On Monday, an organization called American Atheist will erect two billboards, one next to a mosque in in Paterson, NJ, and one in an Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. Both contain the message “You know it’s a myth and you have a choice” written next to the word God and translated into Arabic and Hebrew respectively. American Atheist claims on its site that “Insular communities like these are designed to squelch individualism and religious criticism, making the atheists in these communities feel particularly alone — they are not.” The web site also invites atheists, closeted or otherwise, to the 49 year old organization’s Reason Rally which will take place in Washington DC on March 24th which will be followed by The National Convention of American Atheists on March 25 – 26 at nearby Bethesda, MD.

Now some may take offense to this message, obviously, but it is kind of clever. By using the name of God on their billboards, they virtually assure that the billboards will not be destroyed because, at least in Judaism, any object with the name of God on it cannot be destroyed – old prayer books and religious texts are not discarded, they are carefully buried. I’ve never heard of a billboard being buried before, but I’m sure that there are a number of Orthodox Jews who will be only to happy to help out in that respect.

But I digress. Really, these billboards ought to be viewed as civic-minded public service announcements. See, people of faith are ignorant. Despite the fact that they live in America, they apparently have no idea that they live in what is arguably the freest country in the world. No idea! Can you imagine?? Members of the Muslim and Orthodox communities are apparently immune to the prolific messages of the mass media that extol the worth of any number of anti-religious lifestyles and values. America is a free country, people can choose to believe whatever they want to believe, but these people of faith have no idea! Thank you American Atheist!

Another valuable lesson American Atheist has imparted is their demonstration of the fact that self righteous religious zealots do not have a monopoly on either self righteousness or zealotry.

Yeah.

About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

14 Comments

  • Perhaps AmercianAtheists should change their name to AmericanFirstGradersNahNahNahNahNah

  • You give these insular communities too much credit (though maybe you are being sarcastic…?). I grew up next to New Square, and atheism might well have been from Mars to them. I think this is a really great way to reach those who feel a niggling dissatisfaction with their oppressed lives.

  • David, where are you? Why aren’t you answering my phone calls, text messages, and e-mails? Have you become agnostic about my existence?

  • Billboards such as these are designed to shock and cause deliberate offense. They will therefore cause religious onlookers adopt an immediate defensive posture, and become even more intractably dogmatic.

    A more effective ad campaign would read: “Is it a myth? Learn more at http://www….” This has the capacity to make the viewer feel the billboard’s sponsor is WITH them, rather than against them. And that is not only a lot smarter vis-a-vis the psychology of persuasion, it’s also more ethical, more compassionate. After all, who wants to become an atheist if it means being callous, mocking and arrogant?

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