Atheist commercial? OMG!

 

This commercial aired on both The Daily Show and the Colbert Report tonight. I was startled to see it but absolutely delighted. Yes! More! Nothing like seeing the name Reagan on an atheist ad in an election year!

Oh, wait … are atheists allowed to run TV commercials???

 



Categories: atheist / agnostic / humanist, Religion, television, video content

49 replies

  1. RIPPER ! BEWDY BOTTLER !!! Should be many more like it !!!!!! I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if the ad. gets taken off air by some creationist group of nutters …

  2. Wonderful. Statistics seem to be showing an increase in those willing to admit their non-belief. Love it!

  3. The “not afraid to burn in hell” got me. If you heard a loud snork somewhere in the general area of Arkansas, that was me. 😀
    One of the surest ways to rile up the readers of my letters page is to run something from an atheist or agnostic. It’s like chum in the water. One particular letter writer irritates the reactionary bunch more than anyone else, so much so that mentions of him and his letters are on the page about twice as often as his actual letters.
    I’m sure many of them think he has horns and a tail, but if he is Satan, he’s awfully nice and polite. My clerk hasn’t mentioned smelling sulfur and brimstone when she talks to him either …

    • What’s that? I couldn’t hear you. I was still chortling …

      I’d like to see a lot of commentary on this somewhere. Except it won’t be intelligent discussion. As you said, it’s like chum in the water and will draw every wingnut with a keyboard. Any intelligent discussion will get lost in a flood of hate and irrelevance.

  4. The FFRF web site offers two interesting “quizzes”, on on “church and state” and the other on the bible. Just for giggles, I took them. I scored about 80% on the first but only got 26 out of 50 on the bible. It’s apparent that i’ve been inattentive to the fine print there. The stuff in the bible is astonishing and contradictory, really, and it’s not just the OT and Revelation that are weird either. If nothing else, the bible quiz ought to cause fundamentalists to do a triple take. But it won’t because even if they did read it, they would view it as satanic, even though it’s real and true. Such is the nature of “faith”.

    However, having come slowly and reluctantly over the years to my senses regarding religion, I’m not persuaded that formally organizing is the best way to protect the right to be free of it. Why? It’s confrontational and it presents a target on which religious leaders can focus. (A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.)

    Is it not better to blog and write on a case by case basis? I’m admittedly not sure. What do you all think?

    • I’ve often read that atheists generally do better on quizzes about religion than believers do. i’ll have to check out the ones on the FFRF site.

      I doubt that an organization will present any more of a target than any individual who has ever commented in a public forum. As blooper0223 points out, it’s like chum in the water. The sharks can easily overwhelm an individual; perhaps an organization with recognizable spokespersons will be harder to shout down. Either way, atheists are just as entitled to organize as all the believers with all their churches. If they feel threatened by that, I think it just indicates insecurity and lack of confidence in their own beliefs. Regardless, it’s a conversation we need to have and keep having.

      And as I noted, there’s a distinct odor of politics about this ad …

  5. OMG PT, that one had me just rolling with laughter! 😀

  6. Wow – I never noticed there were no atheist commercials (I guess there may be some pro-religious ones, but don’t recall any here except one mega church inviting people to service on Christmas or Easter. Then again, our TV remote skips the entire religious channel listings.)
    No doubt if someone saw this, we’ll soon be wall to wall with church ads. Mute button does have a purpose.
    Thanks for posting – I’ve been avoiding TV as early voting ads for the primaries are driving me nuts – ALL of them. I do not know how I will manage the actual election period…so little actual choice….bubbling fountains – more bubbling fountains….

    • As long as I’m tied to the TV, I’m stuck with the commercials. And we’re getting every bit as much political junk as you are. Have been since early this year. 😦

      The media, of course, have the right to refuse ads and I’m sure most refuse to accept atheist ads and commercials. They aren’t bound by the equal time thing that generally applies to political ads. Atheists can’t go to them and say, “Hey, you ran an ad for St. Luke’s Church so you have to give us equal time. No fairness doctrine where religion is concerned, I imagine.

