. “We’re designing something (for the billboards) — I can’t really say right now what it’s going to be,” Muscato said. “But we’ve done harsh billboards in the past, and we’re not afraid of doing that.”

    So if I understand you Mr. Muscato, to attack a faith because they believe in God is alright as long as you are atheist and not a God fearing person. It is alright to push your "harsh" billboard and to push atheist values. But God fearing people would be pushy and un-American if they did the same?

    Isn't the idea to attract good people who may be non-believers. What kind of people do you expect to attract with "harsh" billboards?

  • Miss H San Francisco, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    Dear Strider303,

    You wrote: "Come, spend money, enjoy the sights, play nice, share, and when it's over, drive safely home. If you have come merely to poke fun, to taunt, or to be obnoxious, perhaps you will understand if some of us do our best to ignore the boorish behavior."

    I think you might be interested to learn some information about atheist demographics. We tend to be college-educated, and many hold advanced degrees. Many of us are employed in the sciences, education or tech fields. While we are over-represented in areas that require many years of higher education, we are significantly under-represented in prison populations. Atheists also experience unusually high levels of bigotry - only 45% of Americans say they would vote for a qualified atheist presidential candidate.

    I am looking forward to spending money in your fair city, both at my hotel and at some of Salt Lake's great restaurants. (I won't be driving, I'll be flying in from San Francisco.) I can assure you, the likelihood you will experience boorish behavior from any of us is so vanishingly small as to be statistically zero. Thanks for the welcome.

  • Wolfsbane69 ogden, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    @ Red Headed Stranger:
    "I do see one big difference though. Your conference to attend costs at least $319 and up to $1500 for celebrity access. Our conferences cost $0. I guess you have to rent a Great and Spacious Building."

    True - your conferences are free, but your membership dues cost way more. 10% of my income would be around $900/month for me. My membership dues for being an Atheist is 0% of my income. I'd gladly pay a few hundred bucks to get into the conference and save tens of thousands of dollars over my lifetime.

    While we are on the subject of great and spacious buildings, have you ever been to the conference center in SLC? Have you ever been to the multi-billion dollar Gateway mega mall the church built? Have you ever been inside the extravagant mormon temples? Talk about great and spacious buildings!

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    I think Joseph Walker's article is a good first step toward putting the ideals of the LDS Church into action. Popular speech does not require any Constitutional protection or special championing. Minority opinions do.

    I wonder how folks at YESCO would feel if a billboard company in the South refused to carry the LDS Church's "I Am A Mormon" message because the majority of people there are Evangelicals who do not believe Mormons are legitimate Christians? They would be outraged and they should be ashamed of their actions towards this group.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    It's funny how those who complain about the predominance of Mormons in Utah have no problem with the influence or predominance of liberals in Hollywood, Gays in San Francisco, Catholics in Hispanic neighborhoods, Jews in New York City, Cajuns in Louisiana, or Lutherans in Wisconsin or Minnesota. The conservative Republican"groupthink" which I have observed among Mormons, incidentally, is not any worse than the liberal groupthink which I encountered previously among Unitarians. If Utah had been settled during the 19th Century by Gays and Lesbian, for example, instead of Mormons, I venture to, say that these atheists and their politically correct friends would be cheering in the aisles and holding it up as an example of minority empowerment.

  • deseret pete robertson, Wy
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    If they are for religious freedom maybe they should hold their next convention near the White House.

  • cambodia girl Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    I guess without God in their lives, the atheists don't have a problem being mean spirited. Maybe there is something to say about believing in God if it makes you kind.

  • foldart OREM, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:45 a.m.

    In the words of Alma: "Prove to me there is no God" Everything around proves there is one so again prove to me there is no God!

  • jskains Orem, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    Muscato has always been a hate monger. His billboards are tacky and insulting, his behavior has always been about hurting others not helping. He is an attention seeker and nothing more. I think in the end he will discover he has hurt more than helped his cause.

  • Miss H San Francisco, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    'Some of that "fun" will come at the expense of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Muscato said.'

