Row erupts over humanist poster in Belfast

Row erupts over humanist poster in Belfast November 19, 2009

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THE war of words between atheists and religious believers has entered a new chapter with the launch of Northern Ireland’s first ever humanist advertising campaign.
The British Humanist Association (BHA) yesterday unveiled a billboard with the slogan:

Please Don’t Label Me. Let Me Grow Up And Choose For Myself.

Located on one Belfast’s busiest routes, the poster is a follow-up to its atheist buses campaign that ran earlier this year in parts of the UK.
The giant poster, at the junction of Great Victoria Street and Bruce Street, shows a photograph of a young girl against the backdrop of “shadowy” descriptions such as Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu or Sikh.
Organisers said the descriptions were mixed in with other labels that people would “never apply” to young children like Marxist, anarchist, socialist, libertarian or humanist. They argue that children should be given the freedom to decide for themselves which, if any, ideology they follow.
According to this report, religious leaders across Northern Ireland are furious, and have hit out at the BHA, accusing it of arrogance and hypocrisy.
Reverend David McIlveen from the Free Presbyterian Church ranted:

It is none of their business how people bring up their children. It is the height of arrogance that the BHA would even assume to tell people not to instruct their children in their religion.
I would totally reject the advertisement. It is reprehensible and so typical of the hypocrisy of the British Humanist Association today. They have a defeatist attitude and are just trying to draw attention to themselves. I think it is totally arrogant, presumptuous and sparks of total hypocrisy. I believe this doesn’t deserve a counter campaign. I will be expressing my public position on it in my own church on Sunday. I will be saying that this advert is another attack on the Biblical position of the family and will be totally rejecting it.

Phew! And he grumpily added for good measure:

It is a wasted campaign that will have no impact on family life in Northern Ireland.

Father-of-four Sheikh Anwar Mady from the Belfast Islamic Centre added this depressing tosh to the pot:

We believe that every child is born as a Muslim. Religion is not given by the family, but it is a natural religion given by our God at birth. The role of the family is to teach the traditions of the faith. But that faith is implanted at birth.

The BHA said the billboards were being unveiled to coincide with Universal Children’s Day on Friday.
Atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins, BHA vice president, added:

Nobody would seriously describe a tiny child as a ‘Marxist child’, an ‘anarchist child’ or a ‘post-modernist child’. Yet children are routinely labelled with the religion of their parents. We need to encourage people to think carefully before labelling any child too young to know their own opinions and our adverts will help to do that.

Dean of Belfast Dr Houston McElvey said the humanist poster would have little impact on Christian believers.

I am glad to live in a society where people have the right to express their point of view on a God in which I believe doesn’t need defending.

But Fr Gary Donegan, from Holy Cross in north Belfast, said he hoped the campaign would open up debate on religious issues.

One positive thing that could come from this is if it opens a debate on faith. I am not offended by it, but perhaps the money used for it could have been channelled better into a humanitarian cause.

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  • Kev

    “Reverend David McIlveen from the Free Presbyterian Church ranted:
    It is none of their business how people bring up their children. It is the height of arrogance that the BHA would even assume to tell people not to instruct their children in their religion.”
    So how come every godbotherer I know keeps telling me that I should bring up my children in one or other of their fairy-tale-worlds? Yet again it’s a case of ok if it’s us but you can’t say anything. As for channelling the money into a humanitarian cause I’m sure the amount it’s cost for this poster campaign is peanuts compared with the money which will be spent if the pope visits Ireland and when he comes to England.

  • Brian Jordan

    Father-of-four Sheikh Anwar Mady from the Belfast Islamic Centre added this depressing tosh to the pot:
    We believe that every child is born as a Muslim. Religion is not given by the family, but it is a natural religion given by our God at birth. The role of the family is to teach the traditions of the faith. But that faith is implanted at birth.

    This is the worst bit. Because he doesn’t mean just babies born to Muslim parents, he means every child in the world. So all non-Muslims are therefor apostates.

  • It is none of their business how people bring up their children.

