I recently wrote a blog where I pulled an article from the UK Telegraph saying that our movement is nothing more than the "least inspiring movement in recent years". 


I am adamant that one of the main reasons for this and other types of negative press out there is because of the billboard campaign by American Atheists. The billboards are inflammatory. They are not thought provoking or lead to thoughtful debate or discussion. They are insulting and I am frustrated that this is how American Atheists think our movement should be perceived and represented. I have wrote to the Chairman of the Board of AA and asked him to reconsider this campaign. Although the idea of the billboard I'm all for, what they say needs to make people say or think "wow, that's great, and it's something I want to check out further".  We need to do better!

What are your thoughts on this? Do we need to write to American Atheists via petition?

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Perhaps you could show some clear pattern to the rhetoric of these billboards that encourages free thought.  If you think that your bravado and loose tongue make you a free thinker, then perhaps you should reflect on the personal insecurities that inspire you regress to ad hominem attacks.  It is clear that you have nothing more than your anger to support your opinion that theists should be incited to rage - clear because you have yet to offer any evidence that such a campaign will accomplish anything else.
Funny how the terms bravado, loose tongue and personal insecurities coming from someone who can't put a lucid paragraph together are not ad hominem. Given you know nothing more about me than I don't fear hurting the feelings of a portion of the population that suffers from mass delusion and insist all approaches should be pursued from gentle pursuation to in your face, your a nut job. And I do believe more evil has been done in the name of religion than anything and the worst is yet to come. As a serious student of both theology and history it is only a matter of time in a world with weapons capable of such incredible destruction before the end of times is attempted more than once. Do you seriously believe we have hundreds if not thousands of years to change the dynamic. For my childrens sake I hope not very many people are as frightened of the rage filled theists as you.
So am I to understand you are hopping on the Harold Camping train and prophesying the end of the world unless all moderate atheists repent and drink your Kool Aid? 'Progressive' minds like yours have had great luck turning political systems on a dime before, and as a 'student of history' I would think you might have at least a grasp of the troubles that has repeatedly caused and the instability of the results.

As you stand on your virtual soap box declaring your revolution, frothing about the perfection of a world ruled by militant atheists, perhaps you could close with the words of your mentor, "Let the adherents of our movement never forget this, should ever the greatness of the sacrifice lead them to a fearful comparison with the possible triumph."

   Heather, respectfully I don't understand how you come to these conclusions based on what I have written. If you read my posts carefully you should conclude different approaches for different markets. I am on no ones train and most of the respected Atheists ( Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens ) feel much like myself about the past and religions horrible record and the future if things continue as is. You are contributing words and ideas I have not proposed. Yes I can make inflammatory statements where religion is concerned because I truly believe it is mental illness on its best day and evil incarnate when taken literally. I know not of what you suggest but I am sure your intentions are good. Thanks for the debate and best wishes.

No judge is going to rule that making statements involving free thought is hate speech and squash your little forum, but you are by your weak defense of the truth allowing the majority to make the rules. As far as putting up billboards in possibly Muslim countries, it wouldn't be allowed and the topic is the reluctance of spineless people to insult anyone, because it might hurt there ignorant sensibilities. Are you going to stop trying to change the world because somebody may get their feelings hurt. Make sense not vocalize opinions that don't.

I humbly think we are all missing the point here. They are being in-your-face ON PURPOSE.


Think of it: they have little budget. They are overwhelmingly outspent by religious nutjobs. What can they do?

1) Do a meek and sweet campaign which will probably be effective to the hundreds of people who see it, or...

2) Be in-your-face, almost condescending, to ensure it gets picked up by as many religious websites/TV shows as possible, so that more people see them (and come out of the closet!).


Working in Marketing, I'd go for 2) any day! If they had been meek and sweet they might have convinced some, but for example, I, who live on the other side of the world, would have NEVER heard of them... for me, the (much) greater exposure more than compensates for the lower "convincing" rate.


Well done, American Atheists!

A very valid point, Alejandro, especially for marketing your own product.  I think what Robert is saying, and I am strongly agreeing with, is that Atheism is not the exclusive product of American Atheists.  There are many atheists who have to market themselves on a daily basis and in direct contact with family, coworkers, and religious neighbours.  Any ground that they may or may not have made with the people in their lives has no bearing on American Atheists.  The AA billboards, however, do have a strong bearing on the lives of thousands of atheists who have no interest in using an aggressive and confrontational approach.


I've never hidden my beliefs or backed down from debate when challenged, but now I've got other atheists calling me an 'apologist' because I'm not all gung-ho about insulting theists in an undignified manner.  Honestly, if I were to run across a group of people insulted by this campaign who asked me where I stood on the issue, it would be the first time in my life that I would consider closeting my atheism.

Honestly, I think they arn't very "mature" ..... we want to be "better" than the Christian attitudes (and on billboards) and some of these messages arn't very respectful (although, the deep, dark part of me absolutly loves them b/c we are finally "allowed" to voice ourselves, lol)...... but at the same time, we have better thought processes and should be doing more/different to reach out to Atheists (or Agnostics) and not try to "convert" the Theists (wich is what I believe some of them are hinting towards).
Well, thats just my opinion on the subject....... There are too many asshole Christians out there.... not as many asshole Atheists.... and we don't want to create more... that just dosn't really make us seem very smart.
The billboards put up by FFRF & other groups aren't likely to please the zealots or change their minds. They are to show Americans that we're here, & to comfort those who HAVE serious doubts about the religion that was dumped on them as defenseless children. And it's working. The membership of FFRF is over five times what it was when I first discovered it.
I agree that most of them are to help and they really get the message out there, and thats great. But some of them do seem like they sorta go down to the Christian level, however.
I guess i should've posed this as a two part forum. Ok, so the billboard argument I can see the points and in terms of a marketing standpoint i can see how this would work. But for me, Silverman being out there and speaking to people the way he does, i'm talking specifically of the O'Reilly show here, is not the way to act and goes against the perception that I would like people to have of me as an atheist.

Perhaps I wouldn't go so far as to say, 'not the way to act', but I'm certain you really meant that in the context of 'goes against the perception that I would like people to have of me as an atheist'.


To that end, I fully agree.  There are always going to be really confrontational atheists out there who do a poor job of backing up that confrontation with the intellect to support their position, and I'm actually glad to stand beside them, behind them, or just stay away from them - whatever they like.  The big difference with Silverman is that he's perceived as not only representing a large body of atheists, but being representative of that large body of atheists.  In that regard, I think he has at least somewhat of an obligation to better prepare for prime time media appearances so he can put forth an image that more of us can respect - even if he is being smug, insulting, arrogant, or whatever.  I could actually respect a smug, insulting, arrogant representative that could make an argument for his stance by showing that O'Reilly is just as smug, insulting, and arrogant although without grounds because of his Bronze Age understanding of the world.


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