Atheists Are Not Trying to Ruin Christmas for You

Marcia Segelstein knows that atheists are trying to ruin Christmas for everybody.

Her proof? The billboards!

Atheists are at it again this year, plastering billboards and the sides of buses in cities across the country with their very own sayings of the season. “No god? . . . No problem!” “Be good for goodness’ sake.” “Millions are good without God.” And, “Yes, Virginia . . . there is no God.”

The first three are hardly offensive. The last one is pointed, yes, but hardly attacking anybody.

Thankfully, Segelstein quotes a voice of reaso–no, wait. I take that back. She quotes Dinesh D’Souza:

“I don’t believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You’ll notice that I haven’t written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I’m getting at is that you have these people out there who don’t believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.”

A horrible argument from an ignorant man.

God and unicorns have the same likelihood of existence. Why do we focus on God but not unicorns?

Because so much of the world believes in a god.

Because people are killed because of their belief in God.

Because people kill others because of their belief in God.

Because rational people can hardly get elected to public office in my country unless they admit to a belief in God.

Because bad public policy decisions are mad because people want to follow God’s will instead of relying on common sense and decency.

Because you’re threatened to spend eternity in Hell if you don’t believe in certain gods.

A unicorn never caused damage like that.

Why is that so hard to understand?

(Thanks to Martin for the link!)

  • mattincinci

    i havent seen one billboard that questions the belief in Santa Clause! :)

    typical of christians to whine though,

    poor D’Souza, sad little man

  • http://www.twitter.com/humanmichael human michael

    a unicorn actually killed my father. i am disgusted.

    maybe the next billboard can say “god kills people.” i know it’s a bit blunt, but maybe it will get the point across.

  • http://www.anthonyrmiller.com/blog Tony

    Apparently Dinesh is unaware of the IPU.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Sad indeed…. There is indeed more going on than lack of belief – and it’s all because of religious apologists like D’Souza. They are the problem.

    The only reasons atheists have risen up is because of the gross excesses (and that’s an understatement) over the lifetime of our species.

    If unicorns killed people, we’d be writing books and campaigning against them too. D’Souza is blinder than a blind man because he doesn’t want to see.

  • Lurker

    Didn’t Dinesh write what is basically the equivalent to”What’s So Great About Unicorns” and “Unicorns Know Why Faith is Striving”?

    I wonder if Dinesh would be concerned if he lived in a country where people took seriously books like “The Case for Unicorns” and “A Unicorn Driven Life”?

    Something tells me he would.

  • liz

    plus unicorns are real…everyone secretly knows that. =P

    i saw the “Millions are good without God” billboard in Baltimore last night! took a picture…it was exciting. was with my husband and our christian friend. our friend just shook his head and said, “i dont know”

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    Speaking of mythical creatures (god and unicorns) I have actually seen a dragon apology book. It was quite clever. Their fire breathing was caused by the creation of hydrogen gas in their gut (a by product of their digestion) that got released and reacted with the oxygen in the air. Once they died the hydrogen created acids that dissolved their remains, thus the absence of skeletal remains.

  • daniel

    What I’m getting at is that you have these people out there who don’t believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences.

    Ok, so there are atheists who think that society is better without god.. jeez.. isn’t that the same thing that religious people do, because they believe society will be better WITH god? They try to push religion INTO society, they set up religious video shows, and they have religious conferences.. So.. I don’t understand what the big deal is if atheists do the same.

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    I’m still waiting for the billboard that says “To all our Christian friends, Merry Christmas! We don’t agree with you, but we’re happy to party with you. – Good Atheist Americans(or whatever group)”

    D’Souza is deluded and knows it. It’s sad really. I almost hear him cry at the thought of his precious delusion being torn away.
    He’s also absurd. The obvious response is to point him to the books that promote god compared to those that promote a belief in unicorns. It’s called the marketplace of ideas and we should all get a say, and in that, unicorns have not won many converts but God has and now, in growing numbers, naturalism is winning converts.

  • Luther

    God and unicorns have the same likelihood of existence. Why do we focus on God but not unicorns?

    I’m not sure I agree with this. Perhaps the odds of a unicorn, undiscovered is `1 in a million. But the chances of God or any god are much much lower.

