Why Do We Need Atheist Monuments?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Why do we need atheist monuments?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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.

  • John Gahagan

    I agree. Atheist monuments are not necessary. I do, however, like the idea of consciousness raising. It worked well for the women’s movement and for the LBGT community. The ten commandments are so familiar that I think most people don’t pay much attention to them but an atheist monument? Well, they may stop and actually read what is inscribed. Even if they disagree it might start some questioning and that’s a beginning.

  • Atheist Billboards

    The “Monument to our Secular Nation” in Starke, FL is a wonderful development, for the reasons Hemant mentions in the video clip. The anonymous donor (most of us know exactly who that is…thank you TS) empowers us to place 50 more of them, if necessary.

    Currently I am building a separate section @ AtheistBillboards.com that will be devoted just to atheist monuments. Unlike the billboards, these will stand as permanent markers that we exist, we are not going away, and we have every right to equality under the law and a secular government under the U.S. Constitution.

    My coverage of the first monument at the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida is here: http://atheistbillboards.com/2013/06/a-monument-to-our-secular-nation/

  • Machintelligence

    The term “ten commandments” is familiar, but the commandments themselves, not so much. Ask almost any Christian to recite them and watch the embarrassment.

  • Bill

    That is so true. I have lost count how many times I have asked (politely) a Christian to recite, only to have them fail. What is even more stunning is they generally agree that we could come up with a better list!

  • advancedatheist

    If the Soviet experiment had worked and today’s world accepted the Soviet version of reality as normative, atheists might have made a monument of the graves of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II and his family to memorialize a blow against both the political and the religious oppression that the last Tsar represented. I work with a convert to Orthodox Christianity; she tells me that her church considers the Romanovs victims of atheism and martyrs for the faith.

  • Kevin

    A monument? Wait, I thought atheism wasn’t a belief or religion or system. I thought atheism was simply a lack of belief. Makes no sense at all to “monumentalize” that. Can’t have it both ways.

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

    Just FYI, Todd Stiefel is not the donor who said s/he would sponsor 49 additional benches! But he did sponsor the Starke one.

  • Atheist Billboards

    Well then, thank YOU Hemant, it must have taken some time to save up the 500 grand on a teacher’s salary. Just kidding. Thanks for the correction and info.

  • John Gahagan

    A monument is not for religions or system of beliefs it is to honour the memory of a person or persons or an event. Look to the inscriptions – honouring the freethinkers who have contributed so much and the founding voices of your country. Totally appropriate and nothing two ways about it.

  • Frances Maddox

    The commandments are so simple even the least of intellectually could understand the God given reasoning for these….think about them and do your “home work” by studying the Word so you, as an “intelligent”
    human being (created by God) …He tells us the “gate is narrow” and if the “good News” is rejected to dust off our feet and continue on. Austa Lavista

  • Bill

    Thou shall not own a fellow human being, though shall not
    rape, thou shall not discriminate, thou shall not abuse children… could replace the first four that are so clearly from an insecure and vain god (aka man who made them up).

  • Michael W Busch

    Stop equating atheism with authoritarianism. They are not the same thing. Again: no-one here advocates Marxist-Leninist atheism or violent insurrection and replacing one authoritarian government with another.

    No, the Romanovs were not “victims of atheism” – they were victims of the rebellion against the exploitative authoritarian power structure that they happened to be on the top of (that the Soviet government was also an authoritarian one is a different problem).

    And, no, the Russian Orthodox Church does not consider the Romanovs martyrs – although some sub-groups do. They are considered “passion bearers” who “died in a Christ-like manner” rather than as having “died for their faith”.

    And all of this is irrelevant here.

  • Michael W Busch

    You clearly did not watch the video.

    As Hemant has explained, the only reason these monuments exist is because there are religious monuments in government spaces – in violation of separation of church and state. If the religious monuments weren’t there, then there would be no need for atheist monuments.

  • Michael W Busch


    Four of the commandments have no reason for them – they would require evidence for the existence of a god and specifically the god of the Bible. And there is no such evidence.

    Of the remaining six, two are good rules (don’t steal, don’t murder)* and four are both illegal to require and incredibly bad ways of expressing ideas – even if we grant that the people who wrote them had good ideas in mind.

    E.g.: it is a good idea to have respect for your parents – but only if they have earned such respect. A blanket commandment of “honor your parents” without qualifiers is a very bad thing.

    *Actually, the way these are interpreted in the Bible are bad, so I’m being generous with saying they are good rules. So we are at less than 2 out of 10 ideas with good reasons for them.

  • Matt Davis

    You know that Scandinavia and Denmark, as well as the rest of western Europe, are the most atheistic countries in the world, right? They’re doing fine and there’s no tyrannical dictatorship systematically killing people there. Atheism works; Europe proves it. Just because Stalin was a maniac doesn’t make atheism bad – it makes Stalin’s version of communism bad.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Worse than that, all of those examples are given God’s approval elsewhere in the text.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s awful hard to read up on something before talking about it, huh?

  • Rob Carman

    I’m really enjoying these Atheist Voice videos, Hemant. To the point and very succinct on this one. Keep it up!

  • Larry Meredith

    Greate screengrab for the video Looks like your grabbing a big pair of tits for the first time and about to pass out from the joy.

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

    Thank you. This helps ease all my self-conscious concerns :)

  • Jim Hudlow

    Hemant…simply put you are right. We don’t put the monument there out of desire…we put it there to counter an infringement of our Constitution by others and maybe force an actual consideration of what remaining neutral regarding religion in government and on our tax funded lands really means.

    On another issue all together you have caused a kerfuffle regarding a colon at the
    Inland Northwest Freethought Society. Damn your educated example!

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

    What’s the deal with a colon?!

  • MrChris

    I feel as embarrassed about the thought of atheist monuments as I imagine some CofE Christians do about the whole women bishop debarcle.

  • David Tiffany

    I wonder that myself. Listen, the atheist claim that the Scriptures are nothing more than myth is being disproven. When the proof continues to pan out that there is a God and the Scriptures He gave to us are true, what will be left? http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/