Your beliefs are silly. Don't like hearing that? Defend them or change your mind.

American Atheists have some new billboards up.  They pretty much follow the past trend for AA of being pretty in-your-face.  I love it.

My enthusiasm is not shared by Rev. James Martin.

“That billboard makes the most common high-school error when it comes to atheism,” wrote the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, in an e-mail to CNN. “It’s not arguing against the existence of God, but against religion. The American Atheists need to go back to school on this one.”

Leave it to a Reverend to tell us what atheism is.  Also, why the diss at high schools?  High schoolers can be pretty smart people.  A lot of the members of high school secular clubs have better grammar and ideas than I.

This just in, Reverend: vocal atheists argue against the existence of god.  You know the institution saying god exists?  They’re called “religions.”  I chuckled reading Martin’s condescending line in which he fails to make that connection.  Arguing against god’s existence doesn’t keep us from lambasting religion too (one could even argue it was necessary, since religions are the ones making the claims of gods we have to debunk).  We can do both!  Sometimes we can even do them at the same time.  We so cray.

Martin also questioned the language used on the billboard: “And as for ‘promoting hate’ they’re doing a bang-up job themselves with that billboard.”

Hate?  We think your beliefs are silly and that you’re capable of doing better.  We’re not trying to suppress your rights.  We’re not the ones saying that failure to agree with us means you deserve some kind of punishment either temporary or eternal.  We’re saying your religion is silly.

Terryl Givens, a Mormon professor at the University of Richmond, called American Atheists “petty and vindictive.”

“If this example of adolescent silliness is what atheists mean by being reasonable, then neither Mormons nor other Christians have much to worry about,” he said of the billboards. “When atheists organize to serve the poor and needy of the world, they will be taken more seriously.”

Well Terryl Givens, atheists do organize to serve the poor and the needy.  However, that isn’t why you should take us seriously.  You should take us seriously because your beliefs are completely indefensible and ours are supported by reason and evidence.  It wouldn’t matter if Christians gave a billion times more to charity than atheists, your beliefs are still wrong.  That’s the point of the billboard.

Likewise, it doesn’t matter that Christianity correlates to people opposing the rights of normal human beings with sexual practices that don’t align with their religion.  That gives us motivation to oppose Christianity, but doesn’t make your Christianity untrue.  The actual claims of the religion accomplish that.

The accuracy of your beliefs is the foundation of your very life, Mr. Givens, and the foundation for the lives of millions of believers.  Clearly, it is at least implied that the accuracy of beliefs is very important to all of you.  Well, they’re important to us too, and we think each one of you has massively failed to live up to even a crappy standard of accuracy for your most paramount truth claims.  You can’t call us petty for holding beliefs to the same level of importance to which you claim to hold them.  Well, you can, but it makes you look silly.

So play the victim card all you like.  Your beliefs are silly.  Don’t like it?  Defend them or change your mind.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.