NY State Senator Quietly Rewrites Press Release Denouncing Atheists, Unaware of Something Called a ‘Screenshot’

Remember how New York State Senator Andrew Lanza was outraged by American Atheists’ billboard in Times Square?

He said the digital billboard, images of which are below, was “religious persecution of the kind that similarly lead to the Holocaust.”

Anyway, get this: In the original press release, Lanza wrote the following:

While it is not surprising to me that people who do not believe in God are hateful and malicious, I would have hoped that the people who own this billboard, those who live in Manhattan and around Times Square and the community’s political leaders would have decried this hate speech as something not to be tolerated or allowed.”

Senator Lanza is also calling for the revocation of the American Atheists’ 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status because he doesn’t believe that tax dollars should be used to spew religious hatred.

Both of those bold-faced sections have been altered in the current version of the press release on Lanza’s site.

The first part — calling atheists “hateful and malicious” — has been changed to the following:

While it’s not surprising to me that people who are hateful and malicious of god would endorse such an advertisement, I would have hoped that the people who own this billboard, those who live in Manhattan and around Times Square and the community’s political leaders would have decried this hate speech as something not to be tolerated or allowed.”

It’s still completely wrong — atheists don’t hate God. Atheists just don’t believe in God. (We don’t hate unicorns and leprechauns, either.) But the change suggests that Lanza knows what he said was unfair and untrue. Instead of apologizing, though, he’s just changing the press release after the fact so he can pretend it never happened.

And what about calling for the IRS to revoke American Atheists’ non-profit status?

He’s just removed it altogether in the latest version.

Maybe he realized that if AA’s tax-exemption was revoked for something as harmless as that billboard, religious-based groups like Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage would be in jeopardy as well. And members of those groups are likely to make up his voting base.

Again, no apology. Just an attempt to whitewash the past.

The weirdest thing is that he didn’t even bother to change the line about the Holocaust!

Whatever. I still want an apology. He knows what he said was wrong, so why can’t he just bring himself to admit that publicly?

Just in case he changes anything else, here’s the original version of the press release, captured forever no matter what he changes on his website.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Fallulah

    HOW CAN WE HATE SOMEONE WE DON’T THINK EXISTS?????? This man is so stupid, how did he get elected? Damn America!

  • https://soundcloud.com/eddieboydmusic flyb

    AMERICA!! FUCK YEAH!!!1!12

  • JeromeMac

    All xian fundies think we hate this god, and that we worship a devil. They know less abou atheism than my cat does about quantun mechanics.

  • momtarkle

    Then, who fixes his quantun?

  • tubi11
  • squinney

    You Win

  • newavocation

    And they know even less of their own bible.

  • Black Leaf

    The popular Christian meme is that God’s presence is obvious to everyone, so anyone who claims not to believe in him is obviously lying for some presumably sinister reason.

  • Pepe

    I’ve heard this so many times, but I still don’t understand it. Is there a good explanation on how this kinda thinking works?

  • baal

    Doesn’t make sense to me either. I classify it under argument from assertion.

  • Matt Bowyer

    They just can’t comprehend how a person can simply not believe in their God, so they have to rationalize it somehow.

  • unbound55

    It’s pretty much the same thing as the die-hard Apple or Android fanboy is about their phone (they can’t comprehend how you aren’t choosing the obvious superior phone) except even further devoid of anything like objectivity.

  • Alierias

    I loved my Iphone, then the new IOS came along. Steve Jobs is spinning in his grave fast enough to power Arizona in a heat wave…

  • quasibaka

    While I agree fanboys exist in both smartphone OS camps , comparing fundies to fanboys is hardly fair ! The consequences of fanboyism is just internet trolls and flame wars . Realise that no one actually gets burnt or beaten to death!

  • scmike

    Hi Pepe. I think I can help. Romans 1: 18-21 teaches that EVERYONE knows that God exists, but some choose to suppress that truth in order to avoid accountability to Him. That is, they profess to not believe in God, but then live as if they do believe in Him and the truth of the Bible when they appeal to concepts such as morality, truth, knowledge, and absolute laws of logic.
    Immaterial, universal, invariant concepts such as these cannot be made sense of in any atheistic worldview (after all, how does a strictly material, constantly changing universe give us concepts and laws that are not made of matter, apply everywhere, and don’t change?) but can be made sense of via the Christian worldview as a direct reflection of the absolute character and nature of God. As such, atheism (and all competing non-Christian worldviews, for that matter) is reduced to absurdity, as it does not comport with any of the necessary preconditions of intelligibility, and therefore cannot be logically justified. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that believing in things with no logical justifcation for doing so is the very definition of an irrational position, no? Merry Christmas!

  • cary_w

    scmike, you just have no clue how messed up that whole statement is, do you? I wish for you to find knowledge and logic in the New Year :-)

  • scmike

    Thanks for the warm wishes Cary_w. Regarding your assertion about my statement, you provided no justification at all to substantiate it. Did you have a rational objection to the argument?

  • spookiewon

    You mean other than it’s circularity?

  • scmike

    Hey spookie. I disagree with your allegation of circularity here. Nevertheless, you do raise a very good question. Why are circular arguments not allowed in your worldview? What standard of logic do they violate and why do you feel that that standard absolutely should not be violated?

  • Spuddie

    When you have a rational argument, you will get a rational objection. How about these objections:
    -Appeal to bigotry as you insult all other faiths/religious ideas
    -Unsupported argument
    -improper definition of terms such as logic and rationality
    -Shifting the burden of proof away from the person making the claim

  • scmike

    Hey spuddie. As I have grown accustomed to in these types of discussion, you provided zero support for any of your objections. Surely you can see that absent justification for your claims, you are doing the very thing you are (falsely) accusing me of doing, no?

