Bruce Gleason Wants Your God to Noexist

Forget Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the rest. It's all about us, says Orange County's most famous atheist

President Barack Obama, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this year, said the Holy Spirit spoke through him as he prayed for the Reverend Billy Graham at the iconic evangelist's North Carolina home. "Before I left, Reverend Graham started praying for me, as he had prayed for so many presidents before me. And when he finished praying, I felt the urge to pray for him. I didn't really know what to say," he recalled. "What do you pray for when it comes to the man who has prayed for so many? But like that verse in Romans, the Holy Spirit interceded when I didn't know quite what to say."

Locally, Villa Park City Councilwoman Deborah Pauly, who describes herself as a "servant of the Lord" on Twitter, told those outside a Yorba Linda Muslim charity event last year that "sheer, unadulterated evil" was happening inside.

It's rhetoric like that, Gleason says, that motivates him to keep atheism in the limelight—or at least in a tiny corner of it. Besides his billboards and TV show, he isn't afraid to engage in a bit of street theater to get his message across. Last year, he led his merry band of nonbelievers to the Huntington Beach pier, where Gleason tore up passages of the Bible.

During a lively chat on a patio behind his house, Gleason accepts a challenge to a friendly game of "word association."

Christianity: "Bunk."

Islam: "Violent bunk."

Judaism: "Less bunk."

Buddhism: "One of the coolest religions around."

Wicca: "Cool religion."

Scientology: "Evil religion, nutcase sci-fi-authored . . . financially drain- ing organization."

Roman Catholicism: "In support of hiding pedophiles."

Mormonism: "Underwear."

Jehovah's Witness:"Blood transfusions."

Atheism: "The most peaceful ideology in the world because you will never see anybody raising an atheist flag to harm anybody."

When asked why Backyard Skeptics doesn't pour more resources into attacking Islam, Gleason chuckles. "We're not stupid," he says. "We're not going to put up pictures of Mohammad. . . . The Muslims to the Christians are like the Russian secret police to the FBI. You don't fuck with the Russian police; they'll cut off your fuckin' balls. Literally, that does happen. Christians or the FBI are not going to do that. They might waterboard you."

* * *

On a February night, the perimeter of Gleason's property is softly lit as a cool breeze sweeps along Santiago Boulevard. Two palm trees, illuminated by glowing lights below, stand tall above the driveway and between a pair of gates. A sign points visitors in the direction of a Backyard Skeptics meeting.

The scent of Gleason's orange trees accompanies those who walk down a long driveway, toward a breezeway with his house on one side and a garage on the other. A table outside the garage holds several books on science and atheism, including some written by Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. The Kurt Henry Band's CD From Our Religions We'll Be Free is on sale.

A Chinese man wearing a dinner jacket and jeans, the word "Cash" written on his nametag, peruses the table. He pauses to look at one book in particular: The Holey BiBull, a Gideon's Bible with a hole drilled through it and tagged with the words "International Blasphemers Day Sept. 30, 2010."

Having just arrived in the United States, Yinjie Qian, a 40-year-old manager for a Chinese travel-services company, apologizes for his broken English and introduces himself with his Americanized name: "Bill Cash."

"I really appreciate this group," Cash says eagerly. "In China, a lot of people are Buddhists. But I don't think so because I believe in nature, so I believe in evolution. . . . I think this group can help me understand more about nature."

Inside the garage, a group of about 25 atheists and agnostics gathers in a rather church-like setting: rows of chairs face a podium so that the sanctuary for skeptics resembles a storefront congregation. The friendly fellowship of "brights," as skeptics are apt to call themselves, enjoys a buffet-style dinner. On a counter along one wall, a plate of pastries rests near an uncorked bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, like an unsanctified eucharist. A camera set up in one corner is aimed at the podium. The evening's proceedings are filmed for Gleason's The Orange County Atheist TV Show.

Dressed in dark trousers, a black T-shirt and a jacket with his scarlet "A," Gleason takes the podium and makes some announcements, including how much traffic spiked on the group's website after the Thomas Jefferson billboard gaffe. To the howling delight of those gathered, he mentions a new billboard will soon debut, with an image of an angry God and the words "Worship me, or I'll put you in fiery Hell for eternity. Have a nice day, God."

