Florida Atheists' Xmas ad campaign

After years of hearing the Christian right complain about the nonexistent "War on Christmas," the Florida chapter of American Atheists have decided to finally essay a skirmish. They'll be placing bus-ads in Florida this season advertising the fact that millions of Floridians are atheists and inviting atheists to attend their Ft Lauderdale convention Dec 18-19. I'm assuming that religious fundamentalists will oblige them by going crazy and make a huge stink, which'll ensure that the news of the convention is spread far and wide.

"Every year groups like The Catholic League and American Family Association told Americans about a war on Christmas that simply did not exist," American Atheists Communications Director Blair Scott says in the announcement. "Last year we thought we would give them what they seemed to want and fired the first shot in the war on Christmas. To both groups we say, 'Happy Holidays!'"

Atheist Group's New Florida Billboards About to Piss Off a Whole Bunch of Jesus Fans


        1. Don’t pull an James O’Keefe on Jesus, That is not what that means,

          “” “The verse is severely misunderstood and is taken out of context, because beginning at verse John 10:23 we read (in the context of 10:30) about Jesus talking to the Jews. In verse John 10:28-30, talking about his followers as his sheep, he states: “…Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father who gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” “”

          1. I don’t see how that contradicts Mark’s interpretation.  I can see how the passage might be interpreted differently, but I don’t see prima facie that Mark’s is a bad one.

        2. Let’s not forget The Other Mark 15:34, “And at the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?””  I guess he can be forgiven for not simply muttering to himself, being nailed up to a cross as he was.  But I guess that’s why Unitarians and Mormons argue with Trinitarians.

      1. Oh come now.

        John 14:8-9:

        Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
        Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

        John 8:57-58:

         “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

        “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!

  1. I would expect no less, but please follow up on this, BB.

    While I have no problem with people believing whatever they please, as a former retail wageslave, I cannot stand people who invest themselves in ‘correcting’ people who say ‘Happy Holidays’.

    I imagine much satire and fun shall come out of this prodding, and I will relish it.

  2. I don’t have a problem with atheists, and I hope they enjoy their convention. I do have a problem with atheists who tell me I’m stupid for believing in deities (I’m a Neopagan), and I hope that the group in Florida is polite and reasonable. After all, they wouldn’t want to lower themselves to the level of the zealots who will no doubt picket their convention, deface their ads, and deride them because of their beliefs. Best of luck to all.

    1. I think almost by definition an atheist thinks you’re stupid for believing in deities, whether they are Christian, Hindu, Neo-Pagan, or whatever.  We can be polite, but unfortunately pointing out someone else’s delusions isn’t a very polite thing to do.

      1. I am an atheist and in my experience even highly intelligent people can have delusions, religious or otherwise.

      2. I don’t think you have to think someone is stupid to not agree with them. Well, maybe you do, but I don’t think Hindus or Neo-Pagans are stupid. I just don’t believe the same things they do. There should be a real difference.

        1. Well said. IMO There’s a certain unbearable smugness implied by the word ‘delusions’ when applied to those who think differently, whether the topic of discussion is religion, politics, or mac vs pc.

          1. To be honest OS affiliation arguments get a lot more intense than your average religious discussions. 

          2. Oh, I don’t know.  I was just farting around in Wikipedia following up on the First Council of Ephesus and the whole argument about whether Jesus was man, deity, or both, and I’ll tellya those 5th century Christ conventioneers could put a stadiumful of John Hodgman and Justin Long clones to shame when it comes to doctrinaire wankery that affects the price of tea in China not one teensy little bit.

      3. >pointing out someone else’s delusions 
        This is exactly what sucks about atheists. You assume that you’re the only ones able to see reality clearly and that everyone else is deluded, or ignorant, or whatever. It’s not possible that brilliant people like Antony Flew or CS Lewis or the guy you work with have looked long and hard at things and arrived at a conclusion with as much (or more) reason and effort as you’ve put into thinking about these things. 

        But no. It’s a lot more fun to walk around convinced that you’re the smart/enlightened ones, and everyone else is stupid, and it’s funny to insult the thing that your neighbour holds sacred.  

        1. This is exactly what sucks about atheists. You assume that you’re the only ones able to see reality clearly and that everyone else is deluded, or ignorant, or whatever.

          Aw, come on.  How many theists assume that nonbelievers (or believers in the wrong flavor of religion) are ignorant, deluded, or whatever (which would include heretical, under the influence of Satan, unwashed, unenlightened, pagan, misled, or just plain evil)?  Why do missionaries exist?  To bring the Good News to the deluded and ignorant, right?