    There are those that may disagree with me on this, but I challenge anyone to provide any evidence that the likeliehood is anywhere near equal.

  • El Zilcho

    Belief in unicorns does cause a lot of damage, as the belief in the magical properties of their horns has created a demand for the horns of Asian Rhinoceroses. Several species are now critically endangered because of the belief in
    unicorns.

    http://www.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/rhinoceros/asian_rhinos/

  • http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/ Skeptico

    That screed from D’Snooza was debunked two years ago in The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007:

    29. Dinesh D’Souza

    [...]

    Exhibit A: “[Atheists] are God-haters… I don’t believe in unicorns, but then I haven’t written any books called The End of Unicorns, Unicorns are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion.” But what if everyone you met did believe in unicorns, and not only that, but worshiped a unicorn, held a book about unicorns to be the divine truth of the universe, invoked unicorns in political contexts, and speechified about how non-believers were indecent people waging a war on morality, which could only be predicated on the unquestioning belief in unicorns? Then, maybe, D’Souza would think about writing that book. But of course, that’s not really true, because if that was the world we lived in, then Dinesh D’Souza would believe in unicorns.

  • TychaBrahe

    Let’s not forget that in a world that is actively hostile to those that do not believe in deities, the knowledge that they are not alone can be incredibly beneficial.

  • Matto the Hun

    I’m not sure I agree with this. Perhaps the odds of a unicorn, undiscovered is `1 in a million. But the chances of God or any god are much much lower.

    Good point Luther. After all, there is the narwhal. That’s something I guess

    Meanwhile anything that ever had similarities with God has been dismissed as mythology.

  • Brian Westley

    Being an atheist in Iran can get you sentenced to death (see the recent stories about Negar Azizmoradi). I’m sure if people were being sentenced to death for not believing in unicorns, people would start writing books debunking unicorns. But D’Souza is too incredibly stupid to understand that.

  • Richard Wade

    But D’Souza is too incredibly stupid to understand that.

    We should not mistake D’Souza’s motives. I think he is not stupid. He wants to sell books that appeal to fear and hatred in people who don’t think very thoroughly. There’s a lot of money in that.

    I think he’s very aware of the holes in his arguments. He ignores them because he knows his readership reads him, not his opponents. If he were to respond their arguments, he’d be bringing them to the attention of his fans, and a few of them might wake up.

  • qwertyuiop

    Belief in unicorns is not being used to make our laws, nor being used to justify discrimination.

    Children are not indoctrinated into belief in unicorns.

    People are not pushing to have unicorns taught in school.

    People know that unicorns are make believe because they have never seen one nor have they seen any evidence for one.

    You are not threatened with eternal damnation and branded a bad person for not believing in unicorns.

    Can we say the same for God? Answer: no.

  • Revyloution

    +1 internets to Richard Wade.

    People like D’Douza and Comfort couldn’t make it to the positions they hold if they were unintelligent. I have to assume they are intentionally deceitful with personal wealth and power as their true motives. They might truly believe the nonsense they spew (we can self delude ourselves about anything), but they have to know they are telling half truths at best.

    Thats why they are so excited to engage in debates. Its free publicity. I’m sure they know that they can’t win over any minds, as they fail regularly. But they can hold up a picture of them sharing the stage with highly respected members of the scientific community. A little bit of video editing and quote mining can even make their questions look less batshit crazy (to their supporters).

    The only reason we can’t just treat these guys as snake oil conmen they are is the huge numbers of followers they have. Were left with a hard decision of when and where to confront them.

    But never make the mistake of thinking they are stupid.

  • Vene
  • http://www.sacredriver.org Ash

    You can add one more to your list of reasons:

    Lack of a belief in certain gods can cause one to be ostracized from friends and family, or even imprisoned and killed in some countries. No one is treated this way for their opinions about unicorns.

  • exfundy

    Most of those type are actually very intelligent. There is a group of pastors that meet every couple of weeks to discuss theology or lack thereof here in my hometown. Even though they know I’m not a pastor or believer they invite me to participate since I’m good friends with one of them.

