Annnnnnd the hardshelled atheists largely miss the point, again.

I made a bet with myself that, when I finally tracked down all of the slogans for billboards picked by so-called ‘smiling atheists’ (H/T: @kevinholtsberry), that there were going to be a few where the smiles did not reach the eyes.  Winnowing through… well, let’s see.

  • Reasonable: “I see beauty in the universe without God.” / “Compassion is my religion.” / “We value reason and compassion.”  Slightly defensive, but they’re feeling defensive, so that’s reasonable.
  • Reasonable… enough, but notably more defensive: “I can be good without God.”  If this had been the worst one of the bunch, well, I probably wouldn’t have written the post.  However:
  • Smile not reaching the eyes #1: “Reason over faith, always.” Translation: “People who rely on faith to help them accept their deaths are inferior to people who do not.” Got to watch that ‘always,’ Nick-me-lad.
  • Smile not reaching the eyes #2: “I don’t believe in Zeus, either.” Translation: “I consider an entire suite of organic, developing, extant faiths that have existed and evolved for between one and three millenniums to be functionally, morally, and ethically equivalent to the bowdlerized storyline popularized by to so rigorously-researched authority known as Bullfinch’s Mythology.” Eddie, Eddie, Eddie: there’s a reason why Christianity went through European paganism like a hot knife through butter.  May I suggest The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity?  It’s been a while, but I recall it being quite good.  Accessible, too, which may be a consideration in your case.
  • Smile not reaching the eyes #3: “Personal gods just don’t compute.”  Translation: “All you religious people are stupid!  Also, I have no inherent sense of humor!” – OK, that last sentence may be me being unfair to Jeremy; after all, I’m married to an engineer, and she’s funny as all Hell.  But… no, I won’t finish that sentence.

So.  3 out of 7 of this campaign’s slogans are going to – instead of making nice with religious believers – just tick them off, slightly.  The scary part?  This is kind of an improvement from the usual.

Moe Lane

PS: I got nothing against atheists, but seriously: you can tell from the above which atheists might have actually ask some believers what bothered said believers about atheism in general, and which atheists never even thought to do that.  I also don’t have anything against people who don’t want to believe in God, but trust me: atheist groups should probably not give a forum to people who do have something against people who do believe in God… at least, when said groups are trying to do a PR campaign, OK?


  • Rob Crawford says:

    These atheists have no need to “introduce themselves”. They need to learn manners.

  • Jeff says:

    Their website paints them as a group of athiests and agnostics. I’m not sure their agnostic half was fully consulted for this campaign. Either that or they don’t fully grasp what an agnostic is.

  • BigGator5 says:

    I’m an Atheist and I hate other Atheists. The vast majority of them are a rotten lot who honestly have nothing better to do than to piss other people off. You, Moe, may not have anything against Atheists, but I do.

  • Finrod says:

    There’s nothing more obnoxious than a born-again atheist. South Park eviscerated them quite nicely in a two-part episode (where Cartman goes to the future) a couple years back.

  • Murgatroyd says:

    I’m yet another agnostic who gets turned off by the transcendent smugness of some atheists. They’re as bad as the people with those “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it!” bumper stickers.

    “I don’t believe in Zeus, either.” You’re onto something with your comment on this one. Years ago I read a quote from (I think) Bertrand Russell that I havent been able to find again. It went approximately:

    “When I say that I do not believe in God, it is of course the God of the Old and New Testaments of which I speak. At least the believers put some thought into philosophically justifying their faith. Those other gods of the Mohammedans and the Indian and European and Oriental pagan pantheons — they aren’t even worth the effort to not believe in them.”

  • DaveP. says:

    The point of this exercise isn’t to make the religous majority in this country think better of teh athiest minority- if they wanted to do that, all they’d ahve to do is stop filing frivolous lawsuits everytime someone says “God” in public. Oh, and stop being jerks.

    The point here is to show those horrible stupid godbotherers how much superior to them the elite athiests are.

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