Humanists launch Godless holiday campaign - FOX News mocks it.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails today about a American Humanist Association press release about a new bus campaign they’ve launched in Washington D.C.. Here’s one news item on the topic from HometownAnnapolis.com:

You better watch out. There is a new combatant in the Christmas wars.

Ads proclaiming, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake,” will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday.

[…] “We are trying to reach our audience, and sometimes in order to reach an audience, everybody has to hear you,” said Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group. “Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion.”

To that end, the ads and posters will include a link to a Web site that will seek to connect and organize like-minded thinkers in the D.C. area, Edwords said.

Edwords said the purpose isn’t to argue that God doesn’t exist or change minds about a deity, although “we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.”

Needless to say, various Christian groups, particularly those involved in the annual War!On!Christmas! nonsense, aren’t too impressed with these ads. Take AFA president Tim Wildmon’s reaction for example:

“It’s a stupid ad,” he said. “How do we define ‘good’ if we don’t believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what’s good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what’s good, it’s going to be a crazy world.”

Hate to break the news to you, Tom, but everyone already defines what’s good individually. Some of you just use God as a lame rationalization for your opinion on what is good.

Also on Tuesday, the Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal group, launched its sixth annual “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign.” Liberty Counsel has intervened in disputes over nativity scenes and government bans on Christmas decorations, among other things.

“It’s the ultimate grinch to say there is no God at a time when millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Christ,” said Mathew Staver, the group’s chairman and dean of the Liberty University School of Law. “Certainly, they have the right to believe what they want but this is insulting.”

What’s insulting is your insistence that Christmas has anything to do with Christ’s birth when there’s not a credible Biblical scholar around who thinks Christ was born anywhere near December 25th.

Both of those responses pale in comparison to Fox News’ own Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Alisyn Camerota as they discussed the ad campaign in mocking terms:

That whole thing is so full of idiotic assumptions that it would take multiple entries just to address them all. Take for example that Atheists don’t celebrate Christmas when, in fact, quite a few of us do. There’s a whole secular side to Christmas and plenty of customs that have nothing to do with the religious aspects that have been forced on the holiday by Christians. You may have noticed that I make use of the word “Krismas” to indicate the difference. What’s really annoying, however, is that rather than discuss the message of the ad—which suggests that belief in a God isn’t a requirement for being good—they opted to simply mock atheists with a lot of strawman arguments and then suggest that we shouldn’t be allowed to put up messages such as this one on public buses.

34 thoughts on “Humanists launch Godless holiday campaign - FOX News mocks it.

  1. Just curious, where is the quote about non-theists feeling “a little alone” coming from?  I didn’t see that in the press release.

  2. I do not have a problem with Atheists celebrating Christmas as a sort of secular holiday. There is a secular side to Christmas, as Les says. And as Les says, December 25 is not Jesus’ actual birthday, according to the Bible he was born some time during the Spring; December 25 was chosen merely to rival an important Pagan holiday. So its fair game, then, for Atheists to do sort of the same thing and use that day for their own sort of holiday. Atheists have families, after all, and their kids should not be deprived of presents and that kind of thing.

    I do think the bus ad would likely create anger more than anything else, but certainly people can advertise whatever message they like.

  3. One other thing, though, I think it is wrong to suggest that Christmas doesn’t have “anything to do with Christ’s birth.” We may not know the actual day he was born, as I said, but that is not really the point. The point is it is a day to celebrate his birth, whenever that may have been.

  4. Fuck them, I celebrate Christmas utterly secularly…with my Jewish side of the family. I want to go into that studio and scream at them all for being so god dam stupid.

  5. DOF:

    a 0.274% chance that Jesus was born on 25 December

    Damn! That’s the strongest evidence I’ve yet seen for the birth of Christ. I’m a believer, now, too.  snake

  6. i like your beard

    MORE evidence for the birth of Christ!  And you should have seen that grilled cheese sandwich I ate yesterday.  It had nothing to do with Christ, but it was a great cheese sandwich.

  7. The point is it is a day to celebrate his birth, whenever that may have been.

    Who cares when he was born? If anything, the big Christian celebration should be when he died, Easter, because, after all, that was the whole point for his little trip down to Earth, to save us sinners after being brutally tortured and nailed to a wooden cross. (But only if we “accept” him, of course. God can only do so much on his own to save us after all.)

