?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Okay, I Don't Get It.

Social/religious (sorta) post here; scroll on by if you'd like to avoid the topic.

This morning in The Washington Post, I happened upon a four-column advertisement which had a picture of some guy in a Santa hat with a sort of cartoon shrug on his face, and the caption read:

"WHY BELIEVE IN A GOD?
Why not be good FOR GOODNESS SAKE?"

The ad was placed by the "American Humanist Association," apparently for the purpose of proselytizing the cause of secular humanism. A little digging around on the internet reveals that this is part of a larger ad campaign that cost something along the lines of $40,000 and includes signs on buses, ads in other major national papers, and so on.

Well ... um ... okay. But I have to ask, "What's the point?"

I mean, I'm pretty much a secular humanist myself [1]; but as such, it's no skin off my nose if people believe in God or not. Is it really worth spending $40k dissing God? Particularly when that $40k could house and feed, say, families displaced by catastrophe, or possibly refugees fleeing from violence in far too many parts of the world?

Seriously, American Humanist Association, where are your priorities? I'm used to the forces of Big Christianity [2] driving around in limos while they cry about the starving children in Africa and blame (gays/liberals/foreigners/etc.) for everything bad that happens ... the last thing we need now is Big Atheism. :P

-The Gneech

[1] I do have religious beliefs of a sort, but my philosophical standpoint is that there's no way I can know whether they're actually true or not without dying, so they don't provide much of a foundation for moral or ethical behavior. That has to come from intelligence guided by experience (as Rex Stout would say).

[2] Fortunately, the era of the televangelist seems to have run its course. But for somebody who grew up in Jerry Falwell's home state, the bad taste will always linger.

Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
barberio
Nov. 13th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
I call this Evangelical Dawkinism.
sirfox
Nov. 13th, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
I think that the point of the campaign is because quite a lot of people (of a religious upbringing) are possessed of the notion that it isn't possible to be good or moral WITHOUT the guidance of a higher being.

There are a great many people who are impossible to convince otherwise, but probably quite a few who were just taught this and accept it, but mostly because they never considered an alternative. I think that they are the target audience.

I'm not sure it's the best way to get the message across, but religion's got a few thousand years of PR behind it, while atheists (as a cohesive group) are relatively new on the scene. The atheist route takes more effort and responsibility, you've gotta decide what is moral, instead of just subscribing to somebody else's decisions on the matter. (possibly decided several millennia ago) That can be a hard sell, especially to their target audience, but they're trying.

I've taken courses on ethics, and it can get quite difficult quite quickly, but the most important thing that i took away is that you can't ever just set down certain things as moral and ethical, other things as not, and then walk away and assume that such matters will always hold true in the future, while the world changes around us.
the_gneech
Nov. 13th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
Well, the thing that confuses me is, why care if they have that notion or not? I understand (and applaud) fighting against religion being taught as if it were science — but if people are doing good, who cares if they do it because they think God says so?

Lots of my friends and relatives draw a lot of strength and comfort from their religious beliefs; I can't imagine wanting to take that away from them even if I suspect they may not have their facts straight, as long as they afford me the same courtesy.

Plus, like I say, there are much better uses for $40,000 if they really claim to care about being good.

-The Gneech
(no subject) - kit_ping - Nov. 13th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: A slight correction - sirfox - Nov. 13th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A slight correction - sirfox - Nov. 13th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A slight correction - athelind - Nov. 13th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A slight correction - kit_ping - Nov. 13th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
the_sedgwicks
Nov. 13th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
The reason is that they want to be seen and heard. They want to be different, an individual, just like everybody else.

As a Christian, I have the same problem with "Big Religion," but I realize that enerything has a branch with "Big" in front of t. People want to seem good, because they're afraid they're not. The ones who really are just do good things, without needing to call attention to it.
vverevvolf
Nov. 13th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
I find it more ironic that they're using a character based on a Catholic Saint to say not to believe in God...

Logic Failure !!!
xydexx
Nov. 13th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Nah, real irony would be a Catholic Saint based on a Norse God.

Edited at 2008-11-13 05:42 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - susandeer - Nov. 13th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - susandeer - Nov. 13th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vverevvolf - Nov. 13th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
maxgoof
Nov. 13th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
Why not be good for goodness sake?

How do they determine what is good?
xydexx
Nov. 13th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
How do they determine what is good?
By thinking.
(no subject) - maxgoof - Nov. 13th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xydexx - Nov. 13th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxgoof - Nov. 13th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_gneech - Nov. 13th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxgoof - Nov. 14th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shockwave77598 - Nov. 13th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxgoof - Nov. 13th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Math is hard! - xydexx - Nov. 13th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Math is hard! - maxgoof - Nov. 14th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shockwave77598 - Nov. 13th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxgoof - Nov. 14th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxgoof - Nov. 14th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC) - Expand
xydexx
Nov. 13th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
What sirfox said. Believing in God does not equate to a having a monopoly on Doing Good Deeds. People think atheists are immoral, but that's not true—having different morals doesn't mean one doesn't have any.

My brothers and I once asked my late grandmother why she never went to church. She said she didn't think it was necessary to go to church to be a good person. I agree with this.

This is in no way meant to dis religion; it's very useful and provides structure to people's lives.
shockwave77598
Nov. 13th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
Of all the tools Satan has at his disposal, none is as damaging as the Televanelist - for he misleads the faithful and drives away those who would otherwise want to find God.
xydexx
Nov. 13th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear!
susandeer
Nov. 13th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
It's an interesting message, but perhaps not the best wording.
hantamouse
Nov. 13th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
But a 'better' message wouldn't have gotten noticed, and you don't spend $40k on ads to not get noticed. Its all marketing.
chipuni
Nov. 14th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
I'd say that it was a very effective advertisement...

It got you to talk about the American Humanist Association, didn't it?
kyhwana
Nov. 14th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC)
vs the $70 million spent on just prop 8? 40k is chump change.

the_gneech
Nov. 14th, 2008 12:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, but the $70M crowd are those from whom I don't expect any better. Everything in my post about doing good works applies to them in stereo, but I can't imagine them ever actually listening.

-The Gneech
(no subject) - kyhwana - Nov. 14th, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
c_eagle
Nov. 14th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
E G O
You make an Excellent point, me friend..

"Is it really worth spending $40k dissing God?"

Most likely because people have EGO, and those who do not manage it, allow it to manage them, and thereby inflict misery and intrusion upon other's lives.

It goes on and on, just as even those most angelic will yet be criticized. It is one of life's unfortunate disappointments. Perhaps an allegory wqould be Jefferson's warning, that the price of liberty and freedom is vigilance... because just resting completely can allow the wicked to nibble away at it.
kyhwana
Nov. 14th, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)
Re: E G O
You mean just like how "God" spent $35million dissing gay people?
"Most likely because people have EGO, and those who do not manage it, allow it to manage them, and thereby inflict misery and intrusion upon other's lives."

See christians who voted to ban gay marriage.

Zing.

Re: E G O - c_eagle - Nov. 14th, 2008 09:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: E G O - c_eagle - Nov. 14th, 2008 09:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: E G O - kyhwana - Nov. 14th, 2008 10:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: L E G O S - c_eagle - Nov. 14th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: E G O - the_gneech - Nov. 14th, 2008 12:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: E G O - kyhwana - Nov. 14th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: E G O - the_gneech - Nov. 14th, 2008 12:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: E G O - kyhwana - Nov. 14th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
c_eagle
Nov. 14th, 2008 09:53 am (UTC)
...footnote:
Just to be clear, since naturally someone could misinterpret it... this is meant to apply to *both* sides of the issue.
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow