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Thousands of atheists, agnostics and humanists gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. over the weekend for the 'Reason Rally,' an event touted as the largest gathering of non-theists in the history of the world. iReporters were part of the estimated 10,000 participants, capturing the sights and sounds of it all.
Navid Baraty, who shot several photos at the event, said he attended the Reason Rally because he wanted to be a part of something historic. "I think everyone felt like they were taking part in something not only great, but extremely important," said the New york City resident. "[The non-theists] were proud to be standing up for what they believe in, in a society that is often hostile or discriminatory towards their beliefs," Baraty said. He added that the overall message he got from the rally was to unite and empower all types of people from atheist to non-atheists to secularists and other non-believers.
Lulis Leal of New York said she wanted to attend the Reason Rally since she learned about it, and she was excited to finally witness it. The massive turnout was surprising because of the rain, she said, but she was thrilled to see so many people standing up for their rights to have alternative views.
"A lot of people are worried about coming out about their beliefs because they are afraid society will ostracize them, and they just go along with society. But this was a rally to support people with alternative beliefs, support and empower them and show them there are a lot of people with the same beliefs," she said.
The Reason Rally was just one of the many different rallies, protests and organized events that iReporters documented this weekend. We received stories from Trayvon Martin demonstrations across the country, Occupy Wall Street protests in Union Square, and, across the world, a protest against the recent killings of Shiites in Karachi, Pakistan.
News is happening everywhere. What about where you live? Share your story.
Do they really need to do this? who cares...
"standing up for their rights to have alternative views".
No one ever said they couldn't stand up to their rights to have alternative views. I wish CNN would stop promoting posts that SO many people object to. If you have no faith, you have nothing.
KC, I think that's exactly why they are trying to raise awareness with this rally. Free thinkers, secular humanists, they may not subscribe to a religion, however this does not mean they don't have morals or purpose in life and they don't want anyone who feels this way to feel alone.
I have no problem with atheists, secularists, humanists etc as well as their viewpoints and rights of expression, but please also give me that same right as a Christian without outrage, lawsuits etc....This is after-all, America.
You do have those rights. All secularists want is for the government to stop promoting theism over nontheism, in schools, in courthouses, on money and in the pledge. That is what the outrage and lawsuits are about. If religious people really believe as strongly as they claim they do, they shouldn't need the government to validate their beliefs. A secular society protects the rights of everyone, regardless of their beliefs. Stop demanding government validation of theistic beliefs and the outrage and lawsuits will stop.
Atheism is the new homo sexuality.
Christians have won this battle in the public view, by claiming to be expanding, and simultaneously a victim. Atheists need a new name. I like Rationalists.
"He added that the overall message he got from the rally was to unite and empower all types of people from atheist to non-atheists to secularists and other non-believers."
Mr. Dawkins told people to publicly ridicule Catholics for their beliefs. That doesn't sound like empowering all types of people.
Is this the atheist OWS? They going to sit-in until people stop believing?
Well said GPC001!
And this post just shows why it is necessary: "No one ever said they couldn't stand up to their rights to have alternative views. I wish CNN would stop promoting posts that SO many people object to. If you have no faith, you have nothing."
This shows why we do have to stand up for our rights; the religious don't even want news organizations mentioning it.
keep your irrational religion out of politics that affect every one and nobody will care what imaginary friend you decide to lean on. fair enough?
I do not call them christians anymore, after being attacked for questioning the bible, I now realize they are a gang. The fairytale gang. They will attack to keep you from daring to question and they will get nasty. be warned
The belief that an invisible cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you eat his flesh, drink his blood, and telepathically tell him you accept him as your Master, so that he will remove an evil force from your soul which was put their because a woman made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. What's the problem?
@ masadavt: ROTFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Christians founded the ultra-successful United States of America while Atheists have founded one failed hell hole after another, including but not limited to the former Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and North Korea. Lots of nation states have been under Atheist control in the past 100 years, none of them have ever been a magnet for people looking for a better life and all of them have needed barbed wire to keep in their oppressed citizens.
One can't help but wonder who is funding these Radical Atheist groups, because if you look at the experience of Western Europe, especially France, ultra-secularism has done nothing but create a void that is quickly being filled by Radical Islam. In many neighborhoods of many French cities, Shariah law is already in effect and brutally enforced by gangs of Radical Islamist men. This is the fate we want for America?
Faith means believing in something you know ain't true.
FPFP, this nation was NOT founded by Christians. Please review some basic American history.
FPPP, most of the founding fathers were masons. You know how masons worshiped. Baphomet. You primitives call him the devil. there is a big difference between fantasy and factual history. but don't let that stop you and your nutty bunch.
all religions are made up. And that is an indisputable fact.
"The United States is in no sense founded on the Christian doctrine." President John Adams 1797.
You think he'd know, wouldn't you?
The philosophical divide is no different than when learned men were desperately trying to get the common man to understand that the world was round, the there were these invisible living beings that were too small to see but could hurt you, even kill you. Always the enlightened have to had to drag their superstitious, ultimately mentally retarded cousins into the light. Most of the life they know is an utter and complete lie. From god, to the truth about the founders of the US, to reality of the actually origins of the human species. Like children they are. they have to be lied to in order to survive day to day. What can you do? limit their numbers and do not let them get control of our government.
The guy in the top picture would be a better advocate for reason if he spelled atheist right.
@chieftech714 "limit their numbers and do not let them get control of our government."
Oh, but if we could. It seems like the ultra-religious reproduce like rabbits; and, have you seen the GOP's presidential candidates?
Wish I knew about this sooner ... heard about it the night before from a friend who was going. Would be nice to be surrounded by people who don't assume you think the invisible giant in the sky is real.
Atheism: the arrogant belief that the entire billion-galaxy universe was not created for us.
@dulerqo: all religions are not made up. I fell sorry for people like you because when your day come and you have to stand in front of god. You will have to tell him why you put him out of your life.. Good luck.
@mikeh6280, if he made everyone then he made us atheist and ... oh, forget it. As (another fictional character) Dr House once said: If you could reason with religious people there would be no religious people.
@mikeh6280 That would be easy: "You gave me a brain, so I used it."
@mike. if you die first, please tell your god to @at me. You're all so ridiculous. Your "faith" comes from fear not grace. that's why you all have to band together like scared mice. You are inherently cowards. Afraid of what you don't understand but willing to believe anything that means the mysterious afterlife is somehow ok. death is a part of life. It's inevitable. Stop being a coward. rid yourself of the fear and it's result...HATE.
"Having faith" is nothing more than the justification for telling people to stop thinking.
As the church right down the street from me proudly proclaims on their sign "A Freethinker is Satans pawn".
@ syd113: I don't understand people like you. Because I'm not a atheist tell me what you think about this. How do think people and everything else got to be here on earth! People did not one day just show up. Something had to make the first humans and everything else. I don't see how you can't have not one bit of faith.
@mikeh6280 It is YOU who is claiming that human "just showed up", not Atheists. Let's see, god put two people in the jungle, they procreated, and now we have Asians, Caucasians, black people, arabs....makes perfect sense!
chieftech714: Get a life loser. You atheist are all crazy people.
@mikeh none of us have the time or inclination to explain basic science to you. I suggest you start your journey with Carl Sagan; he keeps it simple.
@masadavt. the religious don't think about what they believe. It's part of their faith to blindly believe whatever they are told to. Over the generations, they have lost the ability to actually think or question what they are told. They are drones now. The bible has over 100 variations and is constantly changed. Yet it is held to be the word of god. Maybe if you are a bobble head doll.
@chiefteach714 All very true. As Sam Harris so eloquently put it: "What logic can you possibly use with someone who has already stated that they do not value logic? What evidence can you provide to someone who has already stated that they do not value evidence?"
@mikeh6280 Yes we are just nuts for not believing in invisible specials friends. I suppose the fact that we do not believe in the tooth fairy, pink unicorns, or santa clause makes us stark raving mad!
@ masadavt: I did not say people just showed up something (god) had to make us or put us here. I'll say it again if you don't think god put people here what did?
Some people can't think. Atheist think, reason, and use logic. To KCRep who said "If you have no faith, you have nothing." I beg to differ. I have no faith in make believe BS but I do have a beautiful, loving family with two children in college and one in high school, an 11 room log cabin on 8 acres, 250k in the bank and a good job. How about you?
