The Effect of a Hug-An-Atheist Campaign

I recently mentioned that the Secular Coalition at Eastern Kentucky University — now the Secular Student Alliance at EKU — held a special event to draw attention to their group:

Hug An Atheist Day.

Somehow, this was controversial. The students chalked the campus with phrases like, “No God? No Problem” and “THOU SHALT NOT… Haha, just kidding!”

Now that the event is over, it looks like some religious groups on campus have learned a lesson — when chalking, make the messages polite and pleasant!

Alec Spencer, the president of the SSA group, comments on this development:

What once was plain, old, hell-condemning chalk is now bright, positive, and attention grabbing advertisements from those groups.

I find this amusing and all around a good thing really. I am not sure if they are just trying to get the media’s attention… or simply [trying to] lash back at us.

He sees this as competition or a way of fighting back. I don’t see it that way. I think the Christians on campus realized the positive response generated by messages that don’t condemn people who disagree with you. They reach out to already like-minded people. The Christians may have even taken it one step further by leaving messages that don’t attempt to proselytize. Instead of seeing it as the Christians “getting even,” I prefer to think that the atheists raised the bar for the type of discourse we all want to see on campus.

  • keystothekid

    This is why Christianity can be so dangerous, they have no qualms about hiding the truths of their beliefs, masking them to appeal to the masses, many of whom join up and never learn the real ideas behind/inside Christianity.

  • Nathan Hays

    I agree with you 100%. I think it’s extremely positive of them to reply with kindness. It seems genuine too. I actually had a Christian explain to me recently how the “kill ‘em with kindness” idea is the best, “because it gets under people’s skin the most.” I couldn’t believe how serious they were, and how they took that statement as a justification for passive aggression. This response seems much more positive. It also seems like they “get it,” and that they aren’t just trying to irritate atheists. not like general acts of kindness with no strings attached would ever offend an atheist anyways.

  • Hitch

    *sarcasm on*

    Remember, don’t chalk the chalk, talk the talk.

    Scribbling “hug me” on the floor is hateful racist bigotry not unlike drawing swastikas.

    *sarcasm off*

  • ethanol

    This is why Christianity can be so dangerous, they have no qualms about hiding the truths of their beliefs, masking them to appeal to the masses, many of whom join up and never learn the real ideas behind/inside Christianity.

    Reminds me of when Christian fundamentalists respond to moderate Muslims condemning terrorism by alleging how this just goes to show that Muslims will lie to further their agenda.

  • Jim

    Christianity assimilates behaviors, twists it then calls it it’s own. It’s always done this as a way to dangle a golden carrot in front of their little sheeple.

  • Richard Wade

    Quite a lot of cynicism in a couple of the comments.

    A person is what a person actually does, rather than what he says.

    Similarly, a religion is what the followers actually do, rather than what the religion’s tenets say.

    The Christian groups on campus have responded with positive action to the SSA’s event. Why try to invalidate that with cynical conjecture about their evil hidden motives?

    I’m not saying that we should always look for a pony hidden in a pile of horse shit, but it’s also foolish to look for the pile of horseshit hidden in a pony.

  • Alec Spencer

    Hmmm, I suppose I really did not think of it like that. I guess we really could have raised the bar, but I am happy of that even still. As I have said, no matter what they’re reason for doing this, I am glad they are doing it in a beautiful and polite way now.


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