Really, Atheists? You can do better than this.

Earlier in the week I wrote a now viral post on the origins of the word “Xmas” and came to the defense of some of our atheist friends who often get incorrectly blamed for trying to take “Christ” out of “Christmas”. While I was correct in my explanation of the history of the term, this morning it seems that the folks over at American Atheists are seriously complicating my hopes at promoting inter-faith harmony and goodwill during the holidays.

As originally pointed out by my Patheos colleague, John Shore (thanks for the aneurysm, John), folks over at American Atheists have taken out a digital billboard in Times Square which appears to have no other purpose than to antagonize Christians. The press release from their website reads:

“American Atheists launched a major billboard display on Tuesday that declares Christmas is better without the Christ. The huge 40′x40′ digital billboard is located in Times Square in Midtown Manhattan. Using motion graphics, the billboard proclaims, “Who needs Christ during Christmas?” A hand crosses out the word “Christ” and the word “NOBODY” appears.”

The billboard animation can be seen here:

My only response to this is: really?

I can’t think of one positive reason to take out a billboard like this– it is no different than some of the obnoxious behavior that happens on our side of the fence, and only serves to stir up trouble. Don’t like over-the-top militant Christians? Well, this really isn’t the way to get them to be quiet— stuff like this is only going to make them louder.

While many of us are trying to promote goodwill during the holidays, signs like this simply play into the hands of those wanting to fight a culture war and remind me that we not only need less Christians like Robertson, we also need less atheists like Dawkins.

I would love to see my atheist friends denounce this unnecessarily antagonistic behavior with the same force that I critique loud voices in my own movement– because this, is not helpful.

I’m trying to help you guys, but I can’t in good conscience tell my people that there isn’t a “war on Christmas” when you guys are pulling stunts like this. If you guys think that your worldview is the correct view, there’s a better way to communicate it.

But stuff like this? This doesn’t accomplish anything positive, but only drives us further apart from the place where we can listen and reason with one another.

I work hard to encourage my side to do better, and I hope you’ll do the same.

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  • Johnathan

    The response is bound to be ‘we are reaching out to those asking the same question.’ Unfortunately demanding sensitivity to your cause then not returning the favor is poor form.

  • Terry Firma

    “I would love to see my atheist friends denounce this unnecessarily antagonistic behavior with the same force that I critique loud voices in my own movement– because this, is not helpful.”

    How’s this, Ben?

    “I think [the American Atheists ad] is lame in part because it’s untrue. Who needs Christ during Christmas? Lots of people. They’re called Christians. We may not like that, but I wouldn’t call them nobody / nobodies. It’s a needless provocation. The ad would have been more effective — an invitation to reflect — if AA only showed the second part.”

    Wrote that a couple of days ago. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/12/04/another-atheist-billboard-launches-in-times-square-who-needs-christ-during-christmas-nobody/#comment-1150268544 Lots of other godless commenters at that blog called out the ad too.

    Sorry ’bout the dicks. You’re right, we can do much better.

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com/ Ryan Blanchard

    I’m with Terry. For all the time we atheists have to spend defending ourselves against charges of being just another religion, or of trying to convert Christians…this doesn’t help. Just as there is no czar or Christianity, there is also no czar of atheism, including fundies like Dawkins. And as always, it’s not logical to judge the validity of an idea based on the behavior of its followers.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How is Dawkins a fundamentalist?

  • Terry Firma

    Look, I’m a hardcore atheist and even I have problems with his approach and demeanor. I recently tried watching Dawkins’ BBC TV program “The Root of All Evil” and switched it off after he went to Ted Haggard’s New Life Church and told Haggard that the service reminded him of “a Nuremberg rally” and that “Dr. Goebels would have been proud.” Skip to 3:13. What in the actual fuck?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmMv0ceWTVQ

    Haggard is a real creep, but comparing him (and more importantly, the thousands of people at that service) to Nazis is so far beyond decency that words fail me.

