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Nov 06 2010

Good without god. But… Isn’t that impossible?

The mere idea that there are individuals who do not believe in god, and some that even have the audacity to say so, is tremendously offensive to a certain segment of the population. If someone implies that it is possible for people to be good people without that belief, some of the offended people might have a conniption.

I like it when some of the offense and the conniptions actually happen close to home. It makes me feel needed.

The Illini Secular Student Alliance has launched a Secular Samaritan bus ad campaign. This is certainly not the first atheist bus ad campaign, but it is the first that I’m aware of in the Champaign/Urbana area.

One of the bus ads that will be used features Warren Buffett:

Warren Buffet Secular Samaritan Ad

Warren Buffet Secular Samaritan Ad

One local television station, WAND-TV, posted a photo of an atheist bus advertisement on their FaceBook wall photos on Thursday, 5 November 2010. The ad in their photo is from the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign.

You can be good without god. inatheistbus.org

Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign Ad

The photo on FaceBook had the following caption: “Ads like the one you see below are going up on buses in the Champaign/Urbana area. What do you think about this?”

The comments below the photo were… interesting. Some comments confirmed my knowledge that some people do understand the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Other comments helped me to understand that many other people do not understand the freedoms we enjoy in this country. They seem to think that those freedoms only apply to them, not to anyone who thinks or acts differently.

Facebook Bus Comments 01

At least the first comment wasn’t bad. That person understands. Churches and religious groups frequently have advertisements posted on the inside of the buses in Champaign/Urbana.

For the second commenter, I must ask what way is this country? In other words, What the fuck are you talking about? You admit that it’s possible to be good without god, but stress that you can’t get into heaven on good works alone. Here’s a clue for you: Those of us who are good without god don’t believe in heaven either. That seems to be difficult for some people to grasp. Discernment is the key? The key to what? Sense make little you very.

Facebook Bus Comments 02

At least his first sentence was correct. He seems to think that the “opinion” presented is untrue. Looking at our country is proof of what, exactly? Who is this “they” that he refers to? A giant atheistic conspiracy? Sorry, pal, but one of the things our troops are protecting is our Constitution. Your god has no place in our Constitution. Read the First Amendment at the very least. As I mentioned above, churches and religious groups already have ads on the buses. [I'm not going to touch on the misspelling.]

Facebook Bus Comments 03

My first question has to be, “Exactly how fucking stupid are you?” Did this person actually utilize any brain cells before putting their fingers on the keyboard? Who is it that is keeping Christians from promoting Christianity, Jesus, or their god? Where are those religious censors? They must be crawling out of the woodwork, keeping everyone from uttering any biblical phrases. Yet another person who doesn’t understand that First Amendment.

Facebook Bus Comments 04

Who would those certain people be? Atheists? How is being a good person without your god an “alltime low?” Just for future reference; as atheists, we don’t believe in any devil either. That’s a religious thing.

Facebook Bus Comments 05

Yes, you can say pretty much what you want, no matter how misinformed and utterly ignorant it might be. I think you hit both of those targets with that comment.

Facebook Bus Comments 06

Hooray! Someone else understands freedom of speech!

Facebook Bus Comments 07

LOL! “And so begins our decline as a great nation!” Dude, you are so deluded.

Yes, churches do place advertisements on the bus. Thank you for being one of the rational few.

You’d rather walk? Go right ahead if you think it means that much to you. Are you really that upset by the fact that someone you don’t know doesn’t believe in the same myths you do? My mind simply boggles.

Once again; we don’t believe in any god, nor do we believe in heaven, nor Jesus, nor some final judgment. Those things are meaningless to an atheist.

Facebook Bus Comments 08

Hooray for freedom of (and from) religion (and recognition that it exists). Denying the existence of a deity might be blasphemous to you, but the idea of blasphemy doesn’t mean a damned thing to us atheists. It’s a religious concept.

If you’d rather walk through rain/sleet/snow/cold than ride a bus with a secular advertisement on it, then be my guest. Your god doesn’t belong in our nation’s educational system because of our First Amendment.

“In God We Trust” did not become our national motto until 1956. How does that equate to “always?” I guess always means “longer than I can remember.” [In my opinion, the word god should be removed from our money and the pledge of allegiance as well.] We “as a nation” have nothing to do with your god. Keep it out of our government, please.

OMG! WTF?!? OMGWTFBBQ?!!? WHARRGARBL!!1!11! “I WAS NOT RAISED LIKE THIS!!!” You weren’t? Big fucking la-dee-da deal. What are we teaching the next generation? Not enough critical thinking, in my opinion. How wild is the mere fact that atheists exist?

The comments continue in a similar vein. Many are supportive or non-committal, at the least recognizing the right to advertise in such a way. Many others, however, continue to exhibit ignorance, fear, and misinformation.

One comment calls the speech on the sign “reprehensible and repulsive.” Wow. I thought the sign said “Good without god.” I didn’t know it actually said “Atheists should be allowed to rape nuns and eat babies for breakfast.”

We get another one like this:

Facebook Bus Comments 10

That’s it. I’ve had enough of these. Look. lady: I want to know who the fuck says you’re not able to post things about your god?!?! NOBODY! That’s who!