    It’s none of McIlveen’s business either, but that doesn’t seem to bother him.

  • Bishop of Pork

    Brian Jordan already said what I was thinking.
    Sheikh Anwar Mady’s comment is particularly disturbing and should set off alarm bells in the mind of any thinking person.

  • Barry Duke

    It’s becoming more and more common for Muslims to claim that people who convert to Islam are actually REVERTING!

  • This should be no surprise to anyone. All theists are hypocrites and condemn in other exactly the things they do themselves.
    Whenever I see a mosque, cathedral, or chapel, I have to ask myself, “What id the resources in money, time, and human effort spent on this were instead focused on education and health care? How much better off would the people be?” Then when you consider the expensive robes, vestments and accoutrements that the theist leaders demand for “the glory of god” who do they think they’re fooling? Certainly not anyone with a rational brain cell.

  • “this advert is another attack on the Biblical position of the family”
    A good thing, too!
    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple”. (Luke14:26)
    There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world-how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:34)
    But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none (1 Corinthians 7:29)

  • rog

    We all know why the religionists like to force a religion down the throats of children – if they had to wait until people were reasoned, thinking adults before trying to convert them, virtually everyone would laugh at the concept & organised religion would die out within two or three generations.
    Off topic, sorry, but you might like this.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00p1l9q/HARDtalk_Shlomo_Sand/
    Shlomo Sand an Israeli historian has written a book claiming that accepted Jewish history* is based on myth and fabrication, for the purpose of Zionism.
    *not a holocaust denier.

  • Susan Means

    The ignorance and arrogance of the “faithful” know no bounds. I am disgusted.

  • Angela_K

    Quote “I think it is totally arrogant, presumptuous and sparks of total hypocrisy.” Sounds just as though he is talking about religion!

  • I think this is a worthwhile approach. Funny how innocuous it seems and yet here we are with more irate believers getting their freak on. I still prefer this sign to the “stop worrying” one from last year.

  • unbound

    “I am not offended by it, but perhaps the money used for it could have been channelled better into a humanitarian cause.”
    rofl – Fr Donegan should take the time to examine the expenditures of his own Catholic church. Hardly a good model of better spending…optimistically, 15% of expenditures by a christian church goes to something outside their little clubhouse (i.e. missions), and there is no telling how little of that actually goes to help others versus payroll and purchasing goods for the members of the missions. I’ve read that less than 5% of church donations actually go to help poor, etc. That is superior spending?

  • Trace

    @ rog: link provided cannot be viewed outside the UK. That’s too bad.

  • Buxta Huda

    Indeed, whilst we are speaking of arrogance my religious Reverend David McIlveen, Sheikh Anwar Mady in his belief and from your side of the matter seems to be brimming with nothing but. Kev, I agree whole-heartedly; they say that it’s none of our business to advise anyone how to raise their children, yet it’s perfectly acceptable vice-versa. I’ve personally given up debating religion with anyone who actually follows it due to the fact that when offered scientific, factual arguments based on cool logic and understanding they ultimately revert to completely man-made scripts as ‘proof’ of their God’s, god’s, or gods’ existence and always say something along the lines of “Why won’t you just let me talk and you listen to me for once?” after they completely ignored anything you said with no intention on actually paying you the courtesy they seem to feel they deserve. On a side note, I’ve noticed (and there are always exceptions to these things because we are dealing with people) that the people who believe in religion the most have never read their religious text from cover to cover and/or don’t have the intelligence of a high school senior. Again, I don’t think religion is particularly wrong, though I believe it does much more harm to modern society than good, and believe that people should be allowed to live their lives as they please believing whatever they enjoy just so long as they let me do the same; this never quite happens though as the agenda for many religions is to gain as many followers as possible through birth into the religion and conversion, therefore people are constantly bothering others to conform to their beliefs. (One last thing that just popped into my head as I typed that last sentence: Based on the way religion has sparked countless wars since the beginning of time, and the way that nations of the past were always predominantly a single religion which it was required to follow, doesn’t it seem that religion’s goal is just that? To build an army of followers for war?)

