These Atheist Billboards in Brazil Get Right to the Point

Wanna know the difference between the USA and Brazil?

Our atheist billboards read things like “We can be good without god” and “Have doubts? So do we.” Harmless. A gentle ribbing. Somehow, still a cause for a lot of controversy, but not offensive at all.

In Porto Alegre, Brazil, they go right for the knockout punch.

Check out the ads that went up on buses and billboards last month, courtesy of the Associação Brasileira de Ateus e Agnósticos (Brazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics) — forgive my rough translations:

“Religion does not define character” — Charlie Chaplin is described as someone who didn’t believe in god while Adolf Hitler is described as someone who did.

“Faith gives no answers. It only impedes questions.”

“We are all atheists with the gods of others” — the captions read “Hindu myth,” “Egyptian myth,” and “Palestinian myth.”

“If God exists, everything is permitted.”

All the ATEA logos contain the phrase “Say no to prejudice against atheists.”

So… anyone think we’ll see these in America anytime soon? :)

(Thanks to Thales for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • sliderossian

    How beautiful to see. It gives one hope …

  • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

    These ads make the hated American Atheists look like accommodationists by comparison. I wish similar billboards could be displayed in the “exceptional” US without vandalism of the signs by “pious” believers.

    • http://twitter.com/gordongoblin Gordon

      No atheist billboard is mild and gentle enough to escape theist vandalism.

      • Butterflymia02

        You are so right.

  • Ashleyfmiller

    I like the “With God, all things are possible” one and cannot imagine it ever being put up in the US.

    • bob

      If I were looking for a photo for that caption, I’d pick a Nazi concentration camp rather than the twin towers.  That was a tragic day, of course, but six million dead is still quite a bit more compelling argument that anything is possible than five thousand.

      • http://alenonimo.com.br Alenônimo

        In United States the twin towers would work better, I guess. Besides, it’s about the muslims instead the christians. You must balance a little the critic between the religions, right?

  • http://profiles.google.com/jfinite Justin Bonaparte

    Daaaayum, hardcore!

  • Rich Samuels

    People are going to be offended by anything that makes them question their faith. I don’t see these as being any more offensive than the “good with out god” soft approach we’ve seen in the US. More blatant for sure, but more offensive?

    Offensive would be a campaign along the lines of “You believe in god, we believe you’re stupid…” or “Religion is for morons that can’t deal with reality”…

    • Alantas

      Indeed. If they’re going to have us pay the price of “being offensive” no matter what we do, we might as well get what we’re paying for.

  • Matto the Hun

    I like the Chaplin/Hitler one. If we had to have, or could have, a “hardcore” ad in the U.S., this would be the best choice. The “Hitler was an atheist” trope gets thrown around so often that even people who don’t think about religion much don’t realize it’s a big fat theist lie. 

    If the liars-for-jesus get such a hard-on throwing that lie around, I say it’s high time it’s thrown back in their face. If people get sad in their pants for seeing it, too flippin’ bad.. I haven’t seen theists crying foul when the Hitler=Atheist lie is tossed about.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      Of course the response to it would be: “what are they talking about? … Hitler WAS an atheist!” 
      But it would be very effective to anyone who hasn’t swallowed that lie.

      • Rieux

        Which leaves out one commenter on this thread. Guh.

      • Rieux

        Which leaves out one commenter on this thread. Guh.

    • http://www.facebook.com/GooBallin Goo Ball

      That was the only one I didn’t like. I just don’t think it’s a strong argument.

      I understand many religious people use a similar argument, but using it in response only validates that reasoning.

      The other ones were pretty awesome though.

      • ElYobo

        The message of the billboard is that given in the translation, “religion does not define character”.  Putting Hitler up there is not meant to indicate that Christians are bad, but to provide a counter example to the default assumption that a religous person is more moral.

        I think that this message is strong and clear, but it seems that more than a few people are misunderstanding it.  I’m not sure how it could be made more clear though.

        • http://www.facebook.com/GooBallin Goo Ball

          Yeah I get that. I just think using a polarizing example works. People are just going to look at it think about how the people who put up the billboard used the most polarizing example they could find.

  • Morganna

    Chaplin wouldn’t be my go-to guy.  He had something of a thing for 16 year old girls. Still, the billboards are awesome.

    • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

      That’s understandable, but I think they used Chaplin because they were going for the mustache connection.  Two men, two moralities, two beliefs, one mustache.

      • http://ashleyfmiller.wordpress.com/ Ashley F. Miller

        Referencing The Great Dictator more specifically.

        • GTWiecz

          I think it’s a great comparison, especially since Chaplin mocked Hitler in the Great Dictator.

    • GTWiecz

      Seems like many geniuses do, right? The womanizing thing. Picasso, Rodin, Roman Polanski..any many others. Either it’s their fame attracting groupies or their high testosterone/power/ego. Politicians can relate.

  • Anonymous

    Oh wow… how I’d LOVE to see those here in America.  Can you imagine the reaction, especially considering how they’ve responded to a few little bus ads?  I’m thinking civil war here.  Especially they’re motto, say no to prejudice against atheists.  The religious in this country see THEMSELVES as persecuted by prejudice, which would be funny if it weren’t so delusional.

  • Bob Pataki

    It’s sad how people will believe anything they read about religious people, in a negative context, when those same people, reading that same material, already have a bias against religion. So, of course, any information regarding a person’s religious background intended to make them look that much worse ‘because they’re religious’ will sound appealing to them, whether that information is true or not.

