i'm curious as to what the A/N community thinks about this form of advertising. 

personally, i like it.  no doubt, they tend to incite controversy, and many people misunderstand the intent and message.  still, even bad publicity is better than none at all.  take this for example:

http://www.ydr.com/state/ci_20117738/atheist-protests-year-bible-bi...

in Harrisburg, PA this billboard went up just the other day to the utter outrage of local, African Americans in the community.  it quotes the Bible (with the source underneath), saying "Slaves, Obey your Master."  of course, the angry mob directs their ire in the wrong direction, totally missing that it is their Holy Book whose message is being repeated.  naturally, the billboard was vandalized and partially torn down on it's first night. 

similar controversies have arisen in Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, and most recently New York City.  the timing is ideal, as the upswing in Atheist converts is breathtaking.  strike while the iron is hot, as they say.  question is, are the billboards actually garnering converts or just stirring up hatred towards Atheists?  if it is the latter, should we still be in favor of this tactic? 

what say you?

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Good point. Damn I'm being wishy washy. I guess Nerd should answer your question.

How about the comments left under the article.  My favorite was "Atheism is also a religion.It takes faith to believe there is no God."  Wow......  The ignorance about atheism is so widespread.  I just don't think that displaying billboards that will obviously be offensive where the main point is completely overlooked does our cause any good.  I get the message but the American Atheists must have known that putting a black slave on a billboard would get more attention than the message.  If they did not see that one coming that concerns me.  Combating "the year of the bible" will not be easy but I don't believe this is the correct way. What is the correct way?  I dont really know, but the reason rally will not be so offensive to crazy xtians.  Xtians are not rational people so to antagonize them with these type of billboards only works against us.  I bet it made a bunch of lazy xtians go back to church.  

"American Atheists must have known that putting a black slave on a billboard would get more attention than the message.  If they did not see that one coming that concerns me."

They addressed the possibility of misinterpretation at their site, prior to the billboard going up.

I was not aware.  I had read several articles but I missed that. Oops :)

Jessica, you are probably correct about billboards not doing "any good" and will "antagonize" them and make the lazy become more resolved.
That said, I wonder how many people doubt and question and have no place to take their concerns given their present environment? If they ask their ministers or church members they will receive what I call "The Passive Gospel:  yield, pray, obey, turn the other cheek, love someone to the lord, crucify yourself daily and rejoice in your crucifixion." When those words become too offensive, a person might look elsewhere for guidance. I am not saying bus and billboard signs will do the job, but it is a seed that may bare  fruit.

I hope there were some people who actually saw the billboard and questioned their religion.  This is probably hypocritical to my previous statement but I really enjoyed the billboards they put up around christmas (spell check wants me to capitalize this but I refuse, HA), the "They are myths" billboards.  I'm sure some found those just as offensive but I thought they were "just offensive enough" to make some questioning their religion move to atheism.  I just don't know about the slave billboard.  I am a supporter of American Atheist, but I have always thought they were a bit brash.  That being said, What is the right way to get people to leave their religions for rational thinking.  We can't do what Christianity did to polytheistic societies, so this is a new ballgame.

"not doing "any good" and will "antagonize" them and make the lazy become more resolved."

There probably isn't any approach, or marketing strategy that will do "any good" for the intellectually lazy, or those (as with fundies, evangelicals, hard core RCC) with an overpowering emotional conviction.

"That said, I wonder how many people doubt and question and have no place to take their concerns given their present environment?"

Bingo -> "doubt and question"

"I am not saying bus and billboard signs will do the job, but it is a seed that may bare  fruit."

Yes, …doubters, questioners and another group, …closet atheists (and those yet to realize that they are). This is where the "any good" happens. Those who are aware that they can't believe without putting aside the logic, reasoning and critical thinking they already use every minute of every day.


There's also the value of "preaching to the choir" or, to those who have already lost faith and express a lack of belief … can see that they aren't alone, or in as much of a silent minority they previously thought. 

It is after all an ideological "war", a Culture War that wasn't declared by liberal-minded atheists, but on them.

Richard, your words are comforting to me, especially as I see and hear the effects of fundamentalists taking such an incredibly ugly turn. I feel like our nation has been on a spending binge since the end of WW II and then a credit binge that included the lousy housing financing scheme that harms so many families, and because of the absurdity of people calling me and anyone else who looks beyond capitalism names that imply treason. Just saying the words socialism or communism, or public health care, or universal education for all children in the country felt like I was guilty of something; the truth is, such words are patriotic if it means taking care of people instead of insuring profits to one % of the population. My feelings of guilt quickly changed to feelings of outrage. Saul Alinsky seems mild and in some cases more appropriate than the polite, gentle, calm, timid, afraid responses. 

I would like to act like a lady and think like a gentle woman ... but these are not gentle times and we face a formidable challenge. I don't like violence, I marched peacefully in Washington, DC in 1968, I was hit up the side of my head by a horse mounted policeman, as were countless others, some were were jailed, some were force-fed, and at other times and places, some were killed. I would not physically hurt anyone, unless in self-defense, and I would not destroy property. However, carrying a sign that stated civil rights for everyone, or marching with pink parasols around a superior court judge who judged against battered women, or carrying a banner that states religion is a myth, or the bible is cherry picked and leaves out the violent parts in old and new testament, are not violent, in my opinion. Showing a photo of an enslaved human being is not violent ... it is fact and needs to be offered as testimony of historical reality ... and reveal the scriptures that approved of it. Let us not go along with a lie about history and buckle to someone being "offended" by reality. Showing the reality of slavery is not a crime, enslaving people is, even if god says it is OK. Don't be hoodwinked by those who say their god is a god of peace when all we have to do is see the faces of screeching fundamentalists as they protest the truth. 

Wow Joan, you pretty much state my sentiments exactly.  So well, in fact, I really don't have anything to add except for this:  in order for us to win our war against ignorance, we must be both confrontational (but non-violent) AND non-confrontational at the same time.  I think whichever method you support depends on your own personality and the  type of agenda used by the organizations which you support.  We can get our point across using both brashness and honey, as both styles are appropriate for approaching different types of people.  Some people get jarred into reality with in-your-face graphics while others can be converted during a quiet discussion over tea.  In the meantime if people get offended by either tactic, that means their just not intellectually ready to rationally discuss the message. 

Loren, I don't see the reply I posted yesterday confessing my foolishness not to recognize "capital" meant uppercase and not capitalism. I blush at my overwhelming eagerness to denounce capitalism; and my criticism stands. Thanks for the nudge. and yes, you did get it. Blush, Blush.  

No biggie, Joan!  You don't wanna guess how clueless I can get on occasion!  [HUG!]

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