Humanists know PR, too

I’ve spent the last week or so preparing for, enjoying, and recovering from Anime Nebraskon, but I’m back and ready to rant!

Not that there’s anything on my mind to make me irritable. In fact, the AHA just launched a massive ad campaign, titled Consider Humanism, which I’m quite happy about. If there was anything like this during my childhood, I was utterly oblivious, but these days I hear about new atheist/humanist awareness projects on at least weekly basis. From the United CoR sponsoring billboards across the country, to local groups adopting highways, we are becoming very visible.

Not only that, but it’s hard to object to the tone that most of these public messages take. Have a few:

 

"Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

It's hard to say this is "promoting" godlessness.

 

"I cannot imagine ... a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty." - Albert Einstein

Not even a "new covenant" can explain why a peaceloving God would ever command something like this.

 

"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads..." - Quran

The only difference between fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims is that right now there are a lot more visible and active Muslim ones.

 

The new AHA ones, particularly, make a point of targeting fundamentalists. Most theists, I think, understand that fundies are crazy, and to a certain extent understand why.

What I really hope to see out of this campaign is, if not more “converts” to humanism, a continued and increasing denouncement of fundamentalists from the more…relaxed(?) believers. They’re definitely the majority in American society, but too often a silent majority, when extremists challenge separation of church and state or emulate Fred Phelps in slightly more subtle ways. The two camps (fundies and the “mainstream” believers) are definitely not worshiping the same God, so it’s time for the mainstream to stop protecting the extremists — especially since those people will be the first to attack the other theists for not being strict enough.

But fundamentalists are merely the reductio ad absurdum of these faiths in general — a Christian in polite society these days has to ignore a lot of the Old Testament…and the New. (See 1 Timothy 2:11-12.) I hope that being confronted with some of the things that “nice people don’t talk about” will prompt an examination of faith overall.

Meanwhile, can we get some positive humanist billboards up in South Dakota? After our family road trip to the Black Hills this year, I think it should be called “The Menacing God Billboard State.”

 

After you die, you will meet God.

Even as a believer I would have thought this was creepy.

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