Who Knew Theological Arguments Could Be Hot?

Author Geoff Henley published his book Beyond Reasonable Doubt: A Lawyer’s Case for Disbelief in God earlier this summer.

It’s self-published — not coming from a major publishing house — and authors who take this route usually have to fend for themselves when it comes to marketing their book.

So Henley filmed “sexy girls in bikinis” fighting over the existence of God (probably NSFW):

Is it cheesy? Absolutely. And that voice at the end gives me the creeps.

But it’s unique.

I showed the video to a friend who runs a campus atheist group. His response:

“I wonder if they’d do that debate for my campus group”

Henley put together one other promotional video — This one is also NSFW (it’s sexually suggestive) and has the same cheesy/creepy-voice factor, but I did like the humorous punchline.

Whether you like the videos or not, I think they’re in good fun and definitely an interesting way to raise awareness for his book.

And I’m jealous that I didn’t think of it first.

But I do have an idea for the next time I need to promote a book… (C’mon Richard Wade. Just one bikini. It’s all I’m asking.)

  • http://keenabean.blogspot.com Kaleena

    “God is rich?”

    I don’t get it.

  • http://brandonazz.blogspot.com/ Brandonazz

    @Kaleena: Look at the mindset of the person saying it.

    God is whatever you want.

  • http://brandonazz.blogspot.com/ Brandonazz

    If someone that believed in God was weak, then they might say something like “God protects me,” even though it is equally nonsensical.

  • Milena

    It doesn’t make me particularly interested in reading the book. Besides, using women’s bodies to sell your product is hardly unique. =/

  • Pamela

    I’m with Milena. Is the general public really that stupid? “BOOBIES! I’ll buy it!”….I hope not.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Then, of course, there is the kiss that was edited out of the orginal version.

  • Richard Wade

    “(C’mon Richard Wade. Just one bikini. It’s all I’m asking.)”

    Well, this is the first time in my life that I’ve had to defend myself against a suggestion that I’m a prude. Hey, I’ve been in several lofty theological discussions very much like this. It’s what got me interested in atheism in the first place. Each time we tried our various positions and applied clever techniques. At times the exchanges were seductive, passionate, even rigid, but eventually I came out on top. (Playing Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkeries” in the background is s good idea. I’ll have to remember that.)

    So, as far as promoting books, I say, “Down with bikinis!”

  • http://brownjs.wordpress.com J.S.Brown

    Unfortunately, YouTube isn’t equipped for ratings less than one star.

  • DSimon

    I’m with some of the other commenters above me: thumbs down on this “Notice how sexy ladies like our book in a sexy manner, presumptively straight guy audience!” stuff.

    Though, at least the actresses looked like they were having fun, which is a step up from when this advertising technique is usually employed.

  • leandra

    Wow, how shockingly creative. Using women’s bodies to sell something-I definitely don’t see that many times an hour every time I turn on the tv.

    Sorry, but as a women I really don’t see the appeal or uniqueness in this. The response from your friend also wouldn’t make me eager to join his or any sort of atheist group, if I got the impression that most atheists thought this was a great way to sell atheism.

  • http://blargen.com/blog/ postsimian

    Hermant, I’m not sure I want to see Richard Wade in a bikini.

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  • Pseudonym

    Well, I’m glad someone is treating the topic with all the seriousness it deserves.

  • http://www.xanga.com/Andrea_TheNerd The Nerd

    Amusing? Yes.

    Insulting? Very.

    Let’s show a little more respect for men, and stop using sex to sell.

  • TXatheist

    We can pretend all we want the heterosexual guys don’t like women in bikinis but I am not going to lie to win points. I enjoy looking at women and the less clothes the better. It’s biological so I don’t regret being honest about what my brain finds stimulating.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    TXatheist: “We can pretend all we want the heterosexual guys don’t like women in bikinis”

    Who’s pretending that? Yes, women in bikinis are attractive–but that’s all the more reason to be suspicious when they are used to sell us men something. It’s often an attempt to use what’s between our legs in order to distract us from using what’s between our ears.

    Also, while women in bikinis are attractive, catfights are lame and a bit disturbing. Women acting shallow and stereotypically bitchy aren’t much fun.

    BTW, one thing I noticed in the video where the guy is hiding the Bible behind Hustler is that the part of the Bible he was reading was the Song of Solomon–and that’s supposed to be a good example of something shamefully sexist in the Bible? I can think of several bits of the Bible that are sexist, and many of them are in the Torah and Paul’s letters. Ok, they wouldn’t have fit so well with the sexy theme of the ad, but any way you slice it, the author of the book being hawked is using a marginal example of Biblical sexism. That’s not really going to encourage me to buy the book.