You’re offended by the idea on the sign? Too fucking bad! You don’t have any right to not be offended. Your sheer ignorance offends me. The fact that you are so grossly misinformed, yet still allowed to vote in governmental elections offends me. Do you know what? It doesn’t matter. I’ll wake up in the morning and get on with my life, while you’ll still be ignorant and deeply offended.

I could go on like this forever, it seems, but I won’t. I think you get the idea. There are a lot of highly misinformed and ignorant people in the world. I, for one, don’t intend to let them ruin my day by being the loud shouting majority who always gets their way.

There are more Christians in the US than there are atheists. It doesn’t matter. We’re here, just like we always have been, and we know our rights. Atheism is nothing new. You were born an atheist, and remained one until your parents took you to church. If your “faith” is so shaky that you can’t handle a sign on a bus that says some people don’t think the same way you do, you’re pretty fucking sad.

10 comments

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  1. khan

    “In God We Trust” did not become our national motto until 1956.

    I’m old enough to remember the change.

    Ignorant cretins also think the Pledge of Allegiance with ‘under god’ somehow goes back to 1776.

    1. Dan Johnson

      Yeah, the “red scare” had quite an effect on the nation, not the least of which was a lot of misplaced religiosity to fight the godless communists.

  2. Mike

    Hi Dan J.–

    I found your blog by following a link from Twitter where you had added my feed to a public list or some such thing. (I’m a nerd but only half understand all the stuff Twitter can do….).

    Anyway, I appreciate this post very much. My family lives in a teeny, closed-minded town south of Urbana, where we tend to keep our non-religiousness (and intelligence!) to ourselves lest we be burned at the stake by the bible-beating (and usually hugely homophobic to boot) citizenry.

    I always joke to my wife that if you’re ever in town and get a flat tire on Sunday morning, I’ll be the one that will pull over to help you–everyone else will be speeding by to make sure they don’t get to church late.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Take care.

    Mike

    1. Dan Johnson

      It’s great to see another person from the area who doesn’t think the Bible is the only book you’ll ever need. :)

      It’s interesting how much the philosophical landscape changes as you increase the distance from UIUC. Is it the University, or just the larger Chambana area?

      Hope that you and I can look at the bus ads soon and laugh at the people having a conniption over them!

  3. LJ

    Dan, we’re part of the same C-U twitter group and I actually thought of you yesterday when I saw yet another Christian billboard in Champaign. I turned to my husband in the car and said “you never see Atheist billboards around here.” I have written a bit about my religious feelings on my blog and it’s really interesting to see the kind of responses I get from friends. Unfortunately, like Mike, I have to keep a bit of a lid on it so that it doesn’t effect the rest of my family. My personal philosophy is I don’t judge you for your beliefs so don’t judge me for mine. I really can’t stand the Christian billboards and some are downright offensive, but I don’t think there’s a need for atheist billboards either. You are right, though – if you’re going to dish it out, you have to be able to take it.

    1. Dan Johnson

      Hi LJ! Glad to see another local resident here.

      I always find it frustrating when something that is a part of a person’s personal life can have a very detrimental effect on their job by simply mentioning it. It shouldn’t matter if a person is religious or not, or if they like to drink a beer or two in the evening, etc. As long as that thing doesn’t affect job performance, then it shouldn’t matter. There seems to be too much judgment from both sides of many issues like that.

      I never have a problem with the advertisements by churches that are along the lines of “Come experience our fellowship: Saturdays at 5pm, Sundays at 10am.” It’s the “We’re better people than most because…” type of things that really get to me.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  4. Alvin

    Hi Dan,

    i’m an atheist from the small cunt-tree ov the Philippines and i just wanna say, i really like your article. i also want to give you a brief history lesson about my pathetic little country. we were slaves by the spaniards for 333 fucking years before we got our declaration ov independence in 1898, but! the ghost ov catholic religion/priests/bishops and the whole chess pieces still haunts most ov my people until now. we have a serious problem with the stupid pedophiles in the congress because people believe that they hold the key to salvation. (i’m talking about the catholic bishops conference ov the philippines) i believe that our our country’s constitution is a secular one. but, stupid religious dogma over rules everything.

    we have a small group in facebook, roughly 1000+ members (i hope that’s not all the atheists in the philippines combined) and we’re starting to get attention,. our reliable sources even confirmed that the church is plotting something to crush our organization and ruin our convention next year. we have the same motto like you guys. “you can be good without god”. well anyway that’s all i want to convey. keep up the good godless work there. and take care!

    1. Dan Johnson

      I’m very happy that you found my blog, Alvin. The religious culture in your country has been very powerful for so long, and it will be hard to shake its grasp loose. I wish you great success in providing critical thinking for the future of the Philippines.

  5. Sean

    I much enjoyed reading this blog. I live in Southern Texas, near Austin, the community here is a little more tolerant to atheism, but I was raised in a backwards, politically and religiously stagnant town. I find it odd how it’s okay for Christians (in my case) to trod on my right of freedom from religion, but as soon as I mention I’m an atheist, suddenly it’s an affront to their very being and I should be burning in hell for all eternity or other such punishments.

    1. Dan Johnson

      Thanks, Sean. Austin seems to contain one of the larger oases of moderation in a state with large concentrations of severe hatred of anything resembling a liberal thought. Keep fighting the good fight down there!

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