  • Mark

    Religion has but one purpose, the accumulation and maintenance of great wealth and political power. Remove the money and the politics from any religion and you have no religion.

  • H. Davids

    The reactions to this innocent poster just emphasize the true purpose of all religions: keep them poor, ignorant and scared! And damn anyone who thinks it can and should be different. I’m sure these god-nuts would love to be able to mete out the punishment of old for heresy: burn them at the stake, or stone them to death.

  • Chris

    I must admit to being doubtful about the first bus adverts, I thought that the message was rather limp and would be easily ignored. But I was totally wrong about the impact – nothing else, at least in the UK, has flushed out the ranting religious bigots more effectively. This poster campaign will I think enrage the loons even more! GOOD.

  • rog

    @trace:
    ask and ye shall receive 😉 I ‘found’ a copy of it on zshare, it’s not earth shattering but maybe worth a look.
    http://www.zshare.net/video/6868392503a89e37/

  • Broga

    For a god that they howl doesn’t need defending these characters seem to spend a great deal of time defending him. Looking at the moral, emotional and intellectual poverty of many of his defenders you have to wonder about the nature of their god. If he is made “in their image” then he must be in bad shape.
    Father Gary Donevan seems relaxed about it all and I acknowledge that. However, as a humanist – atheist as it happens – I do channel money into humantarian causes. Some of them in an attempt to offset the horrors inflicted by the attitude of Fr Donevan’s Pope e.g. setting his face against contraception and making himself a liar to do so.
    What we see here is the usual attempt to censor what they don’t like (think Thought for the Day) and utter panic that a view contrary to their beliefs not only exists but is being given publicity.

  • Perspix

    The clerics are going to scream bloody blue murder over this as it touches the very heart of their recruitment process.
    Religion perpetuates itself by passing into the minds of children. Without childhood exposure to religious ideas it cannot survive in the mind of an adult with an education.
    Stand by for lots of frothing at the mouth and bulging eyes.

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  • rog

    Could it be that brining children into the faith an an early age has it theological roots in times past – child mortality was very high in the past, this could have been a lever to force parents into deciding the faith of their child, lest the die before they are baptised and go to hell/limbo.
    Catholics are the amongst the worst, those priests just can’t help interfering with children.

  • Urmensch

    A Muslim guy gave me that whole ‘We believe we’re all born Muslim but your parents perverted you from the true religion.’
    I replied ‘You also believe in djinn and magic horses with wings. In my book that rules you out as credible.’
    It shut him up.
    I find it is better to take the piss out of the really ridiculous stuff than trying to argue about gods with them.

  • valdemar

    ‘The role of the family is to teach the traditions of the faith. But that faith is implanted at birth.’
    Religion – it lets you lie with a clear conscience. And contradict yourself without feeling a total arsewit. Unfortunately, despite these excellent benefits, religion does not make the world a better place, as any idiot spending five seconds studying the history of Northern Ireland ought to realise.

  • Neuseline

    I think the poster campaign is brilliant. However, it must be nigh impossible to raise a child without some input of the parent’s or parents belief or lack of it. A child of 7 or 8 cannot decide for him/herself yet but may ask the reason why his/her family is not following the practices of friends and neighbours. If the reply is that “we don’t believe in it” it already imparts a certain bias in the child.
    Incidentally, I should like to know how many of the atheists here observe Christmas and all the stuff that goes with it. When my children/grandchildren were little we asked them if they wanted a tree. For as long as they did, we had one, but for years now we have not had “done Christmas”.

  • Leave it to the attackers of the ad to completely miss the point: the labelling is what continues issues between Catholics and Protestants. There is still religious apartheid in parts of Northern Ireland, with “Catholic” “Protestant” and “Mixed” neighbourhoods, and counselors for people of “Mixed Marriage” aka a Catholic and a Protestant getting married. Ironically, more and more young people in Ireland are identified by their PARENTS religion while they themselves espouse humanist/athiest beliefs, but still see the cultural divide between Protestant and Catholic. The labels create the division, not the actual beliefs held by the individual churches.

