Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas atheist advertising

One thing that has changed in atheist news in the past year or so is the advent of atheist advertising. I don't remember what the first advertisement was, but I think the first one that hit it big was the one that says "There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Nowadays, you can see news of atheist advertising popping up all over the world the whole year round. You can keep track of the subject on Friendly Atheist, but there's so much of it that I daresay the story is boring by now.

Of course, around Christmas season, the atheist advertisements become Christmas themed, and they seem to increase in volume. And of course they would! Christmas is when they get the most media attention!

The above is an advertisement put out by the American Humanist Association. Their website has a bunch of videos of its news coverage.

You can see from the news coverage that some people are getting the message of the advertisement horribly wrong. No, it's not an attack on Christians. It's not meant to challenge people's faith. It's certainly not meant to be a complete argument against theism. And no, atheists don't "loathe the baby Jesus."

There's one particular common response which I would like to correct. Some people think that the advertisements are anti-Christmas. It's all part of the War on Christmas, supposedly. But look just look at the ad! There are a bunch of smiling people in Santa hats! How much clearer do they have to make it that they're pro-Christmas?

I mean, who here is fighting a war on Christmas? Is it the atheists who apparently enjoy such playful traditions as the Santa hat, or is it people like Bill O' Reilly or Garrison Keillor, who insist that everyone must celebrate the holidays their way or no way?

After a year of hearing about all these atheist advertisements, it's become clear that people are offended no matter how nice they are. Therefore, in my opinion, future atheist advertisements should try to be as friendly as possible, since people will be offended anyhow. The friendlier they are, the more apparent it will be just how silly and wrong people are to be offended. My proposed message:

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Enjoy winter break!
-From a godless atheist


schrodingasdawg said...

It seems that, on top of what you've said, those who are offended also accuse the atheists of being the ones that are offended. Projection much?

(By the way, I just recently came across your blog, and it's pretty sweet. Mad props and stuff, I guess? Oh yeah, and merry Christmas.)

Jachra said...

Depends on the ad, I say, but, yes, when you're going for a positive message, be as inoffensive as you can... unless it suits your purposes.

Bah, I hate drawing general conclusions with insufficient modifiers.

Hugo said...

"Therefore, in my opinion, future atheist advertisements should try to be as friendly as possible, since people will be offended anyhow."

Amen to that, brother! ;) I recall people being utterly offended by a "don't believe in god? you are not alone" ad. I mean, .... huh? So those that want to offend need not worry that ads are ever not offensive enough.

On the anti-Christmas thing, back home it's the local fundie church that's kinda anti-Christmas (though now discovering that there's "evangelical potential" in embracing it rather than fighting it, though only for the purpose of reaching the unwashed masses (in other churches in particular)... Citation: their December newsletter. ;) )

Happy Yuletide!