@mikeh I do not have the time to properly explain the Big Bang and evolution to you, however, let me answer with a counter question; if God made us, what came before God?
Let me save you the trouble, because I know your answer; "God has ALWAYS existed..."
Fine, then the universe has always existed.
What was God doing before he created the universe, since he was around for so long?
Again atheist just think we got here by magic I guess. Again you still not have answered me what do you think got us here?
Furthermore, I can honestly say I do not know all the answers. No one does. There are mysteries, however, year by year those mysteries dwindle as science answers one unknown after the next. Once upon a time we thought it rained because you slaughtered a goat and prayed for rain. Were we to listen to the religious, we would have stopped there and never sought to understand how and why it rained. We would have "just had faith"...
Like I said, go study some basic science. The big bang theory is well documented.
masadavt: WHATEVER the Big Bang that's nuts. So you are saying there was a BOOM than humans. mmmmmmm ya right.
As for the great question of "how did we get here"? At least you're asking questions drone. We do not have the entire picture. Btw, I am not an atheist. I am an agnostic. We have observed that cultures much older than judeo-christianity tell the same story about the gods descending from the sky and creating man, probably as a labor force. We get that story from the babylonians, the native indians of the americas and the indians of the indus valley. These are truly ancient civilizations. They know more of the past than our relatively new civilization does. There are the ruins of ancient civilizations from over 20,000 year ago still intact. The construction of their cities defies our current technology. My point is the truth to our origins is still being discovered. The church held back the pursuit of higher knowledge for 100s if not 1000s of years. If we can rid ourselves of the influence of the church, it will only help us provide you with the real answers to your questions. The stories in the bible are re-tread at best and explain nothing. They only exist to keep man just stupid enough to keep believing in fairy tales. Keep asking questions and allow the answer to be the data, not what the church tells you.
Humans wrote The Bible. It is a book.
Mikeh6280, you can't possibly really be that uneducated. You really haven't ever even heard of evolution? Where did you go to school, a madrassa in the mountains of Pakistan? It's one thing to argue against evolution, it's another to be so literally ignorant you aren't aware that theories other than Adam&Eve even exist.
@mikeh6280 - since you so vehemently require there be a creator for something to exist, who created your creator?...
It's okay, I'll wait...
6cobra Never underestimate the power of ignorance, especially when encouraged by religious dogma.
The Big Bang Theory....Thurs nights on CBS...right?
10,000 people reportedly participated capturing the sights and sounds of it.....so if you just happened to be around, driving by or worked in the area, saw or heard something...you must be a proponent of "reason rally" that sounds reasonable
"masadavt: WHATEVER the Big Bang that's nuts. So you are saying there was a BOOM than humans. mmmmmmm ya right."
Good job demonstrating your mind-spinning ignorance of the Big Bang, which, by the way, has nothing to do with the development of the human species.
You see, THIS is why gatherings like the Reason Rally are vital in bringing to light that there is a viewable demographic of skeptics and rational folks who not only reject superstitious nonsense, but are wholly disgusted with the rampant ignorance that gets promoted over demonstrable facts. I attended the Reason Rally, and it was quite relieving to see that I'm not alone in that conviction.
Oh, and Gizmo0514:
"Mr. Dawkins told people to publicly ridicule Catholics for their beliefs. That doesn't sound like empowering all types of people."
I attended Richard Dawkin's speech, and what he actually stated is that, as skeptics, we should encourage believers of all types to clarify what they really believe. That people should ask a self-proclaimed Catholic if he/she really believes that a cracker really turns into the body of a 2000-year-old Jew. To ask a Mormon if he/she really believes that his/her holy book was really translated from some rocks that could only be read through a hat. If you really believe that people can live after their brains are dead... Make believers admit to their own ridiculous nonsense that they cannot POSSIBLY take seriously unless they are completely delusional.
The article...comments and postings....great entertainment. It's pretty funny when CNN is this deseperate to try to stir up controversy.
@Billmeno So reporting on the Reason Rally is stirring up controversy?