  • Spuddie

    No.You have just grown tone-deaf to them. There is a difference here. Ironically your responses do everything to support my position

    It is not my job to dissect your writings word for word in an effort to stroke your penchant for self-wankery. You’re sole response is to ignore all responses and shift burdens of proof. As you are doing here. You ironically already provide support for my position by doing so.

    Your little remark about “non-Christian” religious ideas being absurd is nothing but an appeal to bigotry and hate. Your own words support my position again in that respect as well.

    I have not seen one iota of support for your position other than smug self-declaration. Since you are the one making the claims, the burden is yours alone. It is not for me to cough up a valid objection, it is your duty to make a valid claim first.
    You use the terms logic and rationality but to ends which are not supported by either. Insulting other ideas and declaring yourself to be logical or rational is not a logical or rational argument. Obviously you don’t use the terms correctly. Again, your own words support my argument.
    You are a sectarian bigot with no sense of irony.

  • Pepe

    Hi Scmike,
    Thanks for trying to explain. I just don’t understand how or, more importantly, WHY, we would just try to suppress the ‘truth’. Especially if it means that we know we’re gonna burn in hell for ever. Why would anyone be stupid enough to do that?

  • scmike

    Some people would rather be god than submit to God, Pepe. Denying his existence allows them to live the way they would like to and continue in their sin, rather than obeying Him and forsaking their own ways. It is for this very reason that the Bible calls those who deny God, ‘fools’—-because they are denying what they know to be true despite the dire consequences of doing so. Nothing could be more foolish than willfully rejecting God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ and choosing to perish instead.

  • Pepe

    Dude, that doesn’t make any sense! I’ll have to be a masochist of the highest order to WANT to go to hell. And I sure as hell, am not.

  • scmike

    Well, you’re surely not doing yourself any favors by continuing to live in denial of God’s revealed Truth. There are only 2 types of people, Pepe; those who profess the truth and those who suppress it. I trust I don’t have to tell you which side you’re presently on? God doesn’t send people to hell for what they don’t know, but for denying the God that they do know exists and rejecting His offer of salvation. Repent and trust in Jesus Christ and God will forgive you of your sins and for your denial of Him.

  • jimlouvier

    Yeah, it’s very foolish to research and seek evidence about something as opposed to blindly believing it because an old book told you to.

  • scmike

    Hey jim. Your irrational bias against the Bible and Christianity is duly noted. Take care.

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    I don’t want to go to your non-evidenced hell, nor the hundreds of Chinese hells or Allah’s hell or even the Norse hel. I also don’t want to worship your non-evidenced god, nor Allah, Odin, Vishnu or Buddha, or any of the thousands of other gods mankind has had over the millinea of civilization. I reject them all.

    Why should I believe your Xian hell is real, much less your god is real?

  • scmike

    No one is talking about belief here, Bear. Rather the argument is that you KNOW that God exists, but are suppressing that truth in unrighteousness. Your comment reveals a precommitment to the concept of ‘evidence’ which alludes to ‘proof’. Proof of anything requires truth, knowledge, and absolute laws of logic, none of which can be accounted for apart from the God of the Bible. If you dispute this, feel free to provide your competing account for the existence of any of these things without God. You will not be able to, as these concepts do not comport with atheism in any way shape or form, but I think the exercise will be helpful to you. Take care.

  • Spuddie

    No, that is wrong. You are talking about belief here. Stop lying.

    From your own statements:

    “(and all competing non-Christian worldviews, for that matter) is reduced to absurdity”

    You clearly think your Christian beliefs are vastly superior to another religion.
    As EVERYONE HAS POINTED OUT TO YOU, there is no reason why anyone needs to take such a view on its merits since you provide nothing to support it.

  • Spuddie

    Since your definition of “fools” also include people who have religious beliefs other than your own, let me point out that not only are you full of smug pride in your religious convictions but also hateful towards those of anyone else. 2 deadly sins in one package for one claiming to be righteous.
    Nobody else seemed to notice the sectarian bigotry in your statements, but I won’t give you a pass on it. You are like everyone else who pretends wrapping hate in the trappings of religion makes it free of criticism or sanction.

  • scmike

    Hey again, spuddie. You seem to have a penchant for making unjustified claims and allegations. As of now, everything your have asserted above stands unsupported (and unsupportable). I seem to remember a well known atheist stating that claims made without evidence should be dismissed in the same manner (or something like that). Sounds reasonable to me.

  • Spuddie

    I am using your own statements as support! You have already provided proof supporting my position.
    Your own words betray a lazy sectarian bigot who is unable to make a coherent argument without ignorance trolling and circular statements. We can add sloth to your deadly sin collection as well.
    You called “all competing Non-Christian” beliefs absurd and lacking logic or rationality That is just plain religious bigotry and phony pride on your part. Support your statement as why should it not be considered so. Those were your words not mine. Either stand by them or shut the hell up.