He then introduces landscape artist Robert A. Richert, who grew up in Southern California and served as an Army infantryman in the Vietnam War, earning the Army Commendation Medal, with a valor device. (He was an atheist in a foxhole, Gleason helpfully explains.) Richert majored in scientific illustration at Cal State Long Beach.

With the lights turned off and heat lamps turned on, Richert gives a PowerPoint presentation on the fossil evidence for evolution, peppering his lecture with atheist humor; one slide features a photograph of a famous actor representing the personification of the most highly evolved species: "Bradicus pitticus." Another slide depicts coprolites, fossilized dinosaur feces highly sought by collectors, which Richert refers to as "dino doo-doo."

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47 comments
imgrammadee
imgrammadee

This guy is in for a RUDE AWAKENING when the Lord DOES return.  But it will be too late for him to "rethink" his atheism.  There's no "do overs".  He'll burn in hell with the rest of the world that has turned their back on our Lord.


The Bible says that when the Lord return -- "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

I happen to consider myself a backyard skeptic about alot of stuff in my own sense and mind so I guess that would make me a backyard skeptic in some sense wouldn't it, I've been thinking about joining the group just for my own self interests but I don't have any money to donate, but it's those billboards that are costing alot of money but they make money too because they're advertising, a billboard and other billboards pays for other billboards down the road don't they. Since there aren't any jobs being created then what good does it do! Seems to me the "National Recovery Act" isn't doing too good at the moment.

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

"I cant respond to your question, although I enjoy reading them!! I am so busy doing the other 'necessary' work to stay afloat". - Bruce Gleason

That answers that question, yet he responded anyway. Which tells you and me something.

He's way too busy except for his own interests and the interests of others in the group.

Money talks, BS walks.

"We are all out of jobs Bruce and there is nothing available".

Raul Morales
Raul Morales

Today reasons for No GOD is words of pain ,expression of biterness,reality is to hard to bare..The articles of no exist sound like the same foning bolonee everyone tell you when share the gospel in the streets or when outreaching in the neighbors..Today cant see what they cant touch.....But God's mercy and grace out weights the evil and the wickedness in the world...

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

"One must never be entirely dismissive of ancient beliefs anyone who scoffs at them should spend some time in the tropics it could be a most enlightening experience for the closed minded". - A quote from a Sherlock Holmes movie called 'The case of the Whitechapel Vampire by Hallmark Movies.

Athirson
Athirson

Just think how much $ the likes of Comfort, Warren,and the rest of the Talibangelists stand to lose if Gleason's ideas catch on. Jan Crouch might have to start paying for her own boob jobs. Oh, the humanity!

Swag
Swag

the only god that matters is based god lil b

Ernst Ghermann
Ernst Ghermann

I wish the article had made it clear that Bruce did not rip pages out of the Bible at random, he tore out the pages with verses that are so vile and inhumane that no decent Christian can and does accept them.

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

I have a question and an inquiry: If you're an athiest and don't believe in God or a God of some sort then why do you speak in churches that promote God and the belief in Gods if none exist?I am not asking this to piss people off I just don't get it but then again I do, I don't support the idea because I consider myself to be agnostic. And I have read the book by Elaine Pagels called the Gnostic Gospels which means knowledge not known. A facisnating read by the way. IIt's been a few years since I've read it and I need to go do so again.

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

"All the people that teach in the synagogues (churches) and on the streets are hypocrites". - Jesus Christ.Sometimes it just makes me feel like an amoeba. Big LOL.I saw the new version of the movie "The Thing" and it had this sequence in it where the creatures cell structure was devouring the cell structure of the human cells and replicating them and turning itself into human form, that part was a facinating concept in and of itself and very very scary..

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

I went on a trip with this guy to the Goldstone Array. He's interesting.

Sandy Kokch
Sandy Kokch

No Ray....Bruce thinks he is a HUMAN.

Your status in that regard is still up for debate.

Bruce speaks satirically for the reasoning section of US society. You on the other hand make a fat wad of cash selling ignorance and superstition flavour snake oil and fairy tales to the wilfully ignorant. Bruce causes laughter to erupt when he tells jokes. You on the other hand are an online joke, a long running source of ridicule for your BananaMan stupidity. You and Kirk CrocoDuck Cameron are the free thinkers favorite in house laugh of the decade.

