I never really know what to think about these American Atheist billboards, mostly I think they’re a waste of time, aimed not at theists but at online atheists to hoot and holler at. Most of them are just mindless and this year’s is no different. Placed in Memphis, Nashville, St. Louis, and Fort Smith, Arkansas, the signs are conveniently close to this year’s American Atheist National Convention, you might think they were placed in those places specifically to draw out atheists and potential atheists to attend the convention. It seems a bit self-serving to me.
And I have to wonder, why is this little girl asking one imaginary entity for permission to ignore another imaginary entity anyhow? Okay, Santa is a relatively inoffensive cultural myth that pretty much nobody over the age of 10 takes seriously, but so what? Isn’t the point of American Atheists to promote rationality? Or are they just going after religion and who cares if anyone believes in Santa Claus, leprechauns and unicorns, so long as they aren’t gods?
Besides, and I know I’m taking this way too literally and seriously, but for most people, adults especially, nobody is making them go to church as it is. They are choosing to do so. Some, granted, do so for entirely social reasons, I recently had a conversation with someone who freely admitted that he plays the Christian card and pretends to be a Christian because there are distinct social benefits that come along with playing the part. He doesn’t believe at all but he goes to church for networking purposes, he pretends to have faith because he says all the cutest girls are religious and it gets him into their pants, etc. He uses people by pretending to have Christian beliefs and while I don’t respect what he’s doing in any way, shape or form, I can’t deny that there are probably a lot of people doing exactly the same thing. They get something out of feigning faith.
For kids, like the one pictured, they don’t really have a choice whether to go to church or not, even if they do stop believing in gods, so the concept is entirely irrelevant. Kids do what their parents want them to do, fair or not, until they become adults, at which point the above applies. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is unimportant, it is a true thing.
So that leaves me wondering if this is just a means of attracting people to attend the convention at $279 a head. Even their press release says that’s part of their mission. That means I’m not impressed with their tactics.
If you want to skip church, skip church. Just don’t be an idiot and believe in other nonsense along the way. The goal here is to raise rational children, not sell convention memberships. Thus ends the sermon.