Atheists Are Taking Over Buildings Now

Atheist buses? Those are *so* 2008.

We’ve moved on to buildings now.

buildingad

The sign says (in Spanish): “Probablemente Dios no existe. Deja de preocuparte y disfruta la vida” which basically translates to the classical version of the atheist buses in London: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Here’s the basic story behind this picture.

The Union of Atheists and Freethinkers (UAL) in Spain wanted to put up atheist bus ads of their own, so they contacted Transportes Urbanos de Zaragoza (TUZSA) to put them up. TUZSA never responded to them — most likely to avoid the whole situation.

But the atheists aren’t going away.

The UAL, for now, has installed a large canvas of 160 square meters in a building under construction in the number 60, Avenue de Goya, including the slogan of the campaign and… also Article 20 of the Constitution, which enshrines the right to freely express and disseminate thoughts, ideas and opinions by word, writing or any other means of reproduction, and prohibits any form of prior censorship.

The objective of this campaign with UAL… is not whether God exists or not, but to discuss whether the atheists have the same rights as believers and make visible the reality of these people.

This will definitely get everybody’s attention.

Can we get these ginormous atheist building ads all over America? They definitely make our billboards seem quaint…

(pic via girlinblack)

  • http://sinnersaintshiksa.blogspot.com/ Modern Girl

    What about all the windows they’re blocking? I’d hate to have an apartment/office on that side of the building.

  • http://raccoonsshelter.blogspot.com/ Diego

    The building is in construction. And it’s not only in Spanish, but also in Catalan, the language spoken in Cataluña. It’s great to see those kind of ads in the country that spread catholicism in its South American colonies.

  • BruceH

    A person with a laptop and a decent video projector could display that ad or any other on any glass office building. Just a thought….

  • Dheak

    Now all I we need is to see atheist ads go up in Vatican City and I’ll be a happy man.

  • re: BruceH

    Only at night, Bruce. Also, that’d be one hell of a projector. Those things don’t go infinitely larger while maintaining clarity. You’d need one of the extremely bright models. Not something you’ll pick up in the home theater department of your electronics shop… Perhaps you could steal one from a movie theater?

  • http://www.rationalitynow.com Dan Gilbert

    That’s just tremendous! What a great alternative to the bus ads!

  • Jen

    I agree with Modern Girl- It is cool from the street, but who would want their windows blocked?

  • The Everyday Atheist

    I hope someday I’ll have the “moxie” to participate in such campaigns. A big thanks to all who are strong enough to do it today!

  • Sandra

    Ok, the only other (obviously) female responses on here seem to be incapable of comprehending that the building is under construction… *hangs head in embarrassment*

    As for the sign, I love it!

  • http://yunshui.wordpress.com yunshui

    Atheist buses are now “classical”? That didn’t take long.

  • Jen

    To be fair, reading hurts my female brain.

    Oy.

    Maybe multitasking is not my thing…

  • Dan

    Just out of curiosity, why are atheists so concerned with humans who believe in a higher authority?

    Honestly??

    Atheists, please respond!! i’m not trying to slight atheism in any fashion, i’m just genuinely curious.

  • Jen

    Hi Dan, Welcome to Friendly Atheist. In my humble opinion, I care about religion for a few reasons. The first is that faith is considered a virtue. If you have ever heard “It doesn’t matter what you believe, just that you believe” then you know what I am talking about. I can be a good person without worshiping a god, or your god. The second is that people use their religion to pass laws that negatively affect me and people I like. Now, certainly, one can be xenophobic, homophobic, anti-women, and scientifically stupid without being religious, but being religious seems to help people pass these laws as “what Jesus wants”. Finally, I know that the small amount of religion I learned about while growing up screwed me up, and mind you, I was raised with entirely mainstream beliefs. Now, this is entirely off topic, but if I were you, I might read some good introductions to atheism: God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, anything by Bart Ehrman (not an atheist, but interesting) or Sam Harris’ Letters to a Christian Nation.

    For the record, I don’t care if you believe in God, Jesus, Zeus, or what have you. I am not trying to stop you, but I would like you to please refrain from passing stupid laws, screwing up your kids, or bugging me.

  • Siamang

    Hi Dan.

    I could ask the question of you… why are you concerned enough about what we think to visit this website and ask that question?

    How about, for the simple reason that we share a planet?