    Dawkins has his moments, but his overall coldness, lack of humor, tone-deafness, and arrogance make him a really problematic spokesperson for atheism — and a pretty good approximation of religious fundies everywhere.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Haggard is a real creep, but comparing him (and more importantly, the thousands of people at that service) to Nazis is so far beyond decency that words fail me.

    -Which is why he did not compare him or his followers to Nazis. He compared the effectiveness of Haggard’s worship services to the effectiveness of the Nuremberg rallies.

    coldness, lack of humor,

    -I haven’t seen this from him.

    tone-deafness

    -Occasionally, this has happened. But your remark that Dawkins is “comparing him (and more importantly, the thousands of people at that service) to Nazis” shows equal tone-deafness.

    and arrogance

    -Any truth claim is seen by someone as arrogant.
    Is a fundamentalist merely someone with gravitas?

  • Terry Firma

    Re: “He did not compare him or his followers to Nazis.”

    That’s a interesting take, Clintonesque in its extraordinary parsing of language. Again, the scene is at 3:13. I invote everyone to have a look / listen. Is Dawkins comparing Ted Haggard’s flock to Goebels lovers and Nazis? Depends on what the meaning of “is” is, I suppose?

  • http://aquaam.com/ Michael Stieger

    Instead of “Nobody” (which is simply untrue), they should’ve said “People with psychological disorder”. Offended? Who cares, it’s the truth. Being religious is the same as having psychological disorders. That’s pretty clear if you look at all relevant studies in the regard…

  • Victor Atkinson

    Did you read the article?

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com/ Ryan Blanchard

    Hey look, someone took a Rush Limbaugh quote about liberals and transformed into an embarrassing ad hom against Christians. I don’t think I should have to apologize on behalf of the non-asshole atheists, but it’s getting close to that point.

  • http://aquaam.com/ Michael Stieger

    See, you all feel offended. I didn’t attack any people, I simply stated the truth. It is irrefutable that religion hinders progress. Heck, have you people ever examined history? Have you people any knowledge in psychology? I do, and I tell you with full confidence: Religion is a huge problem, the biggest in fact. I’m not just talking about christianity, islam etc., I’m also talking about capitalism, socialism, communism. ALL of these are religions, as they have absolutely no scientific grounding in reality. They are decoupled from reality to serve the purpose of few. They glorify “opinions”, even though an opinion on itself has absolutely no value, and there is no reason to respect it, if it is not aligned to reality.

    Wake up… Science is the way to go. We need to stop defending this crazy notion of faith, otherwise we stop evolving and probably kill ourselfs because we’re too fucking stupid to realize that nature doesn’t give a damn about our opinions.

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com/ Ryan Blanchard

    My opinion is that your immense certainty is unjustified, and your attitude is no different than a religious zealot. And if you’re offensive to me, a fellow atheist, you’re certainly not going to be persuasive to those with “crazy notions of faith.” That’s all I have to say on the matter.

  • Terry Firma

    Michael, you write like you’re about 17. That’s a compliment if you are in fact 14 or so, and not a compliment if you’re 18 or older.

    Even if you’re right, the message will never come across when you package it with such antagonism and immaturity, especially here, on a Christian blog that oozes good will and frequently finds common ground with us atheists.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Ok, now my stomach hurts from laughing.

  • Guest

    I’m sorry that you lack knowledge to understand me. Maybe you should spend some time reading books. Although, you won’t find the answer in the bible ;-)

  • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

    I am frequently at philosophical odds with Mr. Corey, even going so far as to state that on a theological and intellectual level we are virtual opponents, even enemies.

    I have found, in half a year of reading his blog, that he is many things. Unintelligent is not among them. Not even close.

    To suggest that Mr. Corey needs to ‘read more books’ in order to converse with you is not only intellectual dishonesty, because the most cursory glance at this blog reveals that Mr. Corey does indeed read many, many books, but also intellectual cowardice. You refuse to address anyone here as an adult in an effort to sidestep addressing their points. There is a much ruder term for this level of intellectual immaturity, and it’s called ‘American high school.’

