Another Atheist Billboard Launches in Times Square: ‘Who Needs Christ During Christmas? Nobody.’

I’m losing track of all the atheist/Creationist billboards in Times Square, but the latest salvo in the mythical War on Christmas belongs to American Atheists. Today, they’re launching a 15-second digital billboard reminding viewers that even atheists can celebrate the holiday season.

The main message reads: “Who needs Christ during Christmas? Nobody.”

“This season is a great time of year for a hundred reasons — none of them having to do with religion,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “This year, start a new tradition: Don’t go to church. You hate it, it’s boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated. Instead, spend more time with your family and friends — or volunteer. There are better uses of your time and money.”

“Church and religion are not what most Americans care about during this time of year — they care about family and friends and giving presents and food and having fun,” said Public Relations Director Dave Muscato. “Many so-called ‘Christmas’ traditions celebrated by Americans have nothing to do with Christianity. For example, the North Pole and Santa traditions come from Nordic and Germanic pagan traditions, and caroling, yule logs, mistletoe, holly wreaths all pre-date Christianity,”

The ad will appear in Times Square for the next week, after which it’ll be moved to Penn Station through the end of December.

How much did it cost? Technically, nothing. This ad was part of a larger deal American Atheists has with a billboard company and was an add-on to a previous campaign.

The message itself is hardly controversial, though the crossing out of Christ during the ad and the use of the X in “Xmas” will probably anger those Christians just itching to have a culture wars fight.

Either way, it’ll be hard to top last year’s provocative (and huge) Times Square billboard that read “Keep the merry! Dump the myth!”

This is the third non-religious group to put up a message in Times Square in the span of two months. In October, the Freedom From Religion Foundation countered a Creationist ad with one of their own:

And last week, the Center For Inquiry put up a 15-second digital ad focusing on the more positive aspects of Humanism this time of year:



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.

  • Keyra

    Another desperate attempt. This is more likely to turn heads rather than recruit. We all need Jesus, however some don’t want him or feel they need him. Ironic that New Atheists don’t want religious people (but primarily, “christians”) telling them how to live, but these guys are doing the same. Hypocrisy, much?

    • cyb pauli

      Even if I needed Jesus, no Christian can produce him. They don’t have much evidence of him alive and they have even less evidence of him post-death. That’s the simple facts. If you all could just bring Jesus out for us all to see and verify, there would be fewer issues. I am seriously waiting in earnest for verifiable evidence of the phenomenon that is Jesus and God. (Not to mention Lord Krishna, he’s rad).

      • Keyra

        The End times aren’t here yet (at least I sincerely hope not). And true, no Christian can produce him, he can only reveal himself. But if you’re waiting for him to show up, it’d be too late. Believing is seeing, not always the other way around

        • Pofarmer

          Keyra, Jesus and Paul thought the end times were 2000 years ago. the Church thought the end times would come in 500, they were pretty darn sure it would come on 2000 or so. It’s failed prophesy, it ain’t happenin, sorry. Of all the things to believe, the end times stuff is pretty dumb.

          • Keyra

            That’s what they thought, doesn’t mean it isn’t gonna happen. “It’s failed prophesy, it ain’t happenin, sorry.”, would you like to prove this? Can you see the future? And strange, since just about every other Biblical prophecy (not related to end times so far) was fulfilled

            • JohnnieCanuck

              In a work of fiction, it’s pretty easy to record things as fulfilled prophecies.

              • Keyra

                But we’re not talking about fiction, we’re talking about the Bible. Which the prophecies were predicted years before and fulfilled afterwards

                • Dylan

                  These were VERY loosely interpreted prophecies and I put a stress on LOOSE.

                  Many parts of the Bible were written to be left up to interpretation so really yeah, these were “fulfilled” because it’s easy to match events up with these.

                • Keyra

                  That’s one conclusion, not the only one

                • sane37

                  Its the only one requiring testable evidence that isn’t of itself.

                • Pofarmer

                  So, we’re talking about old fiction.

                • guest

                  You realise the old testament that we have now was selected on the basis that it was referenced in the new testament, right? So prophecy that wasn’t fullfilled in the new testament was left out. It’s all very incestous.

                • guest

                  and the new testament was written years after Jesus’s death by people who never met him, and the new testament we have leaves out lots of other texts written by early christians which contain contradictory theology.

                • JohnnieCanuck

                  So you don’t see the Quran and the Bhgavad Gita as fiction? I do and I expect you would reject them too. Prophets riding flying horses? It is to laugh, right?

            • Pofarmer

              Keyra, the end times are a leftover from a time when it was thought that there were “levels of heaven” above the “firmament” and God and all his Angels were going to come down, through the “Windows of Heaven” to punish all the evil sinners and set up a “Kingdom on Earth.” Guess what? The Firmament ain’t there. It ain’t happenin’. It’s stone age/bronze age myth.

            • UWIR

              “And strange, since just about every other Biblical prophecy (not related to end times so far) was fulfilled”

              That’s a lie. Do you think that coming to an atheist message board and posting lies is going to convince anyone? There are plenty of prophecies that were definitely not fulfilled, and none that definitely were. Every single prophecy falls into at least one of the following categories (and in many cases, more than one):

              The “prophecy” was simply a statement of normal events (The Messiah will, at some of his life, experience sorrow? That’s supposed to be a “prophecy”?)
              No interpretation was fulfilled
              The interpretation that was “fulfilled” is not derived solely from the prophecy; rather, it is interpreted in light of further events
              There is no evidence that it was fulfilled, outside of the Bible
              The prophecy was self-fulfilling (My favorite is the prophecy that the Messiah would be called Immanuel… and so one of the writers of the gospels calls him Immanuel, even though that wasn’t his name. Prophecy fulfilled!)
              There’s no evidence that the “prophecy” made before it was “fulfilled”

    • Dylan

      Keyra,

      You might feel that you need Jesus, but the truth is this – you don’t NEED Jesus. You do want him, and that’s fine because that’s your choice. However, I’m an atheist and I don’t exactly agree with the opening of this advertisement. The crossing out of Christ is a little too much for me because I would rather keep it gentle with a remainder that this upcoming Holiday season is NOT only for Christmas. There’s Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, and there is nothing wrong with saying “Happy Holidays”. It’s simple because not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas and not everyone believes the same.

      “You need Jesus” is a stupid comment to make because we all are born with a moral compass regardless of our faith. All you need is a good soul and compassion, and that is a good life in itself. If Jesus is indeed real, he will be personally insulted by the majority of Christians today.

      Reply

    • Jeff See

      It will definitely turn heads. “Recruiting” isn’t the point; getting people to talk/think about it, is. You don’t have to ‘recruit’, when there’s nothing to sell.

      A kind suggestion on something to do besides go to church, is a bit different from a list of ‘commandments in stone’.