Fancy a Banana my fellow primate?

Ocvoice02
Ocvoice02

It's always annoying when a fellow atheist gets his or her history wrong, especially when their mistake is printed in a mainstream newspaper. Sorry, but Christianity played a major role in setting the Jews up for Hitler's Final Solution--he merely borrowed Christianity's centuries-old blood libel, cited God, got lots of help from Christians and also started his own religion based on the same components as any other religion: mythological origin, unbending faith and obedience, heaven or utopia on earth, forcing your beliefs on others and killing the heretics and evil-doers. And, yes, the Nazis murdered millions but so did the Christians--and they continue to murder millions through their proxies in the US war machine, which is a Christian war machine strongly linked to the co-religion of Capitalism. Stalin enforced a "secular" religion of (his brand) of communism, wherein he was God, the state was the infallible interpreter and enforcer of his will, and the socialist or communist state was the heaven on earth. It is religious thinking, not any particular religion itself, that is the problem.

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

Another wannabe Hitchens "showing everyone his ass" so-to-speak. Big deal.

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

There's no physical proof that you can show me that a man called God exists if there is then show me a real picture of him and I am not talking about a painting or a cartoon caracture of him, I am speaking of a real photograph of what he looks like in physical form. This is why I consider myself an agnostic as even Jesus (who was supposed to be God's son) said himself that no one knows what my father looks like as none are good, no not one. But Jesus was hung on a medieval torture device called a cross by Roman Catholic soldiers because he would not accept Julius Ceasar as his ruler or king.

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

There's no physical proof that you can show me that a man called God exists if there is then show me a real picture of him and I am not talking about a painting or a cartoon caracture of him, I am speaking of a real photograph of what he looks like in physical form. This is why I consider myself an agnostic as even Jesus (who was supposed to be God's son) said himself that no one knows what my father looks like as none are good, no not one. But Jeus was hung on a medieval torture device called a cross by Roman Catholic soldiers because he would not accept Julius Ceasar as his ruler or king.

Grumpy_gorilla2u
Grumpy_gorilla2u

There's no physical proof that you can show me that a man called God exists if there is then show mw a real picture of him and I am not talking about a painting or a cartoon caracture of him, I am speaking of a real photograph of what he looks like in physical form. This is why I consider myself an agnostic as even Jesus (who was supposed to be God's son) said himself that no one knows what my father looks like as none are good, no not one. But Jeus was hung on a medieval torture device called a cross by Roman Catholic soldiers because he would not accept Julius Ceasar as his ruler or king.

Cbksk
Cbksk

Tacky move ending the article with the liar for Jesus Comfort.

Banana boy and his idiocy should go back to the Bronze Age.

Alex McCarthy
Alex McCarthy

Where were you when I was banging the anti-theist gong in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Lake Forest and San Juan Capistrano from 1988 - 2005?

kerky thea
kerky thea

Once, a little girl saw me and asked her mom, in an accusatory tone, why I have long hair and if that means I am going to hell. This was in 2011, not 1961.A supposedly civilized, first-world culture where a disbelief in God is considered edgy, provocative, or taboo simply isn't.

Crickett
Crickett

I got bagged on for admitting that since the age of 6 I haven't believed any of the fairy tale about God and Jesus.

occateyes
occateyes

He makes no money off this or the Billboards, any donations go right back into taking action and stopping the harm that religion causes.

occateyes
occateyes

What does he have to do with the fact people are out of work? He is a grassroots activist. 

occateyes
occateyes

Tell that to starving children, tell that to children of faith based homes that when sick and dying the parents "pray" insteaad to taking them to the hospital for help.

Swag
Swag

"close minded" is pious shithead code for "does not agree with my particular strain of crazy"

Swag
Swag

Nobody's going to bother watching an hour of that.

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

In the athest view of the world, it really doesn't matter though. You're nothing but atoms that formed accidentally on a dying planet, fueled by a dying sun, in an expanding universe that someday won't be able to even hold those atoms together anymore and all life will forever cease.

It's just a struggle to get your dna out there at everyone else's expense pal and if you can take over a country to do it, better yet. Welcome to state atheism, the horror of the 20th century. Let's take a little stroll down memory lane and look at the hundreds of millions persecuted for being "religious" and the bodies did stack up. But then the end justifies the means.