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    You’re not my enemy Irish– I actually like you :)

  • http://aquaam.com/ Michael Stieger

    @disqus_vu1JXBatXw:disqus
    My certainty is substantiated with scientific evidence. My attitude is far from a religious zealot. I wouldn’t punish religious people, or bring hatred towards them (like religion). I would try to find a way around their cognitive dissonance and help them to understand the world and drop superstition.
    I honestly hate religion. I don’t hate religious people though… few of my best friends are religious. But EVERYTHING I learned about psychology points towards the notion that religion is hindering progress substantially, especially through the glorification of faith. Faith has to be ridiculed, because it is dangerous. Yes, people can do good things and justify them with the holy scripture. The problem is rather the ones who justify their hatred with it (which is just as valid in terms of holy scripture). You can justify so much hatred with religion.

    However, if you have good education and just understand how the world works, there is NO WAY you can justify hateful behavior. That’s my problem with religion. And don’t tell me “the people distort it”, or “it’s the people”. It’s NOT. We’re completely conditional. We’re all the same in that sense.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Proof, my friends, that fundamentalism is not just a Christian problem.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How is anything Michael said even remotely indicative of fundamentalism?

  • Lora Gorton

    So Micheal you hate the sin (the concept of God) but love the sinner (religious people)? And all we need is to be educated and that make us good little boys and girls. :) Do you think the concepts behind atheism has only created good and wonderful things? If God isn’t a real person but just a concept then that maybe right. I guess all of us will someday find out if he is a real person but most here believe the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork and we see Him as a loving God that we want to spend all eternity with. And someday we will meet others who know his love. I don’t think that’s so bad do you?

  • Lora Gorton

    Michael are you sure you stated the truth? It amazes me your so sure about how bad religion is. I would agree that religion is bad. But will science save us all? Make us better more loving less self centered more productive people? Remember all of us will someday face one thing. DEATH. When a person has been stripped of all their crutches, health, wealth, mind, talents loved ones then they discover what their real God is. Many it’s science/evolution or the goodness of mankind. Oh really. I’ve found that no matter what Hell I go through that I still have hope and a future in Christ that no one can take away from me so call me loony if you like. But my life has more meaning then anyone who think after they die they simply become worm fertilizer. Will anyone remember you 200 years from now. What hope is that? What purpose is a life like that? Even the fear of death has no sting for me because for me to live is Christ to die is gain. And it has nothing to do with keeping some moral code or appeasing God. How many people can say that? That’s religion. No thank you I’ve been there done that and it doesn’t work.

  • Lora Gorton

    Oh I did a no no. State, “I don’t like religion, but Christianity is a relationship with God.”

  • http://aquaam.com/ Michael Stieger

    So, you are afraid of them, and comfort yourself with lies. Of course, that’s what almost all religious people do. I’m not judging you because of it… it’s the natural notion of it. And there you have it, proven for yourself. Religion is NOT based on “love”, but fear. This fear is abused to lure you in.

    I don’t really see a reason to be afraid that I’ll die one day. In fact, if I didn’t, life wouldn’t even nearly be as valuable as it is. After all, when I’m dead, it’s over… nothing, no feelings, just over. No consciousness, which could fear.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to enjoy the time I have. ;-)

    Also… regarding purpose of life. Being an atheist is wonderful, because you can make your own purpose.

    All what I have said comes from studying psychology, especially manipulation and indoctrination (for marketing). Isn’t it weird that I’m learning a lot from religion when it comes to hardcore manipulation?

    If it’s the “truth”, then why does it even require indoctrination? Shouldn’t it be completely natural? Why are we naturally atheists?

    Seriously, if you bring up a child, and never mention god in their entire lifetime… and give it a good education… they would never even ask the question if there is something like a god, because it is completely irrational.

  • Lora Gorton

    Who’s talking about FEAR? When I first believed in Christ it had nothing to do with fear and it still doesn’t. If it did I probably wouldn’t be a believer either. As for psychology and children being manipulated and indoctrinated well don’t you think we are all a bit indoctrinated? And this view that children are naturally atheists is debatable.

