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Jan 29 2012

Is there such a thing as an inoffensive atheist billboard?

As we all know, billboards with atheist messages seem to arouse indignant responses because of their purported offensiveness. Richard Wade wonders if it is the message itself or simply the fact that the word ‘atheist’ appears in the billboard sponsor’s name that drives believers up the wall.

To test his hypothesis, he suggests a number of billboards. Pretty funny.

(Thanks to reader Fu Dayi.)

9 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    I particularly like one of the comments on the Friendly Atheist blog:

    For the love of Nothing, please have that Drive Carefully sign read

    “Please Drive Carefully, not everybody has an afterlife to fall back on. — American Atheists”

  2. 2
    larianlequella

    It doesn’t matter. The freedom to offend is a privelidge that is only extended to theists it would seem: http://larianlequella.blogspot.com/2010/12/start-2010-war-on-christmyth.html

  3. 3
    Matt Meeks

    A few years ago here in Colorado, there were billboards put up that said “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” set against a background of blue sky with a couple clouds. No religion bashing, merely letting people know that if you happen to be without a belief in any gods, there were others like you that you could connect with. Even as innocuous as that was, there were quite a few Christians who found it deeply offensive and used words like “in our faces” and “forcing your beliefs on us”. Yet, when Camping’s organization put up billboards saying the world was going to end and we’d better all repent, no mention of being offended. I guess some people get offended if they get reminded that there’s a point of view different than their own.

  4. 4
    'Tis Himself

    My brother, who is a Catholic, complains “why are atheists so nasty?” For some people, the existence of atheists is nasty.

  5. 5
    Dave Huntsman

    When a similar “Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone” billboard went up in Cleveland – on Interstate 480 – it provoked zero outcry. HOWEVER, it did lead to an explosion in calls to the Cleveland Freethinkers, part of the Coalition that put the billboard up.

  6. 6
    Mano Singham

    I wondered why there was no outcry here and thought that perhaps it was because of the ambiguity of the message, that it could be read as reassuring people that god was still with them despite their doubts, the ‘unseen guest at every meal’ sort of thing.

  7. 7
    scottplumer

    Why not a nice Bible quote, like this one:

    Deuteronomy 25:11-12: 11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

    Leviticus has lots of good ones, too.

    How could they possibly object to that?

  8. 8
    BillyJoe

    Song of Solomon, 1. 13

    A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me;
    he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.

  9. 9
    P Smith

    I’m neither defending Microsoft nor attacking Apple when I say this, but this reminds me of the “copyright infringement” dustup between the two companies, the frivolous “look and feel” lawsuit. Apple’s claim was that everything they pointed to in Microsoft’s GUI was ripped off from theirs. Essentially, they wanted to make it impossible for their to even BE a Microsoft GUI. It wasn’t about “infringement”, it was about eliminating competition.

    The same goes for billboards paid for by atheists. No billboard, no matter what the content, would be labelled “offensive” if atheists paid for it. The sign could say, “Obey the law and give to charity” and contain the name of an atheist group, and it would be labelled “offensive”. Or even just a sign advertising the website address, no text at all, and the religious would freak out.

    The only thing that atheists can do that the rabidly religious won’t oppose is to be silent. Which is exactly what they want, to prevent any voices from being heard except theirs.

    .

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