    Listen to what the UAL listed as its goal for this advertisement:

    The objective of this campaign with UAL… is not whether God exists or not, but to discuss whether the atheists have the same rights as believers and make visible the reality of these people.

    Can you see why people would want that question raised in the public consciousness?

    Also, I see lots and lots of stuff by religious believers trying to advertise to change my mind. Are atheists strange for doing the same thing?

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Dan,
    Thank you so very much for asking. Too often, people who believe in a higher authority come here and tell us what we think feel and do, rather than ask us. It seems like such a simple and obvious thing, to ask someone about themselves, but that just doesn’t seem to occur to many of them. They’re filled to the brim with all of their answers and don’t really have any room for accurate information about the people they pretend to know so well.

    Atheists vary widely in their motives and areas where they are active. I am mostly concerned with religious intrusions into public policy, such as using public funds to support specific religious beliefs and practices in government or public schools. I am a science educator, so I am also concerned with the detrimental effect that fundamentalist doctrine has had on the American public’s understanding and support of science.

    I wish more theists could see that the separation of church and state protects their beliefs, and that they and atheists have a common interest to keep religion and government from mixing into the corrupting nightmare that plagued Europe centuries ago and now afflicts the Middle East.

  • Kane

    Is it so important that we preach to believers? Although I know there is no god, what do I care if someone else believes there is? I know many christians who benefit from being part of the church. Hell, I enjoyed the church when I was catholic for the first 30 years of my life. There may not be a god, but religion works for some and if it makes them happy and helps them be a good person, great for them. Too many athiests are so eager to tell the world ‘I am right and you are wrong!’. Isn’t that one of the things that bothers you about many believers? It sure bugs me on both sides. Religion is a part of our lives in some form or another and it is not necessarily a bad part just because we disagree. I have three children who I have raised to question religion as well as what I teach them. We’ve even read the bible occasionally so they know there are some positive lessons in there and it’s not an ‘evil’ book. All I’m saying is just let be… respect others beliefs. When I found out my son had teased a jewish child about his beliefs, he found himself doing two weeks volunteer work with their synagogue. My girl’s soccer team says a prayer before each game. Is this a bad thing? She doesn’t think so, what’s so bad about holding hands while some kids pray? It doesn’t bother her.

    Guess that’s enough preaching from me! :)

  • Donald

    Kane, I care not because they have a belief, but that they try to force it on people. They try to have their teachings taught not in Sunday school or religion classes but in science class. If you want to see an example of what could happen, look at Iran.

  • Claudia

    Just as a matter of curiosity about the sign and how those things work in Spain.

    For years now many buildings that were having work done have put up the space for advertising. They used to just be covered by green cloth and someone thought it would be a good idea not to waste the space. The advertising rent goes to the owners of the apartments whose windows are blocked. It’s a generally decent idea and can compensate neighbors for the inconvenience and bother of having no light for months. They aren’t as opaque as they look and a small amount of light does filter through.

    It’s not all smiles and sunshine though. Renters often suffer eternal “reforms” that don’t ever seem to end because the longer they last, the longer the advertising (and the money that goes to their landlords) stays up. That includes sometimes suffering high power spotlights at night. Hopefully this is not one of those cases.

    Heh, I can just imagine the look on the Zaragoza Catholic Church authorities faces. They thought they had gotten rid of the pesky atheists on buses….as we say here toma castaña!

  • Omz

    Wow…um lets calm down shall we?
    Seems like my man Dan just asked a simple question. I was actually thinking the exact same thing as him. Now mind you Jen along with Siamang and Richard Wade that where so quick to fire back at him, that was not very nice. why would you attack some one for asking a question out of curiosity? Even then, you failed to answer his question, but went on a rant about how religion screwed up your life, and everyone else s. Now your beliefs Jen, Siamang, and Richqrd Wade are fine and dandy and no one is attacking them. The man asked a simple question and the least you could do is truly be friendly about it and answer instead of persecuting his curiosity…..but wasn’t your rant about being persecuting for being curious in finding an alternative to religion?….funny how hypocrisy finds its way through the ink of the most eager pens. Think about it.

  • ChameleonDave

    Diego, it’s not in Catalan. Didn’t you notice that this is Saragossa, not Catalonia? It’s in Aragonese dialect.