          There are those who would say that this is exactly what sucks about theists.  In any event, it is not my experience that the minds with the greatest tolerance of opposing or differing points of view are commonly found among the faithful.  Kinda works at cross purposes to most sects, I’d say.

    1. Clap, clap, clap, how clever you are.

      Dump English and switch to a smarter language, were there are words like “vacanze,” “vacances” and “vacaciones,” from the Latin verb “vacare”, that is “to be free from appointments,” or “feste,” “fêtes” and “fiestas”, from “dies festa”, “happy day.”

      1. You mean like “vacation” or “festival”? I’ll keep the nuance that separates those words from “holiday”, thanks.

    2. Holly Day was the day in times gone past when people brought in holly in order to feast and make the spirits within the evergreen pleased with them. At other times it is considered by some to be unlucky to bring evergreens inside. Holly Day is 21st December the Winter Solstice and much much older than Christmas.
      I don’t see why people have to be confrontational about their religious or anti-religious views. They are acting the same, i.e. trying to impose their philosophy onto others.

      1. Holly Day was the day in times gone past when people brought in holly in order to feast and make the spirits within the evergreen pleased with them.

        No doubt it was Eregion’s national holiday.

    1. I’m with you. Anywhere that Christmas is the statutory holiday you receive days off around, saying Merry Christmas can’t be incorrect. I’d only consider saying something else in cases where I am *sure* of what other winter-solstice-timed holiday they celebrate (in which case I’d use that, not “Happy Holidays”).

    2. He’s right there in the name, bra. However, I, as an atheist, only say “Merry Christmas,” so I agree.

  3. I’m an atheist myself, but Christmas is my favorite time of year. I do not condone a war on it. I don’t understand why atheists don’t embrace Santa Claus as a dry run for questioning blind faith in something that doesn’t exist. I’m always saying “Happy Holidays” because I live in a very Jewish community. And it is a series of holidays in December, not just the one.

    Also, wouldn’t it be more of shot on religion if atheists congregated Dec 24th-25th instead of the 18th-19th?

    Meh. Just sounds like a lot of disenfranchised god-lovers need somewhere to focus their misguided desire for forcing other people to believe or not believe in one doctrine.

  4. I don’t know what, exactly, is the “war on christmas,” but I would guess it has something to do with the fact that most people’s idea of christmas has nothing to do with jesus, and everything to do with an insane appetite for stuff and stuff and more stuff. If you’re a christian, I can understand how insulting / frustrating / annoying America’s version of christmas is.

    On the other hand, most christians I know also have little to do with jesus’ philosophy of compassion, living humbly, giving everything away to the poor, and loving the dregs of humanity. So, why they focus on christmas and ignore the other 364 days in a given year is a question they might want to ponder.

  5. As a practicing Catholic, I really wish the “War on Christmas” whiners would shut up. Nothing would benefit our observance of a religious holiday more than for the mainstream culture to stop co-opting it. Get Christmas out of the public square and out of the market I say.

  6. I like use a variety of phrases around the end of the year, including but not limited to “Hi there!”, “How are you?”, “Take care!”, or “See you later!” as the situation dictates.  The advantages are that they work for people of all faiths, and  they work all year.

  7. Man, they’re giving us atheists a bad name…with that ugly design. Really, bright orange with stock art and red x’s? Let’s look a little classier, please.

  8. Once again I come upon the argument that since christmas has become so secularised it no longer has anything to do with religion. While I’m sure that most of us are aware that christianity stole its entire religion wholesale from whatever came before it, and so this holiday can be considered to be neopagan or whatever, I’ll believe it’s not a christian holiday when I’m no longer wished a merry ‘christ mass’, thank you very much.

    I personally believe that an actual war on religion would be a good thing, albeit messy. I’ve always had my doubts about the survival of the human species as long as religion holds sway.

  9. I think there are first-generation atheists, who personally broke free of some religion, and second+ generation atheists who weren’t raised with a relationship with any organized religion.  First generation atheists tend to bear scars resulting from the trauma of breaking with a central tradition of their culture.  Second generation atheists just find religions weird, and are a little annoyed that something so obviously contrived is given such primacy in our culture.  

    This movement seems the act of first generation atheists.  This isn’t about starting a dialog, it’s about starting a fight.

    I agree with Richard Dawkins that it is ridiculous to treat anything as sacred, but realpolitik is that some people adhere to notions of the sacred, and they are least likely to think critically about that when threatened.  And telling someone that their beliefs are wrong is threatening.   Especially when you time it so that you insult something they consider sacred.

    What’s more, this is just more fuel for the persecution complex of christians, who like to imagine that they are a persecuted minority, despite the fact that they comprise a significant majority of the american population and control almost all political offices.  All that behavior that christians do that drive you crazy?  This will fuel it.