    But Mr Muscato did not say that. That's how the article's author, Joseph Walker, chose to interpret Mr. Mucato's remarks, in what I feel is a sadly misguided attempt to create a divisive atmosphere. I'm attending the American Atheist's convention in April, and I'm looking forward to meeting some of the fine people of Salt Lake City. Not only will I not be doing anything at their expense, I'm looking forward to spending my money in the city's great restaurants and at my hotel. We of course welcome anyone who is interested in atheism and related issues of separation of church and state to attend our convention, or just stop by the hotel and meet some atheists. We're fun and we don't bite! See you in April!

  • John in St. Pete, FL St. Pete, FL
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    It amazes me to this day that people are still confused about the definition of "atheism." It is, simply, a lack of belief in god or gods. Athiests don't claim to know that there is no god. We simply see no compelling evidence for that existence and, therefore, lack that belief. I do not mock your RIGHT to believe what you want. But I do think your BELIEFS are harmful to society -- especially in terms of indoctrination and exclusion.

    Mormons lack a belief in Vishnu. Does that make them bad people? Athiests lack a belief in your god. Does that make us bad people?

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    @Tyler D: Modern revelation confirms that the Spirit of Christ imminates from Him and fills the universe. It speaks to every man's spirit within, in a hushed form that we perceive as a conscience. If accepted, it will lead someone to truth in this life, and to Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ later in the Spirit World.

    Of course, we have our freedom to choose to heed its promptings or not, and it will not force itself on us. We may ignore it in this life, and yet listen in the Spirit World. The Lord will give every person every possible chance to be converted to Eternal Life.

    During the period when we could have listened and didn't, there is a real loneliness. We hear with our physical ears, but by our spiritual ears all is silence.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    @SamoanYfanI: "I agree that Atheism is a form of religion. They are here to recruit the 16 percent of Utahns that have no religious affiliation. It's their missionary work."

    No, Atheism is not a form of religion. Yes, Atheists can try to persuade people to reject claims of truth in the absence of sufficient evidence, but that's far different than knocking on someone's door and persuading someone that an angel gave Joseph Smith golden plates containing the history of the Americas. It's a far different thing to persuade that the ancient history of the Americas found in the Book of Mormon is a true account despite it contradicting the archeological, genetic and linguistic evidence.

    I have no problem with many Mormon people. I consider my co-workers Mormons friends, so I think it's important that people understand that Atheists like me do not have a problem with Mormon people as long as they are kind and considerate people. However, I think it's legitimate and constructive to criticize religious institutions and beliefs.

    It's like saying Astronomy is a form of Astrology.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    If I was an atheist, what would I care about? Would I care that others had a belief in a supreme being or in an afterlife? Nope. Would I care that there were churches in my community and nation? No. Would I be bothered that people made a claim that we are "a God-fearing country". Not at all. Would I try and convince others of my atheist viewpoint? Absolutely not. If there is no God and no afterlife, none of it matters. What do I care what Christians believe? Since virtually every law and social norm can trace its roots to Judeo Christian mores, I find it absolutely fascinating that the atheist or non religious community get so bent out of shape when they feel the religious community influences what the laws and social norms are but yet, they willingly follow and even support other laws and norms that also have Judeo Christian origins. No God - no morals. Everything is man made. No devil - no evil. No consequences, no rewards. Nothing to hope for, nothing to fear other than the loss of everything. I wouldn't spend 5 seconds worrying about the Mormons but please come spend your money.

  • kattawn ,
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    My dear Atheist friends, Come and have fun! Bring your skis. Go out to eat. Take the tour of Temple Square and the Beehive House or whatever interests you. We welcome everyone here to the Best State in the Nation and you will love it! Just don't come with an attitude of "we're going to change those stupid Mormons" because you won't.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    Everyone, and every group, wants their fifteen minutes of fame, and so it goes.

    Sometimes it appears that we, as LDS, are not friendly to people we don't know. So maybe we can work on being neighborly. Sometimes, speaking personally, I am put off by people who seem to have prejudged me and my culture before getting to know me as a person. The unfriendly street goes two ways.

    I do recall President Hinckley saying something to the effect: "They can leave the Church but they can't leave it alone." As there might be one or two ex-LDS in the convention population this phrase may support that statement.

    Come, spend money, enjoy the sights, play nice, share, and when it's over, drive safely home. If you have come merely to poke fun, to taunt, or to be obnoxious, perhaps you will understand if some of us do our best to ignore the boorish behavior.

    Economically speaking, Y'all come back soon!

  • SoCalUte Trabuco Canyon, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    To my Atheist friends........Thank God you are wrong!

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    @Jim E
    Your numbers are off a bit. I current estimate for the age of the universe is 13.8 billion years, and there is no evidence that it is infinite. I find it interesting that anyone could believe in any god having never examined even an infinitesimal amount of that vast cosmos.

    “Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    Noodlekaboodle - As a practicing Mormon I found the same thing when I lived in Utah. I always felt stuck in the middle. There were so many Momrons who had forgotten that we were once a persecuted people and they seem to have incorporated that attitude of the majority into their daily practices.

    On the other hand, there were many non-Mormons that I worked with. Many of them had come to college in Utah (the U of U) because of the availability of outdoors sports, especially skiing. They had found work in the city after graduation and seemed to be permanently planted there. Except they spent an unhealthy amount of time complaining about the big bad Mormon church and its dominance on their lives with things such as liquor laws and Sunday closings. But when I asked them where they thinking of moving they would say, "Oh, I'd never leave here. I love it here.."

    It was confusing. The community I live in now is not dominated by any one religion and I am a better Mormon than I was when I lived among them.

  • Kaladin Greeley, CO
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    So those of us that are LDS should just practice our religion in secret? We shouldn't proclaim our beliefs? We should hide? We should not fight what we perceive to be social ills/sins? We should not let what we believe is correct cloud our judgment/voting? Hmm, a very interesting point of view - turn it around and see if you should hold yourself to that same line of "logic". Just because your beliefs don't fall within an identifiable "religion" do you not make the same choices every single day as most members of churches do? Do you not speak out against things you believe are social ills? Do you not let your beliefs cloud your judgment/voting? Do you keep all things you believe to yourself?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    " I'm sure there are plenty of people who BELIEVE they believe in no God. That belief has to be a very lonely feeling." Actually it's exactly the opposite. Not believing in God is lonely, there are no Atheists in fox holes, God is necessary for moral direction, all religious myths.

    Atheists lead very full and happy lives. Comfort comes from many places. Just because one looks at the complexity and vastness of life and the universe and doesn't see a man in a white beard (maybe, maybe not literally), doesn't mean one doesn't see beauty and experience joy and hope. To believe otherwise is uninformed.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    @BYU Fan in DC
    "I have yet to meet an atheist who was scared to come out about it."

    It's fairly common among children whose parents are religious. Less common among adults.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:13 a.m.


    An interesting comment. Thank you. We (the LDS) would all do well to emulate our leaders more.

    And I hope you find better acceptance.

  • JimE Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    The sample size they have that there is no God is 1 over infinity. So when one of them travels clear across the universe and back and doesn't find anything. Then maybe I'll consider listening to them.

    We're floating on a speck of dust in the middle of an infinite universe that has existed for some 2.3 billion years and yet people "know" that there is no God? How interesting.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    @gmlewis – “I doubt that it is possible to KNOW that there is no God, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who BELIEVE they believe in no God

    What you’re describing is the difference between a “gnostic” atheist and an agnostic atheist. I know very few agnostics/atheists who fall into the former camp, so for the vast majority belief does come into the equation.

    Rather, they simply see no evidence for a divine being that interferes in the natural world and takes a personal interest in our lives and by contrast see lots of counter evidence (that it is a man-made explanation for what we didn’t and don’t yet know).

    And I would suggest that you too are well aware of what this point of view (agnostic atheism) feels like because I’m guessing as a rational member of the 21st century this is precisely your point of view with respect to Zeus, Baal, Odin and all the rest of the “supreme beings” (except one in your case) humans have conceived of since recorded history.

    Does your non-belief in Zeus cause you any loneliness or anxiety?

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    Atheism, like Mormonism declare and insist it has the one true view on the universe. Both have dogmatic positions.

