I started seeing noise on Twitter about an atheist billboard in Times Square.
David Silverman, President of American Atheists stated, “We know that a large population of ‘Christians’ are actually atheists who feel trapped in their family’s religion. If you know god is a myth, you do not have to lie and call yourself ‘Christian’ in order to have a festive holiday season. You can be merry without the myth, and indeed, you should.”
Mr. Silverman continued, “We encourage people to be honest with themselves and their families this year. If you don’t believe in god, tell your family—honesty is the greatest gift, and they deserve it.”
Teresa MacBain, Communications Director and a former pastor stated, “The true beauty of the season—family, friends, and love—have nothing to do with the gods of yesteryear. Indeed, the season is far more enjoyable without the religious baggage of guilt and judgmentalism. Dump the myth and have a happy holiday season.”
So isn’t an atheist billboard in Times Square kind of preaching to the choir?
— Jeff Miller (@CurtJester) December 13, 2012
“Dump the myth and have a happy holiday season.” Been there done that. Would much rather enjoy the gift of faith and ponder upon the wonders of the Incarnation. I was certainly happy as an atheist, but prefer both happiness and joy.
Billboards like this are theist bait designed to get attention and so this is effective at some level. I do wonder if there really are the masses of people hiding their non-belief? Seems to me that there is now more stigma associated with faith than in agnosticism and atheism. The fundamentalist and the bible thumper has plenty of stereotype attention. While I am sure there are some people who do hide their unbelief. Are they really just waiting for a billboard in Time Square for encouragement to come out? Plus as others have noted there is the odd irony of promoting Santa while saying Jesus is a myth. Maybe campaigns like this are to create a sense of community for atheists. We all seek a sense of community and desire encouragement for the like-minded.
As The Crescat noted Atheists.org, be honest. It’s just Christians you have issue with, not religion in general…. This fact has certainly been noted before that it is almost always Christianity that is aimed at and ridiculed. It would seem that atheism should be an equal opportunity ridiculer of religion. Still it makes sense that this is so in a Christian/post-Christian society and that this would be the target.
The more interesting question is why such campaigns and efforts by atheists are more like political campaigns and attack ad based. Where are the signs/bumper stickers/reaching out efforts promoting the positive joy of atheism. For a group that constantly talks about reason the efforts are largely mockery-based. If you had a positive atheist message on a bumper sticker what would it be? Even in the realm of car magnets atheists mock the Ichtus instead of advancing their own symbol.
When I tweeted something along these lines earlier I got a bunch of joyful replies from atheists on the positive aspects of unbelief. I mean by joyful use of the F-word and assumptions made not based on what I wrote. Apparently the thing to be avoided at all costs is guilt. The sign of a working conscience is now a defect. I found a rather odd way to avoid guilt, I try to avoid sin – fancy that.