      • The whole idea of religious TV ads is a bit tacky…Speaking of tacky, Lakewood church (is that really a church? – more of a self-esteem feel good life coach place) does have ads – I guess I totally blocked those out. Those people drive me nuts.
        We have a lot of TV news/local stories on a wide range of philosophies/religions with the diverse population. The Hare Krishnas just opened a huge new temple last week close to downtown – interesting architects and sculptors involved. They’ve been working on it for 10 years. Group started here in 1969.

        • Well, for starters, atheism is really not a religion. So I don’t know if it’s tacky or not for them to advertise. This particular commercial is about maintaining the separation of church and state, so it’s very political. Not sure how the churches will go about responding, if they do.

          Interesting that the Hare Krishnas have a temple. Not sure I ever thought about their having one and I can’t remember the last time I’ve even seen them mentioned. Power to ’em, I guess.

          • There are Hare Krishna temples in quite a few places in the USA. I was a bit surprised to find one in Utah (of all places!) Very different architecture for sure. I had hoped to snap a picture of it, but ran out of daylight. A growing cult?

            • Ack, just noticed above I started with “Well, for starters, atheism is really a religion.” Corrected that. Of course I meant atheism is NOT a religion. Amazing how my fingers sometimes refuse to type what I mean.

              As for Hare Krishna, I did a little reading since it was mentioned they have a new temple in Houston. I was certainly mistaken in thinking they were only a small ’60s hippie cult thing. These days they claim about a million followers worldwide.

            • ” . . . atheism is really a religion.”

              Hmm. I thought you meant it and it seemed to make sense. One of the definitions of religion, my computer says, is “a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.” The adjective “supreme” is admittedly problematic here, but if people go to all the trouble to organize around the concept of atheism and fund television ads to influence others to adopt it, isn’t that similar to what religions do?

            • No. Atheism is not a religion. But when it organizes as a religion or any other cause or organization, then I’d say it’s acting like a special interest group.

              >

            • @ Deborah,

              A “special interest group”? OK. Then, here’s a poser for you. Is the Church of Scientology a religion or a special interest group?

            • I think they think they’re a religion. I think they’re a cult of wingnuts. To me a “special interest group” is one sharing common political purpose.

              Oops, sorry. That wasn’t directed to me.

            • @Jim I didn’t know if this was a serious question. As PT said, they’re definitely a cult and a religion.

            • Deborah, I find that blogging lacks the nuances of face-to-face conversations. From time to time I use emoticons, but those too are limited. In this case I intended the question about Scientology to be both rhetorical and cynical. As one can see by their Wikipedia website, their status as a religion has been accepted by some nations and rejected by others. I’ve been a long-time critic of financial and moral abuses by organized religion and feel that it should somehow be more regulated, although I honestly can’t picture just how that would work. Sorry for the confusion.

            • No worries, Jim. As you said, communication throuh this medium is sometimes a little ambiguous. No matter our views about God/religion, I think we’re all on board with discouraging the “financial and moral abuses by organized religion.”

              _____

            • FFRF is not organized around a religion. It’s organized around the idea that church and state should be kept separate, as the founding fathers intended, and that religion should not be imposed on those who do not wish it.

              Nor are atheists, agnostics, humanists, free thinkers, etc., organized. It’s hard to organize if you don’t even share a common name, much less a single belief or doctrine.

            • Just looked up pics of the Utah temple. Beautiful structure, though you certainly don’t expect to see something like that in Utah.

            • I was visiting friends who lived near it. I was quite surprised to find it there, too!