  • Irk

    “”Dean of Belfast Dr Houston McElvey said the humanist poster would have little impact on Christian believers.
    ‘I am glad to live in a society where people have the right to express their point of view on a God in which I believe doesn’t need defending.'””
    -I wish more Christians were like him. A good Christian will see the truth in it and move on. A good atheist will do the same. All good people. Bad people are bad, whatever their internal belief system is.
    /obvious

  • Stonyground

    This one really has touched a raw nerve hasn’t it? I thought that the poster was quite reasonable and innocuous but of course it cuts right to the root by pointing out that without childhood indoctrination no religion could survive. Of course we atheists are expected to answer the charge that we indoctrinate our children with atheism. I was happy to let my daughter attend a CofE school, I told her what I believed and that she should listen to the school’s teachings too and make up her own mind. I made it clear that I did not believe in God but other people do and that she should decide for herself. I think it helps that I never lie to her and she knows that from literally a lifetime’s experience. I now have an atheist daughter and I think that any religious person who tried the same approach in reverse would have one too.
    It amazes me when a Christian cites the Bible as a source of family values. McIilveen, a reverend, either has not read the Bible or is a liar. The Old Testament promotes polygamy and the New Testament recommends that we avoid family ties altogether. There is not a single family in the whole Bible that is not in some way dysfunctional. Family members are often murdered and incest is common. Children are beaten, stoned and even boiled and eaten.
    Neuseline, I, an atheist love Christmas. It is worth repeating that Midwinter festivals predate christianity and I call it Christmas because that is what it is called in the same way that our days and months are named after Norse and Roman gods that are no longeer believed in. We do decorations, presents, feasts, family gatherings and booze. We also get a fortnight off work, what’s not to like?
    Incidently some workmates and I had great fun describing the concept of Christmas Crackers to an American once. He was a quiet sort so I never really worked out what he thought about us and our crackers.

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  • Trace

    Thanks rog! It was interesting indeed.

  • Stuart H.

    “It is a wasted campaign that will have no impact on family life in Northern Ireland.”
    McIlveen shouldn’t be too proud of his own church’s impact on family life.
    A number of years ago,when I lived in Belfast, over a period of several months I regularly helped re-house teenage gay guys who were driven out of their communities, and even their families who were burnt out of their homes.
    By a less than curious coincidence, the burnings started shortly after the boss of McIlveen’s church,Paisley,started an ‘Ulster Says No To Sodomy’ campaign.
    Paisley’s campaign began with a sermon in his church in Botanic Avenue, Belfast, where many of the congregation were RUC officers. Needless to say, they did nothing to stop violence committed in their home communities by Protestants on fellow Protestants.
    Free Presbyterian Church?
    More like shit with a tax exemption.

  • Mr.Sean

    Its hilarious to hear Free Presbyterians that something is none of their business. Those are the same crazy bastards that would protest outside the local horse races because people shouldnt be allowed to do anything on a Sunday. Also don’t forget that they are the ones in power (the names DUP and Free Presbyterian are virtually interchangeable in Northern Ireland.

  • curious

    How often do the teachings of parents to children cling to them into adulthood? A lot of personal opinions are imposed on their children. Once the kids are adults, then if they are rational minded or have any working brain cells they will realize how stupid their childhood religion was and switch to another, or abandon the concept altogether. I hardly think teaching a child Christianity guarantees them growing up and strictly sticking to the religion. I’ve heard of many adults who have converted and are not angry at their parents for teaching them a different religion.

  • curious

    Also, it seems a little ridiculous to expect parents attending Sunday school or other religious services to explain to their five-year-old that they don’t *have* to go with them. You don’t *have* to celebrate Christmas with me. Children are more at risk of feeling left out or neglected.

  • Of course, if my child is going to grow up and decide her own religious beliefs then I shouldn’t impose views like “it is wrong to steal” and she should decide when she is older?

  • Jack Rawlinson

    It is none of their business how people bring up their children.