  • jmslmore

    Circular reasoning: Why should anyone give credence to Romans:1:18-21. Non-supported assertion: ‘Everyone knows [the Christian] God exists…’ Everyone? really? what about the ones who didn’t in the past, don’t know now or won’t in the future? Non-supported assertion: that ‘a strictly material, constantly changing universe give us concepts and laws that are not made of matter, apply everywhere, and don’t change?)’ can only be explained by the ‘Christian worldview’ How so? and why not other ‘worldviews’. Define ‘Christian worldview’ – which is so vague as to be absurd on its face. In fact, unique to each individual and may or may not be considered ‘Christian’ by others who claim to know the breadth and width of what is meant by the concept: ‘Christian’. Non-supported assertion: ‘as it does not comport with any of the necessary preconditions of intelligibility, and therefore cannot be logically justified.’ You mean any other ‘worldview’ out side of ‘Christian’? Please explain why that would be so and it might be helpful to provide an example of why these ‘preconditions’ are ‘necessary.’ Sorry, Scmike, your ‘logic’ doesn’t hold up. I feel for you though. I’m certain that deep down you must realize that the Christian God is not actually real, and therefore you must at least suspect that you are deluding yourself in believing. Of course, that sort of delusion could be considered a form of dishonesty, a lie to oneself, as it were. Thus, your faith in God could very well be entirely immoral in its conception and perhaps should be abandoned immediately for the honest and strict morality of reality. Warm holiday traditions to you!

  • scmike

    Hey jm, thanks for your response and the warm wishes. I think your post is a very good example of what I’m talking about and will be happy to demonstrate for you and those following along the truth of my claims. Your comments reveal that you believe in a standard of logic that we SHOULD adhere to in our reasoning and argumentation as well as a standard of morality by which you decry things like lying and dishonesty. You also claim that it is possible for you to be certain of things in your worldview is well. I would like to know the following:

    1) What are the standards of logic and morality you are appealing to here? How do you account for those standards in your worldview? Why do they necessarily apply to anything or anyone, let alone this discussion?

    2) How is it possible for you to be certain of anything with only your limited experience and observations to go on?

    That should just about do it. Take care!

    P.S. As for your claim that there were people in the past who didn’t know of God’s existence; God has revealed Himself to all people through time via natural and special revelation, beginning with Adam and Eve and continuing to this day. I have no doubt that this very thread will serve to confirm that truth. Talk to you soon!

  • Spuddie

    So in other words an irrational worldview which involves broad unfounded assumptions, amoral thinking, improper/nonsensical definitions of terms, magical thinking and belief in the absence of evidence does not make sense to an atheist.

    You are damn right! There is no reason why anyone would want to accept such a thing in the first place if they were thinking about it.

    “As such, atheism (and all competing non-Christian worldviews, for that matter) is reduced to absurdity”

    So you throw in your insult to all other religions as well and come off as a self-interested sectarian bigot. The offensiveness of your post is plainly obvious and you are probably completely tone deaf to such things. Prejudice tends to do that to people.
    ” I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that believing in things with no logical justifcation for doing so is the very definition of an irrational position, no?”

    The irony is just too much to take without giggling. The only irrational position on display is your own

  • scmike

    Hey, you’re free to giggle all you like, but you do so without any foundation in rationality or logic, as you (yet again) provided zero support for your claims. Have fun!

  • Spuddie

    Not at all. I am merely providing the same level of support as yourself in one instance (my first two paras) and a well supported one in the next with the balance using YOUR OWN STATEMENTS.
    Your sole response is evidence trolling. Well maybe you should read your Bible about what one expects to get from one’s reaping. It is a book, not a bludgeoning tool. Maybe if you treated it like one you might not come off as such an ignorant whinybaby.

  • scmike

    Hey John. As a born again Christian, I would say ‘self-deceived’ is probably more accurate terminology when it comes to describing atheists and their suppression of the truth. Merry Christmas!

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    The truth that we see insufficient evidence to believe in any gods? Especially yours?
    Happy Holiday!

  • scmike

    No. The truth that the very concepts of ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’ are evidence of God’s existence and the truth of the Bible, as neither can be accounted for otherwise. If you disagree, feel free to tell how it’s possible to know anything to be absolutely true in your worldview and how you know for certain that any evidence presented to you is valid or invalid as a proof.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    Oh dear, you’re pulling out that apologetic again?

    OK, here’s one thing it’s possible to know for certain in my worldview – that I don’t know everything there is to know. I know this as a 100% fact, absolutely true, and I have no need for there to be any god out there to be able to know this.

    Here’s a second thing I know to be absolutely true – you also don’t know everything there is to know.

    My concept of “truth” means “consistently corresponds with reality”, and has nothing to do with ancient books.

  • scmike

    You forgot the most important part, ubi—-HOW do you know any of that with 100% certainty and HOW do you know anything to be absolutely true in your worldview absent omniscience or revelation from same?

    You say that ‘truth’ is that which corresponds to ‘reality’. If multiple people have conflicting perceptions of ‘reality’, how do you determine whose is ‘true’ in your worldview?

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    Wait, so are you claiming that it’s possible that I’m mistaken about my not knowing everything there is to know? If I’m mistaken, then that means I would know everything there is to know, which would make me omniscient! Ta-dah!

    Seriously, the argument you are using fails really hard when you try it on non-believers, we see right through all the sophistry. Apologetics aren’t for converting non-believers and ex-believers, they’re for persuading christians that there are actually good reasons for them to believe things that don’t make any sense. I see you’ve also tried “no true christian” and “shifting the burden of proof” already. So you’d better get on with trying “uncaused cause” and then shaking the dust off your sandals when we don’t buy that one either.

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    The truth that the very concepts of ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’ are evidence of God’s existence and the truth of the Bible, as neither can be accounted for otherwise.

    You now have two claims to evidence: your god and that your god is responsible for truth and evidence.

    If you disagree

    I disagree but you don’t get to tell me how I respond. First you have to evidence your two claims. So far, you have failed to provide any evidence whatsoever to support your two claims except to assert that they are true.

    Try again.