    I don’t like the bit in Spanish (at the top), by the way. After “probablemente”, the subjunctive (“exista”) is about twice as common as the indicative (“existe”). It makes it feel like a literal translation from the English. Ah well, it’s not actually incorrect.

  • Steve

    To display text on a building, you don’t need a _video_ projector. A high-power slide projector would do it. One could even build a scanning laser with a laptop, a pair of rotating mirrors and one of those “Don’t point it at unprotected skin!” green laser pointers. That wouldn’t be cheap, but it would cost less (and use a *lot* less power) than a theater-grade video projector.

    Of course, a few thousand bumper stickers, preferably with “permanent” glue, would be cheaper still.

  • Richard Wade

    Hello Omz,
    My response to Dan is sincerely warm, welcoming and certainly not a rant or attack at all. He asked a respectful question, and I answered respectfully from my own viewpoint, thanking him for his asking. Nothing in my remarks to him is intended to be critical of him, or to be unfriendly, inhospitable, hostile, sarcastic or ironic in any way, with no hidden barbs or double entendres. I cannot find where anyone could reasonably interpret my above comment to Dan in such a spirit.

    Please read my words exactly as they are. Perhaps you were filling in your own meaning or implications between the lines, or conflating my comment with the comments of others. Regardless of the cause of the misunderstanding, I hope I have been able to clarify to you my stance and attitude.

    I look forward to further respectful, constructive and honest dialogue with Dan, and with you as well, Omz. That is what I most enjoy doing here.

  • Dougie

    The Atheist campaign should adopt a new slogan. “There is no god, so wear a condom and don’t die from aids.”

  • Siamang

    OMZ said:

    The man asked a simple question and the least you could do is truly be friendly about it and answer instead of persecuting his curiosity…

    Well, I guess we can always benefit from sometimes getting the perspective of an outsider. I wasn’t aware of any hostility on my side of the keyboard. But if you thought I came on strong, I apologize to anyone I might have chased off.

    Now, how anyone could think that of the other people’s posts is hard for me to understand.

    Speaking for myself, I’m somewhat weary of typing big long welcoming posts full of warm and fuzzys so that we don’t scare off the drop-in-then-disappear posters we’ve gotten here over a number of years now. And then often we also get first-post-last-post people accusing us of all sorts of immoralities, closed-mindedness… etc.

    Anyway, I’m growing weary of all the typing it takes to back people off their preconceptions when arriving. Should we just go to a cut-and-paste boilerplate welcome?

  • better than the alternative

    some theists do other things with building to get their points across. this tactic raises questions instead of flattening the building.

  • GullWatcher

    @Omz

    Wow…um lets calm down shall we?

    Seriously, the only one here getting bent out of shape or hostile is you. The responses to Dan were not only civil, but by internet standards, extremely mild and welcoming. Yours is really the only rant I have seen. Either your perceptions are out of whack, or you are for some reason trying to make it look worse than it is. Think about it.

    I’m loving seeing these signs in parts of Europe. I haven’t been keeping close track, but aren’t most of them in predominantly Catholic countries? Well, except for England…

  • Seiko

    Hmm…this is a very odd dialogue to say the least. Ha interesting probably suits it better. Anyways, I’m really commenting this because I need some personal feedback. Be it Atheist, Christian, Jewish, Pagan…etc. I have been watching this one video for years now and haven’t gotten any comments or conversations worth remembering. So all I ask is you watch this video and comment back. It’s ten minutes long so be prepared for the whole thing. Before I post the link just know that at some points the narrator speeds through his dialogue, seemingly in a condescending way. I am in no way implying his tone as my own, just inquisitive. There are facts in this video that will potential make your faith in “The One True God” unstable, so be prepared for that, I’m not here to ruin people’s faith. That was my rant now here is the link:)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQLD59fK_Iw

    Just a Youtube video.

    - I am really interested in what the Moderators of this site think. -

  • Cat

    For the record, I’m female and I totally caught that the building was under construction. ;)

    And I have to agree, he asked. Aren’t answers… kind of what he was expecting? Sometimes people just want to know. Best of luck to all =)

  • http://www.myspace.com/2793138 Phil E. Drifter

    “Atheists, please respond!!” Because you’re hindering scientific progress with your religitarded ‘o.m.g. it was written about by people thousands of years ago who took naturally occurring drugs like cannabis and shrooms and peyote and they were simple minded and thought the earth was flat and everything in the universe revolves around us’ and you’re a bunch of fsm-damned retards.

    ps: I’m no friendly atheist, I’d strangle all you goddamn religitards if i could.