    I just love the Christian militant who says that people who don’t believe in God can’t know what love is because God tells us so right there in his little how-to manual, the Bible. So I guess if I beat my wife to death because she’s having a period, stone my next door neighbor who happens to be a dwarf and dared to go to church in his ungodly deformity, and kill my son just because God told me to so to test me on whether I really loved God or not, then I’d be defined as being good.

  8. Easter is a Christian holiday, last time I checked, and Easter is considered to be the most important Christian holiday. But for Christians Christmas is important too.

  9. What a bunch of dumbasses on Fox news!!!!! Fox news always mock atheists whenever they get a chance. It’s nothing more than a religious right wing propaganda station. It’s not a “real” news station at all.

  10. As I said, I am aware of the history of Christmas. Easter was the name of an Anglo-Saxon Pagan holiday; though this is exclusive to English, in other European languages they use a term that derives from the word “Passover.”

    Either way, the idea that you would call it “bastardizing” for first millennium Christians to adopt the date that coincided with an important Pagan holiday but at the same time write a whole thread topic about how Atheists should not be criticized for adopting this Christian holiday and making it their own seems hypocritical. As I said, I think Atheists are perfectly within their rights to do so, and this does not bother me or offend me. I think I am probably in the minority among Christians on that position. But why, then, would you cast dispersions on Christians for doing basically the same thing? They did not “bastardize” these holidays, they made them their own, as Atheists want to do today. Seems like the same thing.

  11. I do think the bus ad would likely create anger more than anything else, but certainly people can advertise whatever message they like.

    You’re right, positive.  “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake,” is certainly a hate-filled message, and would arouse justifiable anger in any upstanding person.  It starts out asking people to question their belief, and we all know where that can lead: loss of self-righteousness, belief in evolution, and finally atheism.  Then the insidious ad delivers a double whammy: the injunction to “be good for goodness’ sake”.  Just imagine the chaos that would lead to, if people took it seriously!  They’d all become Communists, or Fascists, or maybe both at the same time!

    I just hope that people keep their children away from these buses, until a law can be passed to forbid this kind of hatemongering.  Then we can again rejoice in safe, loving ads, like this one.

  12. P.S.  In the meantime, if you want some inspiration that not all is lost with the election of the Obamination, check out what the real Christians are doing: they are preparing for the coming battle.  Here’s a small sample:

    If it all is going to heck, I’m actually looking forward to it. Not in a grim way, just, as a younger man, I’m looking forward to the struggle. I think men in their nature need the struggle, just like women need kids. Modern women have to dote on pets to replace kids, while modern men have to diddle around with video games and sports to replace the struggle.

    God willing, the crap hits hard and soon, and it’ll give men problems to solve, crazies to shoot, hungry mouths to feed, women and kids to die protecting…life could be like the greatest video game ever.

    I can hardly wait.

    Oh, and positive:

    Easter was the name of an Anglo-Saxon Pagan holiday; though this is exclusive to English, in other European languages they use a term that derives from the word “Passover.”

    Not quite exclusive to English: in German, Easter is Ostern.

  13. Yet another P.S. for any language freaks out there.  Easter in Hungarian is Húsvét, which is not derived from Passover, which is Pészah.  I knew that “hús” means “meat”, and as far as I can figure out (my Hungarian is not that great, and all the explanations of the name I could find are in Hungarian) the name for Easter signifies the end of Lent, when eating meat was allowed again.  I’d be glad to hear from any Magyarok about this.

    Oh, and Easter in Estonian is “Lihavõtted”, which also sounds as though it might not be derived from “Passover” or Latin Pascha.  But my knowledge of Estonian is nil, so I can’t say.

  14. Update for all you fans of the Hungarian language: Húsvét means “meat forbidden”, so it sounds to me like the name for Lent got attached to Easter somehow.  Köszönöm to Tiko, an excellent Q3 player, for this info.

  15. Positive writes…

    As I said, I am aware of the history of Christmas. Easter was the name of an Anglo-Saxon Pagan holiday; though this is exclusive to English, in other European languages they use a term that derives from the word “Passover.”

    The Anglo-Saxon Pagan holiday was not named Easter. It was the celebration of the lunar Goddess Eostre and Easter likely took its name from that Goddess. The folks at ReligiousTolerance.org have more on Easter’s Pagan origins.