    This is one of those cases. History lesson: Hitler did not believe in God; on the contrary, in closed quarters he hated the Christian doctrine, literally. He said so many times, himself. The only reason he tried to manipulate the churches in any way whatsoever was so he could get further support in any way he could. If a church didn’t speak out against him, he didn’t shut it down. Many churches were in fact shut down and, many Christians, killed. I don’t know why we keep using Hitler as a religious example…he really is not a good one. Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me. Hitler was an ATHEIST. Hitler killed in the name of Hitler; anyone claiming otherwise is quite ignorant to the facts.

    “We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to
    have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for only Germany.” ~ Adolf Hitler

    • Anonymous

      Regardless what he felt and thought behind closed doors, his speeches and Mein Kampf were littered with references to his Christianity, his belief in God, and his belief that he was doing the Lord’s work in eliminating the Jews.  He played upon the religious beliefs of others, which is what power-hungry leaders do.  I don’t believe he was either Christian OR Atheist.  He was interested in being all-powerful himself, which is not an atheist attribute (though, in all honestly, I see that attributed in many popular preachers of our times).

      No one wants to claim him or his atrocities.  While you have provided one quote in favor of atheism, I can find quotes in favor of Christianity.  Do you really want to play the quote mining game?

      • Bob Pataki

        That’s the point; you can’t know what was or wasn’t true about what he
        said publicly because his goal was power…at whatever costs. He was a
        liar, everyone admits that. So, if you admit that many of the things he
        addressed in his speeches were lies, why is it that atheists (by
        default) assume ALL of his Christian-referenced quotations were more ‘true to his character’ then anything else?
        Scholars and historians are 100% he was against Christianity and, even
        if he actually thought he was a Christian, he certainly did not act by
        his alleged ‘faith’ very well, did he? If anything, what he did say behind closed quarters was what he probably actually believed, right?

        I think it’s very naive to say that atheists don’t have any interest in
        being all-powerful…I’ve named a couple examples in my other post.

        • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

          Leaving aside whether Hitler was or wasn’t an atheist or Christian – the mere existence of a Christian power structure that he could leverage gave him more power. Once you have a ‘machine’ that discourages independent thought and and encourages slavish worship in place, it’s ripe for manipulation. A similar kind of manipulation (i.e. use of religious power structures for political advantage) still goes on today in many, many countries.

        • Anonymous

          As you’ve said, we can never know for sure.  Some Christians will automatically assume his atheistic blatherings were his true feelings, as you have, and declare him atheist.  Others will merely say that, because of his deplorable acts, he is “NOT true Christian,” which is inane.  We can easily point to the atrocities committed by God and in God’s name in the bible as equally deplorable. 

          It is naive to say atheists don’t have an interest in being all-powerful.  That was a silly thing for me to say.  Though I do believe it is more prevalent among the god-believers because they feel they have god’s blessing in seeking said power.  And that type of reasoning is what Hitler used, at least in his writings and speeches, to condone his own acts.

        • Rieux

          That’s the point; you can’t know what was or wasn’t true about what he said publicly….

          And yet you claim that you do know!You are quite the hypocrite.

    • http://twitter.com/ErnestValdemar Ernest Valdemar

      “on the contrary, in closed quarters he hated the Christian doctrine, literally.”

      Wait a minute, let me try to understand. Are you basing Hitler’s attitude toward religion based on things he said behind closed doors? Statements for which there is no reliable evidence other than hearsay? Really? So, all of known public statements, all of his recorded interviews, all of  published books and articles assert that he was a committed Catholic, and you’re asking us to consider unreliable hearsay evidence about the most reviled man in the 20th century?

      I am flabbergasted.

      • http://twitter.com/ErnestValdemar Ernest Valdemar

        And another thing: Do you know who was behind closed doors with Hitler? That’s right — Nazis.

      • http://twitter.com/ErnestValdemar Ernest Valdemar

        And another thing: Do you know who was behind closed doors with Hitler? That’s right — Nazis.

    • Rieux

      Hitler did not believe in God…. Hitler was an ATHEIST.

      That is a ridiculous lie. Shame on you.Hitler, as the apotheosis of anti-Communism, was severely adamantly opposed to atheism.

      Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith
      is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and
      not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not
      merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally
      myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen
      years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater
      damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian
      parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of
      God. Germany’s entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in
      this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of
      degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press—that is, in
      our entire culture—and to eliminate the poison which has been
      permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years.

       - Hitler, Stuttgart, February 15, 1933

      Your lies are outrageous.

    • Rieux

      Hitler did not believe in God…. Hitler was an ATHEIST.

      That is a ridiculous lie. Shame on you.Hitler, as the apotheosis of anti-Communism, was severely adamantly opposed to atheism.

      Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith
      is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and
      not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not
      merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally
      myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen
      years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater
      damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian
      parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of
      God. Germany’s entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in
      this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of
      degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press—that is, in
      our entire culture—and to eliminate the poison which has been
      permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years.

       - Hitler, Stuttgart, February 15, 1933

      Your lies are outrageous.

    • Anonymous

      I believe you’ve missed the point of this one. Let me give you some background, because you’re clearly unaware of a reality that many Atheists face regularly. We’re compared to Hitler. A lot. There are a large number of religious people who like to puff out their chests, put on their smuggest smirks, and tell us all about how many people their favorite Atheist killed in the name of Atheism. 

