Pictures from yesterday.

Billboard that says "Gay people getting married? Before you know it they'll be able to vote and pay taxes."

A guy rebutting "you weren't there" by putting shit on someone's house when they're not there to see it.

"If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing."

A picture of starving people that reads "Even if there was a god, I would still NEVER worship it."

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.

  • matt in memphis

    I think the last picture raises a point that should be developed more. I am often frustrated when atheists say “even if there is a god I wouldn’t worship it BECAUSE he is a jerk, bully, does mean things in the bible, etc.” That sentence is 13 words too long. I don’t see how the consept of “worship” could ever be anything other than servile, authoritarian, and ethically perverse even if the object of worship truly was admirable and benevolent. This is just anecdotal, but whenever I raise this point to my Christian friends, they seem genuinely stumped. Usually they are ready to rationalize god’s character as “good” (even if it seems evil at first glance) and therefore worthy of worship, but don’t seem comfortable confronting the ethucs of worship in general. How could any being with an admirable, benevolent, and moral character possibly feel a need to be worshiped?

    • Art Vandelay

      Yes. Just by “needing” anything at all let alone needing to be worshiped, a perfect being already ceases to be perfect. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Kodie

      I always think of worship as a concept from believers that arises from an attitude of “even if you don’t have to, how could you not?” It seems to me to be like being a big fan of some talented and famous artist. If living, there may be a way to know the artist personally – a distinct long shot for most people – but otherwise, you are just one of 43,005 other comments nobody will read on their facebook wall, for example. And yet the artist seems to know you through relating to you in a personal way. The artist might be talented, but a jerk. Some people don’t hold that against the artist and some do. Being a jerk does not change the output of talent and may actually drive it, and the output is what touches you, while choosing to hate what you loved because the artist is a flawed person makes you feel a loss of something good. And they do need worship to succeed and maintain fame and wealth. I feel somewhat certain that “worship” in some sense is to keep the word out lest the god disappear entirely, and maybe in 15 years, get some write-up in some buzzfeed or People magazine “Where are they now?” and we can say, wow, he really let himself go – and all the tax evasion problems and the scandal with the hooker, and those last two shitty movies he made went straight to dvd. Pathetic.

    • RuQu

      When I was a teen I summed this up as:

      “Any god who deserves my worship wouldn’t demand it, and any god who demands it doesn’t deserve it.”

      From there the obvious moral choice in the face of ambiguous existence of god is to not worship them.

    • Mia Ousley

      Same thoughts I’ve had — and expressed — since I was a child.

  • matt in memphis

    ..and “ethucs” is how we spell it down in Tennessee!

  • David Rodriguez

    Someone stole my idea on the if you dont sin but made it better.

    (jeez its been a while I need to fix this shop)

  • Epinephrine

    Even if there were a god, I would still never worship it.

    • John Horstman

      Even if there were to be a god, I would still care about grammatical prescriptivism. :-)

      • Epinephrine

        Ah, if you are speaking about the hypothetical development of a god (in the future) you are correct. “Were to be” implies that the action of being occurs at a future date, though if I am wrong I will happily take a lesson here. It is a bit confusing, as the “never” implies future belief, so perhaps it is about the future, rather than the present. Yay for confusing grammar!

    • Daniel H.

      “Was” is also grammatical; they’re fairly interchangeable in that context. The so-called rule against using “was” like that is just misguided prescriptivism.

      • Epinephrine

        It is prescriptivist, but it isn’t misguided. It is important that we say what we mean. English is capable of some interesting subtleties, and it would be a shame to lose the subjunctive mood due to poor education on grammar. My school never bothered with any of this, and self-education only goes so far, so I am bound to make mistakes – yet I prefer making mistakes to having a language in which one can’t do so.

        • Daniel H.

          But it’s not a mistake at all to use “was”. No meaning is lost by using “was” instead of “were”, and it’s completely grammatical, so I don’t see the problem. English already lost most of its inflection — Old English was a heavily inflected language — and it certainly didn’t cause any problems. You’re free to continue to always use “were” instead of “was”, but it doesn’t make sense to complain about other people doing so, since that’s how English is changing.

          • Kodie

            One side, I think you’re right Daniel H., they do mean essentially the same thing, everyone gets the gist and correction is not relevant here. But it’s my favorite correction, even though I don’t like people who correct grammar. Correction, as per Epinephrine’s desire to maintain the subtleties and clarity of language: I don’t like when someone corrects grammar. One of my poor habits is to use the word “they” when I mean “one” because “one” can be so awkward and foofy. I’d not like to be corrected every time I do that, since I hope you know what I mean. I’m also resolving to remediate my vocabulary deficiency. I think I have more than most, but I bet I could tell you in half as many words if I knew how to use twice as many words. “Were” is just foofy, but not awkward. It is not brutally foofy, like ‘nauseating’. It is like, ah… I have never been at a loss for an analogy before. It is a lot better than how people misuse ‘nonplussed’ and no one ever corrects them.

          • Daniel H.

            @Kodie: My point is that there’s nothing to correct; “was” is already correct in that context, and there’s no good reason to claim it isn’t. As I said before, no subtlety nor clarity is lost by doing so.

            Similarly, the use of “they” as a singular pronoun is also correct, and in fact, it’s a well-established usage with a long history in English. (Complaining about the singular “they” is a much more recent thing, relatively speaking.) Sure, it might sometimes be a good idea to avoid it in formal writing, since that’s a context where you’re often judged by the arbitrary prescriptive conventions that have accumulated over the years, but it’s certainly totally fine in speech or in less formal writing.

          • Epinephrine

            To be fair, I was having fun correcting it – I should probably have put a smiley on the comment. It doesn’t truly present a problem in communication. The Oxford comma, OTOH, can greatly clarify things, and is worth bothering with.

          • Kodie

            @Daniel H: I think it’s more of a revival thing with “were”. My vocabulary feels so weak right now. Exposure? Making sure the people know that option exists and when to try to use it. They won’t learn, just like they won’t learn when to use “effect” as a verb, and their iphones recognize ‘definately’ as ‘defiantly’ now, which changes the meaning but is funny.

          • baal

            As the poster is formulated, ‘were’ is the better choice for the reasons Epinephrine states. That usage is understood by apparently nearly no one and ‘was’ has picked up the ‘were’ meaning as well as the past tense meaning. Some foreign nationals who write well in English are still taught these older rules and can be better at it than many native speakers. FWIW, my earliest education was from people like that.

  • cag

    Remember that there is only one thing that you must do to have your sins forgiven. You must sin.

  • RuQu

    I’d like the context on that final image. I’d like to share it around as I think the point is an important one, but I don’t want to do so without knowing the story behind it.

    • Art Vandelay

      RuQu…it’s from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year.

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