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.