Some atheists like to paint a thin veneer of humanism over the top but I've observed they throw it away like a piece of used toilet paper when it gets in the way of something they want. But then why wouldn't they? It's not like they believe they have to get an account someday for their words and actions to a Creator God.

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

I've never been one to accept the interpretation of scripture from an atheist. I prefer the interpretations of scholars who understand it in a systematic theology context. Watching a bull in a china closet is entertaining but I wouldn't want to accept the bull shi* he's dishing out and someday the bull has to pay for the broken dishes if you get my meaning ;).

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

My observation is that these people are unconsciously trying to fill a giant hole in their soul through proselytizing a view of the world that is ultimately meaningless. It's like a hamster running a wheel. They never get anywhere but they run really hard for a long time.

Kounetsu
Kounetsu

You sound like a stupid idiot or a teenager. Most likely both.

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

There was a nice way to say that but you chose not to.

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

Nonsense. Your history is as bad as your philosophy. I'd correct both but it's late and I need to get some sleep so I'll just leave you with a thought.

Atheists fail to appreciate that historically whenever a society has rejected religion it transcendentalized alternatives which become became quasi-divine authorities in their own right which eventually none were permitted to challenge.

Perhaps the most familiar example of this dates from the French Revolution, at a time when traditional notions of God were discarded as obsolete and replaced by transcendentalized human values (e.g. secular humanism replaced Christian humanism). Madame Rolande was brought to the guillotine to face execution on trumped-up charges in 1792. As she prepared to die, she bowed mockingly toward the statue of liberty in the Place de la Revolution and uttered the words for which she is remembered: "liberty, what crimes are committed in your name." All ideals divine, transcendent, human or invented are capable of being abused. That's just the way human nature is. And knowing this, we need to work out what to do about it rather than lashing out uncritically at religion. Atheism cannot end divisions within humanity. These divisions are ultimately social constructs that reflect the fundamental sociological need for communities to self define and identify those who are "in" and those who are "out," those who are "friends" and those who are "foes." The importance of "binary opposition" in shaping perceptions of identity has been highlighted in recent years. This binary opposition leads to the construction of the category of "the other devalued half of a binary opposition, when applied to groups of people. I watch atheists do it to religious people all the time just as you, in fact, do. The simplistic belief that the elimination of religion would lead to the ending of violence, social tension or discrimination is thus sociologically naive. It fails to take account of the way in which human beings create values and norms, and make sense of their identity and their surroundings. If religion were to cease to exist, other social demarcators would emerge as decisive, some of which would become transcendentalized in due course. That's exactly what we saw in the 20th century in the areas under atheistic control. A criticism that is often directed against religion is that it encourages the formation and maintenance of in-groups and out-groups. But what, many will wonder, about Jesus of Nazareth? Wasn't this a core theme of his teaching-that the love of God transcends and subsequently abrogates such social divisions? Jesus explicitly extends the Old Testament command to "love your neighbor" to "love your enemy" (Matthew 5:44). Far from endorsing out-group hostility, Jesus both commended and commanded an ethic of out-group affirmation. Some Christians may certainly be accused of failing to live up to this demand. But it is there, right at the heart of the Christian ethic and genuine followers follow it. Atheism has no ultimately meaningful replacement positing that we are pure matter on a dying planet fueled by a dying sun in a dying universe that is accelerating to the point where even atoms won't be able to hold together and that nothing we feel, believe, or do matters in the end. Chow.

Kounetsu
Kounetsu

I have to admit that this guy comes across as a boring idiot trying hard as hell (and failing) to be provocative with his stupid shitty beard and his FUK U MOM attitude as if he's some kind of rock star. Look at his pose in the first photo. It's a pose that says "Heh, I eat vanilla ice cream. Are your jimmies not rustled?" No, sir, my jimmies aren't rustled.

On the other hand, organized religion, specifically Christianity actually has the power to straight up fucking ruin your life. Especially if you live in America, and especially if you live in Orange County. Learn some perspective. The way he looks and carries himself should be a complete and utter non-issue. The powers that be have convinced knuckleheads like you that the most utterly irrelevant non-issue has any weight. It's the same wretched mentality that focuses on Michelle Obama's looks and not... whatever the fuck it is first ladies are supposed to do.