          • Of course it’s not a religion…the news stations here are at a lost at what to say to stay neutral – the term “belief system” of “beliefs” is used – but that’s a bit awkward. There’s always some group complaining about the other groups’ symbols or lack of symbols that are allowed around here.
            It will be interesting to see if the new privately funded MLK statue in the public park will draw controversy. (It was dedicated today…which is odd as it is Memorial Day Weekend) He’s dressed in flowing minister’s robes and holding a Bible. I thought they were removing all things like that from public areas in TX due to complaints. Should be interesting.
            Apparently that temple is quite elaborate. They don’t all wear the robes – and not at the airport anymore. Hope the weekend is going well – we say the hail pictures – now CO is worried about rapid thaw and floods. Can’t win, but maybe the lakes will be full this year. ENjoy!

            • Oh that should be interesting! MLK, civil rights leader and also a minister. They didn’t have to depict him in religious garb and with a Bible …

            • Feel about the same.
              Even more interesting is that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee took a bit role in TV commercials advertising the event – and spoke there.

            • Do keep me posted on this. I can’t imagine a statue that provocative on public property not being protested. Although maybe in Texas, there won’t be that many objections?

            • It should be considering all the other recent challenges People generally quickly removed offending stuff just to keep things from escalating.
              But this is MLK. And Sheila was right up front, so I bet it gets a pass – unless some serious people make some determined logical objections – and don’t mind being called racist – because it will quickly turn into that (Even though that is not the issue at all) – Sigh. Will try to keep up with it.

          • This I will disagree with you on. I’m an atheist and have certainly had many a discussion with fellow atheists about this. It all depends upon which definition of “religion” in which you follow, and there are many. The one commonality between them all is a belief of something higher, more powerful, but does not specify it must be a god. Well, most atheists believe in physics, evolution, and some other related science. These are all more powerful than ourselves as humans. We can cheat them each to some degree, but not for very long. But the sciences will always win out. For those atheists who are not all into the sciences like this, we still all have a strong belief that there is no god and this belief does drive our actions, our morals, and our lives. Therefore, it can technically be called a religion. And personally, for political and legal reasons, But then, there is a Catch-22…. If atheism were to be deemed legally as a religion, and in fighting to keep religion out of government, would we then, in turn, be fighting against ourselves? Hmmmm….. gotta think on that one for a while.

            • Oh, poo. There I go, posting before proofing. Have an unfinished sentence…. “And personally, for political and legal reasons, ” add in “I would like to see Atheism listed legally as a religion.”

            • Oh. my. gawd. If I hear one more person suggest that “atheism” is a “belief system” or a “religion,” I swear I’m going to pull out my eyelashes one by one. The brainwashing lingers.

              _____

            • Yes, brainwashing does linger. As long as people believe in a god, the brainwashing will continue.

            • No, no, not the eyelashes!! People like me would pay money for those things.

            • I really haven’t decided on a label for myself because to me it doesn’t matter. Atheist, agnostic, humanist, secularist, free thinker. Distinctions without a difference in my book. But none of them is a religion, and certainly not all of them together as one. They are the absence of religion, the rejection of religion or anything suggesting a supernatural being or deity of any kind.

              A-theist. As in non-theist. As in no god.

              And is any religion “legally” recognized as a religion? I suppose they are for tax purposes, so they can get exemptions on their churches, etc. But count me out of any legal recognition of atheism as a religion. That’s one of my reasons for rejecting religion in the first place.

            • Yeah. My train of thought is that if Atheism is deemed legally as a religion, then Atheist-specific organizations would then be able to qualify for the 501(c)3 tax bracket if an organized “church” or free-thinking group, or something is organized. But then, I have to remind myself that I don’t think any church or related should have that status anyway. But I don’t think that will ever change.

            • Yep, that’s my point. I don’t want to look like I’m trying to cash in on any of the benefits that churches get that I don’t think they should have in the first place.

  7. This commercial was really nice to see, especially from a Reagan. It was well-done and not offensive in any way.

    • I thought it smart and inoffensive, with a touch of humor. But those who are trying to get their religious views passed into law might not see it as inoffensive … assuming, of course, they even recognize themselves as the people Reagan is talking about. And I think a lot of them won’t.

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“The opinions of others should not deter you from being yourself..” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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