      • Keyra

        Maybe it doesn’t occur to them that many people want to go to church. Christmas as we know it is Jesus’ holiday (although I hardly believe it’s the 25th, as nobody knew for sure and was a day the Romans picked). It just seems kinda hypocritical to participate in a holiday that revolves around Jesus (the Santa Clause thing is a fun kids’ thing based on the holiday exaggeration of the real St. Nicholas). Not condemning anyone btw lol

        • Pofarmer

          The december 25th holiday is actually centered around the winter solstice. Lot’s of religions coopted it.

          • Keyra

            Hence why they picked it. Another reason was that it was also the date of one of their holidays

            • MineApostasy

              So they picked a date for the birth of the messiah that wasn’t the actual d.o.b. to align more with cultural and societal norms of the time. Sounds like those Christians are really amping up the war on Saturnalia this year!

              But seriously, when so many of the feast days or holy days are the date of birth or death of the saints or dates (loosely coupled into the modern calendar, of course) of major events, why did they choose to move the birthday of the biggest part of the religion to an entirely different season (given the astronomical data of the time from China we have an idea of when that supernova about 2000 years ago was, and it definitely wasn’t in the winter)?

        • Jeff See

          Oh no, it’s all good. I get where you’re coming from, because I can empathize with your point of view. I used to covet my religious connection with Christmas, when I believed.

          There are tons of other religious traditions that are based on this time of year. Christianity bunched up all of the popular ones that pagan societies were unwilling to relinquish, and came up with Christmas, to bring unification and conformity to the masses.

          As it has come to pass, however, consumerism and revelry has consumed the religious aspects of it, for society as a whole, to the point it has become more of a secular gift fest of too much food, than a strictly religious holiday. So while it shares part of its moniker with your religion’s main character, it’s long past the point of being _just_ “Jesus’s holiday”.

          • Keyra

            Not necessarily; Jesus is always the main part of it. But yeah, there’s alot more than just Jesus

            • starmom

              Jesus is the main part for *you*, but not for many others. A winter celebration was common all around the world long before your myth was written.

              • Laura D

                Exactly. Pre-Christians had winter celebrations before anyone ever heard of Jesus. My family and I have been celebrating a Jesus-free Christmas for years. I know Muslims that have Christmas trees. Jesus is “the resason for the season” for some, but not for everyone.

        • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

          Father Winter, Old Man Winter, Woden, etc. predates the historical sainted Hagios Nikólaos by centuries. The winter father character has been a fixture of the winter festivals during early European history. In Germanic traditions, he is even accompanied by Zwarte Piet (Black Pete).

          The familiar image evolved over time to include St. Niklaus which became our Santa Claus.

          • Keyra

            Yeah

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          First of all, of course it occurs to everyone that some people like to go to church. I enjoy singing carols myself, even though I don’t believe any more. I also don’t believe in Santa but enjoy the songs about him as well. It bring back happy childhood memories. Hypocritical? no. I’m also not Irish on St Patrick’s Day or Mexican American on Cinco de Mayo. It’s just an excuse to have a party and when the days grow short we have a greater need for festivities.

        • allein

          I celebrate Christmas because of family tradition, not religious tradition. When I went to church, I actually did like the Christmas Eve service. It was all candlelit and pretty. I don’t go to church anymore, and I don’t celebrate Jesus; it’s a nice day off to spend with my family, some of whom I don’t see very often. If that makes me a hypocrite, so be it.

          • guest

            It’s also one of the few days a year that everyone you know has a guaranteed day off, in my country.

            • allein

              That too :)

    • zenality

      We’re exhausted by all the biblical fiction and made up “wars” on the traditions that Christianity lays claims to without regard to their true origins. Tell me how modern tribes, discovered in the last 20 years, have lived without knowing Jesus; living primitively without the clutches of dogma or greedy politics? Who needs imaginary friends when we have Stan Lee!!!

      • Dylan

        STAN LEE IS THE MAN.

    • Artor

      Please explain to me just how I “need” Jesus. Also, how are these billboards telling anyone how to live?

    • guest

      Jesus died two thousand years ago and is never coming back. So, if you need him, you’re shit out of luck.

  • Dylan

    Keyra,

    You might feel that you need Jesus, but the truth is this – you don’t NEED Jesus. You do want him, and that’s fine because that’s your choice. However, I’m an atheist and I don’t exactly agree with the opening of this advertisement. The crossing out of Christ is a little too much for me because I would rather keep it gentle with a remainder that this upcoming Holiday season is NOT only for Christmas. There’s Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, and there is nothing wrong with saying “Happy Holidays”. It’s simple because not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas and not everyone believes the same.

    “You need Jesus” is a stupid comment to make because we all are born with a moral compass regardless of our faith. All you need is a good soul and compassion, and that is a good life in itself. If Jesus is indeed real, he will be personally insulted by the majority of Christians today.

    • Keyra

      I agree he probably is (although I don’t think “majority”). “You might feel that you need Jesus, but the truth is this – you don’t NEED Jesus”, that’s not truth, hun.

      • Dylan

        And how do you know that is the truth? Maybe I have learned how to be a good person towards my fellow person, no matter what from parents that were non-believers themselves.

        I personally feel insulted by each sign saying “be a good parent – show your children the love of Jesus”, because faith does not make a good parent. Compassion regardless of your affiliation does.

        • Keyra

          I guess it’s a perspective thing

          • Dylan

            Then that’s not a bad thing. Perspective is not a bad thing, just don’t say that I need Jesus. Please.

            Jesus however is an achievement that could be applied to all walks of life. It doesn’t need to be religious at all. Be kind to your fellow man and judge yourself before judge others.

            I don’t claim to be without sin because we all have wrongs in our lives, but I guess I just feel weary of hearing many Bible bashers telling me that I’m a lost person without God and I’m going to hell and etc. I do know there are good Christians and I love a few certain ones as family, but I would rather not see them as Christians. I would rather see them as people who care for others regardless of their faith.

            • sane37

              If you don’t believe in God, you are without sin.
              You may act immorally, but “sin” is something only a believer can be accused of since you need God to sin.

            • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

              I admit to sometimes making bad choices. Some of those choices hurt me. Some even hurt others. That’s the end of it. None of that has anything to do with sin which is about following arbitrary rules to please a supernatural entity that cannot be proven to exist. So, no, I do not admit to “sin”.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          There’s a difference between truth and opinion. There is no way to objectively demonstrate that someone “needs” a belief or not. Claiming that such a claim is truth undermines what we are trying to do in fighting against putting religious beliefs int he science textbooks in public schools. Please think of the big picture. We should have a higher standard for “truth” than “this is what I believe”.

      • Artor

        If you NEED Jesus, you’re out of luck. You may have heard he died, a long, LONG time ago.

