The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Truth vs. Advertising

December 22, 2008 | 5 Comments

What was wrong with the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s holiday display attacking religious as myth and superstition? It wasn’t the truth of the matter, says Non-Theist, it was that it wasn’t compelling:

All ideas should be given an equal chance, and the most compelling will win out. Note I said most compelling, not most truthful . . .

A better question, in my opinion, is what are we doing to ensure our messages and ideas are just as compelling as the theist alternatives out there? As atheists, I believe we tend to fall back on the truth and facts as self-evident and expect our ideas to sell themselves. This belief is just as credulous as we view our theist brothers and sisters to be in their god worship.

The FFRF had every right to put a display up alongside the nativity scene in Washington. IMHO, they completely flubbed this opportunity by focusing on truth and facts instead of voicing a compelling message. If they had taken context into account, I believe they could have pointed out what’s wrong with displaying religious symbols with government support. They could have done it in such a way that believers and non-believers alike had a chance to see the REAL issue. They could have offered an alternative to the reasons people seek and hold to religion. Instead they attacked. They had every right and freedom to do so, I just feel it was bad for our cause.

Non-Theist proposes that the following placard would have been more compelling:

Happy Holidays!

Government-sponsored religious symbolism is likely unconstitutional, but while The People allow such displays may all views be given equal access.

-may believers and non-believers find common ground
-may violence and hatred perish from the earth
-may you be happy and flourish
-may truth prevail in the hearts of all men and women

Happy Holidays!

It seems to me if you’re trying to sell atheism, you have to sell atheism, not a potpourri of Constitutional, political and free speech messages. Because if your message is compelling, but you were selling something else, you’re not going to make anything on the atheism. Perhaps you’ll convince people that church/state separation is good, or that obeying the Constitution is good, or that Coke is better than Pepsi, but promoting those views don’t necessarily promote atheism. Plenty of religous people believe in church/state separation and Constitution-obeying, but that doesn’t make them any less believers. And plenty of atheistic arguments can be made against both of those principles. An atheist might will believe that a government run by devout, theocratic Christians would be better than one run by a certain types of militant atheists. Furthermore, both believers and atheists can identify parts of the Constitution they’d much rather see violated than obeyed.

The core difference between atheists and believers is a belief in God. An atheist who wants to sell non-belief must make compelling arguments why there is no God. If the arguments are true but not compelling, there is no way to make them otherwise, except by lying. And even if the arguments are compelling, a compelling argument must be made why people are better off believing them than believing in lies.


5 Responses to “Truth vs. Advertising”

  1. Lord Zero
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

    So what you are saying its giving away a gift with every “atheist box hamburger pack” ?

    So the truth its not enough then ? We already do that, use logic and reason plus tangible evidence to disprove the god from A to Z religions.

    What do you suggest to make the message more compelling ? Using a black dress with matching cross necklace ? Or chasing people for not eating crackers ?

    Anyway, im a atheist, but i condemn religion by his means of brainwashing people into blind faith since early childhood.
    The world needs more critical, sceptical and rational people. No more followers and zealots.

  2. Jim
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

    “An atheist who wants to sell non-belief must make compelling arguments why there is no God.”

    Other than the fact that the arguments why there is a God are circular, sheep-worthy, fallacious, based on anecdotes, etc., etc., etc.?

    The only necessary argument should be:  There is no credible measurable or reproducible evidence.  And if faith works in the absence of such evidence, then any made-up faith is just as valid as any other made-up faith.

  3. Cthulance
    December 27th, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

    RI wrote in his post:

    What was wrong with the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s holiday display attacking religious as myth and superstition?

    The only thing wrong here is your characterization of the FFRF’s display as “attacking” anything.

    You’re allegedly some form of lawyer. I believe it, based on what I’ve seen of your blog.

    Apparently (by your reasoning), any display which runs counter to anyone else’s beliefs is a form of attack. Thus, nativity displays and public affirmations of the dual man/god status of an ancient Jew are an attack not just on atheists, but on Hindus, Buddhists, etc.

    In your peculiar world, anything that publicly contradicts the Christian worldview is an attack on Christianity and Christians, but public affirmations of Christianity aren’t an attack on those who don’t believe in Christ.

  4. Jahrta
    December 29th, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

    I wonder how far back one has to go to pinpoint the exact moment in time at which you lost your mucking farbles. Some would say the diatribe against abortion, but I wonder. I know a few pro-life atheists, although they are far and away a fringe element within the community. If you really ever were an atheist and are sincerely a theist, then I fear you have lost your mental faculties. If this is a joke, it’s not funny, and horribly counter-productive to the message the blog was originally created to spread. Jokes usually have a “ha-ha” moment, but even if you were to come out today and say “gotcha,” not a single damned person would think it was even mildly amusing – atheist or otherwise. If you have truly become a theist, relinquish the url, because there are a billion religious websites and blogs out there, and there’s not a damned redeemable or worthwhile thing about any of them. There are plenty of other atheists out there who would do a far better job with your site than you have, especially during the last four years of hand-wringing BS, pedantic anti-atheist rants, circular logic and pseudo-religious psychobabble.

  5. Unspeakably Violent Jane
    December 29th, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

    I’m of the opinion that beleif is innate, and so I tend to think he was always a secret Christer.

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