      Unfortunately, it’s just simply not true. What is true, is this:

      “Hitler killed in the name of Hitler; anyone claiming otherwise is quite ignorant to the facts.”‘

      You hit the nail right on the head with that. Good job. Unfortunately, you chose to ignore the rest of the message and continue to spread your hatred towards Atheists. That’s ok, you can’t win them all.

      The point of the billboard is that the religion a person claims to follow, or follows, or claims NOT to follow, is irrelevant. People can do good, and they can do evil. They should be judged based upon how often they do the former and how rarely they do the latter. It’s that simple.

      • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

        Yes! Exactly! Quit blaming God, quit blaming the Devil. It’s all you. The only (dis)advantage atheists have is we can’t blame God or the Devil.

  • Bob Pataki

    Yeah…well Christians could just as easily put up a billboard with Billy Graham and, say, Mao or Stalin (both atheists). I think it’s a naive thing to say hate stems from religion. There are haters and extremists in ALL groups; even atheists, yes? Extremism is fueled by far more by irrational hate than by specific religion (especially Christianity). It’s the haters in ALL GROUPS, not the religions, that must be tracked and stopped.

    • Anonymous

      Well, at least we can agree on one thing.  Yes, there are haters and extremists in every realm of the world, regardless of beliefs.  But I still have to stand by my belief that religion, itself, is a detriment to mankind.  It is the business of god belief, wrangled by highly placed priests, pastors, and preachers, and used by rulers for centuries to garner power over the masses, especially women.  Religion needs money and people to keep it running… that inevitably leads to preachers on corners and door-to-door faith salesmen.  Like the tobacco industry, which sells to children to build it’s customer base, religion does the same so the pews, and thus, the offering trays, continue to be filled.

      • Bob Pataki

        Some religions may be, but the idea and theology behind Christianty, if understood, could not lead one to think it’s about ‘hate’ or ‘discrimination; despite some of the people who associate themselves with it, quite the opposite in fact. Anyway, yes, there are people who do evil things in the name of Jesus and it’s sickening. It Truly is. I don’t think those people honestly live a Christ-inspired lifestyle though, would you agree?

        • Anonymous

          It doesn’t matter what their lifestyle is… if they state they are Christian, then they are Christian.  It all comes down to their word against yours.  I know many more atheists who live a “Christ-inspired” lifestyle than Christians who do so.  Why?  Not because of a book written by nomads, but because it is the right thing to do, the right way for us to behave in our social group.  The majority of Christians I’ve known in my lifetime use the “Christian” badge as a get-out-of-jail-free card of sorts… it’s an identifier of who they say they are, not how they behave or what they do on a daily basis.  “Sunday Christians” as some call them, or “Christmas Christians” even.

          How you live your life is not in any way, shape, or form automatically indicative of what is in your heart and mind.

          • Rieux

            Generally a good comment, but:

            I know many more atheists who live a “Christ-inspired” lifestyle than Christians who do so.

            No—don’t do Christians’ propaganda work for them. The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels isn’t remotely the swell guy that Pataki pretends, and that you’re accepting. Look it up.I see your quotation marks around “Christ-inspired”—you’re pointing out that that’s Pataki’s term, not yours—but I really think we skeptics have to stop letting them get away with that hogwash. The Gospels’ Jesus was simply not a moral exemplar. Or even close to it.

            • Anonymous

              I get what you’re saying.  I was using “Christ-inspired” as a way to communicate back to him using his own language.  Hence, the quotes.  I’m referring to “Christian-like” behavior and lifestyle, the behavior that is typically associated with believers, as opposed to behavior usually attributed to atheists.  Good vs. Bad.  Honorable vs. Dishonest.  I think most readers of this blog understand what I meant without being literal.

              • Rieux

                Okay. My concern is just that an uncritical use of the term (though I did notice, and appreciate, the scare quotes) lends credence to the whole arrogant idea that “Christian” and “Christ-inspired” = good and moral. It ain’t actually so, as you know.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry, Bob. I understand Christianity. I studied it at the graduate level. I’ve read more theology and history of Christian doctrine than most Christians. It likes to say love but at base is a doctrine of discrimination and hate. It sets up an in-group and an out-group. The in-group may be theoretically open to anyone, but that doesn’t mean that the out-group therefore no longer exists. Not only that, but within the in-group there are two classes: men (the rulers) and women (the servants).

          • Anonymous

            Which is not to say that hate can’t be justified. Christianity hates the wrong stuff though. It hates non-believers by concocting a hell for them to go to. It hates women by making them the source for original sin and subordinating them to men. It hates science and knowledge by praising wilful stupidity and gullibility.  What should we hate? Injustice and ignorance.

            • Bob Pataki

               I’m sorry but, no, you DON’T understand Christianity fully. I honestly don’t know where to begin. I’m not going to write a novel explaining every single thing why. I don’t have the time, haha. I’m not saying you aren’t close, but it takes much more than what you ‘read’. I’d end up re-writing the same thing over and over again, and to no avail. I just wish I could hold these convos in person…I’ve enjoyed many of these conversations with people over the years. One problem with most non-believers is that they can not STAND the idea of Christianity being anything good, even remotely…which makes them biased beyond the point of reasoning with them. Not saying that’s you, but that’s how it is with a LOT of non-believers.

              • Rieux

                I’m sorry but, no, you DON’T understand Christianity fully.

                No True Scotsman. You lose.

              • Trish

                 Aside from the obvious logical fallacy (No True Scotsman) in your argument, I think you’re confusing understanding Christianity as a whole with understanding YOUR PERSONAL experience with YOUR version of Christianity.

