EEK! Godlessness comes to Utah

Just got an email from the Coalition of Reason saying that there is a “godless” billboard set up in the Salt Lake City area promoting athiesm.

You can see a picture of it here (click!) 

I’m sure the sign will draw the usual protests from the sorts of people who think we need more, not less, God in our daily lives because we all know how wonderful that would make life.

Christians in Congress never ever play hanky-panky with legislation or break the law, and look how wonderfully peaceful Islamic countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan are, since they have God as a permanent part of their governments.

I grow weary of the “My God is better than your God” debate, or even the “My lack of God is better than your God”  argument.

There are thousands of religions on the planet and every one of them is the real one. People who lead good lives without someone holding the fear of fire and brimstone over their heads do have a bit of an edge when it comes to “living like Christ”  since Christ did preach that those who do good just for the sake of doing good were really the ones who follow is teachings. That was the point behind the ”Good Samaritan” story.

But on the other hand, this sort of in-your-face lack of religion as shown by this billboard isn’t a whole lot better. The sign is supposedly there to give comfort to those who don’t believe in God, but it’s also done with the sure knowledge it will be a poke in the eye of those who do believe in God.

How “There-is-no-Christ-like” is that?

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34 Responses to EEK! Godlessness comes to Utah

  1. Jamie says:

    This is why I read this stuff. I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Fred Edwords says:

    Thank you for reporting this and providing the link. Just be aware that the billboard isn’t there to merely give comfort to the like-minded but also to let them know there are groups in Utah to serve them. It is put up in the \sure knowledge,\ or at least hope, that it will generate the sort of media attention that will let many more like-minded people know about Utah reason groups than happen to drive by and actually see the billboard. Outreach is important here. Most godless folks don’t know very many others like themselves. Even if they run into them they wouldn’t know it, since nobody’s talking. We live in an atmosphere of \don’t ask, don’t tell\ when it comes to atheism or agnosticism. So hopefully this billboard will help break the silence, which we consider a kindly and helpful thing to do for those who might otherwise feel isolated.

    Fred Edwords
    National Director
    United Coalition of Reason

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      Thanks Fred. I wish I were more comfortable with the term “godless” in this or any context — I see where you are coming from but it’s been used as a slur for so long it just looks weird.

  3. Kai Bolger says:

    I hope you are being merely obtuse, rather than intentionally disingenuous. If the billboard had said, “Don’t believe in Buddha? You are not alone.”, would you consider that a “poke in the eye” to all Buddhists? The billboard’s intent is clear: to give support to “non-believers”, of whom there are tens of millions in this country alone, telling them that they have as much right to their beliefs as anyone else. If anyone, Christian or otherwise, CHOOSES to take offense at this positive message, then the problem is within himself: he wants his beliefs respected, sometimes even given special privilege, but takes offense at others expecting the same right. Take notice, Christians: you don’t own the world, or even the country; you don’t have a monopoly on goodness or righteousness; more crimes against humanity have been committed for religious reasons than in support of atheism or agnosticism; and people of different beliefs have the right to live their lives and express their opinions without being subjected to the ridiculous claim that they are conducting a “war on Christianity”. People who don’t believe as you do are not committing aggression – they are just trying to live their lives, free of your insufferably self-important and parochial attitude that anyone who doesn’t agree with you must be bad and should be suppressed. The vast majority of people currently living in the world are NOT Christian, and over the history of the world only a tiny minority have been Christian. Get some perspective: you are a relatively recent minority religion whose adherents have generally not distinguished themselves as being very Christ-like. Don’t like the billboard? Don’t agree with its message? Put up a billboard that says, “Believe in God? You are not alone.”, and be glad you live in a country where EVERYONE’S religious belief can be freely expressed.

  4. Zion Wordsmith says:

    “…”Let them Worship, How, Where, ore What they May…”
    Just a possibility Charles, [Madeleene O'Hare] is having
    a “Good Hair Day”, though Pope [Benedict] and the U S
    Council of Bishops may call it “Heirsey”.

  5. Howard Ratcliffe says:

    The terms Freedom and Liberty sound good on paper but they mean Freedom and Liberty from God. Specifically Jacob’s Yoke that is upon Esau at present from Gen 27:40KJV. The Statue of Liberty aka Columbia and the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Rotunda face east toward the rising Sun, their backs turned toward the Nation they represent for this reason.

  6. hawg says:

    why exactly does an atheist or agnostic need a support group?
    what are they missing that they are in search of? doesn’t make sense.
    I don’t believe in martians, I don’t particularly feel alienated (intended) nor need of supoort. seems wierd

    • Wayne says:

      If 70%+ of the population did believe in Martians and you were one of the few sane people who didn’t, and believing in Martians was a huge part of every day life–churches and temples dedicated to Martians everywhere you go, social groups built around believing in Martians that exclude non-believers, employers who won’t hire you if you don’t believe in Martians–you might feel like you’d need some support.

      • Howard Ratcliffe says:

        The more prudent thing would be to analyze Martian temperature, magnetic field and atmosphere to determine how much NASA has been lying about Mars. Hollywood’s Beefcake Buster Crabb’s Buck Rogers with the Orson Welles was a concerted effort to get people to see faces on Mars eh? NASA is carrying on the lie and spending billions in the process.

    • Sean says:

      hawg, you probably don’t feel like you need support in your lack of belief in martians, because you aren’t surrounded by people who do on a constant basis. You aren’t consistently pummeled by their belief, they don’t knock on your door and try to teach you about martians, and how amazing they are. Your life isn’t controlled by laws set up to foster belief in martians, and to give advantage to those who do. Your children aren’t mocked at school because they don’t believe in martians. Etc. Etc. Etc.

  7. Judy says:

    It’s not about “support groups.” It’s the same thing as seeking out other people who have the same interests and making new friends—reaching out to other free thinkers and potentially broadening one’s horizons by meeting new people in the spirit of open dialogue and discussion.

  8. you lack intelligence says:

    This sign is in Utah, one of the most religious-crazed states. If there is a 13 year old kid who is thinking, \Wow, these stories are were cool when I was 8, just like the tooth fairy, but I don’t know any more…\, now they know where are other people to discuss ideas and find new information. If they grow up in a Mormom household/community, they will definitely feel alienated by their thoughts/beliefs. Use your brain. You don’t believe in martians? I didn’t know there were books, places of worship, etc. for martians like there are for God. Man, you are really stupid. Go read some books. Or anything for that matter. Educated yourself you idiot.

    • Sean says:

      How exactly is this helpful? Do you usually get good results in getting your point across by using scathing insults?

  9. you lack intelligence says:

    This sign is in Utah, one of the most religious-crazed states. If there is a 13 year old kid who is thinking, “Wow, these stories are were cool when I was 8, just like the tooth fairy, but I don’t know any more…”, now they know where are other people to discuss ideas and find new information. If they grow up in a Mormom household/community, they will definitely feel alienated by their thoughts/beliefs. Use your brain. You don’t believe in martians? I didn’t know there were books, places of worship, etc. for martians like there are for God. Man, you are really stupid. Go read some books. Or anything for that matter. Educated yourself you idiot.

  10. Sean says:

    “Educated yourself you idiot.”

    Really? The irony is thick…

  11. Henri says:

    I’ve been told by friends and family here in Utah that, because I no longer believe in Mormonism, my beliefs are no longer valid. When I try to defend myself they tell me they don’t want to hear anything I have to say.

    So, yes, billboards like this are necessary, not to rub the noses of the believers in it, but to say to those like me, “Yes, your beliefs (or lack of them) *are* valid!”

  12. hawg says:

    wow, now it’s clear why some of you guys need a support group.
    such whiny ass pansies. I guess if you are that sensitive and weak that EVERYTHING in your life is an attack on you, then maybe you better meet with other tender sensitive people.

    of course you whiners make the ASSumption I’m some kind of dedicated christian out to get you. but none of the above has occurred to me.

    pretty flowers or thorns, i’m ambarrassed you let people control your lives so much.

    • Wayne says:

      Since no one said anything of the sort, I suggest you read the comments again, but try really hard to understand what they’re saying instead of shoving it all into the assumptions you’ve already made. It’s entirely possible to understand where someone is coming from EVEN IF you don’t agree with them, if you just try.

    • Sean says:

      Hey, you know what people do in “support groups”? Vent. And you know what people vent about sometimes? Judgmental people.

      Hawg, tell me how your ignorant judgmental attitude is any different than any other ignorant judgmental attitude, whether it comes from a religious or non-religious person?

      You want to deride people for ASSuming things? You did that very thing. Multiple times. And you got them all wrong. Nobody said anything about viewing everything as an attack. Nobody said anything about you being a christian or anything else. Nobody said anything about how you were out to get “us”. You asked a question using an analogy. Your question was answered in a civilized fashion, using your same analogy. No one attacked you. And people who get together to talk and/or vent don’t need to feel “controlled” by anybody to have a reason to do so.

