Nativity-Scene Battles: Score One for the Atheists

In California, a new challenge by atheists is changing the way municipalities handle this annual controversy

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Danny Moloshok / REUTERS

Ruben Lucas, 2, of Australia, and his great-grandmother Dot Brown look at a nativity-scene display at Palisades Park in Santa Monica, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2011

Thanksgiving ushers in a season of holiday spirit, department-store sales — and legal fights over Nativity scenes on public property. This year, opponents of these Christian displays have scored a victory: a federal judge upheld the decision of Santa Monica, Calif., to ban Nativity scenes on city-owned property. These battles have raged for decades, but the fight in Santa Monica is different. And it suggests why, in the years ahead, this issue may finally be put to rest.

The usual pattern for these fights has been for the ACLU or a similar group to sue whenever a scene of Christ’s birth goes up, with the argument that it violates the First Amendment ban on government support for religion. The court then looks at the display and tries to decide if it was put up mainly for a religious purpose or mainly for a secular purpose. In the Santa Monica case, however, critics tried a new tactic. Instead of asking a court to take down the Nativity scenes, located in Palisades Park, they asked for the right to set up their own displays on the same public property. Instead of arguing for censorship, they argued that they deserved equal free-speech rights.

(MORE: Can Texas Really Secede from the Union? Not Legally)

The man who introduced this approach is Damon Vix, a self-proclaimed atheist. Three years ago, Vix asked the city government to let him put up an antireligious display in the park alongside the Nativity scenes. Vix’s display included a quotation from Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies.” Last year, Vix took it up a notch, encouraging other atheists and non-Christians to apply for their own displays.

He may not have won any points for good holiday cheer, but it was a smart legal move. The Supreme Court has ruled that when the government opens up public property to private citizens — when it creates a public forum for speech — it cannot discriminate in favor of some viewpoints and against others. A city policy saying Christian displays were allowed on public property but anti-Christian ones were not would violate the First Amendment. To make sure it was acting legally, Santa Monica decided last year to hold a lottery for anyone who wanted to put up an end-of-year display in the park.

That did not work out well for supporters of Nativity scenes. Atheists won 18 of the 21 available spaces in the lottery, while a Jewish entrant won one spot and the Nativity scene — which had previously taken up 14 spaces — was left with just two. When the displays went up, vandals tore down an atheist banner. This year, to avoid the effort and cost of running the lottery and dealing with the fallout, the Santa Monica city council simply decided to ban all private, unattended displays in city parks.

(MORE: Have We Evolved to Be Religious?)

A coalition of churches challenged the new policy as a violation of their religious rights. But on Nov. 19, U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins ruled in favor of the city, saying it had the right to institute an across-the-board ban. That ruling is clearly right on the law: the government does not have to let private citizens put up displays on public property, so long as it bans everyone equally.

This tactic of fighting Nativity scenes by demanding equal access seems to be growing. Last year, the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation encouraged its 17,000 members to put up antireligious displays next to Nativity scenes on public property. The group got a sign posted near a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn in Athens, Texas, that said, “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven and no hell.”

“There is a growing secular movement who wants to be vocal,” Vix told KABC last year. “We’re happy about what we believe, and we believe we have an equal say, and we’re going to say it.” Demographics bear this out: polls show that even though the U.S. remains an overwhelmingly Christian country, the fastest-growing “religious” group is people with no religion. A Pew survey this year found that nonreligious people comprise 20% of the population and one-third of adults under age 30.

(MORE: Empty Pews: Everyone Is Misreading the New Numbers of Religiously ‘Unaffiliated’)

Does this mean Nativity scenes are on the way out — something many Americans would be sad to see? It shouldn’t. There is a whole lot of private land in the country owned by people who would be happy to host a Nativity scene. This includes churches (Santa Monica alone has more than 50 of them). The future may not be banning Nativity scenes in public during the holiday season but privatizing them.

MORE: The Fight over Classroom Prayer

203 comments
TruthFinder
TruthFinder

I'm going to make a claim now. Five headed Elephants exist in the North Pole. There are 29 of them. Will you take my word, or do I have to prove it to you?

