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I was directed to your blog some months ago and have found much comfort, education and support in your outspoken writings, thank you very much!

I found myself in the middle of an online discussion about religion and atheists. When I asked the woman why she was so angry towards me and why she seemed so afraid of my non belief in her god, her response was because atheists were responsible for all the evil in the world. I replied that that was false, and since her god is on her side, she shouldn't be afraid of anyone, that she had no reason to be angry or feel threatened, that we're not trying to take away her belief. Her response was "I'll pray for you and I feel sorry for you".

I come from a Christian background & recently 'came out' as an atheist after years of debriefing myself hiding my belief. The backlash from many has been very hostile, hurtful even. I found out who my true friends and it turned out, I had quite a few who supported me, believers and non believers.


Nice article.

As a non-Christian religious person I was among those who didn't get why atheists felt they needed to advertise. Now I feel I have a better understanding over where it's coming form.



Personally I am christian (lets get that out the way), but otherwise I completely agree with you (except for the whole atheism thing obviously). I think it shows a deep level of insecurity to resort to bullying tactics or a win by default by eliminating your competition to get your view across. If I think what I believe is correct then I should allow it to stand trial and be man enough to accept the outcome. However, I do disagree with the way you portray atheists, there is bullying on both sides, faults that run in both camps. You can't deny this.


"Imagine no religion."

When I imagine no religion... I imagine a world that is a much better place with no war and everyone gets along as religion is the key component to creating all wars on our planet between human beings! Animals do not have war, they have no religion!


I love the atheist advertisements. I doubt many people have actually been converted by a billboard (and if they were, how weak was their conviction anyhow?) but I love the idea of reaching out and saying "You are not alone" to those of us who doubt.

Toward the end of high school I felt like I was the only person on earth that didn't believe in god. Thanks to wonderful blogs like Greta's, the FriendlyAtheist, UnreasonableFaith, and Pharyngula I have learned that there are like minded people in the world and this brings me comfort.

Many atheists, myself included, find comfort in the fact that we have but 1 life to live so we better make it count. That being said, every living creature on this earth dies alone, and it is nice that we don't have to live alone.

Stanley Brooks

Thanks again for an enlightening, in the educational sense, article, and for defending as always the right of non-believers of all ilks to freedom of speech and assembly. I include assembly because for any group to assemble its constituent members must know that there is a group and then must know how to contact that group.

I recently attended a membership meeting of Seattle Atheists and there were some members who still adhered to the idea that we needed to work quietly in the background and not rock the boat by continuing to sponsor an add campaign. But the moderator pointed out that previous word of mouth or lecture series events aimed at increasing both membership and awareness garnered sparse results, whereas membership almost doubled after the adds began to appear.

I believe that religion is dangerous, evinced by suicide bombers, anti-abortion murderers, and groups pushing to have their favorite mythologies made into the law of the land. We need to vocally defend our freedoms and in many cases our lives from these dangerous groups.

I also realize that not all, or even most religious, fall into those fanatical categories, and I would never advocate restricting the freedom of any individual from believing and participating in whatever form of religion, or lack thereof, that they choose. I only want to ensure that everyone has that same right.


Another triumph for Greta. But on a topic that's slightly less old-news, I think that Greenpeace billboard is hilarious. It's also an indication that, in that community at least, the "There's Probably No God" ad campaign appears to have been a big success. The public-visibility motive that Greta describes is a big reason that that one exists, and the fact that Greenpeace considered "There's Probably No [ ]od," along with its visual style, as something worth parodying indicates that they think it connected with the public.

All that would be true even if the Greenpeace billboard were intended to mock the humanist one. But I don't even see that; it looks like a sympathetic parody. Big win for the humanists.


The thing about the idea of Hell is that there is nothing like it when it comes to fearmongering; there can't possibly be. We don't have a parallel where "Christians aaaand atheists" threaten people equally, at least not when it comes to metaphysical intimidation. Almost by definition, Hell is the worst threat one can make.

I think I know why Hell isn't thought of as a threat: Because (almost) every Christian who believes in Hell thinks that it is either obviously just, or that its terribleness is deeply exaggerated.


there is bullying on both sides, faults that run in both camps. You can't deny this

Christians routinely threaten young children with eternal torture if they ever even consider opposing viewpoints.
Sure, not all christians do this, but it's common enough to be uncontroversial.