              • Anonymous

                “One problem with most non-believers is that they can not STAND the idea of Christianity being anything good, even remotely…which makes them biased beyond the point of reasoning with them.”

                Wow, Bob… pompous much?  We could say the same to you about nonbelievers.  You forget (or maybe you never knew) that the overwhelming majority of atheists were once believers or at least grew up with believers and know much more than they’d like to know about Christianity from LIVING it, not just reading about it.  Also, the overwhelming majority of atheists have read exhaustively about the world’s religions in 1) an effort to find out the “truth” in their personal journey and 2) to be informed about the beliefs of others, to understand others.  Christians, by and large, do not do these things, which makes them biased beyond the point of reasoning with them.

              • Anonymous

                Don’t insult me. I tell you, I understand Christianity. I’ve read the bible (including much of the New Testament in Greek and Latin). I’ve read Irenaeus, Basil, Tertullian, Chrysostom, Augustine, Origen, Jerome, Anselm, Aquinas, Benedict, and  on and on. I’ve studied its history from its early beginnings. I was basically immersed in Christianity for several years of my life. I never said it didn’t produce anything good, but at root it isn’t good. And now, when we know how the world was created, when we have a good idea of how non-living molecules emerged into living organisms, when we know how the diversity of life came to be, when we understand how our consciousness resides in our brains and not in souls, there is no reason to hold on to the brutal and evil mythologies of ignorant people. If you insist on being religious, make up your own, more ethical deity.

                • Rieux

                  Pwned!

        • Rieux

          the idea and theology behind Christianty, if understood, could not lead one to think it’s about ‘hate’ or ‘discrimination[']….

          That’s utter nonsense. You’re either ignorant of (which is excusable) or willfully blind regarding the overwhelming levels of hate and (support for) discrimination that’s all over Christian scripture, doctrine, and history.

          Anyway, yes, there are people who do evil things in the name of Jesus
          and it’s sickening. It Truly is. I don’t think those people honestly
          live a Christ-inspired lifestyle though, would you agree?

          No, certainly not. The Jesus character portrayed in the Gospels condones slavery, threatens genocide, spews racist hatred, sneers at the poor while arrogantly hoarding luxuries for himself, and (more often than he sends any other message, including all of his lip service to “love” and “peace” put together) shrieks that anyone who defies him will be brutally tortured in Hell.As a result, “Christ-inspired lifestyle” would necessarily involve committing, or at least continually threatening, massive moral (and indeed criminal) disasters. You really need to read the Gospels some time, rather than just swallowing, or indeed propagating, Christianity’s P.R.

          But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. – Jesus, in Luke 19:27

          • Bob Pataki

            Response to all of your comments: I expected nothing else from you or anyone else in here. You’re simply ridiculous. Are we even reading the same Bible here?! I am dumbfounded of your incompetent understanding of Christ’s message.  Simply put.You probably still can’t even tell me why He even existed, according to Christians.

            To suggest Hitler was a devout Christian is a lie in and of itself. He thought nothing of Christianity as being of ANY influence over his world domination desires. As for your statements about what Christianity ‘condones’ …once again, you’re way off. For ONE thing, you need to learn not to confuse what was socially acceptable (whether right or wrong) and what the Bible and/or Christ condones. There is a major difference and many misconceptions because of those reading bits and pieces of it, not understanding the culture of the time, and ONLY looking for those ‘horrible’ snippets without understanding them. However, yes, there are some extremities that you need to accept if you’re a believer…but never hate for people; that should not happen…no matter who you follow. Sadly, many people including Christians do.

            But, I digress.

            • Rieux

              Are we even reading the same Bible here?!

              I suspect not. We’re reading the actual Bible. You appear to be reading a copy in which you’ve slathered Wite-Out over every passage that makes you uncomfortable.More than likely the Wite-Out is only mental, but the result is the same. You refuse to read your own scripture honestly. It’s not our problem.

              You probably still can’t even tell me why He even existed, according to Christians.You don’t have the slightest idea what I could or couldn’t “tell you”—but more to the point, you’re amusingly trying to change the subject. Why should we care about the party line regarding anything “according to Christians”? You clearly have no interest in dealing with these matters honestly, warts and all. What matters in this discussion is what the Bible actually says. Your fantasies on that point deserve to be mocked.
              To suggest Hitler was a devout Christian is a lie in and of itself.

              Conveniently, I said no such thing.

              He thought nothing of Christianity as being of ANY influence over his world domination desires.

              Big whoop. Regardless of what he said in irrelevant back-room bull sessions, his public platform was overwhelmingly and aggressively Christian. Because the overwhelming majority of Nazis were devoutly Christian. Fixating on the loon at the top is just your attempt to avoid the deep Christian roots of German fascism, not to mention European anti-semitism more broadly.

              As for your statements about what Christianity ‘condones’ …

              See, there’s where you make it clear what a terrible reader you are. I never said a word “about what Christianity ‘condones.’” I pointed out what Jesus, the character in the Gospels, condones. But as usual, you refused to read the actual text, substituting a fantasy that was more to your liking.There’s your problem: you’re so used to radically revising reality in your own head that you can’t tell the difference between your fantasies and the real world. It’s pretty sad.

              For ONE thing, you need to learn not to confuse what was socially acceptable (whether right or wrong) and what the Bible and/or Christ condones.