    • Jeff See

      Just fyi: there is a reply tab under the comment you meant to post to. It’s easier to track the thread that way.

      • Dylan

        Saw that just too late. My bad.

        • Jeff See

          quite all right; highlight/copy your post, paste it in the ‘correct’ section, delete this comment, problem solved!

          • JohnnieCanuck

            I’ve seen other people comment that when they delete their post, it doesn’t go away and their ‘nym becomes ‘Guest’.

            • Jeff See

              Same. Has happened to me. Disqus bug. This thread will get buried in the list once people like me quit responding to it, lmao.

          • Dylan

            I’m posting as a guest – seem I couldn’t delete it…

  • Jeff See

    This will definitely be viewed as a war on Christmas, and to some extent, that label will be right. The Christians created Christmas, so at least in just the name, they are able to lay claim. It’s not ‘coincidentally’ spelled Christmas. So to tell these people during the only really fun holiday they have all year that they don’t need the main character, you have to expect conflict.

    You’ll definitely hear about it, because it serves as a popular cash cow for right leaning media outlets. What else are they going to report on, shopping?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESnVo6CWoS0

    *Edit : For the record, yes I realize all of the different traditions that were morphed into Christmas. I was simply referring to the name itself.

    • Guest

      For the record, yes I realize all of the different traditions that were morphed into Christmas. I was simply referring to the name itself.

      • Jeff See

        And here I am, talking to myself. Hello me, it’s me again.

        Dunno what the deal is with the ‘delete comment, have it come back as a guest’ thing is.

    • Neko

      Yes. Ironic that the far-right invented the “War on Christmas,” only for atheists to gleefully sign up for battle.

      I’ve been an atheist forever, and these orgs will not get a dime of my money. Maybe Mehta’s next video could be devoted to the burning question: Should atheists embrace the trifecta of bad manners, bad politics and bad art?

  • Bernadette

    Some may see this as a war on Christmas but for me when I see these billboards it puts a smile on my face. It is a fun reminder that I am not alone and there are so many other people who live a great life without any gods. I would really like to thank the people who do the work on the billboards.

    • Dave Muscato

      Bernadette, I would love to use your comment in our “Love Letters” section of our newsletter. Could you shoot me an email at dmuscato@atheists.org about permissions? Thanks!

  • Coolred38

    There is a meme on Facebook making the rounds which says…keep Christ in Christmas…better yet, keep Christ in Christians

  • Blacksheep

    Why does supporting Atheism and free thought in a holiday billboard require insulting another’s beliefs? Better if what one stands for stands on its own and doesn’t require a negative to be a complete thought. Hanukkah billboard wouldn’t say “Happy Hanukkah – Christ is NOT the messiah.”

    • Jeff

      I’m sick of the events that surround christmas (commercialism, stress levels, just general poor behavior by most of humanity), but this is a bit much. Sometimes, I think we are choosing to become the arrogance we hate. Would it not be possible to reach out to our fellow man during this season and make the point it is the time to care for each other, rather than going around and poking people with a stick? Could we not demonstrate the morality, grace, and compassion we supposedly are incapable of having because we are atheists? Would it not be better to demonstrate ourselves to be better “christians” at this time of the year than True Christians? Humility is not a religious weakness, it is a human strength.

      And please, none of the “that’s what they do” type of argument. This isn’t the 3rd grade playground, we should all be striving for the high ground.

      • Blacksheep

        Amen.

      • http://vinimarques.com/ Vini Marques

        Completely agree. The biggest sin (pun intentional) with most of these AA billboards—aside from apparently having been designed by a 12 year old who just discovered the gradient tool—is a fundamental communication strategy myopia that fails to meet the target audience where they are in terms of tone and message.

        I’d be interesting in seeing studies about this, but I have a feeling that the general public views atheists as an aggressive, annoying fringe group that only shows up to complain about Christmas and Ten Commandments statues (if there are no such studies, that would be priority #1). I know we know we’re right, but obviously the general public doesn’t know that, so simply rubbing it in their faces won’t help.

        You’re right: this isn’t 3rd grade playground. Our message shouldn’t be the equivalent of 8 year olds drawing an X over Jesus on a piece of paper then rubbing it on the face of a random classmate. Our strategy needs to be smarter, more nuanced and definitely more positive. Oh—and better looking.

        For what it’s worth, I’m glad we’re doing billboards (amongst many other things) and applaud the hard work of everyone involved. I just think we’re at a stage now where our communication needs to grow up.

        • guest

          Graphically they are pretty terrible, it’s true.

        • Jeff

          Excellent observations! Really good points. Considering all the communications experts out there, why are we not addressing this? Are there no Comm majors out there who are atheist?

          • Guest

            Well… you’re talking to one. ;)

          • http://vinimarques.com/ Vini Marques

            Well — you’re talking to one. =)

            • Jeff

              So is my sister, a Phd out of Iowa. But isn’t something she would address. Have at it, tell us why we are just pissing people off instead of making a change.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Agreed. Most of these seem meant to be controversial but I suspect they make the fence sitters (like I was 10 years ago) more sympathetic to the religion in which they were raised, not less. It also plays into the martyrdom complex that plagues much of religion and in the US especially Evangelical Christianity.

      • SeekerLancer

        I agree. All it does is put people on the defensive.

      • Blacksheep

        In addition to the martyrdom part, it also galvanizes Christian faith in another way: In most aspects of life, the most critical people are often the most unhappy. (That goes for people of faith, too). Think Scrooge before the spirits visited him. grinch before his heart grew. So we read the unhappiness at a gut level and it’s a turn off, simple as that.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          I’m pretty critical and skeptical. For me the benefit of that is that I generally have such low expectations that I am frequently surprised that something turned out better than I thought it would or something along those lines. It’s the Pollyannas that are the most discouraged in my experience because the real world is never going to match their naive expectations.

        • God’s Starship

          Um…. I think those stories were actually about the lead characters overcoming their lack of compassion, not about them finding bliss in abandoning their critical thinking skills.

    • WalterWhite007

      The sign Is fairly benign. They should have gone with last year’s sign. If christmas didn’t exist we would have invented it or turned thanksgiving into a bigger party with presents. All this sign is saying is the christmas season for many people does not require a belief in superstitious nonsense. Most of the traditions were ripped off from other traditions anyway. No one can even figure out the year of jc’s birth never mind the month or the day.
      The sign is good but last year’s was better.

      • Blacksheep

        You are being kinder and gentler than the sign is. You are saying “many people” (don’t need Christ) the sign says “NOBODY…”

        • WalterWhite007

          No one does need an imaginary figure to look up to….except for maybe Tyrion Lannister. He’s cool!!
          Religion is all about ego….look at me I have a personal saviour…look at me I talk to god…..god answers me….god will let me ‘live’ forever….god answers my prayers…..yada yada yada

          • Jason

            You are absolutely correct…

            Tyrion Lannister IS cool!!!

