Atheist Subway Ads Get Publicity in New York City

The press release wasn’t slated to go out until next week, and the ads aren’t even up yet, but word leaked to the local media and, all of a sudden, the Big Apple Coalition of Reason and their subway ads are a hot topic in Manhattan:

I love the wording: “A Million New Yorkers Are Good Without God. Are You?”

It’s not offensive in the least (unless you’re offended by the existence of people who disagree with you). Rather, it’s a and a callout to other like-minded people.

The campaign — which is being paid for by $25,000 from an anonymous donor — follows a similar but unrelated monthlong campaign on buses by New York City Atheists in July. Jane Everhart, a spokeswoman for the New York City Atheists, said that campaign was highly successful and brought in many new members. “We are trying to raise money to do it again,” she said.

[Executive director for the New York branch of the Center for Inquiry, Michael] De Dora said the million-person estimate of New Yorkers who do not believe in God was an extrapolation from surveys on religion. The American Religious Identification Survey, which was released earlier this year, showed that those who put “none” for religion had risen to 15 percent in 2008, from 8 percent in 1990. Based on their projections, New York City, with its 8.3 million population, would have more than a million nonbelievers, Mr. De Dora said. (It is questionable, of course, whether New York City, given its demographics, is representative of the country as a whole.)

You gotta love any group that includes both the New York Society for Ethical Culture and the Flying Spaghetti Monster Meetup :)

  • Valdyr

    The campaign — which is being paid for by $25,000 from an anonymous donor

    Anyone want to start taking bets as to how long it’ll be until a Christian nods their head knowingly and points out that the anonymous donor must be Satan?

  • Gabriel G.

    “Anyone want to start taking bets as to how long it’ll be until a Christian nods their head knowingly and points out that the anonymous donor must be Satan?”

    But that doesn’t make any sense.

    Let’s say everyone was atheist, then no one would be Christian, ergo no one would believe that there is Satan in the first place.

    If no one believes in Satan, he can’t exist to corrupt anyone…

    Or is that Freddy Krueger?

  • llewelly

    More accurate wording: Everyone is without God. A million New Yorkers know it. Do you?

  • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard

    I do wish people would stop making the assumption that all of the “nones” are atheists–I suspect that less than half are. Especially since 21% of the self-identified “atheists” in the Pew survey answered “yes” to “Do you believe in God?”

  • Bekka

    Jim, I think that’s a valid concern, but in this case I think the estimate is pretty valid – the ad just says they’re good without God, I think deists, agnostics, atheists, and frankly a whole lot of UUers and Reform Jews would fall under that category pretty comfortably. If it said that there were over a million atheists in the city, it would be another story.

  • thilina

    unless you’re offended by the existence of people who disagree with you

    Plenty of these people around, and expect them to start complaining about this message of intolerance on Fox “News” soon.

  • Brian Westley

    Especially since 21% of the self-identified “atheists” in the Pew survey answered “yes” to “Do you believe in God?”

    No, 21% of the self-identified “atheists” in the Pew survey indicated they believed in a “God or Universal Spirit”. The Pew report (at least the one I found on their site) did not say exactly how the question was phrased, but they state it as “God or Universal Spirit” several times, while their tables misleadingly just label it “believe in God.”

  • Pony

    I like that They’re the “Big Apple Cor(e)”.

    And are there really a million good New Yorkers? Technically they are all without god, but CSI:NY leads me to believe that most of them are naughty. XD

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    There are 8.3 million people in New York City. If a million manage to be good without God then how do the remaining 7.3 million try to be good?

  • Dan W

    “…unless you’re offended by the existence of people who disagree with you…”

    Well, a few months ago there were people offended at the message “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” in Iowa, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see people claiming they’re offended by this ad.

  • keddaw

    It is questionable, of course, whether New York City, given its demographics, has a million good people.

  • Jeenia

    If anyone wants to help me try to get my point across on this website to this crazy Christan lady feel free, she is saying every religion but Christianity is Wrong and from satan.

    http://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/was-jesus-black/#comment-15024

  • Chris

    FOX News is going to have a field day with this.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Plenty of these people around, and expect them to start complaining about this message of intolerance on Fox “News” soon.

    You don’t even have to wait for that. Check out the comments section of the article. Oh, people are offended all right. There’s a good dose of moral outrage being bandied about, along with the usual pity and condescension.

  • CarolAnn :)

    A woman I went to high school with is now a morning drive-time DJ on a NY/NJ christian station. She’s got this on her Facebook stream today.

  • muggle

    That gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling: being one of a million for a change instead of one in a million.

    Okay, Okay, so I’m an upstate hick but still… Frankly, I’m too damned good for my own good. Without God.

  • http://nowaywacked.wordpress.com/ angel

    Jeenia is not an atheist. She is a Muslim pretending to be an atheist, or an agnostic. She is a wacked out black girl who fights with people.

  • badlilpetey@hotmail.com

    I read a lot of speculation, judgement, self-congratulating, fear, and some hate in your posts.

    I wish we could all just live, love, and believe how we want without the fear and hate. That’s what all the aggression and anger comes down to, fear and hate.

    You know, my best friend is an atheist. I’m a Christian. He’s been my bud since 7th grade. I pray for him constantly. He probably hopes I wisen up daily. We have some good conversations sometimes about faith, and life after death.

    Co-existence without fear and hate is possible. I wish we could all do it.

  • Baba Jacob

    Extrapolating that checking “no religion” means your a “non-believer” is fallacious. I am not a member of any organized religion, I would have marked “no religion”, and I am very much a lover of God. I find it funny that the “Coalition of Reason” would should show such lack of reasoning skills. Their subsequent claim that “a million New Yorkers are good without God” is at best, a mistake, and at worst, baseless propaganda. A shift away from organized religion does not equal a shift toward atheism.


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