    Oh, of course. Silly me thinking that perhaps parents shouldn’t be allowed to treat their children exactly as they please. I guess we can scrap all child abuse legislation and child protection societies now. That’s going to save some money!

  • pplr

    I think this campaign is much ado about nothing.
    If the complaint is about what children are called then who cares as it doesn’t really have to do with how children are raised anyway. If this is part of an argument that children shouldn’t be raised to have a certain POV on religion or belong to one that is stepping pretty hard on parental rights. Yes we don’t want child abuse, but that is often far different from trying to share whatever you think with your kids (at least some Libertarians try to do that too with their political beliefs). I’m sure some parents who are atheists want to tell their children that all religions are just lies or myths thought up by people who don’t know better.
    If parents want to raise a child in a certain religion then so long as no measurable emotional or physical harm is done (and some atheists here may be assuming teaching religion is harm with little to really argue their case on but their belief religions aren’t true) then let it be.

  • Mo

    Reverend David McIlveen from the Free Presbyterian Church ranted:
    It is none of their business how people bring up their children.
    Um, sorry, but it kind of is everyone’s business how people bring up their children. You see, children are the future leaders, teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs, etc. of this world, and the way they are brought up affects all of us, and our own children. So while you certainly cannot control how people bring up their children, you can certainly try to persuade people to actually think about how best to do so. Personally, I am terrified of what the new generation of littlest born-agains will grow up to be and do.

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  • chad

    @James.
    That is a really retarded argument. You can teach your child not to steal, without imposing religious views on someone. If I remember correctly, being a thief is against the laws of MAN, too. That is what is wrong with religious people. They think that morals can only come from their religion. I follow the law, and I am an atheist. I was raised Mormon, and left it when I could have my own rational thoughts.
    Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own lives. You will not be punished for your child’s “sins”, and they will not be punished for yours. I’m not telling you how to teach your children. I’m just saying that there are other ways to do it, without brainwashing religious mumbo jumbo into them.

  • Rebecca

    this is ridiculous… “It is none of their business how people bring up their children.”
    it is none of their business either, advertisements are everywhere telling you eat here its the best place or buy this for your wife or blah blah blah but it isn’t forcing people to believe it and do it. like with ever other advertisement you can always look away or shut off the tv or radio. this advertisement is there to let people know about that choice, to let them think about it.

  • Stonyground

    pplr, I suggest that you educate yourself about what FGM stands for and google the phrase “Recovering Catholic”.
    James, are you being disingenuous or are you actually that stupid?

  • @Chad who said…
    That is a really retarded argument. You can teach your child not to steal, without imposing religious views on someone. If I remember correctly, being a thief is against the laws of MAN
    Chad, the view that stealing is wrong is a moral philosophical belief. It cannot be derived scientifically.
    What are these laws of man? Why should my child not make her own laws? Wouldn’t it be wrong of me to impose my belief that we shouldn’t make our own laws.

  • rog

    @James
    the view that stealing is wrong is a moral philosophical belief. It cannot be derived scientifically. ”
    It sounds like you are suggesting that no athiest could possibly have morals without reference to your god ; there is no contradiction in explaining to a child how then can grow within society and still be free to make a choice about thier wouldview.

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  • @Rog
    I’m not saying that no athiest could possible have morals without reference to God (thats a whole other discusion).
    What I am saying is that morals are fundamentally a philosophical position and that if we are going to forbid parents from passing their philosophical beliefs to their children on the grounds that children should choose for themselves then it is a contradiction to then make an exception for any moral beliefs that athiests happen to share.

  • rog

    @James,
    Would you tell your children that the ten commandments must be adhered to lest they incur god’s wrath, or that maybe there is some wiggle room, depending upon the situation?

  • Joseph Smith

    So basically you’re pushing your faith, or the lack of it? Advocating people to do as you believe, not as they do? Ok, it sounds stupid, but that’s what it is. Except that religious people are idiots.