  • mkbell

    This is my favorite American Atheists’ ad ever. :)

  • Rationalist1

    I agree on the Xmas instead of Christmas. Although X for Christ goes back to early Greek Christians, it’s a bit provocative. Call it Christmas, we call Hallowe’en by it’s name although it’s practically lost its original religious meaning (All Hallow’s Eve or the eve before All Saints Day).

    Give them their name and also their emptying churches. When I grew up Catholic one had to arrive at midnight mass by 10:00 in order to get a seat. Now, I’ve been told, you can arrive at 11:55 and get a good seat. Keep calling it Christmas, it’s becoming ironic.

  • Neko

    The dreadful aesthetics and tactlessness persist. It’s embarrassing.

    • Lurker111

      Exactly. This doesn’t help the movement. It makes atheists look like a bunch of dickheads.

    • Terry Firma

      Seconded.

  • J-Man

    Wow. Atheists have proven they can be just as ugly and intolerant as Christians. Great job!

  • Terry Firma

    I think it’s lame in part because it’s untrue. Who needs Christ during Christmas? Lots of people. They’re called Christians. We may not like that, but I wouldn’t call them nobody / nobodies. It’s a needless provocation. The ad would have been more effective — an invitation to reflect — if AA only showed the second part.

    Also, I find it amazing how bad it all looks, again, from a design and art direction point of view. Busy, crammed, dizzy with clashing colors and non-complementary typefaces. And there’s no continuity with previous AA ads I’ve seen, no attempt to build a campaign rather than just dash off another one-shot.

    Look at how slick a lot of Christian communications are. The website for the Ark Encounter is lovely. The Scientology video I posted yesterday is really well-produced and packaged. (I’m not talking about their content, but about their strategy and visual execution.) As atheists, we should realize that that‘s what we’re up against now. I am tired of looking at shitty atheism ads that look like they were thrown together by a well-meaning intern with a 1997 copy of Microsoft Paint. We can do better.

    I have a modest idea about how to start remedying this (that I’ll introduce shortly in a separate post), but I would love it if you contributed your own. What can we do to bring more clarity, better strategy, and more attractiveness to atheists’ ads / commercials / websites?

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Agreed. We’d be better off addressing people’s fears about leaving religions that they don’t believe in by addressing Pascal’s Wager and assuring people that they won’t become rapists and murderers once they stop being afraid of an imaginary being they don’t really believe in anyway. People who don’t really believe anyway need a little hand holding through the process of decoversion sometimes. I don’t think these signs do anything to help the cause.

    • Neko

      I agree wholeheartedly.

      I don’t think atheist publicity should reference religion at all. Celebrations around the winter solstice are about hope, in anticipation of the renewal of life in the spring. Christianity has a glorious artistic tradition expressive of such human longings. After all, religion is the projection of human desire onto an imagined transcendent dimension. Instead of mean-spirited jabs at Christians, atheists could appeal to the aspirations we all hold in common and explore the best art of our time to develop their own visual lexicon.

      • AxeGrrl

        Instead of mean-spirited jabs at Christians, atheists could appeal to the aspirations we all hold in common

        Nicely said :)

        • Neko

          Thank you. : )

    • Debora

      But that’s just it… they don’t NEED christ! They just don’t know it!

      • Madison Blane

        Telling people what they need and don’t need….Gee, and people wonder why Atheists are called arrogant!

        Do you go about telling people who are wounded and in pain exactly how much medicine they need and of what kind? Or, do you see a person taking poison and offer a better alternative?!

        Maybe a better approach would be to present evidence and let people decide for themselves what they need and don’t (you know, since we claim to cherish free-thought so much)!

        After all, if American Atheists wants to start telling people what they need in life, they’re really no better than religion, now, are they?

        • Debora

          an imaginary deity is not medicine Madison.

          • Madison Blane

            A placebo effect is still an effect – a documented and verifiable effect.

            Who are you – who are Atheists – to decide what others need or don’t need to make their Christmas feel complete? Perhaps it is nothing to you; perhaps it is everything to a Christian.

            Who are you to determine what religion is and isn’t in the eye of the beholder? Invalidating others’ feelings is highly arrogant and tone-deaf. Religion and its dogma may not deserve respect but people most certainly do!

            Regardless of what you think a person needs or doesn’t, disrespecting a person because of their closely-held views is NOT the way to start a conversation that leads to anything productive.

            Are you really defending the message that it’s OK to tell people what to do, how to feel, and how to live their lives as long as an Atheist gives the orders instead of a religion?

            From what I’ve seen, American Atheists has earned (and even provoked) every bit of vitriol that comes their way. This campaign is nothing more than an egotistical circle-jerk!

            • Jim

              “Who are you – who are Atheists – to decide what others need or don’t need to make their Christmas feel complete?”

              You’re rather off base here. No one is “deciding” anything for anyone. Rather they’re stating their opinion, that no one needs Christ, and they’re free to do so just as everyone else is free to have a different opinion.

              “disrespecting a person because of their closely-held views is NOT the way to start a conversation”

              You’re making the mistake of confusing “people” and “beliefs”. Disrespecting a belief is not the same as disrespecting a person. If that was the case, we’d have no basis for ever having a productive discussion about much of anything.

              “Are you really defending the message that it’s OK to tell people what to do, how to feel, and how to live their lives as long as an Atheist gives the orders instead of a religion?”

              No one is telling anyone else what to do. American Atheists has no authority aside from stating their opinion. People are free to agree or disagree.

              • Madison Blane

                The ad says “WHO….Nobody!” That is clearly not an assault on beliefs. It targets people who hold Christian beliefs, not the beliefs themselves.
                “Don’t go to church. You hate it, it’s boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated” This isn’t an ‘opinion’ it’s telling people what to do and making assumptions about their feelings.
                As it was pointed out before, if the ad had said” who needs Christ this Christmas – not US” it would have been fine (needless and wasteful, still, but fine). As it stands, this ad is no better than a preacher giving his ‘opinion’ on how people should live.
                People deserve evidence and this is severely lacking.

        • Jim

          “Do you go about telling people who are wounded and in pain exactly how much medicine they need and of what kind? Or, do you see a person taking poison and offer a better alternative?!”

          Yes? Why wouldn’t you do that? Those are pretty bad examples for your point there. Why would you let someone who is harming himself keep harming himself?

          • Madison Blane

            Apparently, what I’m saying here was ambiguous…please allow me to clarify:

            Interfering in people’s business about which medicine they consume to soothe their pain, telling them what they need and don’t, simply because one has an opinion on a better alternative or because of a personal moral position that taking pain medication is a weakness – absolutely wrong…as wrong as the cops who arrest sick people who smoke marijuana, as wrong as the NarcAnon members who shame those taking anti-depressants because they are completely anti-drug about ALL drugs, including prescription drugs.