And, according to the DC Park service, the turnout was closer to 30,000
6cobra ya that's where I went to school you are right. dumb ass.
and for you grap3drink you just keep waiting. You atheists are nuts.
the only ones who disgust me more than their corrupt masters are the obedient drones. Lennon said it best in a song called Imagine. Listen to some time. It's eye opening.
If athiests are athiest then they'd better be right. If I, a Roman Catholic, find out I am wrong about religion then oh well, it still taught me good values. If an athiest finds out in the next life he is wrong it means he very well may be in hell. If I am right good, I am likely saved and if Hinduism is right then I am likely saved because at lease I was searching for God. Jesus is God and being athiest is very risky if there is a God. God is all merciful though so athiests can come back to Christ at any time in this lifetime.
I really don't care what you believe as long as you don't infringe on our right to celebrate our religious right and traditions. If you don't want to join us fine but we have the rights to our religion and traditions.
GOPDem .. nothing more sincere than faith based on a poker hand, especially when it's backed up with a lightly veiled threat to those who don't follow your "merciful" God. BTW, good values are not taught in a Roman Catholic church .. they're learned from human society (life).
That rally was hate crime !!
JAB....you said this....."I have no faith in make believe BS but I do have a beautiful, loving family with two children in college and one in high school, an 11 room log cabin on 8 acres, 250k in the bank and a good job. How about you?"
Well well, good for you!!! Sounds to me like money is your God.
It's just plain scary when reality is considered an "alternative belief".
"Christians founded the ultra-successful United States of America while Atheists have founded one failed hell hole after another"
FPFP, you can't do five minutes of online research before learning that this country was NOT founded by Christians.
"If an athiest finds out in the next life he is wrong it means he very well may be in hell. If I am right good, I am likely saved"
Why does every Christian think he invented Pascal's Wager?
"Again atheist just think we got here by magic I guess. Again you still not have answered me what do you think got us here?"
We got here by evolving from simpler organisms...who got here by abiogenesis...from organic chemicals formed in the Big Bang. The only people who think we got here by magic are those believing that an invisible wizard waved a magic wand and "Poof"...there we were.
"if you look at the experience of Western Europe, especially France, ultra-secularism has done nothing but create a void that is quickly being filled by Radical Islam."
Not true. When you hold Christianity up to the light and show its flaws, you get rational people who don't believe in ancient superstitions. These people do NOT then move on to radical Islam...they have no more use for Mohammed riding on a horse/woman creature touring magical places than they do for a talking donkey.
It seems like religious people think their being attacked when someone even mentions not believing in god. Why do some people act like it's such a heinous crime? I don't get it. Yet some members of the Catholic Church get away with actual heinous crimes, like molesting children, and their punishment is to pray more?
and since when does covering a story like the reason rally a "controversy". as far as any of us should be concerned, it was just like any church gathering or gay rally, or "hoodie" rally or "rally to restore sanity". a bunch of like-minded people getting together to bring awareness that it's ok to to be different, and to be acknowledged.
@mikeh6280 Nice Troll
It is the religiofascists who are destroying religion. Doing evil in the name of God??? Satan's recruiters in the guise of "Holy" men.
If there were ever an ultimate test of faith, spirituality, and yes, religion, it would be to bring a child into this world, to encourage and enable them to be intelligent and educated, and to teach them the difference between right and wrong, and see what they grow to believe on their own, instead of giving them a book and telling them what to believe.
For their can be no freedom of religion without freedom from religion. A man does not need to believe in a God to be a decent man, and just because a man does not believe in a God, that does not mean that a man does not believe in anything. I, for one, will not allow the mania of religion to enter my home. As one who is not blinded by the myth of a merciful God, I am open to see the world as it really is. For indeed, the path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
Being an atheist is NOT a matter of being a non-believer. The term in itself is ignorant and small minded, as I firmly believe that there are no non-believers. Everyone believes in something, whether or not they believe the same as you. If there were ever an accurate description of the meaning of life itself, it could be belief. Belief affects everything we do. There is not one single human being who does not believe in something. I, for instance, believe that Southern Baptist preachers are the lowest form of life, lower than pond scum or toilet bacteria.