    To first generation atheists organizing this event, I say: thanks for standing up for atheism, but grow up, and try to approach the debate like an adult.

    1. I could not disagree more. I think it is important that religion is not treated as a special case and that calling the ridiculous sacred is no defence against debate. I dont see anything infantile about that strategy.

      Also you know nothing about the atheists who organised that ad campaign. The first generation / second generation pigeon holing is baseless.

      At the same time I find the ad to be ugly and interesting only because of its target. Its a shame they did not put something a little sharper together.

    2. I disagree completely.  The whole point of atheists speaking out is that religion is privileged in our society.  Putting on the kid gloves — especially because this time of year is “sacred” to them (see the quiz in my early post to see what’s ridiculous about this) — is exactly what atheists CAN’T do.  That’s exactly the point of the persecution complex, to stifle dissent and honest debate.

      It’s exactly when Christians try to say they’re a persecuted minority that atheists should point out all the more clearly that they are a privileged majority.  If Christians are hiding behind some excuse that they are somehow “persecuted” for their beliefs in our society then they’re the ones that need to grow up and approach the debate like adults.

      Plenty of them do, BTW.  I’m criticizing allen’s attitude, not theism here.

      1. What debate are you guys talking about? Religions (at least some) get all kinds of benefits in our society. That shouldn’t be surprising, since an overwhelming majority of Americans follow (at least nominally) one of these religions. Christians are certainly not a persecuted minority. 

        What’s the debate though? Theism versus atheism? Why? This is not a purely factual issue. I believe what I believe based on my upbringing, my personal experiences, etc. etc. I assume you believe what you believe based on a similar mix of inputs. Where’s the debate? Unless you want to debate whether churches, for instance, should be tax exempt, that’s fine, but what debate are you talking about?

        1. A coworker once said to me, “I think all morality comes from God.”  That’s easily as offensive as me saying to that person, “I don’t think religious people can be moral,” which I didn’t and wouldn’t say because it’s ludicrous.  My coworker didn’t realize he’d be offending me, of course, but that’s exactly the problem: Christianity is the default and everything else is “weird.”

          The debate to me is partially about secularism (i.e. no laws based on religious morality, no religious tests of office) and partially about the unexamined privilege that lets Christians mindlessly say what would be wildly offensive to them if it were turned around 180 degrees.

          If you’re asking whether I have a problem with you or anyone else believing in God then as long as your beliefs don’t dictate disenfranchising women or minorities, limiting reproductive rights, or institutionalizing religious observance in the public sphere, etc. then no, probably not.

          It also irritates me when theists or institutional religions make claims to knowledge for which they have no warrant but that’s a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish.

        2. For me it is a purely factual issue. I would have plenty of respect for religion were it not obvious nonsense.

          I also find the degree of influence various religions have on society to be concerning enough to object to. Tax exemptions and the like are mere details of this influence.

          Both points generate enough disagreement amongst the religious that I think the word debate is justified.

          1. Yes. You just don’t understand what a debate is. You are as firm in your faith as the Pope, you just believe different things. There is no “debate” between two people like that because there is no chance the discussion will lead to a clearer understanding of the topic, or a synthesized answer that advances understanding.

          2. Or maybe DeargDoom doesn’t have “faith” just like the pope, maybe he has actual reasons for what he believes.  Here’s another part of the problem: Christians seem to assume that because atheists have come up with a system of beliefs that contradicts yours that it must be every bit as faith-based.  No matter how many times I’ve explained “My disbelief in God is a derived result, not an axiom”, Christians continue to insist that my disbelief is an assumption.  It seems to be a real problem for Christians to admit that a reasonable person could end up believing something other than Christianity.

          3. Ah yes. The assumptions are running rampant. See, I neither know nor care how DeargDoom came to the beliefs DeargDoom holds. I do know that if you already *know* that my beliefs are “wrong” there is no debate. That may be fine with you. I already *know* that racism is wrong. There’s no debate. However, you cannot prove factually that you are right any more than I can prove factually that I am right. It just doesn’t work that way. So, believe what you want. That’s fine. Get there however you want. That’s fine. And I will not tell you you are stupid and going to hell, and you will not tell me I am a naive moron. 

            I understand that plenty of religious people don’t play by those rules, but you should know that they irritate the rest of us too. Do you know how many times I’ve responded to “are you a Christian” with “no, I’m Catholic”? Every time.

          4. I do know that if you already *know* that my beliefs are “wrong” there is no debate.

            That’s not true.  I’ve “known” plenty of things throughout my life that turned out to be false and I learned through other people explaining why what I “knew” was wrong. 