  • scmike

    The support for my claims is the lack of any competing justification for ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’ from any of the professing atheists on this thread thus far. I have seen plenty of name calling and baseless accusations from you folks, but no one has yet even come close to telling how any abstract, universal, invariant concept (such as truth, logic,or the certainty of knowledge) comports with an atheistic worldview. Perhaps you should be reminded how discussions work, Bear; I present my claim, you present yours, and THEN we evaluate. I have given you my worldview’s justification for the concepts above. Now, you may not like my justification, but where is yours?

  • jimlouvier

    Th concepts of truth and justice are evidence that Superman exists. How can you claim that a book written by men is divine? Man created god, not the other way around. Until you have proof otherwise, science invalidates your Bronze Age superstitions.

  • Spuddie

    All hail prophets Siegel and Shuster and their mighty works
    -Up Up and Away, Amen

  • scmike

    Uh, jim…….did you have any justification for your above claims, or should I just add them to the (large) pile of baseless assertions that has accumulated from the atheists on this thread? Let me know.

  • baal

    ” suppression of the truth. Merry Christmas!”
    Hey! Thanks Scmike for stopping by to give atheists a hardy xtian-fuck you just to make the holidays that much more special! I suggest next time that you do it straight up instead of passive aggressively!

  • scmike

    Glad to see that you also have no rational objection to the argument! Take care and again, Merry Christmas to you!
    ‘Skeptical and friendly at the same time’…..what a hoot!

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Glad to see that you also have no rational objection to the argument!

    You claim a god exists. Our rational objection is that you merely claimed it without giving us evidence.

    The ball (and the burden of evidence) is in your court, bub. Why should we believe that your non-evidenced god exists?

  • Spuddie

    You have no rational argument. You came here insulting people. Friendly does not mean feeble.
    You came here with hate in your heart, you should expect the same in return. Jesus was very big on making that clear. Evidently you missed the memo. Too busy being born again to show a modicum of respect for those who are born once.

  • scmike

    Spuddie, I would be shocked if you didn’t at least feel the slightest twinge of guilt as you wrote your above comment, given the host of baseless allegations you have made against me and the litany of names you have called me thus far.

    (Not that I mind, though, as I have found that such tactics are usually a good indication that an opponent has run out of rational arguments. Keep it up!!)

  • Alessandro

    Yeah, we are ‘self-deceived’ because we find it hard to believe stories from a book by primitive sheep herders that tells of taking animals, hair that gives superpowers, morals like slavery good, picking up sticks on the Sabbath bad, and so deserving of death.
    And a million more insane stories and immoral pronouncements that are carefully ignored, like self deceiving really, by all good Christians.
    Happy Winter Solstice.

  • scmike

    Hey Alessandro, looks like you and Amor have chosen the same irrational line of reasoning. You don’t like the Bible—I get that. However that is not a logical justification for dismissing it. Put together something rational and I’ll see what I can do. Merry Christmas!

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    You don’t like the Bible—I get that. However that is not a logical justification for dismissing it. Put together something rational and I’ll see what I can do.

    My logical justification for rejecting the bible is because no Xian has provided any evidence that the bible is true.

    Xians merely assert that the bible is true.

    Care to give some evidence?

  • scmike

    Sure, absent the God of the Bible, you have zero justification for the existence of truth, logic, knowledge, proof, or the uniformity of nature (i.e. induction) and must accept all of these things on blind faith alone. This is being demonstrated by the atheists on this thread as we speak—just scroll up.

  • Alessandro

    Sure, I am irrational because I don’t believe in fairy tales.
    Sorry, your trick is not working, projecting yourself onto people you don’t know only reveal that you suspect you are the irrational one.
    Goodbye troll.

  • scmike

    Nice (non) argument, Alessandro. Too bad, as I was hoping for rational debate. Oh well.

  • unbound55

    Cool story bro!

    And you know Christianity is right because it’s the most popular religion right? And the most popular denomination is Catholicism…oops, that could be a problem for you…

  • Black Leaf

    1.5 billion Muslims can’t be wrong!

    Wait a second…

  • scmike

    Hey John, what people ‘believe’ has nothing to do with truth. If everyone in the world stopped believing in gravity, their believe would not negate the truth of its existence. A little more thought next time…..?

  • Black Leaf

    That was a joke. You do know how jokes work, right?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/MarriedFreeThinkers The_Intellectual_Atheist

    You said it best when you said ‘belief has nothing to do with truth.’ Truth is based on evidence. Like the example you gave of gravity…And i’ll even add evolution and the expansion of the universe from a dense point, as truths that dont need your approval. It hasnt been discovered what caused this universe yet. Science doesnt have an answer and neither do you. You have provided no tangible falsifiable evidence. All you can provide is your own personal interpretations of evidence that would be easily refuted in a peer review process from the people that actually investigate questions of physics, biology, paleontology, and cosmology.

  • gkadams69

    Haven’t you heard? Gravity’s just a theory.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/MarriedFreeThinkers The_Intellectual_Atheist

    Yup, So are germs

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    The difference between your non-evidenced god and the Theory of Gravity is that gravity can be repeatably demonstrated.

    Care to give any repeatable demonstration of your non-evidenced god?

  • scmike

    Popularity has nothing to do with it unbound55. Truth has nothing to do with consensus. Merry Christmas!

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Popularity has nothing to do with it unbound55. Truth has nothing to do with consensus.

    Excellent! So now maybe you’ll quit wasting our time with mere assertions and give some evidence for your still-un-evidenced god.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    ummmm… I am self-deceived because I don’t believe the Bronze age story of a God that raped a virgin so He could give birth to Himself so He could kill Himself to atone for the sins of the original man and woman eating a forbidden fruit that He made in the first place… And he loves me, but if I don’t believe in Him, he will send me to Hell for eternity?