Guess who's responsible for fucking with the perspective of knuckleheads like you? The religious right.

Kounetsu
Kounetsu

The presence or absence of God or Jesus is completely and utterly irrelevant. It's a philosophical matter that's best left to academics.

What really matters is when or how the Church is going to fuck you next and how to stop them. Actions, not words.

ThinkingAtheist
ThinkingAtheist

Exactly. Why the hell would the delusional theist get the last word in an article about a secular group? Still, his comment was completely insane, and the more religious insanity that gets exposed the better.

kerky thea
kerky thea

My memories go far back enough to remember a time when I had no idea who or what Jesus Christ is or was. I was 4.

You know how I learned about him? When a foul-mouthed shrew of an old woman outside of Orange Lutheran damned me to hell for not already knowing this. What a first impression.

wittenlove
wittenlove

@occateyes come on. Who doesn't take their kids to the doctors when they are sick?.  Is this how you get people to join?  You have to lie to them? At least come up with something more believable.  You make believers sound like witch doctors..... 

Swag
Swag

"Welcome to state atheism"Awesome."the horror of the 20th century."Hell yeah."Let's take a little stroll down memory lane and look at the hundreds of millions persecuted for being "religious" and the bodies did stack up."I like the way you talk.Persecuting Falun Gong was the most righteous, justified thing the PRC has ever done. I wish America would do the same to the Church of Scientology.

"But then the end justifies the means."Sure do.

Athirson
Athirson

Or perhaps consider the millions more persecuted or killed in the name of Religion!

Tell me something: Is there anything good, that a religious person has ever done, that could not have been done by a non-believer? I ask this because I certainly can't imagine, based on the admittedly correct assessment set forth in your first paragraph, a group of non-believers hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings based on the nebulous promise of "72 Virgins in Paradise".

Swag
Swag

"I've never been one to accept the interpretation of scripture from an atheist."This is analogous to what happens every. single. time. a magical thinker consistently misunderstands or misrepresents evolution, quantum mechanics, or electromagnetism, or any other sciencey subject.

Evolutionary theory never claimed that we "came from monkeys"Quantum mechanics does not mean we can just will cancer away if we wish really hard.Microwaving your food does not give you cancer.

For what it's worth, there are plenty of bitter atheists who know your silly books very, very well. They were forced to study it and were brought up in your sick death cult. Apostates, the lot of them.

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

I know a great number of Christians that are independents and Democrats. The "religious right" as you call them are but one of many segments of religious people in this country just like those that believe in a young earth are just one of many segments of religious people in this country.

Only about 14 percent of the electorate in 2000 identified itself as part of the "Christian Right,"

Reference: Kellstedt, Lyman A., Corwin E. Smidt, James L. Guth, and John C. Green. 2001. "Cracks in the Monolith? Evangelical Protestants and the 2000 Election."

Facts > myth everytime friend.

jesusisaliberal.org, reasons.org, biologos.org, etc... etc... etc... etc....

rox1smf
rox1smf

@wittenlove @occateyes  

There are, unfortunately, altogether too many stories of kids who've died for lack of medical care because the parents opt for superstition instead. Hell, ONE is too many. Prayer has a terrible success rate.

Here we go...
One set of parents, TWO dead kids.
http://rt.com/usa/second-child-dies-parents-pray-301/

:::::


Herbert and Catherine Schaible are members of a fundamentalist Christian church that believes faith healing will cure an ailment before modern medicine. Eight-month-old Brandon Schaible died last week after suffering from diarrhoea and breathing maladies. He had also stopped eating, and the Associated Press reported that Brandon’s sickness lasted for at least a week.

The couple was sentenced to 10 years’ probation after being convicted for involuntary manslaughter in the death of their 2-year-old son Kent, four years ago. Kent died after a similar sickness left him with a loss of appetite as well as congestion and heavy coughing.


:::::

If you don't want your beliefs ridiculed, then don't have ridiculous beliefs (or, don't share them publicly).

debaser
debaser

Age's post was well written and well reasoned. It pre-kicked your ass and the best you can come back with is some comment about being delusional. You didn't help your cause by posting such a weak response.

 
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