My home base of Salt Lake City just joined the ranks of markets where non-believers advertise their non-belief. The billboard pictured above, not far from my house, went up earlier this week. The headline reads, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”
I was relieved to see that the Utah Coalition of Reason chose a message that stops short of slapping believers across the face. Some non-believer campaigns are outright and, I think, needlessly and counterproductively mean. Take, for instance, headlines like: “I’m saved from religion,” “All religions are fairy tales,” “You KNOW it’s a myth,” and even, “You KNOW they’re all scams.” In their stated objectives, sponsoring organizations mutter something about making people think and reaching out to closet doubters. But come on. Somewhere, deep down, there must also lurk an objective along this line: “To have fun antagonizing and polarizing.”
My hat goes off to those on either side who lighten up and take a more whimsical approach. One of my favorites is a holiday board from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that says, simply, “Heathen’s Greetings.” And then there’s the one from believers — sorry, don’t know whose it is — that says, “Well, you did ask for a sign.—God.” You’d have to work hard to take offense at either one. Nonetheless, many people on both sides manage to do just that.