            Seeing a person taking poison, educating them on the fact that it IS a poison, and offering a better alternative, acknowledging that person’s free-will and autonomy over their own body – right…the same way that it is right to debunk pseudo-scientific medical ‘alternatives’ and homeopathy rather than banning them.

            I was asking, do you take the wrong and meddlesome approach that will certainly cause people to tell you to eff off and mind your own business OR do you actually try to help.
            A.A. in this case, chose the former.

    • Madison Blane

      (I posted this further down but because it agrees with what you’re saying and answers your question, I’ll re-post here as a reply)

      These ads serve no purpose other than to congratulate those who already think like us and it alienates those who could otherwise be reached. We should be asking people to THINK about their religion and examine their choices if we’re going to bring up religion in the (literal) public square. The entire Times Square advertising campaign this year makes Atheists look petty, arrogant, reactionary, and wasteful – in short, nothing I want to be associated with! And, like it or not, in the eyes of the religious, American Atheists represents us all.

      Why aren’t we bringing up actual arguments? Why aren’t we forcing people into cognitive dissonance with these billboards by asking the hard questions that religion can’t answer with a cliche’ [for example, the question of why God answers prayer to help find car keys but not prayers of the starving and diseased...or why God hasn't healed an amputee if he can create a whole person out of dust...or why God allows disease at all...or why we weren't all born with the knowledge of God's existence, why do we have to be taught by humans and why can't a God's presence be proven scientifically to exist, like gravity, if he's as reliable as people believe him to be]?

      Is it too much to ask that American Atheist quits assuming that every American knows what an Atheist is and hasn’t been lied to about our non-belief and instead uses this space to actually inform them? [Atheist - a person who lacks a belief in gods or goddesses, an Atheist makes no positive assertion, an Atheist simply sees no evidence that compels him/her to believe in the supernatural. An Atheist is NOT: a devil worshiper, an enemy, demon possessed, empty, without hope or compassion, close-minded, or heartless. An Atheist can be your neighbor, your friend, your child...full of love with an immense appreciation for life]

      How about a picture of virgin Mary and baby Christ with a caption “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” to shift the burden of proof back where it belongs

      Why aren’t we using some of that logic and reason we claim to love so much?

      American Atheists could list Biblical contradictions, inconsistencies, and absurdities (unicorns, golems, satyrs), as well as the scientifically impossible (the sun stood still) and brutally horrific things that most people don’t even know are written in their Bible. (or any of the “holy” books)

      Wouldn’t the space be better used to educate people?

      We could reach a large group of people and give them information that their churches won’t. We have proof/studies that show that being Godless doesn’t make you a bad person (for example, Only 0.07% of the prison population are Atheist) – Why aren’t we using those facts instead of just asserting it blindly?! The billboards could point out the fact that there are no original Biblical scrolls and educate Christians on how their Bible came to exist today through a process of votes, politically motivated revisions, and mistranslations. Bible stories, characters, and miracles could be juxtaposed against mythological tales and previous religions that Christianity evolved from – to show that the Bible isn’t as original as Christians believe.

      In the end, American Atheists is just telling people there is no God, while religious people shout back, “yes there is”. We shouldn’t strive to piss people off. Especially where religion is involved, emotions easily override the capability for rational, logical thought processes that lead to liberation. We want people to THINK and ask questions! We need to be planting seeds of doubt that grow into a voice of reason. These billboards don’t make people receptive to dialogue – internal or external – and they damn sure don’t make Atheists seem like safe and welcoming people to ask when beginning to doubt one’s religion.

      • AxeGrrl

        Some really great and productive ideas here, Madison :)

        Signs that do nothing, in essence, except heckle aren’t nearly as effective as many of the things you’ve suggested here, imo.

        • Madison Blane

          Thank You.
          I often wonder if American Atheists even knows a person who was once religious! I spent 10 years in limbo – knowing all the things I didn’t believe anymore, feeling stripped of an identity, searching for “what am I now” – all because I had no idea what an Atheist really was! That struggle of leaving religion is a very difficult and isolating one; pushing people further away by insulting them for ever believing…that doesn’t help! We have a chance to be a light – evidence, free-thought, and true peace of mind – to those who are horribly hurt, isolated, searching, and confused; and instead, A.A. makes a conscious effort to inflame, provoke, mock, and shove away those who truly need a rational voice! How am I supposed to defend this? How am I supposed to tell my friends and allies that Atheists aren’t the enemy when A.A. acts so blatantly irrational and spiteful?

          It frustrates me when A.A. loses perspective like this and seems to completely forget they aren’t just dealing with the combative fundamentalists who daily write hate-mail to them (maybe those people won’t be reached) but their message is seen by so many that could be helped and are NOT. It’s those people who aren’t devout (and according to recent studies, that’s a LARGE percentage of the religious in America!) that can be reached and instead, they’re being further isolated…and then poked with a proverbial stick! No wonder we have a reputation for being angry and heartless!

          I came from a small fundamentalist cult, and while fully recognizing most people aren’t that sheltered, I know that even seemingly-liberal and so-called ‘loving’ churches expend a LOT of time and energy slandering Atheists, indoctrinating fear of Atheists into their congregation. And even after I knew all the reasons I couldn’t believe anymore, still, in the deepest part of me, fear of hell, eternity, and the unknown after death lingered and tortured my mind. Simply telling people it isn’t there won’t work! We have to point out the logical inconsistencies and bring cognitive dissonance to the surface! The day I realized that, even if spirits exist, they certainly aren’t of this natural world or subject to natural laws, so they CANT burn, I was free – free to let the whole stack of cards crumble. I have peace, I can sleep, I have no more nightmares, I finally have all that the church promised and never delivered, and I KNOW there are more out there just like I was! I know because I listen to them every day. Maybe American Atheists should, too.

          • AxeGrrl

            It frustrates me when A.A. loses perspective like this and seems to completely forget they aren’t just dealing with the combative fundamentalists who daily write hate-mail to them (maybe those people won’t be reached) but their message is seen by so many that could be helped and are NOT. It’s those people who aren’t devout (and according to recent studies, that’s a LARGE percentage of the religious in America!) that can be reached and instead, they’re being further isolated…and then poked with a proverbial stick! No wonder we have a reputation for being angry and heartless

            This X 1000.

            It seems that for some, saying ‘fuck you’ is the beginning and the end of the ‘goal’…….but everything you’re saying here is so much more productive, imo……

            I don’t understand why, for some, the idea of leading people away from religious beliefs in a kind, compassionate way is an anaethema.