              Big deal. Nothing I mentioned in my previous comment was a mere matter of “what was socially acceptable.” All of it came straight from the Jesus character himself. And regardless, to try to defend the supposed all-powerful, eternal Savior of the World with the sorry excuse that some practice or other “was socially acceptable” is laughable nonsense. No actual omnipotent being can be limited by parochial customs.

              …and ONLY looking for those ‘horrible’ snippets without understanding them.No, actually, that’s your problem: the atheists you’re tangling with here have dared to understand the matters in question, rather than the dishonest excuses of apologists like yourself. You’re using understanding as a euphemism for deference to your willful blindness, but we have no obligation to go in for that.
              However, yes, there are some extremities that you need to accept if you’re a believer…

              Indeed! And they’re a rather good reason why no one should be “a believer.”

              but never hate for people; that should not happen…

              Except, of course, that the Bible (including guess who?) declares otherwise. You’re just not very good at this. Or, more to the point, you’re among some people who know more than enough to see through your dishonesty.

            • Trish

              “I expected nothing else from you or anyone else in here. You’re simply ridiculous. … I am dumbfounded of your incompetent understanding …  Simply put.You probably still can’t even tell me…” 
              Resorting to personal insults and condescension is not the way to win an argument. Also, it’s not very nice. I don’t think your deity would like that.

            • Anonymous

              You probably still can’t even tell me why He even existed, according to Christians.

              Don’t you see that this core doctrine is itself evil? The Christians created a myth in which humanity was fallen, sinful, in need of salvation? What kind of love is that? It’s the love of a mafia boss or a psychopathic, narcissistic parent.

              Human beings are not outcasts from paradise. We’re just animals, lucky enough to have evolved to a point that we can make ourselves medicines and write brilliant novels and throw spacecraft out into the void to check out the neighbourhood.

              Christianity wants us to believe we’re diseased so the priests and the preachers can sell us the cure. There is no disease. There is no sin. There is no atonement.

              • Rieux

                Hear, hear!

              • Anonymous

                Well said

                And then the cure for that disease (brought into the world because a woman listened to a talking snake and ate from a magical tree) is a brutal human sacrifice. And that only after an earlier attempt to cure humanity by wiping most of it and most of all animals out.

                That’s supposed to be good and moral? Those are supposed to be the actions of an all-powerful all-knowing being? I don’t think so

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        Hi, there. Stumbled over here from Patheos’ Pagan portal. I’d just like to add that not all religions work that way. I don’t give a fig whether you believe in one god, twelve gods, or none. As Jefferson said, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. I’m not here to convert you, likewise I’m not seeking a conversion (or re-conversion, perhaps? I used to be an atheist.)
            It just bugs me when atheists paint all religion as working like Christianity and other monotheistic religions. (It bugs me all the more so because I used to do it,too.) I highly recommend Jonathan Kirsch’s “God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism”.
          
            I respect your non-belief, but just wanted to do my small part in helping atheists better represent religion as something more than as just monotheism everywhere.

        Senebty/ Be Healthy,

        Djhutmosu Sihathor

        P.S. I’d also like to add that the one poster, with Krishna, Horus, and Jesus wouldn’t work on polytheists. (They tend to believe in other gods too, and not reject them like monotheists do. I understand the majority of people reading the posters are likely to be monotheists, but I wanted to point that out.)

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          That is certainly true, but you’ve got to admit that monotheism (Christianity in particular) has got 99% of the money and power and adherents in Western culture. If the majority of America or Brazil or Ireland was made up of live-and-let-live pagans, atheists would have a lot less to complain about! There wouldn’t be any need for these billboards because, like you said, pagans aren’t pushy about their beliefs. They aren’t out proselytizing. They aren’t trying to get children to perform their rituals in public schools or insisting that their blessings be posted in government buildings. In the fight for separation of church and state, pagans are much more likely to be atheists’ allies than our enemies. I still think you guys are wrong about the whole supernatural thing, but it would be a heck of a lot easier to live in a majority pagan society than a majority Christian one.

          • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

                Oh, yes, I admit that completely. It’s unfortunate that I have to (I’d rather it not be a majority monotheist society) but it is also very,very true. The rest of that is right, also. Incidentally, there are some atheist pagans out there…I guess they like their atheism with ritual or something. It confuses the heck out of me, personally, but whatever floats their boat and doesn’t sink mine…

    • Robert

      That’s not what the ads say.

      I could understand if the blog had mistranslated the ads, but they’re correctly translated (I’m Brazilian and work in the translation/localization industry so that’s my own assessment at any rate).

      The ads don’t say hate stems from religion. The Hitler Chaplin one says exactly what the blog claims: Religion does not define character. It also includes “Say no to discrimination against atheists.”

      Saying “Christians could as easily put up a billboard…” and so on as you did seems to indicate you did not pay attention to the post and the provided translation.

      • Rieux

        Man, Bob’s getting pwned all over this thread.

  • Guest

    North America should have ads like those. Not necessarily with the Chaplin/Hitler reference, but with the message “Say NO to prejudice against atheists”. That little phrase right there should be on every atheist billboard out there. It’s the biggest issue we have in society.

    • Newavocation

      Maybe we could use Chaplin/Bush

  • ElYobo

    Bob Pataki, none of the signs indicates that “hate stems from religion”; you seem to have missed the point.  As the translation says, “religion does not define character”, so it’s quite the opposite of your interpretation.

    • Bob Pataki

      True, you’re right. However, that phrase I said only comes from other atheists I’ve talked to.

  • Jcravens

    I adore these.