    No, really – you are calling ME self-deceived?

    Happy Saturnalia!

  • scmike

    Sorry Amor, you haven’t presented any logical objection here, either—just a bunch of gross misrepresentions of the Bible, which only serve to show a very hostile bias on your part. If you’d care to posit something rational, I will see about formulating a response. Again, Merry Christmas!

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    If you’d care to posit something rational, I will see about formulating a response.

    You claim a god exists. Please provide evidence for this god.

  • scmike

    Sure. The very concept of evidence is evidence for God’s existence, as it alludes to ‘proof’. Truth, knowledge, and abstract, invariant, universal laws of logic are necessary preconditions for proving anything. Concepts such as these do not comport with any atheistic worldview or evolutionary model, while they do comport with the abstract, universal, invariant character and nature of the God of the Bible. As such they can be made sense of in the Christian worldview by the impossibility of the contrary. It then follows that Christianity is logically defensible while atheism is not, as it ends in the absurd conclusion that knowledge, truth, and logic are not possible. Why trust such a hopeless position, Bear?

  • Spuddie

    So why should anyone take your self-styled blather supporting belief in Christianity any more than support for any other religion?
    What evidence do you bring to the table?

    Do you even bother to be civil towards the belief of anyone else?
    Why would anyone even want to associate with you or your religion?

  • scmike

    Hey again, spuddie. See above.

  • Rob Stone

    Dear scmike, As an ex-christian I appreciate your point of view and I understand that not everyone has the capability to think for themselves, however, “self-deceived” is inaccurate. There are very few that truly and honestly believe in god. If you really did think god was in control of your life you would act very differently. Those that actually follow ALL of the bible are called crazy even by other “christians”. Westboro Baptist for example. Your religion is intolerant, hypocritical, and dishonest. If you were to follow everything that god commands in the bible then you too would be called crazy.

  • scmike

    Hey Rob, I’m running out of time to comment here today, so I’m going to have to be brief. In response to your claim that you were a Christian and now are not, I would ask you if you knew the Lord back then? You of course will say ‘no’, which means that you were not a Christian (the Biblical definition of a Christian is one who knows God and has surrendered to Him and His Word as their ultimate authority through Jesus Christ). If you reasoned yourself away from the position that God exists, then clearly He could not have been your ultimate authority and the foundation of your reasoning.
    The problem you have now, is that in denying God’s existence and the authority of the Bible, you lose any foundation for calling anything ‘crazy’, as you have no objective standard of logic by which to make such an allegation in your worldview. Absent an absolute standard by which people should behave and reason, your complaint boils down to nothing more than your subjective personal opinion/ preference. While I care about your opinion, it carries no academic meaning and no authority in this discussion.

  • Olive Markus

    I’m going to assume that by making this accusation, you, of course, know the Lord yourself. Since that is the case, you should have no trouble explaining exactly what it means to “know” the Lord, proving his existence, showing that that the Bible is indeed his word, that his word is Truth and that we are all compelled to live out this Truth. We’re waiting.

    Otherwise, simply claiming that you know the Lord intimately without any evidence carries no academic meaning and no authority At All.

  • scmike

    Hey Olive. Everyone knows the Lord in the sense that they are aware of His existence. A Christian is one who surrenders to Him and His Word as their ultimate authority and is born again by the indwelling of His Spirit.

    God’s existence is proven in a variety of ways evidentially, however, no evidence will satisfy those who do not wish to be convinced by it. Therefore, I argue from a presuppositional position which exposes the internal inconsistency of those worldviews which deny the God of the Bible. So, to answer your question, the proof of God’s existence is that without Him, you can’t prove anything. The necessary preconditions for proving things are truth, knowledge, and logic. None of these abstract, universal, invariant concepts can be made sense of outside of the Christian worldview, and are, in fact, mutually exclusive to atheism. As such, atheism is not a rationally defensible position (which makes it false), while Christianity is.

  • Rob Stone

    I was raised in a very christian environment. I attended a private christian school from k-9th grade. I attended church 4 times a week every week during those years. I have read the bible in its entirety hundreds of times and wrote many “book reports” concerning the teachings of the christian religion. I was very into the bible and christianity throughout my childhood. Back then yes I “knew god”. It wasn’t until I was old enough to ask questions that I realized nobody really and I mean REALLY believes in god either……If you go to the doctor for any reason you do not believe in god or that he has a plan for you. I was taught and the bible states many times that if you have enough faith then anything is possible. Well if that is the case why do you need doctors? If it is gods plan for you to get sick and die then that means that is his plan for you. How dare you try to deny gods will and seek to stay on this earth when gods plan is for you to get sick and die. I know you can cherry pick verses to dispute this and I’m sure what I said is “”out of context”” but if heaven is a much better place than here why in the world would you even WANT to stay here??? If ANYONE truly believed that heaven exists and it is “”paradise”” then getting a terminal illness would be the absolute greatest day of their life because they would soon be with god. They sure wouldn’t want to delay going to paradise….

  • scmike

    Hey Rob, thanks again for the response. You are the first professing atheist that has ever admitted that they do, in fact, know that God exists. This means that you can’t possibly be an atheist, as you can’t know something or someone which could be false or who doesn’t exist.

    As for your questions: I appreciate them, but with all due respect, they are very flimsy reasons for choosing to live in rebellion against the God whom you admittedly know exists. For instance, why could God not choose a doctor as the means through which he brings about healing? If you are intellectually honest, you would be forced to admit this possibility. Indeed, heaven is a much better place than earth, but since life is a precious gift from God, I see no reason why we shouldn’t seek to preserve it until the day of our appointed departure (especially since we know that sickness, disease, and death are natural enemies of mankind and are a result of the curse). I recommend that you give some serious thought to the real reasons for your denial of God and that you will repent and trust in Jesus Christ, as these objections will not hold up when you stand before your Creator.

  • Rob Stone

    I do enjoy discussing this subject and if you would like to you are welcome to e-mail me robstone08@gmail.com

  • jimlouvier

    You’re using the “you weren’t a real Christian” argument? You repeatly fail to even address the one challenge given to you. Prove your statement that your god exists with actual evidence. You resort to changing the subject and passive-aggressive attacks. Present your evidence or concede that your belief is founded on confirmation bias and self-delusion.

  • scmike

    Hey jim, just because you don’t like the evidence presented, doesn’t mean that none has been given. Of course, rejecting evidence simply because you don’t want to accept it is the very definition of an irrational position.

  • jmslmore

    ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

  • scmike

    Nope. Mutual exclusivity. Nice try, though.

  • RobertoTheChi

    And a Merry Passive-Aggressive Christian Version of Fuck You to you as well!

  • scmike

    So much for being ‘skeptical and friendly at the same time’, eh? Can’t help but imagine a tear in Hemant’s eye right about now. Tsk, tsk.

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    atheists and their suppression of the truth

    Xian: “My god is real!” (Claim)

    Atheist: “I don’t believe you. Gimme some evidence.” (Rejection of claim)

    Xian: “Stop trying to suppress the truth!” (Failure to give evidence to support claim)

  • jimlouvier

    You can’t claim something to be truth without evidence. If you have no evidence, the most it can be is an opinion.

  • Spuddie

    As a born again Christian you seem to have a lot of unchristlike hate in your heart for anyone who believes otherwise.
    You seem to be deceiving yourself if you think anyone should take your sectarian nonsense seriously.

  • CassandraJK

    Oh, please. If common sense, ethics, and intelligence became requirements for holding office, half of the elected officials in the U.S. would have to resign. And I’m being kind by saying only half.

  • Oranje

    *whew* I’m safe for now. I was appointed to finish someone else’s term.

    /totally the Gerald Ford route to government

  • http://www.DanielleMuscato.com Danielle Muscato

    Oh, this is just classic.

  • Deus Otiosus

    People like this senator kind of make every penny you guys spend on billboards worth twice as much, don’t they? (You’re the guy from AA, right?)

  • WallofSleep

    The Information Age has not been kind to these theocratic dinosaurs.

  • ScottG

    In some ways, the Information Age has been VERY KIND to his kind. With over 1000 channels of TV to choose from, and millions of web sites, he can push his NEW message to those places where his kind only go, and they won’t be aware of the change.

    It’s like a kind of self-selected version of Orwell’s 1984, complete with a memory hole. Sure, the Jon Stewarts of the world will do the equivalent of showing the inconsistency, but Mr. Lanza’s “type” don’t watch Jon Stewart.

  • WallofSleep

    Indeed you are right. I was thinking more along the lines of no longer being able to float a bullshit claim without having an army of keyboard warriors fact-checking the shit out of said claim.

  • Alenonimo

    Everytime I tried to open this article from the Twitter app for iOS, it would, after a while, redirect me to download the “Dragon City Mobile” on the app store.

    What gives?!

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Maybe you have the 12 Dragon Balls to summon the wish-granting Dragon (ala Dragon Ball Z)?

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Just lock the guy in a room With Ricky Gervais, Penn Jillet, and the ghost (I don’t think ghosts are real but it’s a nice image.) of Christopher Hitchens. See how long it takes for them to verbally tear this guy a new bodily orifice with which to expel the excrement that must be up to his ears.

  • toth

    I’m not sure I’d put Penn or Gervais anywhere close to the intellectual and rhetorical prowess of Hitch. Don’t get me wrong, I like them just fine. But I wouldn’t list them on a dream team of defenders of the (lack of) faith.

  • Deus Otiosus

    Especially if we get to include dead people.

  • MN Atheist

    Oh I don’t know…Ricky is pretty persuasive. And he generally speaks at a level that even this Lanza could understand. Could…but probably not.

  • toth

    Pretty much the only times I’ve heard him speak about atheism is on his Twitter account or in his standup, and I can’t say I’d be convinced.

  • Fallulah

    Gervais is a friggen genius. Hitch was good too…but really, do not underestimate Gervais’s intellect.

  • LesterBallard

    This guy is becoming one of my favorite shit stains. Wonder what he thinks about Phil Robertson?

  • http://www.facebook.com/prototypeatheist Prototype Atheist

    Instead of trying to engage atheists in a meaningful conversation and trying to understand their worldview, he instead applies misconceptions and outright falsehoods to demonize us and continue on in his fervent belief that his chosen religion is the only true and correct one.

  • jessica

    I don’t even live in New York but was so angered I felt the need to write to him. I did, I’m sure there will be no response as I’m just this hate mongering godless heathen. My email was polite and direct, not filled with the ranty rhetoric his initial statement made. I cry for human kind and the closing of minds. Glad I don’t live in his district.

  • Deus Otiosus

    While your anger is understandable, and your action commendable, if this tool doesn’t care about secular-minded people who can vote for him, he sure as hell won’t care about those who cannot.

  • jen

    Non-ranty is the way to go. Don’t give them an easy excuse to discount your opinion (they will do it easily enough anyway!) I’m not in his district either but I wrote in as well. Sometimes, the more reasonable you are, the more it pisses them off.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    I think it might be fairer to say that Atheists tend to hate God like they tend to hate Voldemort, Hank Rearden, Bill Sikes, Jar Jar Binks, Joffrey Baratheon….

