A Seasonal Message

Just read that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has placed a banner outside the Bulloch County Courthouse in Statesboro, GA.

On it is this message:

At this season of the Winter Solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

While I agree with the essence of the message, I don’t agree with the message itself. To me, it’s very negative and does nothing for the cause the foundation espouses. IMO, it would have been far better to stay positive by emphasizing the significance of the Winter Solstice and nature itself. I feel certain Christians would have gotten the message (especially considering the sign was placed next to a nativity scene).

It’s no wonder Christians looks askance at many atheists/non-believers when they read communications like this. The very core of what many of them believe (especially in the Southern states) is being attacked so their defenses immediately go up.

It’s my contention that no matter which side of the fence you’re on, to focus on the negatives of the “other side” rarely wins the battle. This does not mean people shouldn’t share and/or promote what they believe. It just means doing it in a manner that stimulates intelligent conversation and keeps everyone’s blood pressure under control. 🙂

P.S. Wishing all a wonderful holiday season and a safe and healthy 2015.

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15 thoughts on “A Seasonal Message

  1. You may have noticed, I have no problem with calling a spade a damned shovel (Mark Twain). I think they nailed it. NOTHING they could have said, would have changed the mind of a single Redneck, but it sends a massage to other atheists to stand up and be counted, even in the lion’s den.

    “All that’s required, for evil to flourish, is for good men people to do nothing.”

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  2. There’s a “season” for everything (it must be true since it’s in the bible), so yes, there are times when the message needs to be forthright. I just didn’t feel this was one of those times. To each his own. 😉

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    • I’m inclined to agree, Nan. It seems to me that it overstates their position (as far as what’s demonstrable), and is more likely to drive away believers and fence-sitters, than it is to get them to ask more questions.

      There is validity in having a multitude of presentation and argumentation approaches, as different people respond to different things. This one feels like a bridge too far to me, though.

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  3. I couldn’t agree with you more, Nan. It comes as no surprise, as long as we’ve been writing back and forth, that I lean toward a softer approach (“a soft answer turns away wrath…” 😉 ). I think a simple message wishing everyone happy holidays or season’s greetings from the Freedom From Religion Foundation would have been good enough. It would have been a positive message, but with the reminder that we non-believers are out there.

    Even if they had just gone with a softer version of their statement, I think that would have been better. But to flatly say that gods, angels, devils, heaven, and hell do not exist overstates the position too much. Sure, I agree with them — but stating it that conclusively can’t be demonstrated, and most religious people are smart enough to know that. So then it just sounds like we’re arrogant know-it-alls who just don’t take the time to try understand “spiritual things.” That couldn’t be further from the truth, but we give that impression when we keep talking past them.

    Anyway, didn’t mean to ramble. Hope you have a great Christmas, Nan! You too, arch!

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    • And there it is again!

      Happy Winter Solstice, Zoe – today is two minutes longer than yesterday! “If Winter is here, can Spring be far behind?”

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  4. I think the choice between their in-your-face message and soft warm-fuzzy wishes depends on the goal they are shooting for. If the goal is just to say “we are here, we are your neighbors, we are nice people” then it’s fine to just do warm wishes. But if the goal is to communicate that “sectarian displays are inappropriate for this location” then a proliferation of increasingly obnoxious displays is more likely to get the job done. When the pointed FFRF banner is joined by a display from the Satanists, a Festivus Pole, and a Pastafarian display, etc., eventually the government officials might get the point that it’s better to just take them all down and put up some nice greenery instead. Which is really what should have been done in the first place.

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