How dare we advertise our existence!?


My brother from another, er, country*, DuWayne Brayton, recently had a run-in regarding the CFI atheist billboard initiative. In meatspace, not on the blogohedron.

This is the kind of stuff I was talking about when I originally posted the “Why don’t atheists just shut up and stay home” repost yesterday, about atheists needing to fight to be allowed to do the exact same outreach that religious folks do with impunity today. It’s a matter of privilege — the majority has the privilege to say they exist, because they’re in the majority and know it. They also have the privilege to say really stupid and hateful things about the minority via the same medium (e.g., via ad campaigns that smear irreligous folks), and there’s not enough of the minority to kick up a large enough stink over it to make a difference. Meanwhile, we make one billboard that says “hey, you can be a good person without religion”, people lose their shit.

Earlier today I managed to get into an argument with someone who overheard me talking to an acquaintance at school, who I happen to know is also an atheist. We were talking about Center For Inquiry’s “living without religion” billboard campaign, specifically about the billboard CFI MI put up in Grand Rapids that essentially asserts that you don’t need God to be a decent person. All of a sudden I felt like the internet had come alive, when this woman starts berating me about how she thinks it’s just sick how us atheists feel the need to advertise our godlessness. Her biggest concern – a concern she angrily shared rather loudly – is that she doesn’t want her children to see that, doesn’t want to be forced to explain the idea that there are people who support Satan’s plan by pretending they don’t believe in God.

Seriously, her tirade was worthy of the most painfully ignorant and hateful internet troll.

Read more. You know you love whargarbl as much as I do.

* Not a real claim of filial relationship.

Pre-publication edit: DuWayne posted another related experience, motivated by my repost yesterday. Well worth a read too.

Comments

  1. Craig says

    I love how people like this woman are so ignorant of the fact that they regularly do exactly what they are decrying. How hypocritical is it to say that it is wrong for freethinkers to put up billboards when you can’t go 100 yards in the mid west without running into a billboard talking about how jebus saves or how you need god in your life. Of course they don;t recognize their hypocrisy because they believe that it’s OK to force their beliefs on other people’s children because it is doing them good, while to say something as simple, and accurate as it’s possible to be a good person without god gets them in a tizzy. Oh, and I’m NOT pretending that I don’t believe in god. I can’t comprehend believing in some mythical and mystical being because a book written by primitive people who didn’t even know that the Earth revolves around the Sun said it was so. Why is that book any more representative of the truth than the Greek or Roman gods or any other number of primitive beliefs regarding how just about every phenomena that they didn’t understand may have happened? The bible is just as plausible as saying that lighting is created by Zeus and that thunder is Thor throwing his hammer.

  2. rwahrens says

    Posted this on Duwayne’s site, and the Althenian the other day too:

    The one thing I constantly get angry over is that the theists have hoodwinked most of us into believing that schtick about how many Americans are christian.

    A number of recent polls have shown that the 40% number of weekly church attendees is overinflated – by almost 100%!

    Take this site:

    http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/csrpl/RIN%20Vol.1No.1/RIN%20Vol.1No.2/Church_lies_polling.htm

    It illustrates clearly how polls in the past have exaggerated church attendance.

    Also, this site:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_rate.htm

    Covers this subject very well, too.

    I would also contend that this tendency to lie on polls extends to those who self identify as christian as well as those who claim to attend church. If anything, I would note that people would probably be MORE likely to lie, in order to avoid letting the pollster know that they are not christian!

    These figures have been bandied about for so long that they are still being taken for granted, yet we also know that church attendance has been dropping by about 2% per year – are we certain that these folks are simply christians not going to church, or are they christians that have abandoned religion altogether?

    My point is that the atheist/not_religious movement has gained so much strength in recent years, not ONLY because of the Internet being here for us to find each other on, but because our numbers have grown faster than is truly realized, because of this “traditional” set of polling “facts” having kept the real numbers hidden for so long.

    After all, isn’t argumentum ad populum a major christian tactic? It sure would lose its punch if the people of this country began to realize that christians weren’t a majority after all, now wouldn’t it?

  3. says

    Not a real claim of filial relationship.

    And I should hope not, I’m still holding out hope that if things don’t work out with Jodi, I still might get my Canuckistanian anchor marriage…

  4. says

    Reason: not a requirement for religious discourse.

    Hypocrisy: a fundamental requirement for fundamentalism.

    Stupidity: the most useful trait in humans for assuring religion’s longevity.

    I’d write more but I’m getting too irritated thinking about assholish religionuts.

  5. Rich Wilson says

    * Not a real claim of filial relationship.

    You could always change ‘brother’ to ‘cousin’, and just not specify the level of cousinship. He might not be your 0th cousin (brother) but he’s certainly your somethingith cousin. Course I am too. And Jodi for that matter.

  6. says

    doesn’t want to be forced to explain the idea that there are people who support Satan’s plan by pretending they don’t believe in God.

    In other words, she’s angry because she’s prepared to lie shamelessly to her own children?

    Denying that there are poeple who don’t believe in a god is pretty sick.

  7. jolo5309 says

    On a similar note, but less angry, I attended my local community association’s monthly meeting (for the first time) and they were having a discussion about the mosque that moved into my area.

    There were people at the meeting that were offended by the sign put up on the mosque “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger”. I listened to the complaints and wondered what was the difference between that and bible quotes on churches.

    I will ask next time…

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