  • Peter

    @James,
    Maybe other people said that you cant pass on your philosophical belifes, but the advertisement does not.
    You can, and of course, should teach your child what you know.
    You shouldnt teach your child what that what you know is absolute, and that they will go to hell for not knowing it.
    You can easily teach traditions of a way of life without converting.
    Did you know that “The Baha’i year consists of 19 months of 19 days each (361 days), with the addition of “Intercalary Days” (four in ordinary and five in leap years)” (from website)
    You have learned about their culture, but you arent a bahai! Wasnt that magical!?
    My school was a multi donominational school, and i would of much prefered to go to that than an catholic or atheist school (If the latter even existed in Ireland)
    We learned of all faiths, with no preference. We took other days off from other schools, in accordance with the various faiths. I learned about all these different things….
    Without them being pressed into me that they were true.
    Magical.

  • Leila

    Has anyone stopped to wonder that the way we are born, compleatly open-minded and bright to everything might just be the way forward and we should maybe teach are children to hold on to that honesty and clarity. So many of us have been misguided, mislead, lied to and and judged on a daily basis without proof of anything. I say let the the clear minded stay that way, let them follow there hearts and help lead us back to the center of are own becuase lets face it were all a bit lost. change is on the way. Dont pollute it!

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Everyone is born atheist and most are converted, against their will and long before they understand, into the religion of their parents.
    There is no god. Get over it. You do humanity a supreme injustice by refusing to use your brain which has spent countless millennia evolving to do precisely that.

  • Faint

    Poor James…
    Stealing is wrong, and that moral can be shown to have developed over time. As shown in animals, a being that takes from one for themselves will often be “shunned” or even “cast out” of the group… for animals that require numbers for protection, that can be a death sentence. But why? Why do they shun them? Because any group that rely on numbers is less likely to survive if one (or more) of it’s members are taking from one (or more) for itself. The group as a whole is harmed, and groups that didn’t take steps to protect themselves were less likely to survive. Hence why, over time, such things got codified into laws… to enable the protection of society (the group) from the ones who would harm it, and to enable society to remove the harmful elements without going so far as to cause it’s death. (most times… some societies still allow death as a punishment)
    Is it philosophical? Yes, it is… is anyone trying to ban parents from passing philosophical beliefs on to their children? Not at all. Are philosophical beliefs the same as religious beliefs? No! You conflate the two, and manage to come out with a flawed and useless argument.
    Oh, and what I’ve just put shows that morals can indeed be derived scientifically… especially since Philosophy is a branch of science.

  • Des

    @Faint
    You’re being terribly scientific by citing “animals” as your example of how morals can be developed over time. “Animals” just called me on the phone and said “Faint rather embarrassingly missed the point”. Must be true, by your reasoning.
    Philosophy is not a branch of science, not by a long stretch. Philosophy predates, and is indeed a precursor to science as you know it.
    Many religious beliefs are indeed expressed as philosophical ideas (had you actually read any religious texts this would have been obvious to you). Check out Sufism, Christian Mysticism, Buddhism, Hinduism… Well pretty much every religion, really.
    This ad campaign is ridiculous. Every child is labeled in one way or another (actually, in many ways) as soon as they are conceived. Nobody complains when a child is labeled as “British”, for example. Nobody complains when a male child is labeled a “boy”, either. Both of those labels bear connotations which may or may not be favourable in every instance, and yet still we go ahead and do it. Shocking. How is a child expected to “grow up” without the guidance of its parents, or without being influenced in some way by others around it? Suggesting to a family who may have a long and proud history and tradition which has been passed down over centuries to just let their children grow up is insulting, arrogant and seriously lacking insight. It’s a naive view, to be expected from the soft-headed humanist bourgeoisie.
    Atheists approach the world from a very unusual position. They appear to claim the non-existence of something of which they know nothing other than other people’s descriptions, and use as evidence for their arguments their own poverty of experience. It’s not terribly bright is it?
    Or they say, “God doesn’t exist because organised religion is bad, and holy books seem a bit fanciful when you read their meaning literally”. At the end of the day, religion is the creation of man, and yes, man can certainly be very, very bad. God is something wholly other, and if you can’t understand that, then shut up. Go ahead and ruin organised religion, leave god out of it, because you don’t know anything about it, and clearly are incapable of knowing. You can’t be scientific about something you can’t experiment upon. You can’t have a hypothesis about something you refuse to believe exists. You might as well say “I’m testing my theory that square circles taste like jam” as say “I can prove god doesn’t exist”.

