North Idaho atheist billboard vandalized

MOSCOW, Idaho. - In a press release issued Wednesday, the American Humanist Association said the organization may have to pay to replace an atheist billboard in Moscow after it was vandalized.

According the to American Humanist Association, the billboard, the third displayed by the organization in Moscow, reads “Millions are good without God.” The vandal(s) used what appears to be spray paint to black out the word ‘without.’

“I knew there would be some disagreement with the billboard’s slogan, but I do wish that those who objected would have opened a dialogue with us rather than trying to stifle our message and damaging property,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “A phone call would have been much nicer.”

The company that AHA contracted with to display the billboard, Lamar Outdoor, said they will assess whether or not the billboard can be cleaned. If not, the American Humanist Association will pay to have the billboard replaced.

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Why do keep bothering with all these billboards and advertising?

Who can say? It’s almost like atheism is a religion, and they are trying to recruit converts. :shrug:

This billboard was sponsored by the American Humanist Association, and I am pretty sure that some of the ad campaign in other cities have been sponsored by other organizations. So the purpose/intent of such ads may differ by organization and by city.

At any rate, here is AHA’s justification for the Moscow, Idaho billboard:

“The point of the billboard is to let nontheistic people–such as atheists, agnostics, humanists and freethinkers–know they’re not alone,” explained Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The message is particularly important in smaller towns like Moscow and Pullman, which tend to have a larger percentage of religious people than the big cities. Nontheists might not realize there’s a community out there for them because they’re inundated with religious messages on every corner. But now they’ll have a message catered specifically to them.”

But atheism is a non-belief? They keep saying it’s not a religion. But I just don’t understand why you would need a community for that.

Well, you’re certainly right that the idea of having a community of people who all don’t believe in something sounds – on the face of it – like it makes no sense.

However, in a society dominated by religious people, those without religion and belief in gods – particularly those who live in areas that are heavily religious or who come from very religious families – can feel somewhat alienated.

One thing that goes along with religions is a sense of community, something that newly deconverted atheists can feel cut off from when they lose their faith.

In part, atheist groups and clubs exist to provide a sense of community and social interaction for those people who may not be welcome in their old community and/or who feel alienated from their old friends because of their new lack of faith.

I can honestly understand what you are saying, but I find it bizzare.

We don’t live in a Theocracy. If you lived in one, and you are an atheist, I could understand the point in having a group or organisation for athiests.

But we don’t live in a Theocracy.

You are not forced to read Religious books, or go to Church or to any other place of Worship. You are free to have whatever belief you like.

The athiests I understand are the ones that personallty don’t believe in God (that is their choice), but they don’t chastise those that DO believe in God, and they don’t try to sue in the courts, for example, to take the word ‘God’ out of things etc.

The whole new movement of the athiesm has become like a religion. I listened to a talk that Christopher Hitchens gave today, and somone in the audience asked him if atheists should try to organize more, and do more gathering and planning etc. This is what I mean when I say the New atheism has become a Religion.

Can we say organized religion?

Well, as I just explained, most of these atheists are joining atheist groups for a sense of community, and for the most part, that is the vast majority of what these atheist groups actually do – have community events, lectures, social gatherings, etc. It’s like being in any other club.

Atheists usually join these clubs not because they feel oppressed by religion – but because they want to have a community of other people who agree with them on this issue. A lot of times – especially in areas that are heavily Christian, where atheists aren’t always welcome – people get lonely and just want some social interaction with others who won’t shun them because of their beliefs (or lack thereof).

The vast majority these groups’ time is spent not “chastising” those who believe in gods, but simply enjoying the company of others who don’t believe in gods. Personally, I find a lot of “atheist activism” silly, particularly when there are more pressing issues politically – but as I said, most of these groups aren’t looking to pick a fight most of the time. Even the billboard in this case has nothing to do with “chastising” the religious – it simply points out a fact (that there are plenty of people who live good lives without believing in a god) for the purpose of giving hope and support to non-believers in a predominantly Christian area. I wouldn’t imagine that there’s anything remotely offensive in that message to any half-aware religious believer who understands that their particular belief system doesn’t have a monopoly on what society calls good behavior.

All in all, these groups strike me as rather similar to social clubs or intellectual societies. “Organization” does not a religion make; my local bird-watching society organizes its members quite well, but that doesn’t make bird-watching a religion. A religion – unless you’re using the word in some completely new way – generally involves a form of supernatural belief, rituals of worship, and points of dogma held in common by all its adherents. And unless you insist on completely redefining what all of those words mean, atheist groups certainly do not have those characteristics.

Actually, the one thing they share in common is a supernatural belief - the belief that the supernatural does not exist. It doesn’t really seem to be the foundation of a lecture series, to me. :shrug:

Although my Catholicism is not the foundation for a flag football league, it was pretty cool when the parish put a flag football league together. I imagine its the same sort of thing.

I doubt that most parishioners joined it though - I’m thinking mostly it was made up of adult men who have an interest in football. :slight_smile:

Well, actually it was mostly 6th, 7th, and 8th graders with their adult fathers…still one of my best memories, though! :thumbsup: (and in 7th grade, the only championship in my football career)!


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