    If their respective congregations knew what they actually believed they would all be fired. None of them believe in Jesus divinity. Several of them realize there is a very good likelihood that Jesus never existed. One of them doesn’t even believe in God. They realize the Bible is no more divinely inspired than the works of Dr. Suess. Yet they all get paid to be pastors of churches who supposedly believe these things. Some of these men pastor very sizable churches. At least sizable for my area.

    I realize it’s kind of hypocritical of them. At the same time I find it hilarious that so many believers are being led by people who don’t even believe the things they preach from their pulpits every Sunday.

  • BrettH

    It’s a little frustrating seeing headlines like “Atheists Are Not Trying to Ruin Christmas for You” here in Washington state. As far as I can tell, that’s exactly what FFRF has been trying to do here. It’s weird, I’ve read what Dan Barker’s goals were with things like the nasty holiday plaque in the capitol last year, and as far as I can tell I agree with his opinions and think his goals are noble. I just don’t understand why some atheist groups think making people like us less will make them more likely to respect our views. Sometimes you have to take an unpopular stand for civil rights, but there are times when being likeable (while still being firmly atheist, none of this “religion doesn’t hurt anyone” crap) is a valuable goal in itself.

  • http://kaessa.com Kaessa

    BrettH, I believe that FRFF has stated their reason as “Let’s get holiday displays out of government spaces” and not “Let’s get rid of holiday displays”.

    People should display their holiday decorations on their own property, not public property. If this happened, there wouldn’t be any arguments.

  • Amy G

    I’m most interested by the last sentence of the unicorn speech: “There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.” Apparently we “obsess” about God so much that it’s obvious we actually do believe in him (deep down inside) and being atheist is just our way of being rebellious or something. At least that’s how that statement sounds to me. After I told my mom that I didn’t believe in a God anymore, she would tell me pretty often that I was just a “lost sheep,” and that actually, I did still believe in God. I found it kinda humorous. I’m not sure if she still feels that way, but she doesn’t say it to me anymore. Still, I do think that most Christians believe that everyone believes in God somewhere deep down. It’s interesting.

  • BrettH

    Kaessa: I actually agree that the goal of getting rid of holiday displays in the state capitol building was a great goal, and I’m happy we don’t have them anymore. I just wish they could have tried something other than putting up mean spirited holiday displays knowing that the only way the state could stop them would be to stop everyone else from putting up their displays too. Saying that religion enslaves minds may very well be true, but when it’s the only negative statement in a room full of positive religious displays it makes us look bad. I love the “You’re not alone” billboards, and I really enjoy books that point out the harm in religion. I just don’t think society is in a place right now where we (atheists) need to be nasty just to get noticed. I think showing that atheists can be good, ethical and friendly is more valuable at this time.

  • Lurker

    BrettH,

    The point of the “mean spirited” holiday display was not to be mean spirited. It was to demonstrate that, as long as religious displays are allowed to be displayed on government property, then ANY display must similarly be displayed, no matter how blasphemous or “mean spirited” it may seem.

    If a church decided to put up a holiday display that stated that good works could only be achieved through god, the government would (in the name of fairness) be obliged to allow it as long as they allowed other such messages, despite it sending a “mean spirited” message to those who do good works WITHOUT god.

    Either allow ALL religious messages to be on government property, regardless of how much you may or may not agree with the message, or allow NO such messages to be displayed.

    Which stance do you think the FFRF is striving for? (Hint: “the _____ of church and state“.)

    Quite frankly, despite my disagreement with the specific wording of the FFRF display, I thought it was a brilliant move on their part that put a lot of these church/state issues right on the table… which is exactly what the FFRF wants.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    Wait…unicorns AREN’T REAL??????

  • BrettH

    Lurker,

    Yes, it was a good move if the only goal was to get inappropriate displays out of the capitol building. The problem is that they did it by being the first one to abuse the system, just to prove it could be abused. It forced the state to do the right thing, but it could hurt other goals that atheist organizations have, like getting atheists elected. Washington (specifically the Seattle area) has a higher percentage of atheists that most of the country, but I bet it will be significantly more difficult for an outspoken atheist to get elected for a couple of years because of the FFRF’s stunt. Now that the FFRF’s attention has moved to more important things like bullying the Illinois state capitol, I still have to be an atheist here and deal with more negative public opinion.

