Atheist organization puts up holiday billboards urging viewers to skip church in NC

Dec 15, 2015

by WNCN staff

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – New holiday billboards put up by an Atheist organization in North Carolina and Colorado might cause some drivers to do a double take.

American Atheists, a group that “fights to protect the absolute separation of religion from government and raise the profile of atheism in the public discourse,” has set up holiday billboards in Kernersville, near Winston-Salem, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to a release from the organization.

The billboard features a jolly Santa Claus urging viewers to “Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness’ sake.” The ad ends with “Happy Holidays!” instead of Merry Christmas.

“We want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. “The things that are most important during the holiday season—spending time with loved ones, charity, and being merry—have nothing to do with religion.”


Read more by clicking on the name of the source below.

 

27 comments on “Atheist organization puts up holiday billboards urging viewers to skip church in NC

  • This particular billboard is lighting up controversy on some of my q and a sites.

    Naturally, the wackaloons of religion are blustering heavily about this billboard. The spittle they are spewing in their angry frustration with this billboard almost makes it through the monitor screen!



    Report abuse

  • We want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. “The things that are most important during the holiday season—spending time with loved ones, charity, and being merry—have nothing to do with religion.

    As much as I like the idea of the billboards, I wish atheists would be more careful in the way they state things like this. I would suggest “is not required [to be]” and “do not require” are more accurate ways of conveying the belief and run less risk of offending and being immediately dismissed.



    Report abuse

  • Since the phrase ‘For goodness sake’ is a softened form of ‘For God’s sake’ I can’t see how this can cause any kerfuffle.
    The billboard is succinctly promoting the true Christian message of goodwill to all men, so embrace it.



    Report abuse

  • Lancshoop
    Dec 16, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Since the phrase ‘For goodness sake’ is a softened form of ‘For God’s sake’ I can’t see how this can cause any kerfuffle.
    The billboard is succinctly promoting the true Christian message of goodwill to all men, so embrace it.

    You could see it that way through Christian blinkers, but actually it is making the point that altruism is a wider human trait, and nothing to do with a claimed Christian or religious monopoly of it.

    The billboard is succinctly promoting the true Christian message of goodwill to all men, so embrace it.

    The difference is the priority of goodwill to humans, rather than a bit of goodwill left over for humans after the dogmatic god-requirements have had priority energies directed into them first.

    A Humanist mid-winter celebration, is not about fat monks, aristocrats, or cardinals from Vatican palaces, handing out crumbs of charity to the poor!



    Report abuse

  • In a lifetime a believer can spend up to 10000 hours in church or praying.
    In that time they could have:
    Built a Jumbo Jet single handedly or,
    Built 12 houses single handedly,
    Knitted 250 jumpers
    Knitted 1,700 scarves
    Travelled at a steady speed of a little under 40mph to the moon
    Read The God Delusion 714 times. If 20 churchgoers got together this would just about give them time to count all the semen in an average ejaculation.

    Casual church goers who only do Easter and Christmas would spend 240 hours in church so could knit 40 scarves, or 6 Jumpers or read the God Delusion 17 times.

    All the above seem better uses of that time to me. However,If they put their minds to it and used the time to try to make the world a better place then just about anything is possible.

    That said, one of the advantages with the current set up is that while they are in church, they are not out trying to convert me or make me repent of my sins, most of which I actually quite enjoy.



    Report abuse

  • Can’t think of any atheist billboard that hasn’t received flak (except maybe the “kittens are cute” advert).

    That said, your alternative phrase works. A quick peruse of images shows one billboard incorporating ‘require’. It let’s folks off the hook, as opposed to challenging them.

    Silverman

    I concede that was a stumble – but his tireless, and measured defense of reason makes up for it, imo.



    Report abuse

  • Yes, they think it does have something to do with being a good person and they think we are full of shit. Is Smiling Silverman getting old? You can’t just put up a stupid sign like that; it won’t do a goddamned thing.

    -Scrouge



    Report abuse

  • Me, I would actually like to hint more than mere moral equivalence, because I think religion (with one or two very honourable exceptions) can be entirely morally hobbling.

    I declared for Atheism as a head clearing exercise to achieve a surer moral stance. We have the potential to be morally more effective, more informed more engaged if we don’t have our moral thoughts thought for us.

    Catholics are so often morally more decent than their scummy Church and its Magisterium. Yet it balefully looms making the less of many. UK Quakers (yes I am on commission) are required to be their own moral authors….that’s their job, they’ve been created for their task. I couldn’t really ask for more myself.

    I want to say this, on a poster….somehow…because it is the best reason to put religion back on the shelf (or at least swap to a better brand.)



    Report abuse

  • I was going to ask why replace one fantasy with another and include santa in the poster and found mixed comments on the subject.

    “The key word is belief. Emulating Saint Nick is awesome, but I have problems with parents duping their children into believing that Santa exists. A church could acknowledge in a family context the historical person of St. Nicholas. But the figure the culture has created does not belong in church.”
    Scottie May, professor, Wheaton College

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/december/should-churches-discourage-belief-in-santa-claus.html



    Report abuse

  • Well the wonderful season of Festivus is nearly upon us. This year I will not be putting up that horrible cheapened thing the Festivus Pole. The honest and plain aluminium extrusion with its high strength to weight ratio, that we all knew and loved as slightly younger people, has been degraded by using beer cans and decorations to promote social and cultural positions.

    I will be trying to go back to the real meaning of Festivus. I have a suitable clock and a bag to put it in and I will be nailing it to the wall in good time for the 23rd.

    The brutal celebrations should carry us through the remainder of the dark days, until the year turns again to Weasel Stomping Day marking the Equinox and then on to everyone’s emetic favourite, Love Day on May 1st.



    Report abuse

  • Goading is an act of kindness. But I don’t want to be a downer either, so I would say “yes.” But I like to goad, nudge, jab my fellow atheists at times – to awaken them. (Sounds a bit grandiose, doesn’t it?) This is an act of kindness, designed to make them aware of themselves and the futility of some of their gestures.

    Socrates aka Dan

    P.S. Your avatar. —Lost in Space? “You bubble-headed booby!” (Dr. Smith)



    Report abuse

  • This is an act […]

    My Poe-O-Meter is sleepy – seriously?

    Archived somewhere – RD’s vignette about the Blue-footed booby from his Galapagos trip.



    Report abuse

  • seriously?

    That old fool Silverman with his imbecilic smile.— Putting up a sign like that in the outskirts of the bible belt. Ha-ha. Useless gesture.
    I know who Poe was but what is a Poe-o-meter, you cryptic Celt you.



    Report abuse

  • phil rimmer
    Dec 17, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Well the wonderful season of Festivus is nearly upon us.

    I suspect my family are plotting a celebration as usual, during the weekend following this one – My birthday!!



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.