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Any claim made has to be backed up right?.... I can't claim to override gravity and float two feet above the ground without a demonstration can I? Why does religion get a free ride? We all want our commercial airliners to work properly while we ride on them. We trust quality control technicians to do their duty and make sure the plane is safe for travel. No cutting corners....But religion can't be scrutinized the same way. Why not?....Religion is only ONE of many things i scrutinize on a daily basis. There are hundreds of other subjects I have to contend to as well. Every subject has equal scrutiny in my book, and religion doesn't have a hallway pass, not that I know. Everything that moves is subject to scrutiny.

TheXian
TheXian

Equal representation is fine for me. Seems selfish to try and squash others opinion while I want to promote my own.

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

"Free speech" should be for everyone, also for people who want to debunk myths and nonsense...Besides, if the so-called Catholics were even consistent, they would put more emphasis on Christ's birth than in Santa claus, Christmas trees, and all the sickening consumism.Agnostic people, like myself, are the fastest growing silent minority in this country (and probably elsewhere). Religions (in all flavors) are the root of all evils in this World, and might certainly lead to its demise. Virtues like love, compassion, and rationality are inherent to human beings (even to animals) and they do not need to be 'taught' by religions. If all humanity would share and practice these values most of our problems would not exist, or at the very least they would be addressed in a rational and compassionate manner. I hope we will soon evolve to fully understand and practice these Universal truths, before it's too late...Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/11/26/nativity-scene-battles-atheists-are-now-creating-their-own-displays/#ixzz2DwQrWhJ1

Winlor22
Winlor22

I don't understand why people get so worked up about this.  The Nativity scene is symbolic on Christmas as a sign of hope, and I don't know why atheists get so worked up about it. I'm Catholic but it doesn't anger me to see The Menorah or a symbol of Kwanza on Christmas. All of these are signs of hope and call for a time of rejoicing. It seems like all Atheists do is try to undermine people's religions. I mean I respect that they don't believe in God, but can they show some respect for people who DO believe in God?  It's sad that during Christmas, a time of rejoicing and love, people are fighting legal battles over religion.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

I still can't believe that in this day and age we have billions of people believing in fairytales. There are thousands of gods to choose from and each and every single one of them claim they have a monopoly on truth. Even within the Christian religion there are thousands of denominations who can't agree amongst themselves. It's a freaking joke. We still have billions of people who rely on relics written by ignorant old men living in the bronze age as facts. They all can't be right, so they all must be wrong. If the religious zombies can't see that red flag then It's futile to convince them of their delusions.

These religious robots need to wake up from their brainwashed induced stupors and start using their brains instead of myths. It's unbelievable to me. It's so blatantly obvious that 99% of the people who hold a belief  system were born from a region on theis planet that supports that belief, another red flag...DUH !...it's not rocket science folks. These people are so fused into a trance of delusions that no amount of logic will undo their attachment.

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder Proof is always nice, though trust too is a key part of human relationship.

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder Ever heard of philosophy? Its the back up. Some religions have philosophy that fails, but others don't.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

There are fundamental differences between opinions and facts. I try to base ALL of my opinions based on facts and not emotion.

jbreedlove13
jbreedlove13

@j.rodrigo.mora I don't think you understand what being Agnostic means.  Agnostic has nothing to do with a belief in god and everything to do with knowledge related to the existence of god.  You can believe in god and yet still claim that it is impossible to know whether god exists or not (Agnostic Theist) or you can not believe in god and claim that it is impossible to know whether god exists or not (Agnostic Atheist).

ReadsInTrees
ReadsInTrees

@Winlor22 Atheists are not worked up over the Nativity scene in and of itself. We encourage everyone to put up whatever religious displays they want on their own property. However, courts have ruled time and time again that if governments want to allow one religious display on publicly owned property, they must allow ALL religious displays, or none. That's all. So, if you want a Nativity scene in a public park, then expect to see Menorah's, solstice displays, Flying Spaghetti Monster decorations, etc. 

Although it's not the point of this particular issue, one could argue that the Nativity scene (or crosses, or any other Christian symbol) IS offensive because of the Christian message. The message is that you MUST worship this god or else you will BURN in Hell for all eternity, no matter how nice a person you may be and no matter what good you do in this lifetime. You can be the most caring person ever, but unless you bow down and worship this god, you're going to suffer big time. Can you see how that might be offensive?