  • Johannsone

    That’s so weird, I was going to “Ask Richard” how do you think a christian would feel in a land of a different religious majority just today and well here’s some amazing billboards to help me answer my own question. I WISH we could have these here, wish, wish wish. We’re so busy trying not to offend anyone we just look like slippery eels always vacillating. You certainly can’t please all camps, but everyone does deserve to be equally happy. I look back at history and see how much hatred has been sown in the name of our christian founding and it makes me sick. It’s no different than judging a man by the color of his skin. I mean good grief, we have to qualify love of all things. We can’t just be ‘in love’ and we can’t just not believe. They label atheists as angry, well if seeing and seeking the truth make me look mad, that’s cool. Better than the alternative, blind devotion.

    • Rieux

      I was going to “Ask Richard” how do you think a christian would feel in a land of a different religious majority just today….

      Oh, Brazil very much is a majority-Christian nation.

      Its atheists can apparently get away with being brasher than the United States’ atheists can, though.

    • Michelle Araújo Silva

      We don’t have a bible belt and we didn’t get death/rape threats (like it was shown in Fox News FB page) in Brazil but is not as easy as you think. ATEA tried to put atheist ads on bus too but the bus companies backed down, a politician complained about it; a TV news host said atheists are responsible for most violent crimes here, etc. I’ve been called names at my doorstep by a couple of evangelicals…the list goes on…

  • http://twitter.com/noisician jeff (Brutum Fulmen)

    I don’t really get the one that says “If God exists, everything is permitted.”

    I never get the impression that theists or their gods are particularly permissive.

    • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

      I took it to mean that any behavior, no matter how atrocious, can be justified by believers in the name of faith.  Inquisitions, crusades, terrorism, etc qualify because they’re acting the name of their god.  Look at the way Fundigelicals in the US demand the right to discriminate against [insert minority here] in the name of religious freedom.

    • Rieux

      I never get the impression that theists or their gods are particularly permissive.

      You don’t?

      When have you ever seen a theist whose god doesn’t permit him/her to do exactly what he/she wants to do?

      Imaginary friends are convenient that way: they’ll permit anything you’d like.

      If one of those imaginary friends happens to exist, clearly piddling little humans’ mores and laws are moot. Voila: “If God exists, everything is permitted.”

    • Anonymous

      It’s a play on the theist trope that you can’t be moral without religion. They say that “Without religion, anything is permitted”, when in fact the opposite is true.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YX7ASMUKML5PBUZ4AT5ZHBQB7A Moq

    Succinct messages that offers reflection. Well done!

  • Dr_hectorperez

    “Our lives are dictated by tradicion, supersticion & false religion thru the eons” QUEEN in Innuendo song. 

    • http://twitter.com/kariedgerton Kari Edgerton

      OMG! I love that song!

  • http://twitter.com/noisician jeff (Brutum Fulmen)

    I think the question of Hitler’s personal beliefs may be a red herring.

    Whatever his true beliefs, the fact is that Hitler publicly embraced Christianity, it publicly embraced him, and the Christians of Germany carried out atrocities commanded by Hitler in the name of God.

    Still, a Hitler billboard has got to be a bad idea.

    • Victor Harris

      But they aren’t using him as an example of Christianity, they are saying that someone’s beliefs does not define their character, i.e. Hitler did atrocities because he was Hitler, not necessarily because he was christian, it’s not an example of Godwin’s law in this instance…therefore it goes along perfectly with their campaign of stopping prejudice against atheists for no other reason than that they are atheist.

  • http://silveroutlinedwindow.wordpress.com/ Shannon

    Wow – strong and good. Love “Religion does not define character”

  • Linke

    Though I agree the image of Hitler is controversial (for many reasons) I definitely also agree with its use. Brazil has no expressive atheist big-shot. Atheists here don’t make it to the news, not even to be bashed on. We’re just not taken seriously over here.
    Using Hitler is just another way to hit people where it hurts and force them to think and consider atheists as a group, even if it is to disprove an atheist claim.

    • Michelle Araújo Silva

      Actually we do. Did you forget about the Datena episode?

    • http://www.facebook.com/thiago.trds Thiago Santos

      Yeah man.. look what happened last weekend when Caetano Veloso said on TV that he doesn’t believe god and stuff.. and we can’t forget Datena for saying that “only atheists could commit crimes.. real christians don’t commit crimes”… he’s pretty much our version of O’Reilly in a way.. we are bashed a lot.. it’s just that it’s already ‘default’ so no one gives a crap about us or our issues..

  • Alvapoiu

    The second one should be ”
    “Faith gives no answers. It only prevents questions.”

  • NorDog

    Well, Chaplin and Hitler were both socialists

    • GentleGiant

      HUGE difference between being a Socialist (Chaplin?!? – I admit to not knowing his political stance) and a National Socialist (Hitler).
      And no, just to get ahead of more uninformed jibberish, socialism isn’t the same as communism.

      • Rieux

        Good point; and yes, Chaplin was the ordinary, and frequently commendable, kind of socialist.

        “National Socialism” has always been a ridiculous misnomer. Shockingly (or not), the Nazis were full of shit about their name, too.

        • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

          Every time I’ve tried to search to find out what socialism is in terms of how it’s used in today’s political discourse (especially why it’s used as an insult), I come up empty.  Is there a decent, readable explanation online that anyone knows of?

          Or am I just a socialist without realizing it, and therefore will never see the insult?