            I already *know* that racism is wrong. There’s no debate.

            Actually, there is.  There’s a body of research whose proponents maintain that there’s a racial IQ hierarchy with African blacks at the bottom.  I argue against such people all the time pointing out the problems with IQ as a measure of intelligence and reasons why the IQ data don’t support the racist arguments.  Why don’t I just use a moral argument?  Because while you can make a moral argument for why an individual with IQ 75 could be treated with respect and dignity there’s no moral argument for employing such a person as an aeronautics engineer.  So I argue the fact-based case because facts matter even when it comes to morals, human dignity, and all the other stuff that religion likes to claim as its own little fiefdom.

            However, you cannot prove factually that you are right any more than I can prove factually that I am right. It just doesn’t work that way. So, believe what you want. That’s fine. Get there however you want. That’s fine. And I will not tell you you are stupid and going to hell, and you will not tell me I am a naive moron.

            Again, from my perspective, I’m completely willing to entertain the possibility of God’s existence and simply find the case for it wanting.  From my perspective, it’s been demonstrated factually that there is no God and that’s why I don’t believe it.  I could give you examples of things that would convince me that God exists so it’s not true that you couldn’t prove me wrong.  It does work that way.  To me, this is a question of how the universe works, not about how I feel in my heart of hearts.

            But I certainly won’t tell you you’re a naive moron.  I’m certain you have good reasons for believing as you do and I have no problems with you believing it.  In another venue, I might even be sincerely curious about your beliefs and reasons for holding them (without being obnoxiously contrarian, hopefully).

          5. This is a discussion that could go on and on. I think we’ve fleshed out some of mutual points of contention. That is as well as I ever expect discussions on the internet to go. 

            One good thing that we get from religion is “do to others as you would have them do to you.” Regardless of belief system, I am always willing to talk to people who try to follow this rule.

          6. Agreed on all counts (except that we get “do unto others” from religion, the earliest records of such a sentiment do not seem to arise in religious contexts; even so, those would be non-institutional “primitive” pagan religions, not really comparable to Christianity or Judiasm as we know it).  Always nice to have one of these that doesn’t turn into a flame war.  =D  And I’m sure it’s good for both of us to be exposed to dissenting points of view.

          7. I am using the dictionary definition of debate, not your own internal definition. The only reason myself and the Pope are not debating is because we have never had a discussion. Were we to have one I can assure you it would end in debate despite the fact that I consider it unlikely that either one of us would change his position.

            My beliefs can be changed when presented with reasonable evidence however. If pressed I can even offer suggestions of evidence which I would consider reasonable. I imagine that is one difference between the nature of the Popes beliefs and my own.

      2. I’m sorry you disagree, Daniel- I think we have a whole lot in common,  at least in viewpoints on the legitimacy of christianity and christmas.

        I assume that the attitude you are criticizing is that of RealPolitik, and accepting that christians believe as they do, regardless of whether or not it makes any sense, and trying to interact with them from that position.  I don’t know what to say to that except that that seems to be the most practical approach, and that atheism is supposed to be about dealing with things as they really are.Maybe I am missing the point of these ads, and why they are essential at christmastime.  They seem to be about converting christians from their belief system (at least, I don’t see any mohommads or buddhas or vishnus in the signs).  It could be that they are actually aimed at calling attention to christian privilege, and just fail spectacularly to do it well.  I’d rather see ad money spent at election time, or any time of the year when christians would be more open to hearing it, but that’s me.

        1. I cannot say who the Florida Atheists were aiming this ad at but I would not be so sure it was aimed at dyed in the wool Christians.

          I used to be of the same opinion as yourself but was persuaded that assertively opposing any religious cultural dominance in a society made it easier for others to be openly atheist and lessened the influence of religion on that society. I was persuaded of this by actions similar to this campaign.

          The campaign may ultimately have no effect or even have the opposite effect than planned but if it succeeds in similarly changing the behaviour of people who already identify as atheists or agnostics then I would not see it as a failure even if no god fearing man or woman turned their back on Jesus or Poseidon as a result of it.

          1. I actually agree that opposing religious cultural dominance is a great idea, and think that pro-atheist campaigning makes a lot of sense.  I just don’t think that attacking christians at christmas will have the ideal ROI.  The atheist bus campaign was great, for instance.

            I definitely am not ok with the fact that being an atheist would prevent me from attaining political office.  I cringe whenever someone asserts that religion is necessary for for moral behavior.  I don’t let people get away with using religion as an appeal to authority in a debate.
            So yeah, raising awareness about secular humanism, and looking for ways to correct the prejudice atheists face are part of what I would call a mature dialog.  This ad campaign doesn’t seem to be.

