Where did all the good atheist billboards go?

It seems like the atheist advertisements are getting worse and worse. I was a big fan of some of the earlier ones like the one that read, “Don’t believe in god? You are not alone.” I also liked the “Imagine no religion” one, the “good without god” ones, and the “There is probably no god. So stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Now the atheist ads have turned more bitter and petty as well as becoming pretty much indefensible…though sadly, that hasn’t stopped those responsible for them from trying to hopelessly defend them anyway:

I’m sorry, David, but your billboard is shit. It’s doing a disservice to the atheist community. And you look like a total asshole to Fox News viewers for defending it.

Then there’s the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who have reproduced their stupid Washington Christmas “display” from last year in Wisconsin that is essentially just giving the finger to the religious.

Now I recognize that no matter what billboard atheists put up, it’s guaranteed to piss someone off no matter how inoffensive it is but that’s no reason to put up a billboard that is legitimately out to offend people…especially at this time of year.

Like last year, numerous atheist groups have tried to play Fox News’ game by playing along with this “War on Christmas” nonsense in the most childish of ways. Now I don’t think Christmas should be a national holiday either but honestly, who the fuck cares?

There are so many bigger fish to fry and sticking your tongue out at Christmas at this time of year is not going to win friends. I say, stop being reactive or childish and let them have their Christmas.

And while the holiday season commences, we should display a positive secular humanist message to the world. One of the best examples of this that I’d seen was the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia’s “Tree of Knowledge” display, which sadly this year has been disallowed. This display said all the right things. It can hardly even be called an “atheist” display at all. It celebrated tolerance, unity, and a diversity of viewpoints. And atheism was simply included as one of those viewpoints. That’s taking advantage of the sentimental spirit so representative of the season.

An even better way to promote atheism this holiday season would be to organize atheist and secular groups to take part in charity work while wearing your atheism on your sleeve, both literally and figuratively. And an even better way would be to unite atheist groups and religious groups to perform charity work together for the common good. This last one makes for great free publicity. News media love feel-good stories about opposing groups coming together for a good cause.

My point is that Fox News wants everyone to think atheists are angry, bitter assholes like the one featured in this hilarious, less than subtle trailer for the direct-to-DVD film Christmas With A Capital C:

So why would you give them exactly what they want?

C’mon atheists. This holiday season, let’s remind Americans that being an atheist can make you a better person and not just a jerk.

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5 Responses to Where did all the good atheist billboards go?

  1. I’ll grant you that David did not do a great job and that the UnitedCoR billboards and the Freethought Society have the best tactics (Although I am biased since I am affiliated with both). However, I still support these other billboards and tactics. Here is my defense:
    In defense of atheist billboards

  2. […] the good billboards get attacked The other day, I expressed my disapproval of the latest American Atheist billboard that went up in New Jersey near the Lincoln Tunnel. And […]

  3. Lance Bush says:

    Silverman did an excellent job; I can’t even believe he didn’t tell that incredibly obnoxious idiot of a woman to just shut up and let him talk.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this billboard – it’s one of the best yet. Whiners like you aren’t helping us bring reason to the world; they’re holding us back. There is NOTHING childish about being hostile towards religion and doing so publicly. What IS childish is whining about it and calling it childish.

    I mean, look at the hogwash ideas you apparently support:

    “It celebrated tolerance, unity, and a diversity of viewpoints.”

    Why would I want to tolerate Christian and Muslim beliefs? These religions are evil filth – anti-gay bigotry, rapist-protecting priests, sexist, insane, vicious Islam. Tolerance? Hell no. Diversity of viewpoints? What’s so great about that? There shouldn’t be any “diversity” about the value of science, the role of women in society, or the rights of gays: science is incredibly valuable, women deserve equal rights, and so do gays. I don’t want “diversity of viewpoint” on these matters. The only different viewpoints Christians bring to the table are insane, bad for the world, or both.

    The message you promote is a terrible one. the “coexist” shtick is not one you or anyone should be supporting; it only gives more ground to the spread of Islam and fuels the fires of Christian insanity for longer than is necessary. It is those of us aggressively opposing religion that have made changes for the better; not faithiest accommodaters who want to play with kid gloves.

    • mjr256 says:

      I’m sorry, but Megyn Kelley trounced Silverman in her interview with him. And the reason was that his lies were transparent. I don’t consider claiming the billboard says things it quite clearly does not say an excellent job. There’s nothing wrong with the advertisement if the advertisement’s goal is to turn people off to the product being advertised. But if the goal is to sell your product, then the advertisement sucks. Now you can believe all you want that critics of the billboard are holding us back; we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one. I for one don’t think reinforcing Fox News’ message of atheists as a “them” that’s out to get “us” is a particularly wise strategy. I’m all for being hostile to religion; hell, I do that almost every day on this very blog. But there’s a difference between criticizing a belief on a blog and sticking it on a giant billboard, and then lying about the meaning of the message on the billboard. I consider that a blatantly flawed strategy and isn’t even done particularly well. I have my own billboard ideas that do a far superior job at “being hostile towards religion” (again, not one of the messages Silverman admits is there) that completely undermines Fox’s strategy rather than reinforcing it.

      “Why would I want to tolerate Christian and Muslim beliefs?”
      On the internet or in any forum where you can have a lengthy intellectual discussion, you shouldn’t. On an advertisement, you absolutely should. There’s a time and place for intellectual honesty. But that’s fundamentally not the purpose of an advertisement. Advertisements are for selling products. And if we’re going to sell our product (be it atheism, reason, rationality, or secularism), then that’s when we must consider strategy. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your money away.

  4. […] Staks at Dangerous Talk. Of course I planted my flag first on criticizing this campaign a month ago here and here. The former earned me the title of “faithiest accommodater” by one commenter […]

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