          • GentleGiant

            I’m not entirely sure what you’re looking for precisely, so the following might not be of any use.
            Socialism as an insult is mostly used by the American political right*, as a way to insinuate a connection with the great “enemy” of the past, Communism. In fact, many use it as a direct comparison, showing that they have no grasp of the actual meaning and roots of the socio- and political implications of various -isms.
            So anything considered “left-wing” is labeled Socialism = Communism (socialized health care etc.).

            Pure instances of Socialism aren’t really all that common anywhere today (but the same can be said of any -ism), the closest thing to a widespread, tentative correlation would be the Social Democratic views and politics found in Europe (especially the northern parts of Europe).
            It’s mostly a question of taking some Socialist ideas and incorporating/moulding them into a democratic and free society.

            *Well, any (extreme) right-wing rhetoric use it as a slur, which the expanded focus on extremism on the right has shown after the terrorist actions in Norway.

    • Anonymous

      Socialism is a good thing so long as it is founded on a bedrock of freedom of speech and democracy.

  • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

    Two points. 1) These nested comments become unreadable once you get three (or fewer) letters per line. 2) Am I the only one growing weary of the Patheos Christian “debates” that consist of arguments and reasoning most F.A. readers have addressed multiple times?

    Newsflash to Xtians: Many atheists you’ll find on blogs were once believers or at least culturally Xtians.  Your judgments, theology and cherry-picking are not novel.  A good debate is great, but you’re not going to convince anyone here without some new material.  I can volunteer seven days a week, but one murder and I’d be considered a bad person.  Your book of mythical horrors sprinkled with a kind word here and there gets no better treatment.  Jesus came to bring the sword, not peace. as I recall, as well as the threat of hell.  I’m looking at you, Bob Pitaki.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      1) Well, after that many continuous replies to old posts, I’m not sure what other option there is other than starting a new thread.

      2) Those debates have always been around. They’re not unique to Patheos.

      • Rieux

        after that many continuous replies to old posts, I’m not sure what other option there is other than starting a new thread.

        That wasn’t a problem on the old friendlyatheist.com. I have to say that I agree with Chris: this comment software is terrible. The lack of both preview and editing capability is just awful. (My comment above beginning with “I suspect not” is a horrendous mess just because of a few botched HTML tags. And there’s no way to fix it.)

        • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

          Each time I’ve put up a comment, I’ve had the ability to edit it afterword.

          • Rieux

             

            There’s a little link next to “Reply” on your comment that says “Edit”….

            Not for me there isn’t. “Like” and “Reply” is all Disqus gives me.It’s poor software. Frequently it kills commenters’ paragraph breaks, too, so it looks like they’re stream-of-consciousness one-paragraph trolls. And anything you put in a blockquote is automatically italicized, such that the [i] and [/i] commands work backwards. And no preview.

            To my mind (not that I get a vote), Hemant’s move to Patheos was a mistake.

      • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

        Point taken on #2, Hemant.  I don’t mean to bite the hand, etc.  There just seemed to be an increase in tired arguments of late.  I’ll try to refrain from calling out the site specifically.

      • http://sprengdentag.wordpress.com/ lost control

        1) Can’t the nesting/threading of comments be disabled?
        It’s annoying because of rendering the text hard to read, and – my bigger gripe – harder to find new comments when revisiting the comments in case they were added somewhere in between. Maybe it’s personal, but I don’t mind following multiple conversations in a flat comment thread, with the added benefit of being able to spot new comments easier.
        And with nested comments, people might reply to a comment “higher up” but referencing another comment they’ve already read towards the end.
        Or at least a lower nesting limit to avoid the scrambling into a narrow column.

        2) Sure, so far the same old debates weren’t too outlandish, but they feel to occur more frequently on Patheos. I don’t mind them in principle, but they can get tedious when they stoop down to the Hitler=Atheist meme. Damn, Hitler’s still on RCC’s list of believers. And his utterances definitely don’t spell out “there’s no god”.

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          I totally agree! I hate the threaded comments. It’s impossible to find new replies automatically. You have to read through the entire thread to find out if someone’s posted something new.

      • http://sprengdentag.wordpress.com/ lost control

        1) Can’t the nesting/threading of comments be disabled?
        It’s annoying because of rendering the text hard to read, and – my bigger gripe – harder to find new comments when revisiting the comments in case they were added somewhere in between. Maybe it’s personal, but I don’t mind following multiple conversations in a flat comment thread, with the added benefit of being able to spot new comments easier.
        And with nested comments, people might reply to a comment “higher up” but referencing another comment they’ve already read towards the end.
        Or at least a lower nesting limit to avoid the scrambling into a narrow column.

        2) Sure, so far the same old debates weren’t too outlandish, but they feel to occur more frequently on Patheos. I don’t mind them in principle, but they can get tedious when they stoop down to the Hitler=Atheist meme. Damn, Hitler’s still on RCC’s list of believers. And his utterances definitely don’t spell out “there’s no god”.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      1) Well, after that many continuous replies to old posts, I’m not sure what other option there is other than starting a new thread.

      2) Those debates have always been around. They’re not unique to Patheos.

    • Anonymous

      If I’m to blame for any of the old arguments, I apologize.  I’m fairly new to FA, and while I have read quite a bit of the old blogs AND comments, I still like to discuss and debate, even if the arguments are old.  Never know when they might be new to someone else.

    • Anonymous

      Assuming the New Testament is complete fiction,  I still find it morally meaningful.   Some call that Christian,  some Atheist. I think of it as a poetic point of view. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=645690699 Rachel Holierhoek

    I particularly like “Religion does not define character.”  I think that’s one we should be using.  