    Either way, the idea that you would call it “bastardizing” for first millennium Christians to adopt the date that coincided with an important Pagan holiday but at the same time write a whole thread topic about how Atheists should not be criticized for adopting this Christian holiday and making it their own seems hypocritical.

    Hypocritical? Not really. Atheists aren’t out to take over the holiday or to subjugate anyone over to our religious worldview by changing the symbology, we just ignore the parts we don’t agree with. The secular aspects of Christmas developed on their own in spite of the best efforts of the Church.

    Christians, when they set about making their holidays coincidentally coincide with the Pagan festivals, did so with the express intent of conversion of the heathens. The Pagan festivals were quite popular and convincing folks to give them up wasn’t going well, so one of the more clever Popes decided the people could keep their feasts and they’d just rip out as much Pagan symbology as they could and replace it with Christian symbols. That’s why I used the word bastardization. It worked for the most part though a lot of Pagan rituals and symbols still remain much to the chagrin of the folks who put it all in place.

    As I said, I think Atheists are perfectly within their rights to do so, and this does not bother me or offend me. I think I am probably in the minority among Christians on that position. But why, then, would you cast dispersions on Christians for doing basically the same thing? They did not “bastardize” these holidays, they made them their own, as Atheists want to do today. Seems like the same thing.

    See the previous paragraph for why what the atheists are doing and what the Christians did are not the same thing.

  16. You’re right, positive.  “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake,” is certainly a hate-filled message, and would arouse justifiable anger in any upstanding person.  It starts out asking people to question their belief, and we all know where that can lead: loss of self-righteousness, belief in evolution, and finally atheism.  Then the insidious ad delivers a double whammy: the injunction to “be good for goodness’ sake”.  Just imagine the chaos that would lead to, if people took it seriously!  They’d all become Communists, or Fascists, or maybe both at the same time!

    I think this rather condescending response, and Les’ comments, all really tie into what I was talking about.

    You are doing what first millennium Christians were doing when you use Christmas as an opportunity to try to get the Atheist message out as a way to rival the Christian one. That is what this bus ad is all about. And there is nothing wrong with that, Christians advertise Christianity all the time and Atheists certainly have the same right to promote Atheism. I did not say otherwise. But don’t then say that Christians in the first millennium were wrong to use December 25th as an opportunity to promote Christianity, or that they “bastardized” December 25th. There were aspects of the holiday that they retained from Paganism where appropriate, and Atheists have done the same with Christmas for their own benefit. Again, that doesn’t bother me that Atheists want to do so, and I suppose if I were an Atheist I would likely want to have my own holidays as well. But don’t then say that it was wrong for first millennium Christians to do virtually the same thing.

    And I did not say that asking people to question their beliefs is wrong or bad for society. You’re putting words in my mouth, and lots of them. I said the likely response will be one of anger and probably won’t accomplish much. I doubt seriously that someone will see the bus ad and decide “Oh, ok, I needed to see that bus ad… now I know that believing in God is a waste of time.” It wasn’t exactly that powerful of an ad. If you want to promote Atheism, a short and simplistic advertisement likely isn’t the way to go.

    I did not intend to argue with anyone here. My main point, to begin with, was that I as a Christian do not share the views of those Christians mentioned above or those people on Fox News that there is something wrong with Atheist families celebrating Christmas in their own way.

    And yes, I was not aware of the German word for Easter. But in Greek and in the Romance languages they use a word that derives from Passover. And what I meant was that the English word “Easter” derives from the Anglo-Saxon term.

  17. Positive- I didn’t mean to be condescending.  I know that you didn’t say that people would be justifiably angry about the atheist bus ad: I was just satirizing the people who probably will get exercised about it.

    I don’t agree with your finding a bus ad an inappropriate forum for promoting atheism.  Given the pervasiveness of Christian messages in American society, from “God Bless America” to “Why do Atheists Hate America”, an atheist message might at least remind people that not all Americans are believers.  Perhaps someday atheists will even be judged fit to hold office- at the moment, they are the most hated minority in the country.  A little recognition might work wonders.