  • Ignatz

    [, I’m also talking about capitalism, socialism, communism. ALL of these are religions,]

    “When I use a word,” said Humpty Dumpty, “I use it to mean what I want it to mean.”

  • http://aquaam.com/ Michael Stieger

    @loragorton:disqus
    I hate faith, because it has no value to society, it contradicts our education and it can be the cause/amplifier of extremely harmful behavior. If you are a christian who actually helps others, and don’t just pray for others (which is just as deluded and worthless), then you’re actually someone whom I’d admire!
    But most christians are far from that. They simply pray, and think they do anything positive. They don’t. It’s like jerking off, just that you actually believe it helps someone else. It doesn’t.

    @ Ignatz
    I’m absolutely certain that I’m right with what I’ve said. For me, a religion is simply a dogma without any grounding in reality. If you’d actually study these topics, you’d know that neither capitalism, nor any other social system we had so far, is grounded in reality. They are all made up shit. They don’t deal with corruption, they don’t deal with proper use of technology, they don’t deal with optimal resource allocation, they don’t deal with ANYTHING that would actually elevate our progress.

  • Ignatz

    [I’m absolutely certain that I’m right with what I’ve said.]

    That’s characteristic of fundamentalism.

    [ If you’d actually study these topics, you’d know that neither
    capitalism, nor any other social system we had so far, is grounded in
    reality.]

    You haven’t provided one ounce of evidence that you’ve studied anything. You just make assertions, and declare that your opinion is truth. Perhaps you should actually learn the difference between objectivity and subjectivity.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I am a bit more charitable than you. I think nobody needs Jesus, not even the psychologically disordered.

  • Ignatz

    [ Being religious is the same as having psychological disorders.]

    Cite a mental health professional who agrees with you.

    Oh – sorry, you’re one of those atheists who thinks his opinion is objective truth simply because he’s an atheist.

    [ That’s pretty clear if you look at all relevant studies in the regard…]

    Name one.

  • guest

    It’s not the same. I’ve yet to see religion listed in the DSMV.

    This post helps nobody. It insults religious people, it trivialises mental illness and it makes atheists look like assholes. Please, knock it off.

  • Karl Goldsmith

    Should just have Happy Saturnalia.

  • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

    I’ll write an article on this if you do one on 1). Christians who use the No True Scotsman fallacy or 2). Christians who say ‘I don’t like religion, but Christianity is a relationship with God.’

  • Just Sayin’

    Maybe the “Friendly Atheist” will take up your cause.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Terry Firma has made a public statement against it, both here and on Friendly Atheist.

  • Theo

    I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit attacked with the title of this post, much as I’m sure you did when seeing the billboard. When I first saw this post I was pretty mad, not because of what American Atheists did (because, let’s be honest, even if the message were completely appropriate, it’s ridiculous), but because it felt like I, as an atheist, was being painted with the same brush as American Atheists, which is an organisation that I don’t know anything about. This is the same thing that you and a lot of christians try to work against; I often hear things such as ‘we’re not all like that’. I understand that you may have been angry, but your title definitely originally shut me down from wanting to have a conversation about this.

    And I think it’s important for you and other progressive christians to take a look at what American Atheists put on that billboard and what that says about their beliefs. They imply that ‘Christ’ and ‘charity, family, food, & friends’ among others, are mutually exclusive. And, again, noting that presenting it in such a manner was ridiculous, I can’t bring myself to completely disagree with that point that they’re making. Even before becoming an atheist, my family and friends stopped talking to me when I chose a different version of how to follow Christ. And I saw little charity being done by the churches in my area. These aren’t uncommon happenstances. I’m not expecting you to be able to have easy answers or stop such behaviour in others, but I think the point needs to be raised.

    So, yes, the billboard is ridiculous. But it does give us some interesting areas of conversation.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Theo– I apologize for the title; that is a really good point that I didn’t consider when I wrote it. Obviously, I hate being lumped together with some Christians and can see why I just made the same mistake with you. My apologies!