  • http://slrman.wordpress.com James Smith

    These illustrations show what I have been saying for years.  I have lived in Brazil for over 8 years.  Even though a nominally catholic country, the influence of religion in Brazil is far less than in the USA. 

    Catholicism is far from the only religion here.  The largest church in my city, João Pessoa, is church of god monstrosity the occupies nearly an entire city block.  I also see baptist, methodist, and other churches.    Mormon missionaries are a common sight, too.

    With all of that, I only know a couple of people that even give lip service to religion.  As far as “blue laws” voted in place by the religious reich, there are almost none.

    The collapsing USA economy, political, and social structure aside, freedom from religion is a good reason to live in Brazil.   The economy is booming, the climate is perfect, and the beaches are fantastic.  “Y;all come now, y’heah?”

  • David Brown

    America….land of the free and home of the brave.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha……oh man….and we Euros say you Yanks have no sense of irony!

    Sorry…..did that offend you?

  • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

    Speaking for myself, please don’t feel the need to apologize.  Personally, I was used to the lighter tone at the old site.  With a more insular group comments were playful, irreverent and sometimes painfully honest in the criticism of religion without much intrusion. It was a relief from the constant fighting and drive-by trolling found at some larger blogs like Pharyngula.  (Full disclosure: I must admit I enjoy chewing up trolls on occasion, just not daily.) Things change, sites change and we all have to adjust.

    My rant was very broad and simply reactionary due one individual in particular.  My point had been made with better, prior comments had I bothered to read them all.  Definitely, let’s keep the debate going. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/thiago.trds Thiago Santos

    This is one of those rare moments that I’m actually proud of my fellow countrymen :)

  • mal

    Not that it makes any difference to the argument here–but to save all the other twentieth century historians from rolling in their graves (and beds) Hitler was a public Christian and chose to be connected with Christianity at a visible level.  You cannot argue about the internal workings of his head unless you or someone you know held intimate therapy sessions with him. Mein Kampf is available in nearly every written language, if you don’t speak German you can pick it up for yourself in whatever language you choose. If you’re really interested to know how Hitler thought, you should go straight to the source. 
    I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

  • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

    I can’t seem to quit this thread.  With all the Hitler references and the other post regarding Hemant’s  surprising (and I suspect half-hearted) claim to dislike animals, especially cats, I must post this picture.  Maybe Hemant is on to something…

    (via Jerry Coyne over at

    Why Evolution Is True.)

     
    Meet Snowball

    • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

      wtf happened with my html tag?  Sorry about the spaces.

  • http://www.facebook.com/noahstephens Noah Stephens

    Slow clap for Brazil.

  • 1984

    100 million victims: communism
    100 billion victims (+ animals): God

    God made both possible

  • Rodrigo

    I am Brazilian, my English is not very good. But I’ll try to explain why the phrase “If God exists, everything is permitted” was used. It is nothing more than a refutation of the theistic sentence. “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” Note that phrase is misused by theists of the book The Brothers Karamazov.

  • http://atheistdave.wordpress.com/ A. Dave

    I’ve just assumed that the phrase “If god exists, everything is permitted” is essentially telling us that if an omnipresent being exists, then all of the terrible things that happen must have been allowed to happen.

    EDIT: All of the good things as well, but clearly it’s not a benevolent omnipresent being.

  • http://www.brasilmagic.wordpress.com Gtwiecz

    Faith gives no answers. It only impedes questions.” I would use “Faith gives no answers, it only avoids questions” and instead of “If God exists, everything is permitted.” I would use “If God exists, everything is allowed”
    Very proud of my country of birth. I only became an activist in the US though. I was raised-brainwashed-Catholic but was very skeptical. Stopped attending mass at 18 and then through reading and thinking became agnostic then atheist. But in Brazil religion was very much part of the culture, so I just went along. It didn’t bother me. When I came to the US and saw the religious diversity and the power fundies held on government (Bush years) I decided that I had to help people get rid of the mythology. My biggest pet peeve is confusing Christianity with moral behavior (“Bob Pataki”s mistake). I am tired of the “He’s a good Christian” to describe someone ethical and nice (whereas for me “he” is a fool :)).

    • Rieux

      My biggest pet peeve is confusing Christianity with moral behavior
      (“Bob Pataki”s mistake). I am tired of the “He’s a good Christian” to
      describe someone ethical and nice (whereas for me “he” is a fool :)).

      I feel the same way. Nice to have you posting here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/igrebnev Иван Гребнев

    Thank you

  • Abdrashitov

    Thanks you. At us, in Russia these statements too are very actual. We support you and we wish success.

  • Атеист из России

    Плакаты великолепны!

  • Aletta Brown

    A Christ follower that has no religion will see and understand these billboards for what they are-exploitation of ignorance and half truths. no need for a civil war or any reaction really just smile shake your head and move on-why cast your pearls before swines?

    • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

      What ignorance? What half-truths?

  • Anonymous

    Faith is what gives me the strength to continually question my beliefs, prejudices and shortcomings.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      I don’t quite get it. How can faith give you the strength to question your beliefs if faith is the source of your beliefs? Faith doesn’t encourage anyone to question their assumption that the supernatural is real. As for prejudice, I don’t know what you’re talking about specifically, but religion often promotes certain types of prejudice. It almost never encourages people to question the morality of those teachings.

  • Guest

    Whether you believe in a God or Gods or none at all, its when you become an extremist yhay it become a problem 


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