Monday, March 5, 2012

Still More Atheist Outrage

Apparently, atheists are getting uppity again:
On Monday, March 5, American Atheists will erect two billboards with identical wording: You know it's a myth, and you have a choice. One board in Brooklyn will have both Hebrew and English, and the sister board in Arabic will be erected in Paterson NJ. Each will have the Hebrew and Arabic word for Yahweh/Allah on the left side.

American Atheists: Billboards 2012
Which, I think means in Hebrew "the god whose name we dare not speak is a myth". In any case, you'd think that if people get upset over this, then surely they'll be mortally offended by someone actually declaring that what they believe in is a myth. The New York Daily News found someone willing to comment:
Mohamed Elfilali, executive director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, was not particularly troubled by news of the billboards. "It is not the first and won’t be the last time people have said things about God or religion,” he told CNN. “I respect people’s opinion about God; obviously they are entitled to it. I don’t think God is a myth, but that doesn’t exclude people to have a different opinion.”

Billboards saying God is “a myth” to go up in Jewish and Muslim communities
Strange as it might seem, I don't find it all that remarkable that there are religious leaders out there who can accept that there are people who aren't going to believe what they do. As I've mentioned a time or two, faith that's shaken by someone professing differing views isn't all that strong. What I find remarkable is that a major newspaper actually bothered to find such a person.

Every once in a while, it's nice to be surprised. As for the billboards themselves, let's hope they let people who haven't dared admit they are non-believers know that there are folks like them out there.


David Evans said...

I'm all in favour of atheist billboards in general, but I don't like these. If a person knows their religion is a myth, but still professes it,they are being hypocritical. It's not good tactics to accuse your target audience of being hypocrites.

Cujo359 said...

Actually, their target audience often are being hypocrites. They pretend to believe to avoid arguments, or worse, or just so they can enjoy the social functions of their "religions". I don't think such people will be offended. If they are, they were probably never going to admit the truth, anyway.

I was somewhat ambivalent about these signs, though, because they could be read as accusing all people who say they believe in either Islam or Judaism of being hypocrites. I'm not too worked up about that idea, though. I've been confronted several times by bible-thumpers with their verse about how anyone who doesn't believe in their god is lying to himself. At least in their case, it's a taste of their own medicine.

Plus, as I noted in the article, there are folks in some religions who are offended way too easily. They need to get over it. Repeated exposure to stuff they find offensive should help with that.