    As far as the holidays go, I don’t really have a dog in that fight.  The Christians are welcome to appropriate December 25 and the Sunday after the first full moon of Spring for their purposes.  I think it’s good if everyone knows the true origins of these holidays, as pagan festivals, but as long as they serve to make people happy and promote peace, that’s fine with me.  We celebrate Christmas and Easter too, although not in a Christian fashion.

    The only holidays I personally recognize are the solstices and equinoxes, because they go to the ground of our being as inhabitants of a cyclical planet.  There will, however, be a big party in my workshop next Feb. 12, which is of course the two hundredth birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.  That should be celebrated.  Anyone who is in Vienna is cordially invited to come and raise a glass to Abe and Chuck.

    And positive- I hope you don’t get the impression that I am anti-religion, or anti-Catholic.  As they say, some of my best friends, including my wife, are Catholic.  I’m basically just interested in peaceful coexistence, and a sustainable future.  Sometimes that requires exposing dangerous falsehoods, like the common fundamentalist belief that Jesus is coming soon, so it doesn’t matter, in fact it’s a sin, to do anything about the environment.

    cheers from rainy Vienna.  Look me up if you ever get by this way, or are in the SF Bay Area in the summer.

  18. I highly recommend people watch the movie on the right at this website: http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

    The guy puts out a convincing argument that the story of Christ is just a plagiarism of the Egyptian and other religions. the story’s are all the same, just the names have been changed.

    The stories are based on the astrological procession of the Sun throughout the year.

    It’s a 2 hour movie, but the portion about this subject is the first chapter.

  19. We’ve been over the Zeitgeist movie, Logan, as well as the Jesus/Horus comparison and it’s not very convincing.

  20. Ooops, bookmarked this thread instead of site… but since I am here, I suggest Logan HIJACK this thread and discuss Zeitgeist…

  21. Now why would I want to hijack this thread to discuss something the owner has made his mind up on?

    That would be entering into a debate, and debating is useless.

  22. That’s one way to shut people up and control the over-population issue.

    Of course, that wouldn’t change people’s mind either.

  23. Getting back on topic: A few questions.

    1) What does “Believe in God” mean? Specifically the word “Believe”? Does it mean belief in God’s existence? Or does it mean belief in God’s Plan?

    2) Why do people think belief or non-belief is a choice? If it were a choice, then you would be able to change your belief on whim, like changing your socks.

    I don’t think belief is a choice, I think it is all based on one’s perception and experiences.

    I for one have never believed in anything or anyone but myself. I tried to believe in something when I was younger, but couldn’t get past the fantasy aspect of it. I can make-believe I’m the Hulk, but I find reality keeps me from actually believing I am the Hulk.

    This is one of the reasons I think debating the issue is plain silly. Sure, feel free to present your perception of reality to others, but don’t get so full of yourself to think you have the power to actually change their perception of reality. Maybe your explanation will make more sense to them, maybe it won’t.

    So does belief in the existence of a God, assume a belief in God’s Plan? I will assume those who Believe in Satan’s existence also believe in God’s, but they don’t believe in God’s Plan, but rather believe in Satan’s?

    In any case, I don’t believe in Humanists either, meaning I don’t believe in their purpose. I don’t think there is anything such as universal good or bad. I think it is all subjective based on one’s perception of reality and what they value.

    I do make a distinction between discussion and debate, discussion is never futile, as the purpose behind discussion is to gain insight. Debate on the other hand, that’s all about winning an argument, it has nothing to do with learning.

  24. Logan, we’ve debated it quite extensively. Simply because you weren’t here for it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. There’s a thread with over 400+ comments on it that deals specifically with the Horus/Jesus issue alone. You’ll find it listed under the Most Commented Threads link in the sidebar.

  25. Les,

    Yes, I did find that thread awhile back, no, it doesn’t sound like the “debate” there is over. Thanks for showing me an easier way to finding it though. :o)

    marleyinoc,

    Please feel free to ask specific questions if you require further insights into my point of view. :o)

    Oh, and for those who know me in meat space, they would tell you I say very little, and talk even less. :o)

    As far as to what I was typing about, I referring to the slogan “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake,“

    1) Does the one sentence really follow from the other?

    2) “Why believe in a god?” seems to imply an act of choice in the matter of belief.

    3) “Just be good for goodness’ sake,“ implies a some unknown standard of what being good means.

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