  • http://www.myspace.com/2793138 Phil E. Drifter

    You never hear about atheists strapping bombs to their bodies and running into the most populated place they can find to kill everyone including themselves, now do ya?

  • ThaWalrus

    I, myself, am an atheist, however this is just childish. It reminds me of kindergartners fighting. Your excuses such as, “The Christians did it, so can we!” only prove my point further.

  • NJH

    Perhaps Dan could speak for himself – Do you feel insulted Dan? Do you? [Smiley emoticon]

    For myself I am very preoccupied by religion, probably more so than the religious, because belief in a higher power tends to bring with it an undemocratic mandate and a disregard for empirical facts. That concerns me.

    My version would be of the poster: The idea of God doesn’t work but Condoms most definitely do [most of the time :-].

  • padlok

    in response to seiko;
    this is definitely at least partly b.s. and i believe if i knew more history of world religions it’d be total b.s.. like most good lies it’s falsehood sprinkled with irrelevant truth. the little kernels of truth are there to lend credibility to the aspects of which you aren’t sure. a bunch of truths are combined w/ many exaggerations and some outright lies and then the whole lot of them is tied together w/ artistic presentation and made to seem as if they form a pattern, indicating an underlying truth. don’t buy it! thanks to a childhood spent looking at the stars i was able to catch two outright lies that the narrator presented as fact. he said a lot of stuff i found suspicious but i just don’t have the background in religious studies to debunk them assertively. however these two things are true and looking them up isn’t that hard to do: 1) sirius doesn’t move in relation to the stars in orion’s belt (those three don’t form a line anyway). the stars always appear fixed in relation to each other (except for those closest to us and even their movement is nearly imperceptible w/o telescopes). 2)the sun never gets to the southern cross. crux is not visible in the northern hemisphere (it’s always below the horizon) and unless you live north of the arctic circle the sun rises above the horizon every day of the year.

    also not the word ‘hours’ nor ‘horizon’ nor ‘sunset’ have anything to do w/ horus according to the etymologies found in what we lovingly call the ’30lb dicionary’, the random house dictionary of the english language 2nd ed. unabridged.

    finally the historians tell us that if joseph was traveling home to pay his taxes it couldn’t have been solstice-time when jesus was born but rather earlier in the year. the adoption of dec 25 for the celebration of ecksmuss was a later thing (probably to help facilitate the integration of some population of pagan converts who just wouldn’t come over if it meant giving up that party in the coldest time of the year). that’s my take on the video.

  • http://www.themilitantagnostic.com jen brister

    Great post…again the point being that atheists need to get their opinion out there. We are at least 16% of society – that is more of a majority than Jews, gays and many others who have major bargaining rights in congress.

  • Ryan

    Dan,

    As an atheist myself, there are several reasons why I am concerned about others that have placed belief in a higher authority, especially when it has to deal with the rights of others.

    One of the most obvious objections to placing belief in a higher authority is the recent trip the Pope took to Africa. I am personally disgusted about his suggestion regarding condoms and their relationship to the spread of HIV and AIDS. Although the Catholic position on the use of condoms as a form of birth control has been the same for a long time, to actively discourage the use of them at all is horrendous. While the use of condoms isn’t 100% effective against the spread of HIV, it sure beats the effectiveness of prayer and unprotected sex.

    Another of my concerns is the trend for religious groups to advocate a specific political party (here in the US) and recruit heavily to enact legislation that denies and prevents rights to others. An obvious connection is the religious right and their connection to the Republican party, which I feel is now in part responsible for the party’s current disfavor in the populace. Since the Reagan era, and slightly before, the movement to blend Christian beliefs and political agenda has led to some alarming trends. I am a supporter of Gay Marriage and Gay rights in general, and it is disappointing to see religious entities like the Church of Latter Day Saints, and other groups being able to put so much money against rights that shouldn’t have to be legislated for at all. If a consenting adult wants to marry another consenting adult, who cares about their orientation?

    There are plenty of other reasons to object to the authority of a ‘higher power’ but there isn’t enough time to detail them all.