  • http://www.jasoncromero.com/blog/ Jason C. Romero

    Just chiming in with the rest. I don’t think it helps the atheist movement to be associated with this sexist drivel.

  • http://www.geoffhenley.com Geoff Henley

    I appreciate all of the comments including the negative ones.

    What bears emphasizing, though, is that we should not confine the debate to atheist blogs and dry intellectual forums like C-SPAN. Though we live in a secular world, it is one that is still in denial and not terribly interested in open discussion about the absence of god.

    Traditionally, unless there is a lawsuit concerning something like the pledge of allegiance or the placement of the Ten Commandments at courthouses, we hear nothing in the larger popular culture about the open disbelief in deities.

    There is no Cosby Show, no Will & Grace that contains a character or message for skeptics.

    Thus, we have to inject the cause of skepticism into pop culture, and there is no reason why we should not embrace the same tools of commercial advertisers that have been so effective for decades.

    Dry appeals to reason are not the only form of persuasion. Emotion, passion and provocative humor are often equally effective. Naturally, not everyone is going to laugh.

    In addition, I think those who simply say it is ONLY about “T&A” are not paying enough attention.

    The production quality and YouTube sound on computers is not the best, so the absurdity of hearing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and some of the dialogue may not get heard; but, for example, the theist in the video openly expresses skepticism about what she sees in a gossip magazine, is completely ignorant about atheism and just expresses simplistic revulsion about some such beliefs. How often have all had such discussions with friends and strangers?

    Likewise, as in so many debates, we often see it degenerate in the “Is not,” “Is so” dialogue of the playground fight at recess.

    Critics and fans of the ad, though, will be delighted or disappointed that the book itself does not contain any photos of women in bikinis fighting over the existence of God.

    Though there is some salty humor and an irreverent treatment of sex in myths, like Egypt’s masturbating god Khepera, the overriding theme is just how scientists in white lab coats have undermined “bad alibis” about the origins of the physical world over time, lawyers and judges have likewise established through trial and error a large number of principles that are completely contrary to scripture.

    To read a seven page excerpt, then you may follow this link: http://www2.xlibris.com/BOOKSTORE/book_excerpt.asp?bookid=47962

    Best personal regards,

    Geoff Henley

  • http://www.geoffhenley.com Geoff Henley

    I appreciate all of the comments including the negative ones.

    What bears emphasizing, though, is that we should not confine the debate to atheist blogs and dry intellectual forums like C-SPAN. Though we live in a secular world, it is one that is still in denial and not terribly interested in open discussion about the absence of god.

    Traditionally, unless there is a lawsuit concerning something like the pledge of allegiance or the placement of the Ten Commandments at courthouses, we hear nothing in the larger popular culture about the open disbelief in deities.

    There is no Cosby Show, no Will & Grace that contains a character or message for skeptics.

    Thus, we have to inject the cause of skepticism into pop culture, and there is no reason why we should not embrace the same tools of commercial advertisers that have been so effective for decades.

    Dry appeals to reason are not the only form of persuasion. Emotion, passion and provocative humor are often equally effective. Naturally, not everyone is going to laugh.

    In addition, I think those who simply say it is ONLY about “T&A” are not paying enough attention.

    The production quality and YouTube sound on computers is not the best, so the absurdity of hearing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and some of the dialogue may not get heard; but, for example, the theist in the video openly expresses skepticism about what she sees in a gossip magazine, is completely ignorant about atheism and just expresses simplistic revulsion about some such beliefs. How often have all had such discussions with friends and strangers?

    Likewise, as in so many debates, we often see it degenerate in the “Is not,” “Is so” dialogue of the playground fight at recess.

    Critics and fans of the ad, though, will be delighted or disappointed that the book itself does not contain any photos of women in bikinis fighting over the existence of God.

    Though there is some salty humor and an irreverent treatment of sex in myths, like Egypt’s masturbating god Khepera, the overriding theme is just how scientists in white lab coats have undermined “bad alibis” about the origins of the physical world over time, lawyers and judges have likewise established through trial and error a large number of principles that are completely contrary to scripture.

    To read a seven page excerpt, then you may follow this link: http://www2.xlibris.com/BOOKSTORE/book_excerpt.asp?bookid=47962

    Best personal regards,

    Geoff Henley

  • Professor Hipp

    To think I taught this guy in high school English! Little did he know that, while he grappled with his vociferous misinterpretations of Shakespearean sonnets, I was — even when he looked into my eyes — floating in a blissful realm of consciousness beyond thought, religion and…”reason.” A realm that can’t ever be disputed, or interpreted, but only experienced. True reality can’t be communicated…. None of it can, Geoff. It can only be experienced. The same is true for “God.” Go see for yourself…

    I’m changing your grade, Geoff,to F. Stop Thinking and start Being.

    ;)


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