      If you don’t need anybody in your life… good for you. But don’t judge other people for wanting to get together with like-minded people to talk about… whatever.

      Oh, and it’s “Embarrassed”. :D

      • Erick says:

        I think Hawg just misunderstands what a “support group” is. She seems to trivialize it by drawing comparison with counselling groups that focus on various forms of healing and reconcilliation. I would look at this organizations probably more like a club, or social community. It’s just a hub for allowing people of like minds to meet, build relationships, and organize for useful (perhaps civic?) purposes. It should really be no more complicated than that. It’s more or less what religious people do at Church, gather to support one another.

  13. Jerry says:

    I prefer “god-free” to “godless”.

  14. Bob Becker says:

    I’ve been aware of the billboards in other places, but did not know one had gone up in Utah. Thanks for the pointer, Mr. T.

    But you’re wrong to suggest the whole point of the sign is to annoy believers. Non-believers are in a substantial minority nationwide, and generally don’t make an issue of their non-belief because proselytizing is not mandated upon them by a Higher Authority — I have yet to have a brace of atheist missionaries knock at my door — and to avoid being discriminated against. [Non believers are, because of their non belief, are the least trusted group in the US. When it comes to election to office for example, we rank in terms of public trust at the moment below Muslims and lawyers.]

    Surrounded by billboard Christianity all across the land, I see nothing wrong or unfortunate about these new billboards and think they can and do serve a useful purpose that goes well beyond hoping to annoy believers in general and Christians in particular. The main purpose seems to me is to get the name and web address of the sponsoring organization “out there” [so to speak] so like-thinking folk who would be interested can find them. In short, it’s advertising, which after all is why Flying Spaghetti Monster invented billboards in the first place.

  15. hawg says:

    \Hey, you know what people do in “support groups”? Vent\

    very well, I do it here.

    \Hawg, tell me how your ignorant judgmental attitude is any different than any other ignorant judgmental attitude, whether it comes from a religious or non-religious person?\

    it’s only judgmental and libelous if it’s not true. calling the sky blue is not judgemental.

    \Nobody said anything about viewing everything as an attack.\

    really? can’t imagine where I got that idea. \churches and temples everywhere; social groups excluding non-believers; surrounded by people who don’t share their belief; consistantly pummeled by their belief; they knock on your door; set up laws to control your life; mocked at school\

    \Nobody said anything about you being a christian or anything else. Nobody said anything about how you were out to get “us”.\

    totality of circumstanes, read all the threads floating about. yes, ‘they’ are represented as to be out to get us.

    \No one attacked you.\
    \Educated(sic) yourself you idiot.\
    not much of an attack considering the guy is a moron.

    \Oh, and it’s “Embarrassed”.\
    and for that I am truly ambarrassed, thank you.

  16. Jim Kennick says:

    I don’t see what all of the fuss is about. We live in America, we have freedom of Religion, If Christians can put up a sign along the roadside, why can’t Non believers, Free Thinkers, Witches, Devil Worshipers or whoever, The so called Christens that teach love and forgiveness, are the first ones up in arms, ready to do battle, when they find someone that doesn’t believe the same as them. If you don’t believe me, go ask an American Indian.

  17. Bob Sheidler says:

    Jesus! The billboard is perhaps the least offensive of all those I have seen — doesn’t in any way whatsoever disparage anyone’s religion or belief, doesn’t ask anyone to challenge his/her own beliefs in a deity or any of his/her other religious beliefs or practices….

    If simply telling others who DON’T believe that there are others like them here in Utah is considered “in your face” or offensive, I don’t know what we are supposed to do, other than just stay in the closet.

    Here in Utah, we cannot drive through any metro area without seeing a barrage of billboards aimed at Mormons, and few, if any of these are the slightest bit offensive to me: they are aimed at other Mormons, and are advising them of products or services that might be of interest of value to them.

    Actually, I am aware of little controversy over the “Godless” billboard, although perhaps, living in the Wasatch Back, I am just out of touch. I did see the short segment on Channel 2 News several days ago (seemed pretty evenhanded) and have heard a few people mention it in passing, but aside from this blog, have not heard anyone who seemed offended.

  18. Danielle says:

    I agree!! I think it is a very respectful sign meant to let people know there are resources for non-believers, just like therr are resources for believets! I appreciated feeling like I have companions in my somewhat “rare” beliefs! I don’t think this is an in your face thing at all, some just take things the wrong way.

  19. Pingback: EEK! Godlessness comes to Utah | Utah Coalition of Reason

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