  • Matthew Zunder

    How can he say “It is none of their business how people raise their children”? All religions work on the indoctrination of children, they are the height of persuasion and contradiction. How dare any religious figure claim a purely humanitarian project, motivated ONLY by free choice and equality is arrogant, especially when the Christian church, in the past, has burned people alive for not believing in what they preach – any act of arrogance pales in comparison to this. What’s more is it isn’t arrogant to say you believe what you believe through choice, that is, by my understanding, the antithesis.
    I’m proud of the BHA and I hope to see more of these things happening. It’s about time we took a stance against religion, too long has society said “be respectful” to religions. All religion is a massive lie and frankly it’s laughable how poor their logic is. It’s time to prove them wrong once and for all. Vive la revolucion!

  • rog

    “You can’t have a hypothesis about something you refuse to believe exists. ”
    Oh, I do beg to differ – we could spend all day thinking up things that we refuse to accept as reality, some of us would make great theologians, if only we could keep as straight face whilst selling it to the likes of you.
    For me, Faint was bang on the money about the animal nature of the origins of morals, we are after all just clever apes with opposable thumbs; maybe being unable to accept this is why xians have such difficulties with the real world.

  • max

    “One positive thing that could come from this is if it opens a debate on faith. I am not offended by it, but perhaps the money used for it could have been channelled better into a humanitarian cause.”
    Stopping people from branding childrens’ psyche with metaphysical constructs IS a humanitarian cause.

  • Des

    @rog
    Yes, well you’ve rather missed the point too. You know nothing about me. My objection to atheists has little to do with the existence of god. I’m more perturbed by the manner in which they begin their arguments from a flawed premise and then have the cheek to suggest religious folk use bad logic. “Clever apes”, indeed. This is simian reasoning, is it?
    It’s also pretty objectionable that their justification for proselytising rubbish like these buses and billboards is “Well the Christians did it first!” How puerile. I don’t want any of your nonsense thrust in my face any more than that of the organised religions.

  • bill

    photoshopped

  • Logical Thinker

    @Des
    We have to start somewhere. How then, would you suggest logical thinking should be promoted? Do you actually believe a “God” jerked off in heaven and spent his load into a virgin mother to make a clone of himself to kill himself to “die for our sins” which he made in the first place? If he is omnipotent and omniscient, then why is there a need for churches and priests? Do you believe in ancient gods, such as the Egyptian gods, Greek gods, and the like? If not, then what makes the present religion significant? It really is the same old crap just refurbished and changed a little here and a little there. I live in a highly religious community and have Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, and so on knocking on my door all of the time early in the morning trying to convert me to their religion. You don’t see atheists doing that. I try to have intelligent conversations about the subject with believers, but the intelligent part stops with me when conversing. When facts about their bible are presented, such as stoning your kids to death, often times I am called a liar. It is in the old testament and most of the “hardcore” believers have no idea it is there. Why is this so? The reason why is because it is bashed into people’s brains from an early age, and most of them never read the bible. They only hear the good parts in church. No one ever quotes the bible verses about stoning, polygamy, or anything of that nature. Instead, you hear stuff like loving god, caring god, and so on. Why then would a loving, caring god instruct Moses to slaughter people? I don’t care what those people did, no one deserves to be slaughtered (oh and women raped, while children are enslaved, can’t forget that great stuff).
    Defending religion is completely and totally ludicrous. Atheist promote thinking and questioning. Is that really such a bad thing?