If I had known about this rally, I would have "moved heaven and earth" to be there. No, not really. But I would have bought an airplane ticket and rented a hotel room for a couple of nights. This is important. To the organizers: PLEASE HAVE MORE!!! I am tired of being marginalized by Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, etc. I am tired of my children being insulted by "good little Christian children" telling them they are damned, they are devil worshippers, they are going to hell, and all manner of unpleasant personal attacks. It's time to make "religious freedom" really mean something.
The Reason Rally was excellent! Adam Savage brought a tear to my eye. I was very entertained by all of the speakers, musical, and comedy guests. I only wish it hadn't rained the whole day. I hope to see many more people there next year! www.reasonrally.org www.ffrf.org
@MickMaster "Why does every Christian think he invented Pascal's Wager?"
Because most of them have never heard of Pascal's Wager; they don't need to explore the subject, because they have "faith" (ie; license to stop thinking)
The whole idea of Pascal's Wager cracks me up; if there were this omnipotent God, the idea that people could fool him by hedging their bets lol
@GOPDemocrat: "If an athiest finds out in the next life he is wrong it means he very well may be in hell. If I, a Roman Catholic, find out I am wrong about religion then oh well, it still taught me good values."
Pascals Wager again. By this logic, then you should be following EVERY religion, "just in case". What if the Muslims are right, and you have been hedging your bets with the wrong religion? What if the truth is a religion which no one has thought of yet or died out thousands of years ago? lmao
What we question are these "good values" you claim that religion teaches you. Which values are these?
- The ones where slavery is ok (for surely the bible does not speak against slavery and even gives us rules for how to treat slaves)?
- Or are you talking about the values where genocide and the slaughter of children is not only condoned, but rewarded by god?
- How bout the value of not pursuing basic scientific inquiry and instead resorting to eating flesh and drinking blood in order to improve our lot?
- Is the values you learn when you read Jesus telling his deciples to bring him anyone who doesn't want him to rule over them, and slaughter them before him? That's a good moral value.
- Or maybe the value of letting your sick child die in their bed when a perfectly good hospital that could have saved their life is only two blocks away? After all, it's "in gods hands" and what could be a greater demonstration of faith than that?
- I guess it must be the value of telling children that there is a tyrannical dictator who can hear and will punish their thought-crimes, even in their sleep. That they are under attack by demons and devils, and from the moment they are born must live in fear of both this life and what could possibly happen afterward.
This is a great system of values.
Humans assign God as the answer to all things we don't yet understand .. so that pretty much makes God the anthropomorphized sum total of all human ignorance.
The problem comes from both sides when all the name calling starts. The believer will say that the Atheist is going to face fire and brim stone and Bible this and Bible that. The Atheist mocks the values of the believer by referring to their God as an "imaginary friend" or conjuring images of child molestation by clergy.
Why not take a minute to understand one another? We're living a time where everything somehow offends everyone else. Why not just give a little on both sides and get along. BTW, I'm a Catholic who married an Atheist and we seem to do just fine.
Matt, I'm sure all these posters get along just fine with their friends who don't believe as they do. It's the anonymity of the internet that allows otherwise polite and respectful people to engage in such outright arrogance and disrespect towards each other.
So "[The non-theists] were proud to be standing up for what they believe in, in a society that is often hostile or discriminatory towards their beliefs,"... So they are saying that they do have beliefs, they do believe in something, that God doesn't exist. That could be defined as a religion. So do athiests not watch Lord of the Rings, or the Chronicles of Narnia, etc. Jesus said that we Christians need to go out and spread the word. If atheists and what not don't want to believe then that's fine but I am tired of we Christians being told we can't post signs about our beliefs yet it's okay for atheists to do it, or sue to have "In God We Trust" removed from money (did they ever think that suing brings the government in to the fold, ergo, separation of Church and State is no longer valid in those cases?)
Off is a TV channel, abstinence is not a sex position, bald is not a hairstyle, and atheism is not a religion.
Non belief is not a belief .. if that were true we ALL believe in the non existence of an infinite number of things that don't exist. ie: I don't believe in garden fairies .. that does not mean I believe in the non existence of garden fairies.
I also agree we can all get along just fine, we only need to keep our personal choices off of other peoples personal choices.