    Merely because a character is fictional does not preclude the character being loathesome.

  • baal

    I might have an easier time hating god were he less abstract.

  • toth

    That’s exactly what I was going to say. I keep seeing atheists say “We don’t hate God because we don’t believe he exists”. Well, I *do* hate god (the Christian sort, anyway). I hate the character, even though it doesn’t correspond to anything in reality.

  • zero

    Certainly there are more personable and sympathetic gods to be found elsewhere…

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Odin might even wander on over for a cup of tea and some soup. You never know.

  • Little_Magpie

    Tea? Odin? Mead, more like. Or a good hearty ale, if no mead is available.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    He’s fickle.

  • Artor

    Tea? That might earn you a blood eagle from Odin. He’s a mead man for sure, but still far more reasonable & friendly than Yahweh.

  • Alierias

    I’ll take Thor, the marvel Comics Thor that is…

  • unbound55

    I have no feelings for Voldemort, Hank Rearden, Bill Sikes or Joffrey Baratheon.

    Jar Jar Binks on the other hand…

  • scmike

    “”I think it might be fairer to say that Atheists tend to hate God like they tend to hate Voldemort, Hank Rearden, Bill Sikes, Jar Jar Binks, Joffrey Baratheon.””

    Yet none of them call themselves a-Voldemortists, a-Hank Reardenists, a-Bill Sikesists, a-Jar Jar Binksists, or a-Joffrey Baratheonists. I wonder why that is? Perhaps because they do indeed hate the God that they know exists and are trying very hard to suppress that truth per Romans 1: 18-21? Sure sounds like it to me.

  • dandaman

    Followers of Voldemort, Hank Rearden, Bill Sikes, Jar Jar Binks, Joffrey Baratheon, etc. don’t base foreign/public policy on them either. Big difference. I don’t hate “god”, I love the natural world and my extensive, but limited, understanding of it. No need for fairies, even virgin ones.

  • DavidMHart

    This is astonishingly silly. Atheists also tend to ‘hate’ Allah, Kali, Vishnu, Ahura Mazda and any other gods or supernatural figures whose followers are causing harm and distorting public policy because of their beliefs. And you know that our reason for ‘hating’ those other supernatural beings is based entirely on the fact that their followers are causing harm, not on the idea that we secretly think they actually exist. Why on earth would it be any different with the god of Christianity than with the gods of Islam, Hinduism etc?

    Of course, in the real world, most English-speaking atheist activists direct their ire predominantly against the followers of the god of Christianity only because that’s the god whose followers are doing the most harm in the English-speaking world. If that changes (or in places where it’s already untrue), expect to see the focus change too. But don’t arrogate to yourself the right to state that those who campaign against harms caused because people believe in things that probably don’t exist are actually secret believers in those things. Otherwise we might just as easily say of you that deep in your heart of hearts you know that your god doesn’t really exist, but you hate the idea of being in a god-free universe so you just pretend to yourself that he does.

  • rtanen

    1. The term skeptic, which many atheists also identify with, encompasses a disbelief in all phenomena not supported by evidence, including Voldemort and Jar Jar Binks.
    2. We display our lack of belief in a god rather than our lack of belief in Voldemort because the latter is assumed. You do not go around introducing yourself as a warm-blooded mammal, do you? It is just taken for granted that all humans are. Likewise, I do not bother advertising my understanding that Star Wars is a work of fiction, because everyone assumes that I know it is a work of fiction.
    3. Even if we somehow knew that a god existed, how would we know which god? Many religions claim to have access to the teachings of the one true god in their texts, just as the Christians claim in their bible, so how would one choose?

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    If American currency said “In Voldemort We Trust,” if the Pledge of Allegiance had “… One Nation, Under Voldemort, With Liberty and Justice for All” at the end, and if American politicians tried to pass laws because “Voldemort is in my heart, and told me He wants this law enacted,” you’d join me in becoming an a-Voldemortist.

    Feel free to substitute Allah, Vishnu, Buddha, Zeus, Thor, Odin,… And, yes, your Jesus and your god, for Voldemort. How do those taste in your mouth?

  • Fallulah

    I certainly hate the god character in the bible.

  • Matthew Baker

    Reductio ad Hilterum has a huge diminishing return factor. The more you use it the less impact it has.

  • Oranje

    Is that the Mr. Hilter who is running for council from Minehead? I bet he won’t have much fun in Stalingrad!

    /it’s a wonderful bit of Monty Python if you’ve not seen it

  • https://docs.google.com/document/d/1al-RuUEVxHk3ldQQC8o0U5ES3T7MfnmxdaKjVAl0Zzc/pub Angra Mainyu

    But the change suggests that Lanza knows what he said was unfair and untrue.

    Or he believes it’s true, but reckons (perhaps, because of some of his advisers told him) it would be negative politically.

    Maybe he realized that if AA’s tax-exemption was revoked for something as harmless as that billboard, religious-based groups like Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage would be in jeopardy as well. And members of those groups are likely to make up his voting base.

    That may be possible. Alternatively, he may have reckoned (maybe because someone told him) that that would be politically negative publicity. Or both.

    Incidentally, tax exemptions are not the same as tax subsidies, and no tax dollars are going to American Atheists due to the tax exemption. Might his failure to see that difference be a problem too?

  • Rain

    hateful and malicious of god

    He could have at least put “religion” or “purported gods” in there instead of “god” so as to avoid the ambiguity jamboree fest that religion just loves so freaking much. Not that it would make it any more true. It’s a regular equivocation marathon with these religious fuzzy-word-salads. A veritable cornu-freaking-copia.