    I agree with Chris B on this one. Come to SLC and Utah and spend your money this year and each and every year!

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    For those who think that religion should keep completely out of politics, I present the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

    "Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof..."

    You will note that this is a restriction on Congress not religion.
    Also note that the same amendment guarantees our right to free speech. Churches can do almost anything they want. Government can't. (according to the constitution).

    Some folks have this reversed.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    When athiests feel insecure they cling to athiesm and free speech!

  • Hockey Fan Miles City, MT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    @ Scientist:

    "The believers protest too much, methinks."

    More than the atheists? Both groups are passionate and outspoken in their beliefs--about equally so, I opine.

  • Mat_Vagabond Salt Lake City, US, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    I honestly find the Atheist movement to be a waste of time and a poor way to go about achieving respect between those of different (or no) faith.

    That said, I'm a bit appalled that no one in the comments section here realizes that the LDS church is indeed over-stepping its bounds in regards to the laws passed in this state. An overwhelming majority of our State Legislature are practicing Mormons. Those legislators willfully admit that they ask the church for permission to support or oppose laws in the state. That's a problem!

    Some of these laws are bad for our state. Laws like the "Zion Curtain", or certain drinking laws do nothing to keep our communities safer, yet hurt our local economies by restricting the growth of business, and by dampening the number or tourists willing to visit our state.

    Other policies are problematic also. Regardless of us not being the only state to restrict them, Gay Rights are abysmal here. We all know which religious majority is responsible for that in Utah. The LDS church should have its non-profit status revoked for its political actions related to Gay Rights in California.

  • no comment New Orleans, LA
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Welcome atheists!

    We Mormons support your beliefs, as stated by our founder, Joseph Smith Jr.:
    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.

    Please have lots of fun and spend lots of money at Utah hotels and restaurants.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    The atheists are welcome anywhere. I was just thinking that the scriptures don't include many stories of people who do not believe in deity, although they do speak of anti-Christs.

    I doubt that it is possible to KNOW that there is no God, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who BELIEVE they believe in no God. That belief has to be a very lonely feeling.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    Being a non mormon who has met and worked with many high ranking LDS church officials i'll say that those individuals really are good guys, who love everyone and at least in person, don't seem to discriminate against non belivers. However, I had a totally different experience when my job forced a brief(thanfully) move to Utah County. I had neighbors who wouldn't talk to me after they found out I wasn't mormon, wouldn't let me kid play with there kids, and me and my wife(then girlfriend) were basically ostracised and left out of everything that was going on. I find the rank and file mormon, especially in mormon dominated areas, are much more rude and exclusive than the leadership of the Mormon Church itself.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    I was enjoying the commentary on this letter until I read dbrbmw’s statement "And when their convention is over they go back to work at the ACLU."

    Obviously the assertion her is that all ACLU members are atheists. It is really too bad that folks want to make such statements without checking facts. It only takes a few clicks on the internet to find evidence to refute that assertion. Consider the case of David Haws. In 2007 the Justice Department joined the American Civil Liberties Union in backing Haws who lost his state-funded merit-based scholarship because he left college to serve a two-year LDA Church mission. DOJ’s Civil Rights Division filed a friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

    I could easily cite other similar cases of similar action. And yes, the ACLU has sometimes fought against churches that have violated the civil liberties of others. That’s their job. Let’s stop making uninformed statements about people who are actually helping us all.

  • donn layton, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    RE: Red Headed Stranger, As for "pushing" Mormon values? As a multi decade member of the LDS church, I can say that I know what its values are.

    Mormons seem to be ideal Americans, they also provoke typically American fears. While Mormons embody the economic and moral success endorsed by the American Dream, they also subscribe to beliefs that, to many, seem peculiar — even bizarre. Mormon beliefs, understandings of history, and practices such as Temple rituals or a legacy of polygamy, not to mention their preference to keep some practices out of the public eye, all provoke unease and distrust. How can these people, so like many other Americans, be so different?

  • BYR West Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    @ fcretdennis: I believe you mean to say you could NOT care less. Most of us could NOT care less.

  • SamoanYfan WEST JORDAN, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:10 a.m.