        • Jim

          “Signs that do nothing, in essence, except heckle aren’t nearly as effective”

          That really depends on what the goal is. People seem to assume that the goal is to reach Christians. That’s not Silverman’s goal.

      • Jim

        “These ads serve no purpose other than to congratulate those who already think like us and it alienates those who could otherwise be reached.”

        That exactly what Silverman has said his purpose is. He’s not out to convert anyone. He’s out to let closeted atheists know that they’re not alone. Every time something provocative like this gets attention it furthers his goal.

    • Guest

      Not to mention it’s a waste of money. My thought is next year they should start a ‘Gift of Reason’ campaign and donate the money they use for these ‘advertisements’ to ppl who that are actually in need like the homeless or orphanages or hospitals, etc. this ‘firebrand’ atheism is counterproductive an isn’t doing much to help anyone but AA, which again, it’s not really accomplishing.

    • Brodestar

      Terry I don’t think that the AA was trying to imply that those who believe in christ are nobodies. I think what the AA and David Silverman was trying to say here is that believing in christ is not and should not be a prerequisite to celebrating this obviously pagan and secular tradition that we know as Christmas. I think (don’t know for sure) that if you were to ask David to clarify his and the AA’s stance you may have a clearer picture as to their intent with that sign. Please let me know what you find out via my email brodestar76@gmail.com. Thank you in advance.

      • AxeGrrl

        I think (don’t know for sure) that if you were to ask David to clarify his and the AA’s stance you may have a clearer picture as to their intent with that sign

        If such ‘clarification’ is necessary, then the sign failed to communicate the intended message.

        • Madison Blane

          On their facebook page, they’ve spent multiple paragraphs, posts, and replies trying to explain this ad campaign and defend it to their Atheist followers, who haven’t received it well, either. Those who like the ads seem to be of a spiteful and juvenile variety who generally believe it’s ok to be an ass because “they did it first” and “I’m sick of them, eff ‘em”. It appears, at this point, they’ve just quit responding to the overwhelming criticism.

          I’d say it clearly failed…whatever their goal and whomever their intended audience was.

    • Gus

      Step 1: Recognize that this kind of advertising is hard, and is an acquired skill that is worthy of financial remuneration, indeed that the people who are really good at have dedicated their lives to it and must be paid to make a living and hire a professional marketing firm.

    • http://vinimarques.com/ Vini Marques

      Totally agree, Terry. Your first paragraph brilliantly puts us in the shoes of the target audience, which unfortunately AA has time-and-again failed to do. They seem to prefer a unilateral, tone-deaf approach.

      Thanks for starting this discussion. My two cents on what needs to be done:

      1) EXAMINE & DISCOVER. First establish specifically who the target audience is (“everyone” doesn’t cut it), then conduct studies to at least identify what their current perception of atheists is.

      2) STRATEGIZE. Based on that info, develop a smart and comprehensive communication strategy and message to meet the target where they are and inch them closer to where we want them to be in terms of perception and/or action. The plan should span at least 3 years, but should be broken down yearly.

      3) CREATE & EXECUTE. Hire a real ad agency or group of experienced professionals—not just a designer—to help shape your Unique Selling Proposition and push it beautifully and consistently throughout the campaign.

      The fact that we’re even talking about this means groups like AA have, for what it’s worth, done a great job elevating the discussion. But now it’s time to mature that discussion.

    • guest

      Get focus groups to assess the ads before releasing. Hopefully people would volunteer for that. Make it not just atheists but members of the general public including agnostics and Christians.

      Hire an ad agency or have a competition with books for a prize to whoever designs the best ad. Promote the competion all over the atheist blogosphere, months before Christmas. Have it judged by a panel which includes a christian and a jew as well as atheists.

      Have feedback pages for the ads and have someone collect the data and analyse it. See what’s working and what isn’t. Check number of pageviews and also whether membership goes up or down. Count the ‘thumbs ups’ on youtube. Do a poll about the ad on the webpage.

      There’s been studies done by psychologists about what works and what doesn’t in advertising. Some of those papers are probably on the web for free.

    • shuteme

      No, it’s true that nobody needs christ. What everybody needs is the invisible but not imaginary, flying pink unicorn to make their lives complete. What is wrong with these christians are they mentally deficient or just insane?

    • AxeGrrl

      I think it’s lame in part because it’s untrue. Who needs Christ during Christmas? Lots of people. They’re called Christians. We may not like that, but I wouldn’t call them nobody / nobodies.

      Beautifully said, Terry.

      I hate it when someone else ‘tells’ me what I need or don’t need (because it’s fucking presumptuous and arrogant), so I don’t tell anyone else what they need.

      If the sign had read “Who needs Christ during Christmas? Not Us“, I’d be completely supportive of it.

    • Jim

      You have to remember that Silverman has stated multiple times in the past that American Atheists’ goal is not to reach Christians. It’s to reach closeted atheists and let them know their not alone. So that ad isn’t meant for Christians, it’s meant for atheists. The way Christians perceive it doesn’t matter at all to Silverman or American Atheists.

  • Leah

    Have to agree with those critiquing the aesthetic of the sign. The majority of the atheist signs I see are artistically lacking, and seem to ignore contemporary trends in design, which surprises me.

  • Tony Debono

    Another swing-and-a-miss, I’d say. First of all, they don’t even need the first 6 seconds to get the point across. And then some of the items in the “Celebrate the true meaning of Xmas” portion are oddly specific: Rockettes? Chinese food? Human life? And what does it mean to say that snow and Ice skating are “true” meanings of Xmas! It’s silly. Why not include things like ‘generosity’, ‘life’ (in general), ‘renewal’, ‘solstice’, or ‘good will’? I just don’t get it.

  • Sheila Confer

    I agree some of these ads are just mean spirited. It is one thing to make people aware that there are lots of us who don’t share their belief system but how can we expect them to respect our beliefs or lack of belief when we belittle theirs?

    • Artor

      We don’t expect the hard-core religious crew to respect us no matter what we do. It’s the undecided or in-the-closet atheists that these billboards are aimed at. Trying to get respect from the likes of AiG or the AFA is a fool’s errand, and why would you want it from those tools anyway?

      • Sheila Confer

        There are an awful lot of people in the gray area between undecided/in the closet atheists and AFA “Christians.” These are people who deserve respect because they do not try to force their beliefs down everyone’s throats and they do respect and even embrace views different from their own.

  • SeekerLancer

    I’m annoyed that they’re stooping to this. We’re making it look like there actually is a war on Christmas.

    I’m kind of wishing American Atheists would just stop with the billboards. Most of their messages aren’t just adversarial but their graphic design is hideous.

    There’s a time and place for controversial messages but it’s getting to the point where it feels like they’re just looking for another excuse to put David Silverman on Fox News where he can get yelled at by a bunch of morons and nothing new will be gained from the whole thing.