          2. I definitely am not ok with the fact that being an atheist would prevent me from attaining political office.

            To the forum: Allen is not just referring to the fact that atheists are unpopular candidates. Atheists are literally banned from office in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2009/12/15/which-states-ban-atheists-from-holding-public-office/

            The Texas law is particularly cute:

            No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

            That’s right big of ’em.

          3. If I were running for office in Texas, I’d have no problem acknowledging the existence of a supreme being.  Of course, I wouldn’t tell them that it is, in fact, Judi Dench.

    3. “Second generation atheists just find religions weird, and are a little annoyed that something so obviously contrived is given such primacy in our culture.”

      That sounds pretty good to me (a 2nd generation atheist).  I have no problem with Christmas (ok…the constant Christmas songs in the stores gets a little annoying).  I’ve definitely never waged war against it.  I think acts like this are a bit dumb.  For the most part, I just think religious people are a little weird.  It’s more like, “Really? You believe that?”  I don’t get in people’s faces though.  It’s more just a thought in my head that I shrug off.

      Once I was out to dinner with a large group of people, some whom I knew, others I didn’t.  One guy who I didn’t know started talking about how he always wears a butt plug and was wearing one at that moment.  My reaction was sort of like how it  is with religion.  I thought, “OK, that’s a bit odd, I don’t understand why you do that, but whatever floats your boat.  But seriously, I’m just trying to eat dinner, can you not push this issue in my face right now?”

      The only time I really am bothered by religion is when it infects politics and law regarding issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, etc.  I don’t think the over-the-top Christmas stuff in the US really adds to that though.  I don’t think there’s a correlation between how big the Christmas tree is at my local mall and the probability that same-sex marriage will be banned in my state.  Out of all the things Christians do that bother me, Christmas is very low on the list.  For the most part, it’s pretty benign.

      Well, when I see the “putting the Christ back in Christmas” bumper stickers I do get a bit weirded out, but mainly because that seems like a call to make Christmas less benign.  But, for the most part, as an atheist, I don’t mind it.  Heck, I enjoy driving around neighborhoods all covered with lights.  It looks pretty!  I’ve even gone to a church once or twice to hear the choir sing.  Silent Night is a pretty song and I enjoy hearing it sung well in a big room with neat acoustics. Nor do I mind the social pressure to buy gifts for people I love (at least on religious grounds…the anti-consumerist part of me has some issues with it, but that’s more due to capitalism than Christianity).  The people I love are good people and I’m happy to give them something.  As long as no one tries to force me to do communion or accept Jesus as my savior when we exchange presents, I really don’t mind the vague links to religion this mostly secular holiday has.

      As an atheist, there are indeed aspects of Christianity, especially fundamentalist Christianity that trouble and worry me, but poking fun at Christmas seems like a misguided way to confront such issues.

  10. As I understand it, the overblown “War on Christmas” stuff has its roots in stuff like what happened in my college town back in my time there:

    The town put up (generic, non-religious) Christmas decorations every year, but one year an atheist made a big complaint about the town putting up “religious decorations” in public areas that sparked a controversy “They must be offensive to Jews and non-christians!”  “We need to have decorations for all the religions!”  “But that will still offend the atheists!”, and the town just stopped doing them after that.

    Radio loudmouths get  ahold of  a few stories like that, and a “War on Christmas” is born.

      1. I was using that term to distinguish the use of santa and candy cane decorations from, say, overtly religious decorations like crosses and creches. 

        Yes, Christmas is at it heart a religious holiday, so you can simplisticly say any Christmas decoration is “religious”, but I’m not aware of any religions that incorporate strings of colored lights, christmas trees, candy canes and santas into their religious ceremonies or iconography.  As I see it, Christmas has been greatly secularized as a holiday to the point where that stuff has been mostly drained of religious meaning, particularly for the people who are actually practicing those religions.   From the outside it looks different perhaps, but I doubt most christians you ask would agree that santa is a religious symbol for them.

  11. Wait a minute, just. . .hold on.  I can generally appreciate the points that many (non-rabid) atheists make; but this goes too far!

    You cant just X out the face of the Big Guy like that?!!  That’s Poseidon!  God of the Seas!  Lord of the Depths of the Watery Abyss (and certain coastal wetlands and deltas)…How DARE you?

    Pretty snarky and bold for a people that live on a freaking PENINSULA!!!  Sure, keep it up.  Go ahead.

    I’m about to go sacrifice a white rooster Right Now.  Better Recognize and pay some homage.

