Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Atheist Billboard: A Retort

So yesterday Adam posted his New Atheist Billboard post.  If you read that you may have seen my comments on it.  Basically, I disagree with the premise of not being a confrontational.  You don't have to be screaming at people, but to sit on the sidelines get us nowhere.  I feel as though we need campaigns like this to bring atheists out of the closet. People need to realize that there are more of us and we should not be quiet about it.  After all; we do want a rational, secular world, right?  That is not going to happen as long as non-believers continue to hide and go with the flow by attending church, letting people teach outrageously irrational things to our youth and generally pretending as if everything is OK.  It is not.

Well, I thought I got my point across pretty well in my comments on Adam's post and I was fine.  Then I saw the following video via AtheistMediaBlog. 3...2...1...FFFUUUUUUUUUUUUU

David Silverman vs. Megyn Kelly Over Christmas Billboard | Atheist Media Blog

Oh, how I shake with anger.  I know it's Fox News and I shouldn't get too upset.  I cannot think of a single nice thing to say about Megyn Kelly.

"Imagine driving by with your kids, taking them to go see Santa and then BAM; you see this. A silhouette of the three wise men approaching the Nativity with the words 'You know it's a myth' (empahsis added to indicate sneering tone)."

I have seen far worse Christian billboards in every corner of America with frightening imagery and words.  All in all; the American Atheist's billboard is pretty tame.

"So there ya go.  Way to ruin Christmas for all the little children like a month before, Dave." Grow up, Megyn.

"So why pull somebody out of their faith if they are wrestling with it."  Hey, if it was so easy to get someone to abandon their faith then it's not as strong, integral and necessary as you seem to feel.  Seriously, if all it took were some billboards saying the story of Christmas is a myth then this is going to be easier then we thought.

"Do you feel lonely?  Do you feel like you need the support of the masses?"  GAH! This is a major news anchor?  You condescending tool.  Whenever someone implies that atheists are pathetic or bad since we want people to come out of the closet of abandon their faith it is the height of hypocrisy.  The entire point of Christianity and Islam is to convert people.  To swell their numbers.  There are nearly as many prostelytyzing signs on the side of the road than their are for commercial businesses.

"Why impose you belief on a big billboard when little kids drive by?"

The following pictures are Christian billboards you can see on roads and highways all over America.

(more text at the bottom)

I disagree with Adam that "the sign does not attack the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season or encourage closet atheists to come out."  He is thinking like an already fully faithless and unencumbered atheist, free from the doubts and inconsistencies.  For those us raised in religious households and were formerly theists; try to remember what it was like when you had major doubts, but were still holding on due to the sometimes immense pressure from family, friends and the church.  It's a weight that you are afraid to let go.  Especially if you think you will be on your own if you do.  Everyone here at Left Hemispheres went through this years ago to some degree.  I think we are two former Lutherans, a former Catholic and a former Church of the Brethren.  Remember that and then think of how fantastic it would have been to see that billboard while driving into the city on Christmas morning.  I think it would have made my holiday when I was 15 years old.  I would have felt less...bad.  My point here is to not forget that we are on the other side.  We have made up our minds and made our choice and are comfortable with it.  However, do not forget the people that aren't in the same place.  

I also have to take issue with the statement "I don't believe that it conveys the ideologies of atheists." Which ideology should it convey?  Do we have a unifying ideology?  Nope.  We are like herding cats.  


Adam said...

OK, in my defense, I wrote the post before Megyn Kelley’s interview. After watching it, I to was seething with righteous ire. I want to lock that woman in a room with Marilyn Manson. Or Charles Manson. Anyway the goal of my post (if I had one) was to point out how quickly the Christians turned into crying children when their beliefs were challenged. As for my criticism of the billboard, it does “raise the awareness of the organization” but not “ the movement” precisely because of the “herding cats thing”. Which movement are we talking about? New Atheists, Secularists, Humanists, Freethinkers. You get the idea.
I am happy to see the sign. If only because of the conversations that it starts. I just wish it were as clever as “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” That one was an instant classic. Steve, you only get one retort to my retort of your retort. Otherwise we will bore our readers to death.