    I agree that Atheism is a form of religion. They are here to recruit the 16 percent of Utahns that have no religious affiliation. It's their missionary work.

    They demand respect but I don't see them respecting the LDS church, or at least the Macato fellow. To come here and have fun at the Mormons expense, I don't understand that at all, but whatevers clever.

  • BYR West Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    To those who attend this conference: Welcome. Enjoy your stay. Spend your money (thank you again). Please clean up after yourself (leave no trace). Goodbye. You all come back soon, ya hear!

  • TWfromAL Harvest, AL
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    I applaud Salt Lake City for agreeing to hold such an event. I wonder if this conference is meant to be in the face of the LDS Church or is this organization going to hold conferences elsewhere too? If the latter... I would love to see how they fair in the Southern Baptist Bible Belt. When it comes to religious intolerance the state of Alabama is at the top.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    My guess all the kindness in the world from believers would only be met with the angst and bitterness that probably makes one an atheist to begin with.

    I hope they enjoy their weekend here, eat some good food, enjoy each other's company and maybe demonstrate to the people of Utah the same tolerance they think they believe in.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    The believers protest too much, methinks.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    I know that my beliefs in the spirit of things or it's a you matter thing is comprehensible to some people but it's logical to me. Life after life logical to me. Red headed Stranger I like those values.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    For hundreds of years (at least since religious people stopped killing them) atheists & agnostics paid little lip service to their non-belief – they simply got on with their lives.

    The rise of outspoken atheism has more to do with the rise of the Religious Right than anything else – simply one more demonstration of how Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion applies to more than just inanimate physical objects.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Anti-UnAmerican: "As Complex has human beings, all animals for that matter are, How can anyone in good conscious (sic) say there is not a higher power at work is beyond me."

    Easy. No credible evidence.

  • Reader Sandy, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    Well, so much for the tolerance of those who accuse others of intolerance.

  • John Galt Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    Calling oneself the "one, true religion"...

    Oh. You mean like those darn catholics. And muslims. And...

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    Welcome to SLC! Please come, spend your money, help the economy! When you're done, come on back next year and spend more.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    Even atheism is a community of faith because they must believe that there is no God. The existence of God cannot be proven or dis proven. God can prove that He exists to each one of us individually; however, those who say that seeing is believing will be disappointed.

    Believing is also seeing.

    I find it odd that non religious people feel that religion must be driven from the public square. Religion is a belief system that involves a deity. Atheism is also a belief system but it lacks any supreme being. If religion is driven from the public square, then is most certainly will be replaced by their belief system.

    I have had many atheists tell me that I don't believe in evolution only because I believe in God. In fact, if scientists were to produce irrefutable evidence that evolution was responsible for life then I could simply say; "So that's how God did it!"

    Atheists are the ones that must believe in evolution because the alternative is unacceptable to them.

    As one German scientists stated: "I choose not to believe in God so I choose to believe in the impossible."

  • LVIS Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    Hmmm. To know for a certainty that there is no God anywhere extant in the vastness of our universe--no omniscient, omnipresent being--would take, well, an omniscient, omnipresent being.

  • StudentofReason SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    I agree fully that there is an air of intimidation in the state, consisting of groupthink and ostracism. Calling oneself the "one, true religion" is actually a form of imposition and intimidation. The Deseret News is playing editorial defense for the Mormon church without fully airing other opinions--this is just the type of behavior the group of atheists is speaking against.

  • The Solution Dayton, OH
    Oct. 28, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    The fact that the population in Utah today is only around 50% shows how friendly the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is. There once was a time when the "Mormon" population was nearly 100%.

  • PLM Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    Would the atheists do this in Mecca? Would they survive if they did?

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    For me this atheist group is no different than any other religion.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    As for "pushing" Mormon values? As a multi decade member of the LDS church, I can say that I know what its values are. They are,

    1. Respect for others. We are even told to love those that hurt us and persecute us.
    2. Act with honesty and integrity always.
    3. Men should treat all women with respect, especially towards their wife. Be intimate with only your wife.
    4. Obtain as much education as one can.
    5. Provide acts of charity and service towards the community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. This applies especially towards widows and orphans. Organized Love is better than generalized concern.
    6. Do not drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs.