    We’re giving conservative media outlets exactly what they want and getting nothing but anger from people for “hating Christmas” and spoiling their fun.

  • Justin Miyundees

    I know it’s intentionally provocative, but to get people talking, all they need to do is say “Merry Christmas from American Atheists”. Fox News would be incensed enough that they’d get press until the second coming.

    The Rockettes & Chinese food references, I guess, are supposed to be tongue in cheek – but they kind of detract from what could be a much more noble and non-confrontaional message – that too atheists wish you peace, love & tranquility during your celebration of the hijacked winter solstice.

    AA is playing into the hands of our detractors. I think we should be on the high road here – reclaim the reason for the season – the tilt of the earth’s axis, etc.

    • Justin Miyundees

      I meant: atheists too wish you peace….

      • guest

        We should be working for peace year round, not just at Christmas.

        ‘Peace- we can achieve it if we work together’.

    • Fallulah

      What’s wrong with the Rockettes and Chinese food? I love both those things…

      • Justin Miyundees

        Me too, but they’re not exactly germane to the discussion.

        I like puppies and orgasms (not together nor in that order) but I don’t think they’d contribute much to the dialogue.

        But heck – it’s they’re billboard – they want to get a rise. I was just saying that they’re trying harder than they need to and could take a more dignified shot at it. Peace, love & happiness are pretty good things that we can lay claim to as well.

        • Fallulah

          WE atheists should advertise Puppies and Orgasms! I think you just came up with a brilliant future marketing plan!

          • guest

            Wasn’t there once an atheist billboard that just said ‘kittens’? Or did I hallucinate it?

  • Art_Vandelay

    I agree that this billboard sucks. It’s not funny, or particularly creative, or remotely aesthetically appealing. However, when the hell did you people all turn into the respect police? Since when are bad beliefs worthy of respect? Whatever “hope” that virgin births, child blood sacrifices, and resurrections provide to people are massively trumped by all of the people being oppressed, abused, and deprived due to those same beliefs. In light of that, not only should we not respect bad beliefs simply because they happen to belong to somebody…we have a moral responsibility not to respect them.

    • SeekerLancer

      I can’t speak for anyone else but for me, regarding this particular campaign, it’s less about respect (of which I have none) and more about public relations. I feel like American Atheists is just trying to stoke the culture wars nonsense and make sure they get invited back to Fox News instead of get across any sort of meaningful message.

    • Neko

      Why must having no respect for Christianity mean showing your ass in Times Square.

      • Art_Vandelay

        I’m with you on the billboard but look around at the comments on this thread. We should absolutely mock people’s beliefs…especially when you have a cult that sees humanity as broken; depraved even…and the only chance for decency is to believe in the redeeming powers of human blood sacrifice. If mocking that makes me look like a dick then so be it. Coddling it simply helps to breed an environment where it can not only hold humanity back but possibly even destroy it one day. It’s just a shitty billboard, but not because it doesn’t treat Christianity with it’s proper reverence.

        • Neko

          Sure, mockery can be effective: when it’s funny and skillfully deployed. But sometimes it just creates blowback.

    • Madison Blane

      Beliefs may not deserve respect, but people do! These billboards do NOTHING to encourage open and honest dialogue that could help a person in doubt.

      • Art_Vandelay

        How is this disrespectful to people?

        Art: “I need heroin to have a good time.”

        Madison: “No, you don’t. Nobody needs heroin. It causes great harm.”

        Art: “WHY ARE YOU DISRESPECTING ME?!?!”

      • Jim

        “Beliefs may not deserve respect, but people do! These billboards do NOTHING to encourage open and honest dialogue”

        Is that the intended purpose of the billboards?

    • Jason

      I agree.

  • Gus

    I wonder if there’s going to be trouble over their mention of the Rockettes in holiday traditions? I’m not sure putting a trademark symbol next to it gets you off the hook for including someone else’s trademark in your ad when it could imply an endorsement…

  • http://www.gizoogle.com/ Marc

    Atheists could do with a bit of Christian/religious humility.

    Never met a non-arrogant Atheist. And I say this as an ex-atheist.

    • Artor

      Yeah, Xians are SOOO humble.

      Thanks for the laugh, troll.

    • baal

      A real ex-atheist or a Kirk Cameron ex-atheist?

    • allein

      I almost never talk about my beliefs or lack thereof, except when I comment here. Am I still arrogant?

    • The Captain

      “Never met a non-arrogant Atheist” That’s a pretty arrogant thing to say.

    • guest

      How many atheists did you meet? We need to know if it was a representative sample.

      Why did you become an ex-atheist? Were you raised atheist or did you de-convert and re-convert?

    • Drakk

      And I say this as an ex-atheist.

      I’d love to see some of that empirical evidence for the existence of god which you must have seen and been convinced by.

  • Madison Blane

    This serves no purpose other than to congratulate those who already think like us and it alienates those who could otherwise be reached. We should be making people THINK about their religion and examine their choices. The entire Times Square advertising campaign this year makes Atheists look petty, arrogant, reactionary, and wasteful – in short, nothing I want to be associated with! And, like it or not, in the eyes of the religious, American Atheists represents us all.

    Why aren’t we forcing people into cognitive dissonance with these billboards by asking the hard questions that religion can’t answer with a cliche’? Why aren’t we bringing up actual arguments? Is it too much to ask that American Atheist quits assuming that every American knows what an Atheist is and instead uses this space to actually inform them?
    How about a picture of virgin Mary and baby Christ with a caption “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” to shift the burden of proof back where it belongs

    Why aren’t we using some of that logic and reason we claim to love so much?

    American Atheists could list Biblical contradictions, inconsistencies, and absurdities (unicorns, golems, satyrs), as well as the scientifically impossible (the sun stood still) and brutally horrific things that most people don’t even know are written in their Bible. (or any of the “holy” books)

    Wouldn’t the space be better used to educate people?

    We could reach a large group of people and give them information that their churches won’t. We have proof that being Godless doesn’t make you a bad person (for example, Only 0.07% of the prison population are Atheist) – Why aren’t we using those facts instead of just asserting it?! The billboards could point out the fact that there are no original Biblical scrolls and educate Christians on how their Bible came to exist today through a process of votes, politically motivated revisions, and mistranslations. Bible stories, characters, and miracles could be juxtaposed against mythological tales and previous religions that Christianity evolved from – to show that the Bible isn’t as original as Christians believe.

    In the end, American Atheists is just telling people there is no God, while religious people shout back, “yes there is”. We shouldn’t strive to piss people off. Especially where religion is involved, emotions easily override the capability for rational, logical thought processes that lead to liberation. We want people to THINK and ask questions! We want to be a voice of reason. These billboards don’t make people receptive to dialogue – internal or external – and they damn sure don’t make Atheists seem like safe and welcoming people to ask when beginning to doubt one’s religion.

