Church sign: “An atheist is a…” HAHAHAHAHA

Perhaps the ‘rare double fail’ isn’t all that rare.

atheists are men without invisible support

Obviously the intended message itself is so dumb that it nearly comes off as a compliment. Sorry, Jen McCreight, Stefanie Svan, Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, half of my readers, etc… apparently you aren’t atheists. If you’re depressed about the demotion, you can always go to the invisible support group (there’s one right by this sign).

This is real. It’s not from some meme-site. Thanks for the picture, C.H. in New Bern, NC!

“An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.”


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  • Take comfort in etymology! 🙂

    Until recently (well recently-ish, say 1000yrs for English) ‘man’ was mainly ‘human being’.

    If one wanted to narrow the field one either used a different word or modified it.

    In Old English it was ‘wif ond wer’ or wifman (which got worn down to woman) and wæpman (the weapon usually being carried between the legs 😉 )

    Of course the River-Bendy Baptists have no invisible means of support either, they just haven’t noticed yet.

  • I’m sure that the people who made the sign know we’re living in the 21st century and not the 12th. So, yeah richardelguru, no comfort in etymology.

  • jamessweet

    I’ll give ’em a pass on the “man” thing, since they are punning off a commonly-used expression. They probably could have said “person” and still made the joke work, but it’s probably slightly easier to get it with “man” (“man with no visible means of support” = 14k+ Google results, “person with no visible means of support” = <5k Google results)

    The actually joke, though… Love it! Score one for our side. That's a badge I'd wear proudly. :p

  • Says a group who relies on an invisible entity for their support.

  • lippard

    The quote is from Ambrose Bierce.

  • baal

    Pithy seems hard to do – Either we atheists do have invisible support (the affection of our companions and from the ability to reason etc?) or we don’t have ‘invisible support’ from the god in three acts … which doesn’t exist or we don’t want. Yeah, fail on anyway you read it.

  • lippard

    Gotta correct myself–while it’s Bierce-like, and may be derived from one of his other definitions, looks like John Buchan published it in 1935, saying he had heard it from someone else.

  • Newbie

    Change invisible to imaginary and it really works for me.

    • But that would break the pun on “no visible means of support”.

      Sometimes you have to wonder, whether theists simply do not see women?

  • HeathenNTX

    So if they’re dependents of this invisible being, shouldn’t they have to file 0 dependents on their own taxes? I think a lot of Christians underpaid!

  • mildlymagnificent

    This thing about “man” representing human since time immemorial is a bit of a furphy. If you read a lot of those (rather tedious to my weary mind) philosophy classic texts, you don’t have to spend too many hours before you find that ‘man’ means ‘a man’ the very first time any mention is made of ‘man’s’ dealings with personal life/events.

    It was the Victorians, I think, who came up with or extended the idea that all such usages should be considered as including all humans. It works pretty well, just as long as you ignore some stuff within anyone’s writings, and a fair few writers entirely.

  • StevoR


    Talk about sending self-defeating signals!

  • bad Jim

    There was an atheist running for office who called himself “the candidate without a prayer”.

  • lochaber

    That’s why I liked Ajax back when I read the Iliad. He didn’t have any deities backing him, and he still kicked ass all over that battlefield.

  • Owen

    No invisible means of support? Looks like the religious are in the same position as this guy

  • Lanóvran

    The best I’ve seen (and I wish I’d gotten a picture, but alas…) was a church sign in Oklahoma City which read, “Nothing empties the brain like prayer.”