    What part of this does Mr. Moscato find offensive?

  • owlmaster2 Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    I believe that if someone wants to attempt to shock me by telling me they don't believe in God is fair. I don't care.
    I have known several "atheists" that prayed just as fervently as me when the grenades landed and exploded, when the bullets flew by our heads and the screaming of the wounded filled the darkness.
    Don't give me that atheist shock value crap..... if you want attention, do something of value in your life and be recognized for the good.
    Agnostic, ok but don't play the atheist card with me. That card ends up being the Joker in real life.

  • sfcretdennis Nice, CA
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    Go ahead have fun at our expense, I could careless. We tend to make fun of our self's. My problem is the lie's being told about us by people who don't know us and don't want to. I have had people try to till me how we believe and when I till them that it is not true they say, “oh yes you do my, (who ever preaches to them) said you do”. I ill till them that that person is miss informed and the refuse to believe it just because their preacher said other wise.

    People tend to miss understand other peoples faiths and a good dialog between faiths would help put a stop to that. When in the military I tried to understand how everyone believed or did not believe so as a leader I could help them based on their faith in God or lack thereof and not my faith.

    So go ahead have your fun most of us could care less.

  • atrulson cohoes, NY
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    First, if they are willing to examine what the church is about, they WILL be proven wrong on their assumptions that the church leads through intimidation.
    Secondly, yes, Utah is controlled by Mormons simply because Mormons make up a majority of the population.

    Anyway I hope they have a lot of fun at their convention.

  • dbrbmw Orem, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    And when their convention is over they go back to work at the ACLU.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    Interesting. According to their "code of conduct" page, the American Atheists state:

    "However, the harassment of individuals for his or her religious beliefs will not be tolerated."

    Yet, according to the article, they plan on having '"fun" will come at the expense of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Muscato said.'

    Sounds like harassment to me.

    They also use words like "interfering", "intimidating", "controls", "pushing ", "un-American".

    Mr. Moscato, if I choose to leave the LDS Church this afternoon, it can do NOTHING to harm me. It can't take away my job. It can't take away my family, or my home, or bank account, or send me to jail. How can it control me or intimidate me? Will the Bishop order the priest's quorum to egg my house? Please give LDS people more credit than that. The worst that can happen is that they will send two sweet older gentlemen to ask me what happened. That's it.

    I do see one big difference though. Your conference to attend costs at least $319 and up to $1500 for celebrity access. Our conferences cost $0. I guess you have to rent a Great and Spacious Building.

  • josegomez Spain, 00
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    In Europe, atheists or non-religious, are also cutting the freedoms of religious believers, are influencing their atheistic beliefs to create others like her, I came to a conclusion: being an atheist is a religion, should read the latest news: computer scientists to prove that there is a higher being, excuse my bad English.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    If there were no God, eat drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. And then?

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Oct. 28, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    Muscato's comment about the Mormons "intimidating" people sounds like a propagandistic pretext for starting hate and revenge on their part. We've heard this before. Certainly Mormons are not perfect but we have a right to stand for our values. Funny (but sad) that this is somehow "un-American", especially since this is exactly what they are doing for themselves, isn't it?

    Even if some of us don't know how to act sensitively, is this really some kind of excuse to blanket all Mormons with such a label and remove our rights? I haven't done anything to "intimidate" anyone, nor have my family or friends. This is pure rubbish and hypocrisy, given that they will now use this to justify all kinds of shenanigans on their part. This is how the the pogroms in 1890's Russia and "mischief" of the brown shirts in Germany in the 30's started out. Nice little atheistic groups intent on settling some kind of imagined "score".

  • Anti-UnAmerican Fargo, ND
    Oct. 28, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    As Complex has human beings, all animals for that matter are, How can anyone in good concious say there is not a higher power at work is beyond me.If there is not a God I will just rot in the ground like everyone else. But I choose to believe and live my life full of compassion, love, and understanding in hopes of reaching the elternal gates of heaven.
    Amen !

  • scwoz gambier, oh
    Oct. 28, 2013 6:35 a.m.