  • muggle

    Ooh, Vincent, excellent idea for a sign. I’d get a kick out of one like that and I’m sure plenty of people on both sides of the fence would. The usual nutters would find a way to take offense but who cares? I vote for one!

    BrettH, do you really think a nice sign would have had the desired effect? And I’ve news for you, you were living with that before they put up the sign same as after. And what good is getting Atheists in office if they have to cowtow to Christian idealogy so as not to appear “mean”? You sound very afraid of being assertive about disbelieving. You might want to examine why. Here’s a hint: FFRF didn’t cause the discomfort. In fact, their sign obviously scares you because of how you presume it will be taken by people hostile to disbelief.

    There’s a time for nice signs. And a time when signs need to be a bit more aggressive. When the government is endorsing Christianity by giving it a forum in the public square is exactly the time to be aggressive.

  • Jen

    I would read Unicorns are Not Great

  • BrettH

    I’m not afraid of being aggressive, muggle. I just think it was a bad strategic move. I’m not talking about all aggressive signs, I’m just saying that when everyone (including atheists) is give the opportunity to put up holiday displays, it makes us look bad when every other display there is nice, and ours isn’t. It bothers me a bit that nobody has said “Yes, it was an asshole move but the benefits will be worth it.” It’s starting to look like people think that being an asshole about it is always the best way to proceed, and I’m simply not convinced. If the victory is worth the PR hit, great! I love that the government isn’t wasting space and attention on holiday displays. That building should be for governing. I just wonder if groups like FFRF are thinking long term.

  • jose

    Suoza is a christian? Unicorns are in the bible. So Unicorns are real. So if you don’t believe in Unicorns, you’ll burn.

  • http://krissthesexyatheist.blogspot.com krissthesexyatheist

    I’d like to see some statistics on the amount of Christian billboards, which probably number in the thousands, versus the number of atheist billboards. The numbers do not lie. How can “they” say we are shoving our beliefs down their throats, or are engaging in any kind of ‘war’ when their numbers of billboards dwarf ours.

    Kriss

  • muggle

    OK, BrettH, let me just say this: “Yes, it was an asshole move but the benefits will be worth it.” Putting a better spin on it, it’s fighting fire with fire.

    As for FFRF (disclaimer I’ve been a member for 14 years), yes, they are thinking long-term:

    http://ffrf.org/purposes/

    I recommend that you poke around the entire site a bit to get an idea of what they’re about. At least, also click on the links for legal accomplishments and news releases.

  • http://www.justnbusiness.com Justin Chase

    The bible actually has several passages saying that unicorns exist. The unicorn is in deed a biblical creature. Which makes his statements even more hysterical.

  • BrettH

    I’ll check out that site, muggle. I hope your right about it being worth it. It was certainly a good step they forced the state to take. Maybe I’m over sensitive to “mean spirited” behavior because I recently told my parents about my atheism, and I find myself in awkward positions to defend methods I don’t like being used to further goals I do like. If the negative public response is all in my head, then I’ll happily just be grateful for a victory for separation of church and state.

  • Arduinnae

    D’Souza is absolutely correct in one point: There is very little difference between the belief in unicorns and the belief in God. However, as you say, no one has ever hijacked a plan and flown it into a building full of people because he thought the unicorns wanted it. The day someone does do that, I guarantee that there will be a flurry of books showing the reasons why belief in unicorns is as ridiculous as the belief in gods.

  • me

    guess what, you people can just do whatever you want not believe in God and whatever but when you start saying things against god or people that believe that’s crossing the line. Hey we have religious freedom to worship as we please and you have your freedom to not worship. That’s what this country was built upon. But it doesn’t mean you can say things like we don’t deserve to have a religion. You’re saying that we shoudn’t have a religion at all and all people that have a religion are killers like the 9/11 terrorists. I don’t know if you noticed but those are EXTREMISTS. Look it up. And they’re extreme Muslim. There is nothing wrong with Christians or other people of religion. Have you ever seen a normal Catholic kill someone in the name of God? I can’t believe you’re too dumb too notice that and I did. And I”m 12.


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