Atheists Are Good Without God (And It’s Not A War on Christmas)
Dec 2010 07

Atheists Are Good Without God (And It’s Not A War on Christmas)

Posted In Activism,Blog,Politics,Science,Society

by Damon Martin

During the holiday season, atheists in America and Canada are letting everyone know they are still good without God. The message has been spread across buses and billboards throughout North America to send an alternative message during this normally oversaturated time of religious rejoice.

Groups like Secular Samaritan, American Humanist Association, and the Centre for Inquiry are responsible for the Christmas time ad buys. The gospel they’re trying to spread with these billboards is that goodness and morality are not in the exclusive domain of those that believe in a higher power.

Several secular and Atheist groups have done similar campaigns around the holidays before, with many Christians, especially in America, claiming such groups are declaring “War on Christmas.”


[Tekky Suicide in Steals Christmas]

One of the most prominent advertisements that set off such alarms this year was a billboard bought by the American Atheists on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel just outside of New York City. The billboard says: “You know it’s a myth. This season celebrate reason.” The Catholic League promptly responded with a billboard of their own on the New York side of the Lincoln Tunnel stating: “You know it’s real. This season celebrate Jesus.”

The Centre for Inquiry in Canada has purchased bus ads and transit signs that state: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Below this headline the group lists religious figures like Jesus Christ and Allah, mythical creatures like Bigfoot, leprechauns, and the tooth fairy, and practices such as prayer, astrology and ESP. The group will also be holding in-person educational events featuring expert speakers.

Meanwhile back in the United States, the Secular Samaritans, have purchased ads on buses servicing the campus of the University of Illinois that promote a particularly powerful message. The ads feature public figures such as Bill Gates. The slogan that runs alongside an image of the Microsoft founder says: “Second richest person in the world. Donated over $26 billion to charity. Bill Gates is good without God.” However it’s been reported that some religious folks in Illinois are outraged that the bus ads are allowed to run, regardless of the overwhelmingly positive message.

However such prejudice against the secular community is not uncommon. A poll done in 2006 by the University of Minnesota revealed that over 47% of people surveyed would disapprove of a family member marrying an atheist. Nearly 40% of people interviewed listed atheists as people they would identify with the least to share a vision of American society. Others interviewed saw atheists as “amoral” or involved in criminal behavior or drugs.

Given the religious community’s poor view of non-believers, it’s especially ironic that atheists and agnostics were shown to be the most knowledgeable about religion in a recent Pew Research Center poll. The results of a test which asked Americans what they knew about religion, were somewhat staggering – especially to those who profess to know better. Out of 32 questions posed, on average 16 correct answers were given. Atheists and agnostics scored the highest, just over half of the Catholics knew why they took communion, while Bible-belt Southerners scored the lowest of any identified group.

Some would argue that the billboards and ads are somehow combative and that atheists are trying to take away the religious aspects of the season. Atheists (myself included) are just following the lead of free thinkers like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris that say we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about our non-belief, even at this time of year. In the end, campaigns or not, atheists will continue to not believe in God, we will continue to believe in science, and, BTW, no one is declaring war. Well, unless you’re Daniel Baldwin.

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If you’re an atheist and want to find like-minded souls, you might want to join SuicideGirls’ Atheist Group (for members only).

Further reading: The Evolution of Religion, Why Women Are Bound to Religion: An Evolutionary Perspective, and Filtering the Truth: Religion – Friend or Foe?.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] SuicideGirls recently ran a piece about rival billboards on either end of the Lincoln Tunnel, one purchased by a Christian group and one by an atheist group with pro and anti-Christmas messages respectively and all the resulting hub-bub that caused. I live in New York now, but I haven’t been near the Lincoln Tunnel so I’ve missed all the fun, but it’s yet another example of the seasonal silliness. [...]

  2. [...] contributor Damon Martin is an atheist who believes you can be good without god. Share 0savesSave if (!window.JSKitLib) JSKitLib = {vars:{}}; [...]

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