  • Dennis Vander Houwen

    Yeah, I can’t get behind this campaign with a lot of sincerity.. I think it is not in our best interests to marginalize. We need to take the higher ground. Also I agree that there is an inconsistency in design… Certainly there is a non-believer out there with better design sense who can unify and help with recognizable branding.

    We will not win over anyone by creating the “us and them” approach. Antagonistic advertising is self-righteous at best and is just as offensive as overt religious advertising.

    Religious beliefs are built on emotional rewards and promises of rewards. As humans we value traditions and rituals for their familiarity. I think it would be more effective to expose the facts of these traditions while also pointing out that the message behind these traditions is not unique to or dependent on any one religion.

    We need to speak to logic and reason and not take our position in such an unenlightened response that is designed to marginalize.

    • Dennis Vander Houwen

      Final thought… we need to get the message out that it is okay to be godless. That it is okay to not believe in nonsense. That religion is not needed to live a happy, productive and moral life. Religion only serves the financial institutions that they embody as churches.

  • MrPeach

    No matter what is posted there will be those who take offense at the very temerity of Atheists to speak up in this “Christian nation”, and others who tut-tut and worry that we look like dicks as a result.

    My personal opinion is – poke ‘em with a stick, hard and often.

    Historically the Christians have done far worse to Atheists, so boo hoo.

    • Jeff See

      If your desire is to see to nothing more than conflict, then you’ve become your enemy.

      If your desire is to bring those who are against you, to you, then you’re going to have to find a way that doesn’t involve giving them a black eye first.

      You want to be confrontational, on a personal level, you go ahead. As a whole, these billboards do atheism no good.

      • MrPeach

        Do you remember “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it”? I’m certain that the same sort of hand wringing went on about that as well. But it frigging worked. Daily every one of us bites our tongue when we hear religious nonsense uttered near or at us. How many times have we been maligned on TV, how many times have we heard that Hitler was an atheist, that atheism was behind the communist atrocities? We need to stand up and speak out, and worrying about hurting their precious little feelings cannot be a factor in our doing so.

        • Jeff See

          “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” wasn’t offensive. It was simply a statement of fact. Making statements that you know are going to be taken offensively, when it could have been said another way, makes them unnecessarily combative.

          I didn’t say “let’s all be quiet, and hope for the best”. I’m saying “find another, less ass-holish, less ‘like-them’ way to say things”.

    • guest

      Yes but there’s going to be higher percentages taking offence depending on the ad. We might get 100% from an ad that said ‘FUCK YOU, CHRISTIANS!’ and 10% from an ad that said ‘Merry Christmas from the American Atheists!’.
      Some Christians are looking to be offended. Other Christians are decent people who want to get along with atheists and don’t make an issue of their belief. I don’t care if the first group is offended. I mind if the secomd group is offended.

  • guest

    It’s ironic that they have Santa in a poster that says ‘keep the merry, dump the myth’. He’s as mythical as Jesus. Would some real people celebrating not have been better?

    I’m not keen on the whole ‘who needs Christ at Christmas’ thing. It just seems needlessly confrontational. We know that there are people for whom Christmas is about Christ, so to say ‘nobody’ is false, and insulting. I’d prefer it if they focused on the positives- food, friends, family, generosity, giving to charity, music, sparkly decorations- none of these things require belief in god. Just ‘happy holidays from american atheists’ would go a long way to spreading goodwill, and would still show closeted atheists that there are others who feel like them and still get to have fun at Christmas. It’s funny they call it ‘Xmas’ as well, now that we all know the x stands for cho-rhi or Christ in greek. Maybe ‘Giftmas’ would be better. Or Yule.

    • guest

      Or solstice. At least that’s a real thing. Have a super solstice! Enjoy the longer evenings!
      Of course that only works for the northern hemisphere. And the pagans have already claimed it as their thing.

  • wise1

    I’m a firm believer in GOD/JESUS. I am not offended by the billboards just feel very sorry for those who feel the need to mock someone else’s beliefs. Make sure you work on Christmas and don’t reap any benefits from Christmas.
    Merry Christmas you f***ing idiot & a Happy New Year! HAHA that is what I think of your bill boards. Do something better with the money like feed the poor!

    • Obazervazi

      My, how immature.

  • UWIR

    This strikes me as excessively hostile. It’s one thing to have billboards saying “I believe something other than what you do, and my views are valid”, and another to say “I believe something other than what you believe, and only my point of view is valid, and your point of view is stupid”.

  • SGAShepp

    Besides being very ugly, I agree that this is a little harsh, It shows ignorance. Even if we don’t agree, telling people what THEY need is too far. Attacking isn’t going to accomplish anything, it’s only going to trigger a defence.
    I’m no poet, but something like “This is what XMas means to US: ..Friends, family etc.”

  • rayg0838

    Why can’t “Christians” and atheists understand each others preferences???Aren’t Christians told by Jesus to “Love one another as I have loved you, love one another…John: 13:34. Please, do not BLASPHEME this commandment by meaningless ideological misinterpretation by the WANNABES of Christianity….. Just a Thought, from a serious Christian….

  • Madison Blane

    Yes, I do.
    Christians go to church – Atheists do not.

    It seems odd at best, deceitful at worst, to say this ad is targeting Atheists, while mentioning church-attendance.
    I think they are targeting casual Christians – those who profess to be Christian, still attend on certain days, but don’t feel a strong devotion anymore – or what I commonly call ‘fence-sitters’.

    These people are lukewarm, to use a Biblical term, and could fairly easily be convinced with logic. Religion isn’t something they think of often and it doesn’t occupy a large portion of their identity, hence, they simply don’t evaluate it as anything other than tradition. They could, at the very least, be Atheists’ best allies.

    I see no use is pushing these people into a defensive mode with antagonistic ads – especially not when they could so easily be reached with better tactics. Giving them a bad taste in their mouths over Atheism now could damage any attempts to reach them later. It is time to take responsibility for our part in Atheists’ demonization. Posturing ourselves as enemies is unproductive and more often than not, harmful to the cause.

  • P. Raymon

    I am a true believer in Christ Jesus, who is God, and one day we will find out who is right and who is wrong. In the mean while I could not agree more with Atheist when it comes to take Christ out of the stupid word Christmas… It is not when Christ was born obviously and when it is your birthday do you give your gifts to everyone who comes to your party? Do you go to your friends birthday party with expectation of receiving and exchanging gifts with everyone else? Nothing is more of a mockery to Christ than the stupid Holiday called Christmas. So by all means please take Christ out of Christmas. Oh yeah without Christ in Christmas what can we call it? The sooner the better for me!!!

    • P.Raymon

      Hello… I am looking for an alternative name?!!!


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