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Personally, I like to see a Christmas tree in the town square.
While I understand David Silvermans argument, I don’t think it’s realistic to try and rename Christmas to something like a “Winter Solstice” holiday, just to keep to the letter of the law about government not endorsing any religion.
Would I be “offended” if a town wanted to display Muslim symbolism during Ramadan or Jewish symbolism during Chanukah? No, not really. Where I lived in England, there was a very large Indian/Pakistani community and that part of town was filled with decorations during the Hindu Diwali festival. The whole area just looked really impressive and there was a wonderful sense of community and peace there, as people celebrated their own cultural diversity. Here’s a link to some pictures of the festival.
The problem of course, is that it is simply not realistic to display decorations for every concievable celebration, because someone, somewhere will be offended either because they are left out or they disagree with a particular groups festivities. The easiest “solution” is to not display decorations at all. But no-one wants that – as I said above, I personally like to see a Christmas tree in the town square as much as anyone else, and I’ve already put my Christmas lights up. I may not believe in the nativity aspect of the holiday, but I can certainly appreciate a cultural celebration when I see one.
Silverman has a very valid point, and the reason that O’Reilly got so bent out of shape is because deep down he knows Silverman is constitutionally correct (which is why he tried to assert that Christianity is a philosophy, not a religion). However, I think Silverman sometimes goes out of his way to be as obnoxious as possible. There is definitely a need for atheists to stand up and say “Hey, I’m here and I exist”, but waving pitchforks at Christmas is not the way to convince people you mean them no harm…
That said, O’Reilly was pretty unprofessional in that interview. Calling your guest a “fascist” just because he has different views isn’t going to win you any points either.
Somewhere in between these two viewpoints is a place where everyone ought to be able to agree. It’s just a shame that we have to endure two extreme positions at either end of the bell curve, when I’m fairly certain most people fall somewhere in the middle, where compromise and rational discourse can be found.
I don’t want to take your Christmas tree away, so please stop telling everyone that atheists are fascists. Thank you.
On the run-up to the recent presidential election, I kept seeing references to Psalm 109:8, usually with the words “Pray for our President”. I really didn’t think much of it, until I actually bothered to look it up, and then I realized just how evil Christians can be and how hateful and vile their rhetoric.
May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. [Psalm 109:8]
That, by itself is not awful, per se. It is only when you read on past verse 8, that the full impact of the vile, hateful bigots that promote and adhere to this garbage, is revealed…
9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord, that he may blot out their name from the earth.
Psalm 109:8 is not just a cutesy soundbite on twitter – there is a full lineup of merchandise available, so you can announce your narrow-minded, hateful bigotry to the world. Of course, we all know that Christians cherry-pick verses from the bible to suit their needs, so it comes as no surprise whatsoever that I haven’t seen a single reference to Romans 13, posted by a Christian:
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. [Romans 13]
And it is not because this verse has not been floating about in abundance after the election – after all, many atheists are asking “Now that God has chosen your leader (as stated in Romans 13), will you resepct him as He commanded?”
Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to this…
Christians will blame Hurricane Sandy (which was obviously Gods wrath because of the gays) for making Obama look good at the last minute, and the the Devil stepped in while God was distracted making hurricanes and with a bit of hocus-pocus-voter-fraud, the black guy won and the Apocalypse will be over and done before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the Muslim mothership will land, take over the White House, institute Sharia Law and Obama will be last seen eating a bacon sandwich in Santas Sleigh, being pulled by 72 virgin men, into the the sky and off to Never Never Land, while the Dark Lord sodomizes the corpse of Jesus.
And you wonder why atheists are angry? Because this shit just doesn’t happen if you’re thinking straight.
God doesn’t exist for any of you. Not for the Muslims responsible and not for the Christians desperate to find some “good” in all of this.
Can we please just grow the fuck up as a species and move on with making a better existence for everyone here on Earth, instead of killing each other over who has the best imaginary friend?
This life is all we’ve got. Make the most of it.
These new billbards are sure to get people fired up, but will they actually accomplish anything, other than more hostility towards atheists? Sure, I agree with the general message, but the delivery format is about as tactful as a brick to the face.
If atheists really want to convince religious people of their viewpoint, there has got to be a more efficient method of doing so.
These billboards are, in my opinion, about as useful as a chocolate teapot. No minds will be changed by viewing them, and they will only serve to further alienate the atheist cause. You might as well throw up a picture of black person with the caption “Slaves, obey your masters“, and then feign ignorance and surprise when your message gets misinterpreted.
As much as I agree with the premise behind them, I simply cannot understand the need to be as offensive as possible. Instead of coming across as small-minded, hateful assholes, why not take a metaphorical leaf out of the Preachers book and show a little genuine love and respect? These are things that all humans are capable of, and we should be highlighting the positive aspects of athesim, secularism and humanism, instead of assaulting deeply held beliefs and expecting people to suddenly start agreeing with us.
One of my favorite images is the one below. It is so simple, so innoffensive, and yet at its very heart it says everything that needs to be said.
The atheist cause would be far better served if the people responsible for these billboards were to act a little more like the sun, and less like the wind:
The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.
Kindness effects more than severity.
Incidentally, Aesops Fables would make a far better foundation for a “religion” than any of the current texts. At least the stories all have a specific meaning, and aren’t left wide open to interpretation and abuse. And even if you don’t understand the story, most people should at least be able to grasp the moral behind it, which is helpfully included at the end of each parable.
I just found this horrifying video on Twitter, and I wanted to post it here to show that it’s not only Christians who are guilty of child abuse in the name of religion.
I’m sure her father is very proud. She’ll make a fine 3rd or 4th wife one day, dutifully wear the hijab (to cover the physical abuse), obey her
master husband without question and thank Allah for all of it. Her world will be ruled by men, who strip her of every freedom and human dignity, while she praises Allah and His prophet Muhammed for her plight.
All religion is toxic, without exception.
All of it.