Really? These Atheist Billboards Are ‘Shocking’?

KEYE-TV in Austin, Texas offered up this headline yesterday, noting that it was their most popular video at the time:

Wow! “Shocking” atheist billboards! What did they say? “God is imaginary”? “Religion is child abuse”? “There is no heaven”?

Nope. It’s just the one in that picture. The one that says to atheists, “You’re not alone.”

Talk about freaking out over nothing…

The video itself — which is not embeddable — features a couple of soundbytes from local Christians who “don’t agree” with the billboard (which says more about their reading abilities than it does the content of the message), but there’s nothing provocative about the sign.

It’s editorializing. It suggests that atheists doing pretty much anything is shocking. It’s the sort of adjective you’d never see in front of a report about a Christian billboard telling people to come to church so they can learn about eternal life. I know this may sound like a petty argument, but there’s a double-standard at play here for no good reason whatsoever. It feeds the stereotype that atheists, by simply acknowledging each other and their own lack of religious beliefs, are doing something wrong.

I’ve emailed the station to find out who wrote the headline and why they chose that word. I’ll update this post if I hear a response.

***Update***: I have not heard back from the station yet, but it appears they’ve since changed their headline (though not the URL since it may be too late for that):

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.