    Otherwise, see you in Hades.

  12. There are better ways to show that Atheists exist versus “your sacred views are wrong wrong WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!”

    I mean, and correct me if I’m wrong, but if Atheists are supposed to be the “Adults” in the equation and feel that Religious folk are wrong for acting “your views are wrong and you are going to burn in hell”, how is acting in a similar the better way?

    Basically, I’ve always had a problem with hypocrisy and the idea that “it’s OK only when WE do it”.

    1. How is “2 million Floridians don’t believe in Gods” in any way saying “your sacred views are wrong wrong WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!”

      I’m really, really tired of being told that I can’t say that I’m an atheist without being told I’m being offensive in some way.  Oh, dear!  I said something that doesn’t match up with one of the most privileged groups in the world!  I am a horrible, horrible person.  Please.

      Just because “persecuted” (lulz) Christians feel that being told, “I don’t believe in god or gods”or “there are millions of people who don’t believe in god or gods! Let’s have a convention!” is offensive or somehow oppressing the most privileged group in the world doesn’t mean it’s true.

      1. ChicagoD,  marilove also has a great point.  It offends some theists to merely tell them that you are an atheist.  I understand that a lot of atheists give theists a lot of grief about believing in “sky fairies” and “stories written by bronze age goatherders” (completely inaccurate, the ancient Hebrews were iron age cow herders).  But this turns into a nice little chicken-and-egg problem because it’s very similar to the sort of grief atheists have been getting from Christians.

        1. If a christian is sturdy in their faith, it shouldn’t offend them when someone says they are an atheist.  Or if someone says, “I don’t think god exists.”  But it does.  All the time.  Not all christians are offended by this, of course, but a good chunk are.

          ESPECIALLY groups like  The Catholic League and American Family Association.  They are most assuredly offended by someone just saying they are an atheist.  If you know anything about these groups, you would know that they want to abolish ANY mention of atheism, or anything that mentions that gods do not exist, or that people can live happy, moral lives without religion or god.

          This is exactly what these groups spend millions of of money on every year.  They are offended that atheists dare to exist, let alone speak publicly about their atheism.

          So what’s the big deal with an atheist group poking the bear a bit?  These fundamentalist christian groups are going to be offended either way, no matter how polite the atheists are or aren’t.  These groups will NOT be happy until atheists shut up, period.To think otherwise is to be blind about why these groups exist at all.

          1. Yes. If the Catholic League (the group I am familiar with) actually believed in the Church they would not be so easily offended and touchy. The days of anti-Catholic discrimination being an issue of civil rights is generally long past. This, the Catholic League’s usefulness is long past.

  13. If they were serious about a War on Xmas, they should have started it on September 1st, when the decorations started going up.

  14. A few weeks following this “neo-atheism” reveals it for what it is:  a carefully contrived and cleverly arranged set of insults designed to make overweight southern Christian housewives run down the hall in tears.  Factually speaking, it is a vanishingly small political movement overwhelmingly comprised of  young men who oppose fundamentalist Christianity’s relationship to the Government and little else.

    When the discussion turns to questions like the nature of the human heart, man’s relationship to the universe, evaluating the Bible’s allegory and parables, the fact that given the atheist model of the universe, we are being lectured on the nature of reality by a random collection of electricity-generating chemicals, etc. things fold up rather quickly.

    Discussion and debate are rare, because atheists largely dismiss outright anyone who claims to be rational and happens to believe there are things in and out of this universe that cannot be measured by science.   They dismiss anyone who respects the role of love in the redemption of hurting people while simultaneously having great respect for scientific thought and the scientists who practice it.   In other words, they have little to say to someone who actually follows the Teacher’s instructions:  people who believe there are some things we don’t know and who believe that most among us are investing great effort to avoid learning.

    Launching an anti-Christmas advertising campaign is nothing more than preparing a bag of dogshit and looking for a cigarette lighter before running off into the night with a bunch of snort-laughing accomplices to find some elderly neighbor’s porch.  It serves no practical purpose other than to insult easily offended people and it certainly brings no repute to the renowned logic of our atheist colleagues.

    1. I don’t worship science in lieu of a deity.  Science comes from human beings, and human beings are flawed and influenced by both good and bad aspects of whatever culture they’ve emerged from.  Which is true of all of us, actually.  One can respect science while not expecting it to answer every question in the universe.

      Your comments also puzzle me because last time I checked, plenty of people consider their belief in Science reconcilable with their religious faith.  That’s not a problem for me.  Is it for you?

