Atheism goes Evangelical

First the atheists began an ad campaign in London, and now atheists are getting ready to advertise that they are “Good without God”.

Starting next Monday, a coalition of local groups will run a monthlong advertising campaign in a dozen Manhattan subway stations with the slogan “A Million New Yorkers Are Good Without God. Are You?” The posters also advertise the Web site, which provides a listing of local groups affiliated with the Coalition of Reason, the umbrella organization that coordinated the campaign.

The campaign — which is being paid for by $25,000 from an anonymous donor — follows a similar but unrelated monthlong campaign on buses by New York City Atheists in July. Jane Everhart, a spokeswoman for the New York City Atheists, said that campaign was highly successful and brought in many new members. “We are trying to raise money to do it again,” she said.

Almost sounds like the beginning of a religion, doesn’t it? If Evangelical Atheists and Secular Humanists organize, grow their numbers, raise money and even -as we see here-develop thriving communities, it seems likely that they will also develop rituals and rites of passage for their children, and before you know it, atheism will be a full-blown religion, of sorts.

I wonder if they’ll become tax-exempt, and open hospitals and schools, too? Interesting.

Clearly this is trending:

The coalition has placed similar billboards in the Dallas area and West Virginia. Another group ran ads in Chicago and in the Indiana cities of Bloomington and South Bend.

Meanwhile, Inside Catholic’s Brian Saint-Paul says there is a schism growing even within atheism.

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  • Frances

    San Francisco has been plastered with aetheism ads. They have the look of stained glass windows, etc. Anything to look like a wholesome, churchy kind of ethos. And then when your eye is caught, you read the inane messages. SO lame. They have to advertise???

    The muslims did the same here months ago. Maybe its time to break out the Catholic ads.

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  • E

    I just read C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce last weekend, and I’ll admit that I had to laugh when I read about this ad campaign. I can totally see the people in charge of this campaign patiently explaining why they can’t go farther up and farther in, and getting back on the bus.

  • Eric

    This campaign is long overdue. London did a similar one last year on their busses. This is hopefully only the beginning. Due to the sensitivity in this age of general extremism, this must be done in baby steps, to give those who are non-believers a general knowledge that there are people of like mind out there, and that the public will not lash out. If a couple of more people are comfortable saying they are non-believers after this, then I say mission accomplished. this is just the first round.

  • Steve

    This is really way out of control. America is generally Christian. If you’re not Christian, you aren’t condemned, you just aren’t. Why do people have to try to grab headlines and attention. I personally don’t want to hear any of this bull$hit. Shut up already and be happy without God or Gaia or whatever people believe in. Just don’t hit me over the head with it! I believe in God and all that good stuff and feel I am fine with it. It works for me. All that atheism stuff just pisses me off when it’s thrown in my face. There’s going to come a time when some religious nut pushes back.

  • Anglican Peggy

    Anchoress, you characterize the community as thriving but would it thrive if it werent for the foundation in community already laid down by millenia of religious belief? This is something that the atheists always take for granted. They seem to take for granted that if all those millenia were suddenly erased as if they had never been, that they would be enjoying backyard bbq’s and summer camp all the same. They seem to have fallen for the modern illusion that community is easy because all the hard work has already been done so long ago that there is no memory of it.

    I happen to think that in the absence of community, the very notion of community is as far from obvious or natural as a concept can get. Animals thrive without community.

    And it always makes me chuckle when I hear atheists claim that they teach kids to think for themselves and that they dont indoctrinate their kids, as if giving prizes for proving that invisible unicorns dont exist and casting themselves as rational and lovers of science and knowledge against the backwards rubes who still believe in God is not indoctrination. I am afraid that there is only one correct way to think for oneself at these camps. Would it really be acceptable for these kids to think for themselves and choose to be backwards people who believe in the spaghetti monster and unicorns?

    These kids are every bit as indoctrinated as any child in a religious camp.

  • Charlie

    NY agnostics respond to NY atheist ad campaign: We’re good without God, but we might be good *with* God, too. We’re not sure.

  • Charlie

    NY Episcopalians respond to NY atheist ad campaign: We’re good with (God, Gaia, Vishnu, Obama, Robert Mapplethorpe, name-your-deity-here). Are you?

  • Dennis J. Francis

    Anglican Peggy hits the nail on the head. Left to its own devices, civilization is merely vicious barbarism with an attitude.

  • crystal

    Almost sounds like the beginning of a religion, doesn’t it?

    Absolutely. A good friend, (who happens to be agnostic), said that atheism is as much a statement of faith as any other religion. You must have faith that God does not exist.

  • c matt

    To some extent, the ad itself is right – you can be good without God, if by that you mean an atheist can be morally good, or do good things. However, as an atheist, you would have no particular reason to be moral, and your atheism would in no way compel you to be moral. A completely immoral atheist is just as compatible with atheism as a completely moral one. Thus, atheism itself offers no basis for morality.

  • c matt

    Actually, I take that back – “good” in a moral sense is rather meaningless under atheism. I guess the most that can be said is an atheist can do things that a non-atheist considers good (eg, feed the hungry).

  • Cullen f

    The natural “man” is in us all and our test at this stage, living on earth, is that we allow the spiritual side of us to overpower the natural man so our choices and faith are in a manner that is in accordance with the guidelines Christ, our Savior set for us.

    Let us not mock Atheism but let us testify to them that Jesus is the Christ and through him we will obtain Eternal Life. I truly believe that I (along w/everyone) have the opportunity to live with my family (wife and 2 kids) forever in heaven.

  • Wolf Paul

    I would like to strongly protest that tag line.

    It is bad enough when secular journalists don’t know the difference between “evangelical” and “evangelistic” but I expect better from someone associated with First Things.

    Being “evangelical” isn’t primarily about trying to convert the unbelievers, it’s about a whole package of theological beliefs, and it is thus entirely inappropriate to apply this term in any other context than Christian belief.

    Now if you wanted to characterize the new atheists as “evangelistic” because they are out to proselytize and make converts, that would be another matter altogether, although I still would question where the “evangel” is in that.