    If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints controlled everything and everyone as the Atheists believe how is it that you are having an Atheist conference in the bowels of their power and glory...Think straight people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints welcomes all viewpoints including those who claim ardently that they do not have one, isn't that a laugh. An organization that wants people not to join an organization and has created a Church in an effort to get people to believe in their god (Atheism) so no one can believe in the real God. It cannot get much more fun than this. The Church will probably have converted some of them by the time they are done..We will show you nothing but Love, friendship and kindness and by the end of it you will wonder why you had such bad thoughts about those nasty Mormons. We love you, so don't worry about it, it is just the way of that god you believe in that confuses you.

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    Oct. 28, 2013 6:27 a.m.

    Atheists in fact practice religion, particularly when they feel they must unite as does a religious congregation to reinforce each other, lest there appear a crack in the armor and they must come to believe themselves. If there were no God to believe in, atheists are wasting their precious fun-time preaching against the existence of God. If there were no God, their getting together as a group convention style is like spitting in the wind, and of absolutely no consequence. If there were no God, eat drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. And then?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 28, 2013 6:24 a.m.

    Are they doing this to try to bring some relevance and meaning to their cause?

  • BYU Fan in DC Washington, DC
    Oct. 28, 2013 5:49 a.m.

    I have yet to meet an atheist who was scared to come out about it. Also, I am not sure the variety of topics that atheists can talk about at a conference. Maybe they throw in sports and politics to add their multiple discourses on how God does not exist.

  • donquixote84721 Cedar City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 5:44 a.m.

    Utah was founded because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons, were driven out of The United States of America, because of religious intolerance. In contrast > Wiki Answers > Categories > Religion & Spirituality > What religion is practiced in Utah?

    Religion & Spirituality Category Guidelines

    What religion is practiced in Utah?

    In: Religion & Spirituality, Buddhism [Edit categories]


    Nearly every religion has a presence in Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah is the international headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the "Mormon" church), and about 50% of the state is a practicing member of this church. Catholics and non-denominational Christians are also popular. There are also many Muslims, who like Utah because the conservative values of the Mormons mirror their own. Nearly every Christian denomination you can think of has several churches in Utah, as well as Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and New-Age Spiritualist movements."

  • Mark from Montana Davis County, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 5:32 a.m.

    I have never understood being an Atheist. How do you prove God does not exist? Being Agnostic I can understand, but not an Atheist.

  • RosaMaria Laie, HI
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:02 a.m.

    I believe they have the right to free speech. I hope the members of the church listen to our prophet and not be offended and treat them with respect. After all, choices bring consequences. They will not escape from the consequences neither we the Mormons. The time of siege has begun. The wheat from the tare is being separated. Best wishes for them!

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Oct. 27, 2013 11:04 p.m.


  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Oct. 27, 2013 10:54 p.m.

    I had to chuckle when I read this. I think the fact that President Monson has cultivated respectful and productive relationships with so many faith leaders in the SLC area would be their first clue. Maybe the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has repeatedly given land, property, and volunteering time to many other faith groups in that area as well. Maybe it's President Monson's messages of being courteous and kind to those with differing beliefs. Maybe it's the 11th article of faith. Maybe it's leaders of our church being honored and given awards by other faith groups. Maybe it's President Monson's speaking at the SLC Catholic Cathedral. Maybe it's our partnering with other faith groups all over the world on a regular basis to provide service and donations to good causes. If they want to be outspoken atheists, that's fine. But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint's being an oppressor of religious freedom? Please.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Oct. 27, 2013 10:23 p.m.

    I pray that the atheists' meeting will provide them with companionship and happiness doing whatever fills their hearts with joy.

    Except for the part about having fun at the expense of Mormons.

    Religious tolerance is the American ideal. However, if a group decides that they must (for whatever perverse reason I cannot understand) mock other religions, then they should be diverse, inclusive and ecumenical in their mockery.

    Therefore I ask that they declare that they will be "having fun at the expense of the Muslim faith" as well.

    Or, have we reached the point in this country where some religions are okay to mock and denigrate, but others are not? When does "political correctness" become hate speech?