      As an Atheist, I do not believe that Science will ever succeed in answering every question we might propose about how the universe works.  At the very least, it’s likely to produce a number of answers that contradict one another. Likely they’ll be disputed by the various people who offered them.  I do think Science has –for me– answered more questions in a more effective and satisfactory manner than gods ever did, when I still believed.

      I also don’t think there’s anything wrong in wishing to love your enemies or in hoping for their redemption.   But love is not the answer to every mystery or wrong in the universe.  Redemption isn’t always possible.  It also may not make sense as a primary goal in many situations.  In addition, I prefer to look to human beings for love and redemption, because time and experience has proved to me that humans are here.  Humans are not an abstraction.  After giving it years of careful and determined thought, I arrived at the opinion that gods are indeed abstractions.  Turning to them for love and redemption is, for that reason, pointless to me.

      In short: this Atheist thinks you should reconsider before making these kinds of sweeping generalizations.  We aren’t all cut from the same cloth, however easier that would make it for you to dismiss us as being prisoners of “renowned logic,” whatever that means.

  15. Usually, “God” means Jehovah of the Israelites, Lord of Heaven and Hell, judge of all mankind, source of natural disasters, influencer of wars and baseball games, and staunch opponent of gays and science. But when you argue that he doesn’t exist, he turns into a benevolent creative force that no one can truly understand and who can never be disproved.

    So by all means, let’s not stand in the way of those who argue he doesn’t exist!

  16. Is there no one else who realizes that this is essentially an ad campaign. The purpose is to get a lot of attention and thereby raise the profile of their convention. It’s essentially trolling for attention. And it seems to have worked.

  17. I love Saturnalia – in all of its forms – as much as the next guy. However, this ” I am OFFENDED” bullshit is ridiculous from both sides. You have no right to not be offended, so suck it the fuck up.

    Christ: what an asshole.

    I should feel bad about these boards being juvenile, but because I am an atheist and therefore “have no ethics or morals” I am only  going to be amused.

  18. I never really got the point of an atheist convention in the first place. It’s kind of like having a club for people who don’t like Jazz music: Sure you’ll end up meeting lots of folks who share your lack of enthusiasm for the subject, but if that’s all that you have in common you’ll just end up spending the whole time bitching about Miles Davis.

    1. I never really got the point of an atheist convention in the first place. It’s kind of like having a club for people who don’t like Jazz music

      More aptly, it’s like a political group for people who aren’t white. There is a reason for it, but it doesn’t mean the members will have much in common.

    2. [laughs into the first beer of the evening]

      As a jazz fan and Atheist, I can only dream of a world where jazz is half as ubiquitous in day to day life as Christianity is.  Or I can (metaphorically) pray to yourself and Mr. Davis that this vision might become a reality.

    3. That’s not a good comparison. An atheist convention would only be comparable to “a club of people who don’t like Jazz” if both groups were historically persecuted by the majority.

  19. So basically a bunch of fundamentalists upset a bunch of fundamentalists. I really hope they cancel each other out and create a nice block of well rounded citizens. 

  20. when I see the “putting the Christ back in Christmas” bumper stickers I do get a bit weirded out,

    Bahh. Planetary axial tilt – the *real* reason for the season.

    It’s kind of like having a club for people who don’t like Jazz music

    Bahh again. It’s more a case of a club for people that would like to see facts and reason get a higher ranking than ancient, poorly thought out, no longer relevant and frequently quite nauseating  fairy tales.

    1. “Not believing in gods” is not synonymous with “promoting facts and reason.” See Bill Maher’s support of all that anti-vaccination nonsense for example.

      Joining an organization to meet fellow science enthusiasts makes sense to me, but hanging out with people based on one shared non-belief sounds far less interesting.

      1. “Not believing in gods” is not synonymous with “promoting facts and reason.”

        Not completely  synonymous, no; but I don’t think  I claimed that. If you actually like to understand the world through facts and reason you’re not going to believe in painfully foolish religions. But certainly there are people that are technically atheist and yet happy to believe in ridiculous other pseudo-religious paradigms. So what? Humans are complex, contradictory, changeable, illogical animals.

        hanging out with people based on one shared non-belief sounds far less interesting

        Seems that you haven’t heard of, for example, golf clubs, based on the non-belief of the obvious fact that golf is a good walk spoiled. There are plenty of single-interest associations.

        1. There are plenty of single-interest associations.

          But very few “lack-of-interest” associations. People don’t play golf together because they have no interest in something else, they play golf (or go to church, or discuss books, or promote a political cause) together because they share a common belief system, interest or goal.

          If you like the idea of hanging out with fellow non-believers and discussing all the deities and superstitions you don’t believe in then more power to you. I personally just never understood the appeal.

          1. Atheism can be defined as a lack of belief but that doesnt imply a lack of interest. I imagine there are no clubs which are actually lack of interest associations and that atheist associations are populated by people who lack belief but have considerable interest.

          2. Seriosuly?  OWS is one giant “lack-of-interest” association.  Not interested in 1% of people owning 40% while another 40% own less than 1%

            further, and to get back on track. I’ve always considered Lutherans to be Catholics no longer interested in the Pope.

          3. I dont think lack of interest means what you think it means. If the OWS movement had a lack of interest in 1% of people owning 40% of the wealth then that would imply that they would be indifferent to this fact. By their actions this is clearly not the case.

          4. In general, atheist organisations are not about hanging out — they are about organising around a set of societal and governmental problems that affect most/all of the members, and working together to effect a change towards solving those problems.

            Many atheists I talk with in atheist networking groups agree on certain things, regarding liberties to be atheists, equal access to government, and the freedom from fear of being burned alive by religious zealots. And not feeling guilty for wanting these things.

            Aside from that commonality, a full half of them are grade-A assholes (and not the funny kind of asshole either).
             Then you have the Islamophobes, the racists-disguised-as-Islamophobes, the sanctimonious young urban professionals who started a philosophy club but don’t understand ad hominem is a fallacy, the one guy who is “atheist” but wants desperately to discuss the theological underpinnings of the doctrine of the Trinity,  the angry teenage males, the in-group of teenagers who found a ‘cool’ social niche and are sniggering at everyone else, the angsty aging goths, the unreasoning zealot libertarians and Galt-worshippers, and the self-hating government-employed attorneys. Oh, and the myriad of people with personality disorders that have them derive self-purpose and life-meaning from playing the role of victimised minority, or victimiser.

            I don’t want to hang out with any of these people, because their attitudes all suck. The atheists I like to hang out with generally spend their time being human beings, and we hang out because we’re being human beings, not because we’re atheists.

            Atheist organisations aren’t, generally speaking, social opportunities. They are political tools. This is not to say that there aren’t a great many awesome people in atheist organisations, and that it is impossible to make social connexions while participating in them.

  21. It’s not that atheists are offended by “Merry Christmas,” so much as certain Christians lose their shit when they hear “Happy Holidays.” They called out the Catholic League and the AFA by name, and those are two organizations that inexplicably want Jesus “A camel can pass through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man can get into heaven” Christ to be included in soulless corporate ad copy.

  22. Anyone see the irony in practising atheism like a fundamentalist? Trying to forcibly cram your ideas/messages down someone’s throat? Sound familiar?

    I grew up in a non-religious house, but I don’t completely identify with atheism nor have I chosen an absolutely theistic route; my interpretation is that it’s an active belief that there is no god and afterlife, which is probably true, but I feel it unwittingly denies the poetic symbolism and metaphor of religion (which is what most religious people might not be aware of too?) which is merely representative of that which is not (and can not?) be understood through conventional logic.

    I figure the point of this commercial atheism is to lessen the power and abuse religion can have over societal structures to relieve the difficulties living within them, but I feel it will end up creating as fierce and dangerous mentality as that of the extreme theistic side. Through this process, a user’s attachment to a ‘brand’ (which is really what it is — maybe this article is somewhat related to what I mean: http://www.journals.marketingpower.com/doi/abs/10.1509/jmkg.75.4.35) and their relation to it can fortify the disdain for the other and does nothing for encouraging positive change when it’s being antagonistic in approach.

    My personal approach to changing opinion would be more subversive and subtle: if people can’t have some obvious ‘martyr’ to rally for or against, then perhaps it would lessen the majority of knee-jerk reactionaries whose opinion is formed primarily from a rejection of someone else’s, and also of those following such opinionated ralliers.

    Basically, I don’t see the purpose of fighting fire with fire when it just results in maintaining more fire.

  23. The funny thing about this kind of thing is that they are still defining themselves in terms of God. I wonder whether they have anything else in common?

  24. Which ones are myth?  Neptune and Santa Claus.  Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers so they can’t see the truth. He came to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus, the Son of God, came to bring life by dying for our sins, being buried, rising from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, and then ascending into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  I want to thank the American Atheists for making Jesus the topic of discussion this holiday season.  The Apostel Paul said, “But what does it matter?  The important thing is that, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this I rejoice.”  And Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.”  Thanks for putting Him up on your billboard.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

  25. Giving Christians what they want is really not why I am an atheist.  Crap like this is why I think the atheists who try to organize as the anti religion are every bit as annoying as the Christians who go bat quano crazy over X-mas.   Really, pick your battles more wisely-there are more than enough of them.

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