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Nov 15 2011

Victory Through Superior Billboards

American Atheists reveal their holiday billboard, Christian eyes forced to something they don’t like, hilarity ensues.

Even before American Atheists’ latest billboard is hung in New Jersey on December 11th, extensively to poke a little fun at god and perhaps lure a few more pho-Christians over to our side of the fence; some Christians are not pleased. The billboard (picture below the fold) displays pictures of Jesus, Poseidon, a Satan-like fellow, and Santa Clause and will implore persons commuting through the Lincoln tunnel to spot which of the above figures are myths. Clearly, as some Christian figures have already pointed out, this goes too far. God will smite the American Atheists, ok maybe not. But the next natural disaster that befalls an unrelated group of people will surely be a manifestation of god’s wraith against the nonbelievers and of course, the gays.

The Christian Post already has an article up about the board and their side’s complaints against the inaccuracies of the billboard. Complaints which in my humble opinion fall more than a little flat. An unnamed pastor told the Post that the biggest problem with the billboard is that Jesus and (following his logic) Santa Claus are based on real people, and thus are not technically myths.

While it is interesting that the pastor didn’t try to defend the supernatural claims of his faith, the appeal to the historical Jesus does not strike me as that effective. The Jesus myth that most Americans are familiar with is worlds apart from the apocalyptic prophet who existed in an age of prophets and was crucified to his own shocked horror. Because such a fate was not exactly how Jesus of Nazareth thought events would play out.

At this point, fictional Jesus has so diverged from real Jesus that calling American Atheists out on a technicality seems a bit weak to me. The same applies to Santa Claus, because how many of us think of historical Saint Nicholas when we see images of his fat ass on a coke can or hear that name. It is far more likely that the mention of Santa Claus will evoke the image of Tim Allen squeezing down a chimney in a fat suit than the goodhearted chum who brought gifts of gold to families in need of a dowry.

A billboard, after all, is such a trivial thing. I see dozens of those signs which damn me to hell every time I drive the 8 hour trip from my home base to my parent’s house. But I always see more signs that damn me to high cholesterol (Exit 8 miles ahead for a Whopper!) than I ever do for god. Suck it up believers, and as always you don’t have to look at the blasted sign if you don’t want too. You can always just marvel at the natural beauty that is the New Jersey skyline.

 

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Cuttlefish

    What a long way we have come since C.S. Lewis argued against the Historical Jesus. Once upon a time, it was *only* the supernatural Jesus that mattered; now, this thin gruel of a defense shows that naturalism has triumphed over supernaturalism, even in the defenders of the church!

  2. 2
    The Lorax

    I agree with Cuttlefish (as if I ever wouldn’t); it is absolutely fascinating, to the point of hilarity, that supernaturalists are attempting to use natural science to explain their beliefs. It’s obviously selective data picking, but still; they realized they can’t be smug about it, because people are going to prove them wrong, so they are entering the court of science to try and prove themselves right. And they just end up looking like bigger idiots.

  3. 3
    geocatherder

    I have to admit, I like the billboard. But isn’t that figure of Jesus they’re using a very Catholic one?

    Also, they should have used all mythical creatures. Adding a picture of a Wall Street crook at the far right just confuses things.

  4. 4
    Emmet

    Cuttlefish #1: did Lewis really argue that? I’m curious – tell me where?

    And #1 and #2:
    Catholics have always said Jesus existed – it’s not a new thing, as you seem to be saying (is that what you’re saying?). If he wasn’t a real person he couldn’t have really founded the Church, or died, or come back to life: so, no Jesus = no Christianity.

    #3 – yep, that’s a representation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – a very Catholic devotion (some Anglicans and Lutherans go for it too). The heart represents divine love.

    As a committed Catholic who is open to the possibility he’s wrong but reckons the balance of evidence goes in favour of the Church being right, and so is perhaps part of the target audience for this board, I’d have to say it does nothing for me.
    Although that might simply be because I’ve recently been reading about the founder of AA, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who for all her freethinking and rational thought seemed to be a thoroughly unpleasant and small-minded person: I wonder how much an organisation founded on her philosophy is influenced by the unsavoury aspects of it.

  5. 5
    Ormond Otvos

    Hey, the billboard just asks a question.

    Of course, one of the major characteristics of faith is you don’t ask questions!

    If Jesus had to exist because a religion is called Christianity, what about Poseidon, or Thor?

    I benignly wish questioning upon those of faith.

  6. 6
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  7. 7
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  9. 9
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