Stay Classy.

Normally I reserve Sundays for little throwaway comics or jokes just as a way to get a day off from blogging, but with the Easter holiday today and something relevant to post, I figured I would make something of an exception … even if I still don’t end up writing much.

Last Easter, the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason (DFWCOR) started a new ad campaign highlighting atheist families in the area to show that people can be good without God and religion.  Naturally, some people took offense to this, but in the spectrum of tactics groups like this use to reach out to the general public, I think this is one of the better ones.  The “we’re your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.” approach has always appealed to me far more than the much more confrontational “what you believe is fake” stuff coming from American Atheists.  Non-believers already have a bad image in the public eye.  If we’re ever going to make any progress in dispelling that, we first need to be viewed as people, not the heathen, God-hating anarchists some churches would have their flocks believe. – especially in places like Texas.

Well.  This year, Zach Moore of the DFWCOR took a different approach, to last year’s attempt at public engagement and sent the following card to all of the local pastors:

Thanks for making things worse, Zach.

Moore offers his assurances that his wishes are genuine, pointing out how the death of Jesus is an instrumental element of the Christian faith.

I get the feeling that most people, however, just see this as more evidence that atheists are pretty much exactly what they’re told about in church:  spiteful, mocking, and filled with a sense of superiority because of their own moral and intellectual certainty.  Yes, people have been celebrating the death and rebirth of their gods for thousands of years; however, I think most people – myself included – find it extremely difficult to believe that the intent of this card was to do anything other than engage – as the author of the article linked above so creatively put it – in some “pastel colored trolling”.

The explanation he provided for the card (“we’re celebrating with you!”) is a convenient, yet feeble, cover for an opportunistic jab at Christian pastors during one of the more important holidays, for a purpose that is completely lost on me.  It’s not intended to gain converts.  It’s not going to provide any additional useful information about the position of the non-believer or the kind of attitudes we really have about God, Christians, and religion as a whole.  There’s nothing to gain except bragging rights … so what?

So to all my readers, happy Easter.  Whether that means celebrating a religious holiday and going to church, having a party to ring in the start of Spring, enjoying a long weekend and making a huge dinner followed by a dessert consisting of nothing but jellybeans, or just playing Skyrim because it’s an ordinary Sunday … I hope all is well.

Back to the normal insanity tomorrow.

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6 Responses to Stay Classy.

  1. Dan Adler says:

    Oh yeah. You’re right on target: this card is NOT meant to share anything. It’s meant not to engage, but to enrage. And you’re right: this is the kind of atheist who gives all the others a bad name. Sadly, I have at least one of this type (not “live and let live” but “you’re wrong and you WILL Listen as I tell you why in great detail”) on my facebook, but what can you do?

    • Anyone I know? The people I talk to are usually the “live and let live” type, with the exception of the one guy we exchanged emails about. Unfortunately the most vocal people who get the media attention these days are the likes of David Silverman – from whom I got the images for the “Christianity is a myth” billboard a while ago. Philosophically I think a lot of us can agree with what he’s saying, but it’s just not the right message to convey to the public. Yet another step backward, in my opinion.

      • Dan Adler says:

        I don’t believe you’ve ever encountered the person I have in mind (I know you’ve not met offline). I think maybe he’s a regular reader of yours though.

        And as regards Mr Silverman, you’re quite correct. We really need everyone, theists and non alike, to adopt a live and let live approach. Polytheists tend to be in that mold. So do Hindus, Shintoists and Jews (to a point). Many Muslims too (despite the crazies who give their whole religion a bad name), and even many Christians (again, despite the crazies).

        • I agree. I’ll bitch and moan about (mostly) Christianity and its influence in this country, but I also try to make a point to say that they’re a minority. They constitute a *powerful* minority that has the ear of some of our lawmakers, but they’re far different from what I (endearingly) call the “couch potato Christians” who were born into their religion, go to church from time to time, and believe that Jesus is a good example of the kind of person we should emulate in our lives.

          I learned the other day that Sikhism is probably one of the most tolerant of all religions. Apparently one of their doctrines is to specifically avoid forcing their religion on other people. Now if only there were a way they could convince people of other religions to do that without violating their own rules … 🙂

          • Dan Adler says:

            we used to (when I was a Catholic) refer to “couch potato Christians” as either “A&P Christians” (they go for the ashes and palms) or “Pathmark Christians” (they go for the specials).

            In Hellenismos, we have very few rules, and no doctrine (as such). But the one VERY strong rule we have (so much that it has the effect of law, which is impressive for a religion which doesn’t really have a concept of “sin” as the monotheists understand it) is that you do NOT push your faith on another. Sure, talk about it, answer such questions as you can, but beyond that, leave it alone. Polytheists view Jesus/Yahweh/Allah as just another group of gods in a universe that probably has too many anyway 🙂

  2. dam says:

    Hey Senator Jason. I agree with you 110% that, while we might agree with the message, it’s a totally wrong approach. I, too, think it hurts our cause. Thanks for sharing this.

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