I’ve weighed in on “new atheism” before and now I will again…in a meandering sort of way. I just read this article from NPR courtesy of a Twitter person that I can’t quite remember now (sorry) about the “Bitter Rift” dividing atheists. There’s a rift? I suppose there is.
When I talked about this last, I mentioned how simply stating that atheists exist or some motto that is not directly insulting to religion isn’t the same as being rude and offensive. But some atheists are rude and offensive otherwise – they call religious people morons and idiots, they say religion is the most evil thing in the world, etc. I have been known to indulge in this myself before I calmed down a little (not to say I’m not still angry at some of the more disgusting things I have seen, but my anger has matured somewhat into a less belligerent rage).
Get to the point, Kimbo. Ok I guess this is where I stand: I was angry. Welcome to 15 years later. I’m still angry at a lot of the ridiculous nonsense I hear, but ultimately I want to be part of something good. I want to be part of something positive that I can have pride in. And I still don’t want to have to hide who I am. Anger is frigging exhausting.
This is where things like Blasphemy Day start to interfere. I think people are not getting it on two levels: 1) They don’t get the point of it and 2) they take it way too far. My interpretation of Blasphemy Day (and correct me if I’m wrong) is that the point is to illustrate that nothing is a taboo topic. It’s an exercise in free speech, in that religion is not a sacred subject and we can say what we want about it. Some have taken that to mean that it’s our opportunity to be complete utter assholes to religious people and insult them personally.
(Aside: I was relatively amused, though, by the hijacking of the relatively insulting motto “No god, no good. Know god, know good.” on Twitter last month.)
And this most recent billboard by the FFRF is too much.
No secular or atheist group should be promoting the phrase “there is no god”. The original UK atheist ads at least had the decency to stick a “probably” in there. The “there is no god” stance is indefensible as an alternative to religion. This ad is especially bizarre with an accompanying picture of Santa and considering its release during the Christmas season. I won’t even bother to point out the grammatical error…
Thanks, FFRF, for making us all look like pricks. I mean, I get the whole annoyance with Christmas, I do. I’ve posted about it before. It’s 2 months of being reminded that I’m not Christian set to obnoxious music (which, where I live, is played on the radio stations 24/7 which necessarily also subjects me to various otherwise tolerable Christmas songs ruined for life by the latest pop or “punk” remix). But I think they are separate issues, so I can’t really explain the Christmas imagery on this sign other than they were purposely trying to be provocative.
Ok sure, fair enough. There’s absolutely no reason why I, as an atheist, should have to respect and observe a holiday that’s not mine if I don’t want to. But I don’t think an obnoxious Christmas ad is the best approach here. I much prefer this ad, for example:
It has a general positive message. It acknowledges atheism in its own right rather than needlessly comparing it to the Christian normative and thereby pissing off the very people we should be trying to make accept us. That was some poor sentence structure, Kimbo. My point: Inclusive messages are more positive and less likely to distract everyone with how offensive it is. Why bring Santa into this at all?
I don’t like being an asshole. I don’t like linking to associations that make atheists look like assholes. Bitter rift? Maybe there’s something to that after all…