Anna888
Anna888

@TruthFinder So what's so wrong with a bit of myth?  Countless studies have found that people affiliated with religion are healthier, less depressed, more optimistic, and more compassionate. If you want to be an atheist, then be an atheist, but let others believe what they want. You don't know what gets them through the night. For you it might be logic, but for somebody else it may be a rosary or chanting or a Buddhist meditation. What's so horrible about that? 

What's really horrible is that there are so many fanatics in the world, who try to push their viewpoint on everybody else. Can't you be an atheist and let others believe what they want? Can't you be a Muslim or Christian and follow your religion without telling everybody else that they have to follow it? I think you can, especially in the U.S.; we're so lucky here. There's several billions of humans on the planet, let's try to get along. And, by the way, all religions teach people how to get along and be compassionate to one another. So let people learn how to be compassionate, from any source they can, be it religion or writings of Thomas Jefferson. What we should be talking about are the distortions that fanaticism puts on religions, seen mostly, of course, in Islam and Christianity now, and unfortunately, more often found in fanatical atheism like yours or Vix's. 

JonathanMartin
JonathanMartin

@TruthFinder I still can`t believe in this day and age that people still believe in government. There are thousands of them to choose from, each one of them claim they have a monopoly on truth. Rven within democratic governments there are thousands of political philosophies that can`t agree amonst themselves. It`s a freaking joke. ...They can`t all be right, so they must all be wrong...

Funny how applying these arguments to any other subject matter shows how ridiculous they really are

hventan
hventan

@TruthFinder well said. Keep on fighting the good fight. I think non-believers have reasons to be optimistic this century. We just have to keep talking and be good teachers.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Which god do you trust in? There are thousands to choose from

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Really? Which religion has a philosophy that DOESN"T fail? Which one has risen out of the multitudes PROVING their rules and regulations is the true one?...I'll answer...NONE!

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder A fact is something that is a part of reality. I think that a god is a part of reality. Therefore, there it is my OPINION that it is a FACT. I assert my opinion. I cannot assert a fact. Thank you for having me clarify definitions unnecessarily.

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@jbreedlove13 @j.rodrigo.mora Actually, I do know what 'Agnostic' means, and that is exactly what I considered myself to be. Pure Atheist have a certainty that God (in whichever way we conceive Him) does not exist, but I agree that this is essentially unknowable (like the existence of Parallel Universes...). *However*, I do not believe (or support) religions, which, as you might agree, are merely human-made constructs, and that have traditionally being used to control people in one way or another.

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@Anna888 @TruthFinder I partially agree with you...freedom, let them be...However, just believing in things without evidence open a very dangerous gate, in which people might feel entitled to do whatever it takes to push their viewpoints (and many do, because if you have 'God on your side' you cannot be wrong, right...?). I think irrationality (in any form) should not be passively tolerated, as it makes an allegory of ignorance and nonsense that has promoted and justified so much idiocy and violence in this World.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Nothing wrong with a myth, as long as it stays a myth.

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@JonathanMartin @TruthFinderAgnostic people, like myself, are the fastest growing silent minority in this country (and probably elsewhere). Religions (in all flavors) are the root of all evils in this World, and might certainly lead to its demise. Virtues like love, compassion, and rationality are inherent to human beings (even to animals) and they do not need to be 'taught' by religions. If all humanity would share and practice these values most of our problems would not exist, or at the very least they would be addressed in a rational and compassionate manner. I hope we will soon evolve to fully understand and practice these Universal truths, before it's too late...

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder And the proof you aren't listening lies before me...

I never said, "Eye reed frum teh bibel & it tellz me teh stuffz & eye beleev it 2 B true so its true naow". I said I believe i have a monopoly on my God based on science, mathematics, and philosophy. Where does the above fit in there?

Plus, my book is only conclusions. It gives history, and conclusions. It rarely explains in the scientific manner we are accustomed to. The conclusions are reachable, but the means to get to the conclusions is not as important as the conclusion itself. Its like teaching a 4 year old that fire is not to be played with. You will not go into the effects of extreme heat transfer on human skin, you will simply tell him/her "fire hurts".

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

You're right, You believe in Christianity, and I believe in the 3 headed purple elephant as my savior, who happens to live in the North Pole. If you don't believe in my three headed elephant then you're going straight to hell. So repent now before it's too late.

How do I know the elephant with three heads is my savior you may ask? Oh that's easy, I read it from a 4 thousand year old book, so it must be true.

Time is running out, so please repent and tell as many as people about this so they don't end up in hell. Thanks, and have a great day.

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder It not about a "conviction" or a "feeling" for me. You never bothered to ask that, did you? You think you have me all figured out. You aren't even listening!

I do think I have a monopoly on the right one just as the millions of others saying they have the right one. Correct. That's obvious enough. When you asked "prove it" on the other comment, i posted a philosophical argument I made using current scientific data and calculus. You haven't responded. Please do so. These philosophical proofs are why I believe in the monopoly I claim.

 However, while I don't know you, it is typical that people do not care on the internet. It is all about presuppositions. No one changes their thoughts on the internet, mainly because the argument is impersonal. If you don't care to respond, just continue on like you would. If you do care, I posted my version of the 5th way a few comments below this.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Are you seriously that dense? Of course those gods don't exist and that includes yours cause none of them including yours came down and proved it beyond s shoadow of a doubt. You claim yours is the only one that does exist. But can't you see that all those other people who believe in those other gods have the same conviction as you do? DUH!!!...Buy a clue if you have to...please.

You don't have a monopoly on truth as to your god being the right one, just like the other fools on this planet who claim they have a monopoly. Damn you're an idiot.

I believe you are a troll, because no one I know, even religious nutcases are that stupid. Go troll someone else.

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder First you claim that all gods do not exist. Now you claim all gods do exist. Please pick a side. What I am saying is that the "thousands" do not exist. There is only one. The other "gods" that people worship are false. They are not within reality. They are ideas made by people. The pictures of the "gods" have no signified object in reality. I can say it many ways, but you seem to just be playing a word game with me and not actually using logic. Please use logic.

Also, my post on the 5th way needs your imput. Scroll down a bit and comment for me!

And, btw, I am well aware there are over 23,000 Christian denominations as well as many non-denominational churches. Do not assume ignorance. It makes you look childish.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

What do you mean people say there are thousands? It's not an opinion but fact, there are thousands. Obviously  you haven't done  your homework and it shows. You along with millions of other ignorant clueless individuals spouting things you have no idea about. What you think is not what facts are. Maybe you should spend the next few weeks doing some research about the subject, then come back here and try not to make a fool of yourself.

And within your christian religion there are thousands of denominations. I bet you weren't aware of that either.

This is what I'm talking about folks, most religious people are indictrinated from birth and done in such a fashion that doesn't leave room for any investigation on their part. They feel they know ALL that is needed to know and won't bother learning facts. This is what happens when you get brainwashed. Then they go onto an internet forum and embarrass themselves like TheXian has done.

I hope you don't still think the earth is flat. Sacry folks, scary that people like this person is allowed to roam the planet. What's even scarier is that we have people in high levels of government who are brainwashed making laws with biased views such as this.

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder People say there are thousands. There isn't. The one i think is existent is the Christian God.

TheXian
TheXian

@StevenBarnett Yay! Science guy. Alright, so while I agree with what you said, you're arguing against the first way. I'm arguing for the 5th way. Im not arguing an uncaused causer, but a necessary being. Basically, where did the matter that went BOOM come from? There are two options: it came from within itself or it came from outside itself. That is what I was discussing. Your argument is exactly why i do not argue the first way.

 However, your claim that my argument on mathematical infinities is invalid is troubling. What did I go to school for? I still think that my point is valid in what it is trying to do, nothing further. There could be more existent matter/energy. There's not. If existence came from the matter itself with no other origination, it would not be limited; it would be fully existent. It comes from outside. This is all my proof does.