  • Terry Firma

    I think that headline’s quite all right. A post title is not the place to equivocate and try for nuance (unless nuance readily presents itself and can be expressed really succinctly). The fact that not all atheists think alike, and that the same is true for Christians, is enough of a truism that we don’t need to belabor it, especially in a headline, where brevity and ‘punch’ are important.

  • twinkie1cat

    I really feel sorry for atheists because they have nothing to celebrate at Christmas. I think they are pitiful, actually. I don’t make fun of them, however. Jesus says to love, not to make fun of or hate. And they have no business making fun of Christians either. Of course they have no basis not to because they have no higher power to guide them into what is right or wrong. They are all alone in deciding what is moral.
    On the other hand, there is a young girl, maybe 21 who comes to my church and participates very well who claims to be an atheist. She comes because our church does not push our religion on people and we are very accepting even though also very Christian. That’s not really an “even though” because real Christians don’t push and do accept. We have a lot of recovering Catholics and Pentecostals. ( It gets interesting when one person genuflects and the next holy rolls.) But that is Metropolitan Community Church for you. Our doors are open.

  • http://aquaam.com/ Michael Stieger

    What is a real christian?

  • Terry Firma

    Funny, when I celebrate Christmas, I celebrate warmth, family, friends, community, plentiful food, festive accoutrements (oh look, there’s a decorated tree in the corner of my living room!), free time, and the return of longer days. Which of those things do you equate with “nothing”?

  • Dude Dan

    “they have nothing to celebrate at Christmas. I think they are pitiful, actually”… thank you for the warm Holiday wishes. Information for you though you and I celebrate the same thing at this time of the year, the love shared by family. The fact you’ve added mythological under-pinnings as a stocking stuffer for your celebrations doesn’t grant you superiority and definitely doesn’t put you any kind of position to demean “pity” on others Or do you feel the same “pitiful” attitude for every other branch of belief that doesn’t fit your peg hole of real Christianity? Mormons for instance… As for your pathetic “they have no higher power to guide them into what is right or wrong”.. buddy, if your higher power is the one who guided you into feeling justified with this kind of arrogant post.. keep it to yourself.

    NOTE for the original post.. THIS kind of crap is why the American Atheists put up the billboards they do. The “Our doors are open” but “I think atheists are pitiful” type of attitude hypocrisy is part and parcel to Christian dogma it’s not just the fundies.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Of course they have no basis not to because they have no higher power to
    guide them into what is right or wrong. They are all alone in deciding
    what is moral.

    -Not necessarily; the Maoists set up Mao as their higher power, and the Randists set up Rand.

  • guest

    Don’t feel sorry for us. I’ve always enjoyed Christmas. This year, it’s my little niece’s first Christmas and we’re all going round to my sister’s house to eat delicious food, give each other presents and enjoy each other’s company. I’m looking forward to seeing my niece’s reaction to the tree and to her presents. She has the most adorable smile when she gets excited! I’m going to enjoy seeing my family. Everyone is very busy so it’s rare for us all to be together. And that’s what we’ll celebrate- being together, especially with the newest member of our family.

  • SeekerLancer

    Well don’t feel sorry for us because most of us who do celebrate are quite happy celebrating Christmas pretty much the same way as everyone else just without going to church on Christmas eve or putting up manger displays.

    Peace on Earth and good will to all is a good enough reason on its own.

    And don’t worry, I think a quick look at statistics shows we also on average do a pretty decent job managing our own moral compasses.

  • ToEllandBack

    “I really feel sorry for atheists because they have nothing to celebrate at Christmas” – except Saturnalia, Winter Solstice and a hundred other pagan festivals worldwide. Or maybe like me you just like a couple of week’s off work where you meet family and friends and celebrate each other’s company. Religion doesn’t need to play a piece in my celebrations.

  • spinkham

    American Atheists stated goal is to be offensive.