    Also, there probably are no windows. Now stop worrying about what is outside, and get back to work!

  • http://www.ladadadada.net/ Dave

    As another example of why Atheists should care what other people believe, here in England shops are only allowed to open for 6 hours on a Sunday.

    This is fine for people who wouldn’t go shopping on a Sunday anyway for religious reasons but is inconvenient for those who don’t observe a day of rest on Sunday. This includes religions whose sabbath is on another day as well as Atheists who simply don’t have one.

    I don’t mind people having a religion, I just don’t want their religion to affect my life.

    • Georgina

      Could be worse, here shops don’t open at all on Sundays – not even the DIYs, which is stupid.

  • ilkka

    Freethinkers in Finland are planning to do the same kind of bus thingy. Turku’s (5th largest town) bus administration is saying that those ads won’t be on the sides of the busses in here… SHIT!

  • Pingback: Does God read this blog ? | neoIndian - Confessions of a newly returned Indian

  • shaun lindsey

    This is an example of the annoying similarities between christians and atheists. If this were a pro-christian add covering the entire side of a building….atheist everywhere would be up in arms claiming that someone’s beliefs were being pushed upon them. Just as christians would surely be upset about something like this.

    Other similarities: *Both christians and atheists constantly quote the bible to prove or disprove their beliefs(or non-beliefs)
    *Both christians and atheists get all pissed off when someone tries to push their beliefs(or non-beliefs) on them. Or teach something contradictory to their beliefs(or non-beliefs in their childrens school.
    *both athiests and christians both are constanly trying to convert people and convince them that their beleifs( and non’beliefs) are the true path and you are wrong if you can’t see light.

    When I see this, it is, to me the same thing as putting up a bilboard claiming “Jesus is Lord”….same effing thing…..christians and atheists; please leave us alone…..let us use our hearts and our minds to find balance and peace, and if we want..our own personal, scripture-less, logically deficient, relationship with God.

  • Jennifer

    For those of you worried about the windows. You don’t pick a building with windows in the side of it. Theres plenty of buildings with windowless sides in cities.

  • drew

    Hi Dan.

    “Just out of curiosity, why are atheists so concerned with humans who believe in a higher authority?”

    When many people see something in the world that is harmful, negative, or could be improved, they try to do something to change it, counter-act it, mobilise opposition, or counter claims it makes they disagree with. I guess the best word for all this is activism. Some people do this on environmental issues; some to help the handicapped, youth, or the elderly. Some want to spread an idea they care about. Often activism translates into political action; but sometimes it transcends politics.

    Atheist activists are united by a concern for all the harm caused by religion, and a desire to reduce that harm: sexism to women, opposition to stem-cell research, gay-bashing, religious terrorism, disinformation about science – you name it. Sometimes this means resistance to violence, the threat of violence, or censorship used by religion. Sometimes this means trying to lower the bigotry and intolerance that most religions and many religionists display towards both rival religions, and the non-religious. Sometimes, as in this case, it means getting the word out to non-religious people that they are not alone.

    Now that religion in many countries has lost the power to coerce and persecute non-believers, we are, for the first time, seeing non-religious people openly organising, openly supporting each other, and openly talking with like-minded people without the fear of being punished for doing so. So these are the things that motivate atheist information campaigns, like this one. And that’s the main point, I think, of the “bus” campaign; to let closet atheists know that others share their views, and can give them a social network if they are currently afraid of telling religious family and friends that they don’t share religious belief.

    To Kane: of course your daughter isn’t bothered by team prayer, if it is enforced upon her and you don’t have the balls (spine?) to speak up against such indoctrination of children. Would you be as blase if your child were socially coerced into reciting a Muslim prayer? People like yourself are part of the problem – meekly being bullied to the point where you leap to the defence of the bully, rather than standing up for yourself. Pathetic, really. You are the type of person who is converting to Islam in urban European cities out of fear, rather than standing up for yourself. You criticise the strength that other atheists display rather than adopt it for yourself.

  • http://www.inklets.wordpress.com Inklets

    darn cool! love it! the concept, the move, the portrayal of the concept!! love it! absolutely!! :)

  • Joan Carles Marset

    Maybe somebody has not understood the question, because this building is being restored. So, the Spanish atheists have taken the opportunity to put their cannvas with the agreement of tenants. When finish the work (about 2 months) the canvas will be removed.