Can we please talk about how much consumerism is wrapped up in this kind of thing? I’m not Christian but I’d rather keep a holiday where people celebrate a birth, even if it’s extravagantly with lots of animals in their nativity play, than a holiday where people trample each other to death in stores to buy cheap plastic crap and shame people for not having the money to buy cheap plastic crap for all their friends. Sure, religion can stifle scientific progress, but secular Christmas is way more dangerous than religious Christmas in my opinion because of what it does economically and environmentally.
EDIT: Also, of course the disclaimer that atheism as a movement does have a lot of problems with the way it frames religion. Let’s see this kind of poster for a non-Christian holiday—it would certainly be much more visibly inappropriate and probably have backlash from liberals, whereas this probably won’t have a lot of backlash from liberals.
While I hear you on the very commercial history of modern Santa Claus [a professional Santa in my friend’s model drawing class explained that Santa used to wear blue robes, but it was switched to read because it was a cheap colour and very eye-catching for greeting cards]…I always appreciated what my grandmother would tell the kids when they came-of-age to be too old for the Santa myth. My grandmother [a very conservative, strict Catholic] describes the idea of Santa Claus as “the spirit of giving that lives in us all”, and usually goes on to describe ‘Christmas Miracles’ she’s experienced and attributes to the Santa Claus feeling [such as the time when her neighbours anonymously pooled their money to pay my mom’s family’s rent…my grandparents had 9 kids, and were always poor.] So I don’t think that, even taken in a secular sense, that Santa Claus is a purely commercial figure.
However, I’ll also point out that most Atheist organizations are also hard-line against magical thinking in general and I’ve mot many who are staunchly against any metaphor that can be construed as creating some kind of mythological meaning to the natural world. Ergo, trying to harken to a non-commercial “Spirit of Good Will and Generosity” Santa Claus in rejection of mythological figures kind of lacks any sense. All you are left with is a figure of rampant capitalism fueled by guilt and obligation, hahah.
As far as tho overall appropriateness; idk. We see MANY billboards by Christian/Catholic orgs which proclaim to “Keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS!” and “He’s the reason for the season!” the former one I suppose I can’t deny, ‘Christmas’ derives from ‘Christ Mass’, the Mass in honour of the Christ Child etc. The latter one is much more common and irks me more, though, as Jesus’ birth on the 25th of December is TOTALLY INVENTED to fall in-line with typical saviour myths and to co-opt European and Mediterranean pagan festivals that occurred around this time; because these festivals were quite popular and ingrained in the cultures of the people who participated, it was easier to make them into “good Christian Holidays” than to outlaw the festivals entirely.
I distract myself, I think that there’s a lot more to this message that could be worked on, but I feel it is fair in reaction to claims by Christian orgs that Jesus is the only reason for the December holiday season. And, certainly while those xtian orgs do not speak for every Christian/Catholic, likewise do ‘American Atheists’ speak only for members of their org. Though, even disagreeing and distancing myself from their message, I still appreciate it in the face of many more religious [Christian] messages that guilt and shame non-Christians around this time of year.
I think that holds up well in your hypothetical want of comparison to this and PETA ads; like many vegans, even and especially very political vegans, I hate PETA for a lot of their campaigns and messages and resource management. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate some of their messages, especially with their international level of attention. I just wish they made more “I am not a nugget!” and “Be a bunny’s hunny!” type messages; and yeah, I even like a lot of their “Rather go naked than wear fur” ads; they made some fun if bizzarely guro mock Nintendo games….but they also spend way more money on making thin [usually white] women dance around in lettuce leafs and shaming fat people [and, when one knows SO MANY fat veg*ns, it’s EXTRA PROBLEMS!]…rather than helping animals, aiding in creating more vegan resources in combat of food scarcity, and aiding environmental concerns. You might also not realize how very connected ideas about veganism and atheism can be; I agree with Peter Singer’s point that, if you are atheist, you must accept that humans are not the central or pinnacle of the creatures on Earth, that sanctifying human life above all others is a very religious concept. That you cannot justify saving the life of a 3-year-old human and killing an equally-intelligent pig without falling back on religious framework that values human life over the life of the planet, a human is just another animal, and if it is contemptible to treat a human-animal as such, then it ought to be contemptible to treat all the other animals as such. It should be noted that he and Dawkins disagree heavily on this subject, so not every atheist would agree…but it came to my attention when my roommate was researching atheism, I believe, and it was the first time I had encountered a sort of…union of two ideals I held strongly, veganism and atheism, and how they could work together. So I feel that they actually are very similar movements about de-centralizing the superiority of humankind in the universe…with similar flaws.
On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, American Atheists erected a billboard on the corner of 33rd Street and Broadway, the heart of a Muslim community in Paterson, New Jersey, with the wording: “You know it’s a myth, and you have a choice” in both Arabic and English, with the word “Allah” on the left side.
But are you serious though.
They have the right to do this, but this is intentionally annoying, preachy and self righteous.
This is some serious assholery right here, and the fact that it is targeted at a marginalized religious community just makes it that much more insulting.
atheists: you don’t gotta be douchebags. you have a choice.
reblogged for kittykatstark’s totally great new billboard idea
Brilliant counter to that insulting nonsense from American Atheists.
idk guys, believers have a history of billboards that are all god-this-god-that [this ad is also in a jewish neighb and they have a christian one too that came first] catholic billbs around yuletide reminding us jesus is the reason North european pagans had winter holidays, etc.
Personally? I don’t see any reason to politely fold my hands in a world where believers control our politics, our values, and folks nag you down to admit you have “spiritual beliefs” or else “ISN’T YOUR LIFE SO EMPTY AND DEVOID OF PURPOSE??” because where do you get your morals from, yeah??
And in a world where we swallow platitudes like spoiled milk and treat religfolks all nicenice because “it’s none of your business” nevermind that being “godless” is still any of their justification for why they are right and all others are wrong
I think this is pretty nadsy.
Something that really annoys me, is when I see a film depiction of Mary Shelley, and they show her as being a mousy, primp and proper damsel. Well, here’s a few things you should probably know about Mary Shelley and her social circle.
Mary’s mother was a badass feminist who put forth the idea that women were not inferior to men, and that they should be treated as equals and rational beings. Later on in life, she married William Godwin, one of the early pioneers of the anarchist movements. Mary Wollstonecraft died, leaving Godwin to raise their daughter, who he’d also call Mary, and these ideals he’d later pass down to her.
As Mary grew up, she’d meet and fall in love with Percy Shelley. Something you should know about Percy Shelley, while attending a largely religious university, he published a pamphlet entitled: The Necessity of Atheism, and when he refused to recant his views, he was expelled, this would lead him free to pursue his poetry, and allow he and Mary to become forerunners of the original Free Love movement.
Speaking of love, a particularly famous story has the both of them fucking on Mary Wollstonecraft’s grave.
Another thing about these two, they were close personal friends with the infamous poet Lord Byron, who I shouldn’t have to go into too much detail here when I say that he was once scandalized across England as being, “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” His love affairs with both sexes were sometimes more famous than his actual poetry, at one point in life he lived in a castle and threw lavish parties in which he’d drink wine from a goblet shaped like a human skull.
It was on the night these fuckers and some other crazy people were telling each other ghost stories that she took the inspiration to write mother fucking Frankenstein.
Now look at that face, look at this bitch. Think about everything you’ve just learned about her? Demure and proper? Hardly.
She was an anarchist, an atheist, a feminist, and a pioneer of free love who hung out with psychotic-romantic poets, and wrote one of the most enduring Gothic novels of all time.
So, would someone please finally depict her as the badass bitch she really was?