Religions deliberately cripple the mental faculties of impressionable children, resulting in emotionally and intellectually stunted adults who won't question the authorities.
This happens even by such measures (normally considered harmless) as instilling a respect for the priesthood or for "faith"; the dumbest idea anyone ever invented and, incidentally, the foundation of all religion.

There may indeed be some individual atheists who are bullies, but to pretend that this could even remotely be considered in the same league as the institutionalized, premeditated emotional abuse of children that organized religion stands for is outright dishonest.

Mote vs. plank, dude.


Not all religions are Christian. And not all Christians emphasize sin and damnation, as Lyke X pointed out.

The institutional abuses do happen, and I wish they didn't. My religious tradition generally has a pretty good reputation, but we've had insitutional abuses as well. I don't know of any children being involved because as far as i know, you have to commit to my faith as an adult, but just because I don't know about it doesn't mean it's never happened.

I hate to sound like Concern Troll, but this attitude sets off warning bells for me:

"There may indeed be some individual atheists who are bullies, but to pretend that this could even remotely be considered in the same league as the institutionalized, premeditated emotional abuse of children that organized religion stands for is outright dishonest."

It's very easy to use "well, we aren't as bad as group x" to avoid looking at our own problems. Just because something 'isn't in the same league' doesn't mean it isn't harmful.

If anything, the best time to tackle these problems is when they are small, sort of nip them in the bud. By doing that, the atheist community has a real opportunity to head off at the pass problems that have dogged us in religious groups for a long time.

The danger of institutional abuses that I've seen is they start off small and creep up on you. Instead of the movement being around to serve people, it slowly turns into people serving the movement. Nobody is necessarily setting out to do bad things, but slowly you lose your perspective or decide that the mission is important enough that the ends justify the means, and suddenly you find yourself looking back and asking yourself 'how did we let things get so far off course?'

Excellent! I recently went through something similar when a few friends chastised me for "proselytizing" atheism (by linking to a video of humanistic quotes). When I queried, I was told we are the mirror image of fanatical theists, running around shoving our point of view down everyone's throats. And I was being told this by other atheists! Thank you, Greta.


It's very easy to use "well, we aren't as bad as group x" to avoid looking at our own problems.

Indeed, which is exactly why I objected to Couch's focus on atheist bullying, given how big a problem it is with christian traditions.

I'll also point out that atheism has a built-in protection against such problem in that we do not have revered authorities, unquestionable dogmas, nor divinely inspired institutions.

If an atheist fucks up, I have every confidence that other atheists will step in and cry foul. I know I will.

Just because something 'isn't in the same league' doesn't mean it isn't harmful.

I think a similar comparison to "Well, atheists have bullies, too!" might be when an American white person complains about individuals who are racial minorities who choose to make disparaging generalizations about white people. Sure, it's probably uncomfortable for the white person to listen to, but feeling uncomfortable during an isolated moment is usually the worst that person has to deal with, whereas the minority individuals in question probably deal with institutionalized racism at the hands of white people on a regular basis (even though it may be that not all white people are racist, the majority of racial prejudice is from white people and it's white people who are currently a "powerful" majority). So when a white person complains about the "racism" they experience from racial minorities -- especially when it's as a defensive response to comments about white racism -- it kind of comes off as complaints from white privilege, rather than from a sense of justice.

Much like white people, who are a powerful majority, don't have their lives drastically affected by the "racism" from racial minorities, religious people don't have much to worry about from "bullying" by atheists, and for the same reason -- especially since the "bullying" is usually little more than protecting the rights of others, or daring to question and/or disagree with a person's beliefs.

The isolated moments where atheists act to pester religious people absolutely pale in comparison to the oppression and harm at the hands of religious people (often toward other religious people, even). In this case, "We aren't as bad as Group X" really is an appropriate response.

Of course, this is ignoring that "atheist bullies" is just as meaningless a notion as "bullies who disbelieve in Santa", since there are no tenets or dogmas in atheism that encourage people to bully others, much like disbelieving in Santa has no ability to tell people what to do, either. Though there are plenty of religious tenets that actively encourage people to commit harm, and many people can honestly claim their religious beliefs as justification for them. Nowadays, the easiest and surest way to get away with something reprehensible is to claim that it's your religious belief, and to cry discrimination if it's questioned.


Advertising is one of the best way to know of all people and i think that is their main reason in Helsinki Finland it is common that in advertising world there are a lot of competition.One of their common advertising equipment are roll up banner and photo stand and it is really effective as an eye caching equipment that make people really feel interested about the product.

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