StevenBarnett
StevenBarnett

@TheXian @TheXian @TruthFinder I have a problem using mathematical infinities as described in calculus and conflating it with the idea of infinity in terms of space-time and the Observable Universe. They are not the same and the whole concept behind the "normalization" of theoretical and empirical physics is to remove the mathematical infinities that are a sign that our current understanding of the laws that govern reality is not complete. Having said that, to assert that the Universe must in and of itself have a cause cannot be proven at this time. Physics breaks down within one Planck unit of time after the BIg Bang, but there is every reason to suppose that the Universe is cyclic based on our understanding and that this cyclic series introduces an inherent instability or corresponding change in the initial conditions of the BB that allow for variety in terms of the universes that develop from it. This does not require a Creator or Uncaused Cause, which by its very definition would be outside the bounds of and unconstrained by the laws of Physics. By its very definition, it would be untestable and I detectable. It would be an unsupported assertion. So, Occam time: all things being equal, the simplest definition is the most reasonable. So which is simpler: a mechanism consistent with our understanding of the universe that could have given rise to that universe, or an untestable, unprovable, Ineffable Creator? Remember also, facts by their very definition are able to be repeatedly demonstrated and proven.

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder The rules according to calculus concerning the law of infinity and scientists measurements on the size of the universe are the premises I was using to base my reasoning on. It not heresay or opinion. Do you have a problem with calculus or science?

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

That's just heresay and opinion. You are making claims you can't backup. The ball is in your court. It's incumbent upon the person who makes an extraordinary claim to prove it's validity. Prove to me that YOUR god is the right one. Do you believe green monkeys with 3 eyes live in the white house? No?...why not? Is it because it's too outlandish to believe, or is it because there's no way I can prove it?

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder Sure. I prefer the fifth way. But, I like calculus, so im throwing it out there too. Basically, we have this finite universe. Existence does not necessarily have to be caused, but it this case it must. The universe is finite. If it is existent, and not cause, existence would be from itself. Total existence. Not partial. The universe should have infinite matter and energy. But it doesn't. This means there is an outside source of existence. This source must have acted in order to cause this finite universe. Finally, i claim this non-dependent being (it acted, so yes, being) to be the God I claim exists.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Ok, you just made a claim, now prove that calim.

TheXian
TheXian

@TruthFinder Lets start with the most common of debates. I think there is a god.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Which facts are you proposing? Let's put them under the microscope.

TheXian
TheXian

Ok, i'll change my wording if it is so important.

Seems selfish to squash others judgments of facts when I have my own judgments of facts to promote.

Better?

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

An ill informed opinion can have drastic results.

thebassomatic76
thebassomatic76

@TheXian @TruthFinder 

You can't have an "opinion" about whether or not something is a fact.  I guess you can, but it shows that you don't understand the meaning of those terms.

Fact: Noun: A thing that is indisputably the case.

Opinion: Noun: A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

TheXian
TheXian

@j.rodrigo.mora @TheXian What is sin! AAAAHHHH! Its going to be differently defined by different groups. But I dont care for what people THINK it is, I wanna know what sin IS. I use philosophy.

TheXian
TheXian

@j.rodrigo.mora YOU DARE SPEAK BLASPHEMY! DEATH!

Just kidding =)

I would greatly prefer a free government that allowed for people to think as they will, but the problem with people is you can't always let them do as they will without consequence. What is right? What is wrong?

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@TheXian @j.rodrigo.mora BTW, isn't it wonderful to be able to dissent in a civilized manner without being afraid that a fanatic will try to harm us just because we dare to debate? The more religion permeates governments and influences key decisions, the less space for liberty and intellectual debate, even leading to extremes you well know.

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@TheXian @j.rodrigo.mora So, now we both agree...you accept (as I do) that "no, organized religion is not required." While religions might seem harmless, they actually deviate the focus of attention from the basic human principles I mentioned above to deities, saints, etc. This might still be OK for some people, but this wrongly oriented focus causes paradoxical behaviors, like people that are more than willing to hurt other human beings to defend their religious beliefs...which is OK for them as long as they feel they are on 'God's side'. On the other hand, when one purely focuses in humanity, compassion, love, there cannot be ambiguities. We should stop defending nonsense and lunacy and start cultivating and reinforcing our true human values, which are Universal (even to animals).

TheXian
TheXian

@j.rodrigo.mora You and I have different definitions of "religion". I think that people could figure it out for themselves too. They did try to figure it out. We're still trying to figure it out. But, if it is "virtues inherent to human beings", the virtues must be universal. This, I believe, is the cause of organized religion. However, no, organized religion is not required. It does, however, provide the conclusions of someone else's rational to the masses. Some people are better thinkers. Some of those great thinkers did good work in ethics and metaphysics.

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@TheXian @j.rodrigo.mora Why do you need religion (any) to act rationally, understand love, and to be compassionate? These are virtues inherent to human beings and they do not need to be 'taught' by religions. If anything, religions deform these concepts and promote hatred and division, ironically versus other religions. Also, I do not presume knowing any fundamental 'truth'. However, the humble attitude is to acknowledge our ignorance and wonder about these mysteries, rather than taking an arrogant posture that claims to know the 'answers' to these questions, when in fact they are just making up these answers. Yes, or do you really believe that what is written in the 'sacred' books was God-inspired? What is the evidence for that? I could tell you that what I'm writing here is the source of that same 'inspiration', but then you would ask how can I prove it? what is the evidence? And you would be right by finding this absurd...then why this double standard? One should look deep inside and really analyze why we still believe in these 'tales', and I think the unspoken answer will be, in most cases, pure fear...

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/11/26/nativity-scene-battles-atheists-are-now-creating-their-own-displays/#ixzz2E2Ewni9j

TheXian
TheXian

@j.rodrigo.mora So your first instinct was to throw away what you thought was false. Good. Now, more importantly, what is true? Can you say that today's Catholicism is wrong as well as every single Christian denomination everywhere for all time?

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@jbreedlove13 @j.rodrigo.mora BTW, I was a 'Catholic' (like the rest of my family) until I reached an age in which I could dare to *think* and question absurd dogmas. In fact, most religious arguments do not withstand the simplest logical analysis. So, my best explanation of why people that are otherwise rational still believe (or pretend to believe) in religious precepts, is *fear* to an imaginary eternal punishment/damnation (what a nice portrait for infinite love and misericordia). However, fear should never be reason to believe in something.

TruthFinder
TruthFinder

Ha ha, so true. Don't forget the tooth fairy..lol

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@JonathanMartin BTW, I like Christmas very much, as I like Halloween. Kids have lots of fun, and expectations...from Santa Claus...Really sickening consumerism.

j.rodrigo.mora
j.rodrigo.mora

@JonathanMartin Well, in my comment I did not resort to personal attacks, as you do (but I imagine you are a hard-core 'faith' person, not used to properly debating ideas). I did not intend to offend, despite the fact of what I think about people who blindly believe and propagates senseless beliefs (cannot really call it knowledge) for which there is not evidence whatsoever, except some obscure books that were written by *humans* (I guess even you would agree with that...).  Yes, written and constantly *modified* in history by people, with all their failures, limitations, and *agendas*.

Also, you state: "...What about the aids virus and so many other diseases and natural disasters...". However, speaking of "ignorance", those elements do not fall in the definition of 'evil', which - if you bother in reading - implies *intention*. And yes, I do not presume of not being ignorant, but at least I pride myself of admitting it, without making up fairy tales to "explain" the most fundamental questions in this life. In fact, the true arrogance is presuming to know these "answers" without providing any solid evidence whatsoever; oh wait, isn't that called 'faith' (Merrian Webster definition  2.b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof).

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/11/26/nativity-scene-battles-atheists-are-now-creating-their-own-displays/#ixzz2DxH4wenx

JonathanMartin
JonathanMartin

«Religions (in all flavors) are the root of all evils in this World, and might certainly lead to its demise.» You talk about rationality but you make this absurd statement that religion is to blame for all evil. So you`re telling me that every murder, theft, rape, child abuse - all the evil in the world - was all religiously motivated?  What about the aids virus and so many other diseases and natural disasters? - yup, all religious.  

Generally, people are good when they live in abundance and bad when they suffer from want. We live on a planet where suffering will happen. So where do we get the strength to do good then? Is there no evidence that suggests that people of faith have been helped by their faith to suffer patiently, forgive, and not give in to hate? I`m not saying religion is all flowers and rainbows. Some of it downright stinks. But prejudiced ignorance like you are displaying is also a significant source of evil in the world.