    Billboards that basically have said “Atheists exist and can be good people too” in various ways have caused outrage and often been defaced where they’ve even been allowed to go up. See for example this:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/09/18/least-offensive-atheist-ad-ever-leads-to-new-advertising-policy-in-pennsylvania-county/ or this https://www.google.com/search?q=atheist+defaced&tbm=isch

    American Atheists has decided on purpose to push the envelope with some actually offensive messages, in the hopes that messages just saying “we exist” will no longer be considered a militant attack. David Silverman, head of American Atheists, has said exactly this in quite a few talks.

    I can’t say I like their tactics, but I understand why they feel they need to use them. Think about it: how would you feel if an advert that said “Christians” and the website address of your church was deemed too offensive to be used?

    I’d personally rather play the long game of, you know, just actually being good and not going away, but I’m a more patient guy I guess…

  • ToEllandBack

    If you think “Atheists exist and can be good people too” is offensive then surely you should forgive them?

  • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

    I feel like I do have to make a couple of further points.

    You say that billboards like this are only going to make the more obnoxious side of Christianity louder. This is very true, but you say it as though the American Atheists don’t realise this. I would be prepared to bet on the fact that they do, and that’s what they’re counting on. You see, there’s nothing like a bit of passive aggressiveness to whip the Pat Robertson’s of the world into an almighty fury. That’s what many of the more aggressive atheists count on. There’s nothing like a steady stream of Christian anger to expose the hypocrisy of the entire fundementalist Christian movement. Atheist groups rely on that, and yes many are willing to stoke the fires.

    And a second point, more of a personal issue. You state, ‘Don’t like over-the-top militant Christians?’ at one point in the article. I take real issue when someone uses the word ‘militant’ in cases like these, whether referring to Christians or atheists. Militant really refers to anyone willing to push their beliefs on to others with force. Sometimes is force of law, but most often it’s force of martial arms. Bill O’Reilly complaining about the War on Christmas isn’t being a militant Christian, just a douchy one. It’s a word best left alone until you really mean all that it implies. There are obvious reasons I don’t like being called a militant atheist. I try to award Christians the same favour.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Both really good points, Irish. As for the latter, I suppose it was insensitive of me to use the term given what you’ve experienced. In the future, I’ll try to refrain from the term unless I mean it in a literal sense.

  • http://standingatthecrossroad.wordpress.com/ Mark Anderson

    Just as you can’t fight evil with more evil, you can’t fight obnoxiousness with more obnoxiousness, despite some delusional “noble design”.
    At the end of the day, you’ll find you’re just as big an asshole as the ones you are antagonizing.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I firmly support every aspect of the relevant billboard animation.

    Well, this really isn’t the way to get them to be quiet— stuff like this is only going to make them louder.

    -Well, duh. Nobody ever expects the fundamentalists to shut up and the billboard is displayed to raise awareness of atheism, not give anesthesia to religionists.

    This doesn’t accomplish anything positive, but only drives us further apart from the place where we can listen and reason with one another.

    -Yes, it does accomplish something positive-it encourages the Christian viewer to cast off the chains of superstition and tradition and embrace reason&humanism as the bases for holidays.

    While many of us are trying to promote goodwill during the holidays, signs like this simply play into the hands of those wanting to fight a
    culture war and remind me that we not only need less Christians like
    Robertson, we also need less atheists like Dawkins.

    -Wrong! As saith the great Yudkowsky, “If your beliefs are entangled with reality, they should be contagious among honest folk.”.

  • http://www.TheologicalGraffiti.com T. C. Moore

    The partisan, divisive bickering isn’t a religious or non-religious phenomenon. It appears to just be a human cultural phenomenon. People bicker and sub-divide over any number of issues. In many cases, this leads to systemic injustice, violence, oppression, and war.

    What if there was a Way of living that worked against this phenomenon? What if a group of people, compelled by love, demonstrated indiscriminate love for all people? Then, what if those people formed communities, the purpose of which was to spread this love everywhere?

    Nah, that’d never work. ;)

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Yes!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I firmly agree that’d never work.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    He was being facetious.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Maybe, but I still think it’ll never work.