  • doc3559

    I DO hate self-righteous fools like Lanza, though. When I was a precocious inquisitive 12 year old, i told my rabbi i didn’t believe in god. He slapped me in the face. In the half century since my bar-mitzvah, i have seen far more of the pious persecuting the non-believer.

    If i truly had a relationship with the creator of the universe, i’d keep quiet and bask in the love and truth they say comes with it. But it’s nothing more than the emperor’s new clothes, so they all have to make public displays of their piety to compensate for their doubt.

  • jen

    Second displeased letter of the day DONE! This is a pretty good vacation so far. Here’s what I wrote to Lanza:

    Mr. Lanza: As an atheist, I’m used to hateful and derogatory language from people who don’t know me. I’ve heard it from public figures and private citizens; I’ve heard it from people who claim to follow the loving example of Jesus and from those who think they are fighting a holy war. But your comments are the most egregious and offensive of all. That’s because you made your comments as an elected official and used the power of your office to disparage a group of people you clearly know nothing about. You think I’m hateful? Maybe you should ask my loving family and friends. You think I don’t believe in kindness to fellow human beings? Maybe you should ask the impoverished children with genetic disorders that I have treated over the last 13 years. Your knee-jerk ignorant response to a simple billboard isn’t going to be overlooked. We know there will always be people who disagree with us, but we certainly don’t shut up and go away when an elected official decides to slander us.

  • guest

    I think him and the American Atheists deserve each other. Let them have their phony war on Christmas; I’ll be over here enjoying the sparkly lights and presents.

  • Matt D

    I fully support that idea. You go ahead and enjoy “sparkly lights and presents”, while the grown ups discuss issues that are more important than how entertained you are.

  • Croquet_Player

    I have contacted New York Senate minority leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins to find out who will be running against Senator Lanza in November. Who’s prepared to join me in the fight to unseat Lanza? I want this appalling bigot to lose big.

    I have posted this on Senator Lanza’s Facebook page and sent it to him via email.

    “Senator
    Lanza, Your attack on atheists is appalling and bigoted. I have
    contacted the democratic leadership in your district. I’m sure a great
    many of my fellow atheists will be only too happy to join me in offering
    my full support to any candidate who opposes you next November.
    Congratulations – your bigotry and open hostility to freedom of speech
    and religion has earned you an organized and vocal group prepared to do
    whatever it takes to see you lose in 2014.”

  • Timmah

    There is no room in Merica for religious persicution!

    BTW I don’t like what you are saying, so I’m gonna take away your tax exempt status.

  • tbc_6970

    I just talked to him. For a bout 20 minutes. I do not find him to be
    malicious in his intent. He has stated he would clarify his words as
    being against any group that uses hateful words to prove a point, as
    unamerican in nature, including religious groups. He admitted the changes on his site and realizes
    that it appears the correction, was seen as side stepping the issue of
    his statement. We shall see. Damage control, maybe.

  • Pitabred

    Even correcting his statement, the fact that he abrogated his responsibilities as a public servant so utterly in the first place… there are times when “I’m sorry” doesn’t fix things. This is one of those.

  • poliltimmy

    I told him not everyone would accept his clarifications. I was right. No one should have to.

  • tubi11

    “He has stated he would clarify his words as being against any group that uses hateful words to prove a point, as unamerican in nature, including religious groups.”

    Well, sure, but what does that have to do with the ads in Times Square?

    Although, really, what’s more American than using your freedom of speech to express your views?

  • Little_Magpie

    Congratulations, Mr. Lanza. You lose.

  • Kroegs

    He’s vote mining. Meaning: He knows full well this isn’t going anywhere. He wants gullible people to sign his petition to later use their information to solicit donations.

  • Christopher Griswold

    It is certainly possible to hate things that do not exist in reality. I hate Yahweh… and Voldemort, Edward Cullen, and Diesel10. I also can be reasonably sure that deities, wizards, vampires and sentient train engines are not real.

  • Gerry Mooney

    He’s silly because he thinks New Yorkers are going to be intolerant of a BILLBOARD!!

  • Brodestar

    It doesn’t matter how Lanza tries to spin this he is still wrong and a HUGE apology is required to get out from underneath his remarks. His remarks are not just hate speech but the new version shows that he has no clue what atheism even is. It’s just pathetic that he thinks this will blow over somehow, or that it’s ok to offend a group of people he doesn’t like and clearly doesn’t understand.

  • Rob Stone

    says it all

  • http://avengah.wordpress.com Matt Davis

    He’s changed it again.

  • spookiewon

    LOL That’s internet 101. It is impossible to remove something from the internet.Can you say “google cache” and “Wayback Machine?”

  • poliltimmy

    -His apology

    “I have, for the second time, amended the content of this statement. I’ve
    done so based upon conversations which I have had with callers
    describing themselves as atheists. They have expressed concern, based
    upon misinterpretation, that my original statement can be taken as
    offensive to atheists based upon their beliefs. This is not only the
    furthest thing from the truth, it is completely contrary to what I have
    intended to accomplish with my stand. My opposition to the sign has
    nothing to do with the beliefs of atheists, it has to do with the belief
    of many that it is hurtful and hateful toward people of faith at
    precisely the time they are celebrating what they believe. While our
    constitution protects such unkind statements, so does it protect my
    right to denounce them. I extend my apologies to those atheists who
    might have been offended, even if that is by virtue of misunderstanding.
    I simply believe that it is wrong to do nothing in the face of hatred. I
    defend the right not to believe as strongly as the right to have faith.
    I firmly believe, however, that neither should be used to demean the
    other. What we need is good will toward each other, and I hope this
    debate and my position has helped people focus upon that.”