  • Des

    @Logical Thinker
    It’s utterly untrue that atheists promote thinking and questioning. The word “atheist” means someone who believes that it isn’t possible for a deity to exist. Atheists can’t actually prove in a scientific manner that god doesn’t exist (well, if something doesn’t exist you can’t very well find proof of it, can you?) so instead they say to believers “The onus is on you to prove that god does exist, because you’re the ones making the claim! Ah ha!”
    A bit of logical thinking will, of course, lead one to the conclusion that a believer obviously can’t hope to prove the existence of god to someone who doesn’t believe it’s possible for one to exist. That’s usually the part where the atheist gets all huffy, and the believer becomes self-righteous.
    Tell me, how exactly does this promote thinking and questioning? It’s just absurd.

  • Wolfy

    Oh, this makes me want to cry.
    I LIVE there..

  • Rob

    You’re not the only one Wolfy. I don’t live in Belfast, but I do live in Northern Ireland. Adverts like this were always going to cause outrage here, mainly because the country is still controlled by the religious right. Like someone said previously the DUP and Free Presbyterian labels are interchangeable.

  • I believe we have hit a nerve. I was raised Catholic, so had never thought of it before, but a neighbor who was raised by more open minded parents said he believed forcing children into a particular religion was “child abuse”. Just some food for thought.

  • Brandon

    I find it ironic that they’d cry hypocrisy at a poster asking for objectivity. This poster isn’t even endorsing humanism, since it affords a child responsibility in faith, something most faith leaders would preach about. Apparently Confirmation is just a formality?

  • David Eddy

    Just keep this up please
    We all know the results of the power of religion on all or our various societies from genocide to child abuse. We have to hold them to account.
    David

  • Ian

    this could also apply to circumcision. keep your jesus off my penis.

  • Rosita

    Barry Duke said:
    “It’s becoming more and more common for Muslims to claim that people who convert to Islam are actually REVERTING!”
    Does thie mean we will now hear:
    “I used to be an atheist a Muslim, but now I am a Christian. “

  • Rosita

    Des said:
    “It’s utterly untrue that atheists promote thinking and questioning. The word “atheist” means someone who believes that it isn’t possible for a deity to exist.”
    No, Des. That’s not the definition of an atheist. An atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of gods, usually because they lack convincing evidence for one.
    Most atheists state that they believe it is extremely unlikely that gods exist but that they would change their minds if evidence was forthcoming.
    The few atheists (so-called strong atheists) who state that there is categorically no god usually do so on bhe grounds that the attributes asserted about gods (or at least the local god) are logically incompatable in the same way that black cannot also be wight.
    The Christian god is dismissed in this way by the Epicuras argument from evil: since evil exists in the world then if a god exists it cannot be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. Ergo the Christian god either does not exist or the characteristics ascribed to him cannot be correct in which case why bother to worship it. Of course, this still leaves open the possibility that a god exists that does not care about humans.
    On the other hand, most right wing religionists believe that it is impossible for a god not to exist. They are the ones who state that they would not stop believing in their version of god if they found evidence to disprove it. That makes them the bigots, not non-believers who are willing to change their mind based on the evidence.

  • Rosita

    Those complaining about the ads have missed the point – naturally.
    The point is not that parents should not teach their children about their prefered religious beliefs. The point is that they should not label their children as adherents of their beliefs until they have had a chance to hear about and investigate other belief systems.
    That, of course, is what scares the pants off them. They are terrified that their children will abandon their pet beliefs if they are exposed to other belief systems or, worse, to scientific knowledge. They know, but cannot admit, that their beliefs are extremely fragile and will not stand up under objective investigation.
    Religous Believers are the polar opposite of those who have real knowledge. Those with real knowledge go out of their way to stress and test their beliefs over and over again. If they break they amend them or throw them out. They are not terrified of how they will cope with their lives if their pet beleifs are proved wrong.
    This is basically about the right to prevent one’s children from being exposed to other people’s differing ideas. That’s indoctrinated mis-education at its terrifying worst.

  • Jordan Hardy

    I really can’t imagine how this can actually be a charged issue. Are these religious people seriously against letting their children choose for themselves? How secure can you be in your beliefs when your actions suggest you think that no adult would choose them given the choice?