  • Worthless Beast

    I’m sort of reluctant to reply, having skimmed some of the responses. I actually *have* a psychological disorder (a common depressive one) and, religion aside, I guess it just doesn’t do to assert that we’re actually people, and as far as “human progress” goes, my favorite History Channel mini-series was “Life After People,” so…

    I’m just going to give a link to the thing that I think of whenever I run into and bother to read posts about stuff like this; a years-old article on Cracked.com by David Wong that attempts to bring peace to the whole Christian/Atheist “war” with snarky humor and Interenet-images meant to be offensive to everybody.

    http://www.cracked.com/article_15759_10-things-christians-atheists-can-and-must-agree-on.html

    It’s one of my favorite articles on the site, perhaps taking a backseat to John Cheese’s articles on little things about living in poverty that I know to be true by experience.

  • Lora Gorton

    Thanks for sharing this article. It’s GREAT!!!!

  • Lora Gorton

    Do atheist think they are smarter then anyone else? They seem to
    imply this often. So sad. I know I’m not that smart. Does being smarter
    because one reads allot make one a better person or more valuable?
    Sometimes I want to tell people “Who gives a rip about
    how smart a person is or how much of an eduction they have.” Ben I admire you for hanging in there but I just can’t. I can see you really want to be a peacemaker and I would too but I think it works best in person. I have a son and daugher-in-law that are Atheists. They seem to think all these same negative thoughts. But I love them both very very much and having a positive relationship with them is more important to me then what we think. Hopefully someday we will be able to talk about our differences peaceably without any of us getting upset with each other. I think these kinds of discussions on the internet are a waste of time. Christian have their little congregations and so do atheists, so to speak. I think I will do something
    better and more productive with my time. Like go play my guitar or make
    dinner.
    May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  • Belle Chang

    http://www.eliyah.com/paganexp.html
    To all TRUE CHRISTIANS who thinks “Christmas” is a Christian holiday. We are the ones who are being duped!

  • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist
  • guest

    The friendly atheist wrote a post about this billboard a couple of days ago and there was a lot of criticism from the atheist commentators there. I don’t like it personally as an atheist; I think a friendly message like ‘enjoy your days off, we plan to!’ would have been better. I agree the ‘who needs Christ’ thing is too agressive and also incorrect, because a lot of people do feel they need Christ for one reason or other. This orginasation doesn’t speak for me, I’ve never given my money to them and have no plans to. I hope everyone has a merry Christmas, happy hanukkah or just some time off relaxing with your friends and family.

    This is the Friendly Atheist post:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/12/04/another-atheist-billboard-launches-in-times-square-who-needs-christ-during-christmas-nobody/

  • R Vogel

    Hi Ben – just some friendly feedback. I think it is counter-productive to post how something like this criticizing THEM for how they communicate when, as you noted, WE have some pretty large planks in our own eyes. This will just break down into a battle of “You started It” and that produces no valuable dialogue (and, frankly, they have the upper hand on that one). I am a pretty regular reader of several Atheist blogs on this site and I found those bloggers at least to be very willing to self-critique. I don’t recall any significant self-criticism over Ken Ham’s Times Square billboards which this is likely a reaction to (there may have been, I just don’t recall). Criticism such as this, I fear, leads to perpetuating the US/THEM paradigm and painting the Atheist community with a broad brush, similar to the way they risk painting religion with the Pat Robertson brush.

  • http://www.mikemchargue.com/ Mike McHargue

    I have little use for fundamentalists in their religious and secularist flavors. If the primary goal of your worldview is to antagonize another worldview, I’m not interested in what you have to say.

    I’d rather you demonstrate, mainly through actions, how your worldview can make the world better.

  • http://thephyseter.wordpress.com The_Physeter

    You make a reasonable point. Here’s an alternate point of view: In the “war against Christmas,” the atheists are finally waking up and fighting back.

    Christmas has been waging a war against all other belief systems. Atheists are not declaring war with this billboard; they’re declaring that they have noticed the war.

    “I can’t in good conscience tell my people that there isn’t a “war on Christmas” when you guys are pulling stunts like this.” — You have, presumably, been saying there’s no war on Christmas for years now, and every year they ignore you and find something to rail against anyway.