A conglomeration of christian sects in Australia has recently gotten together to perform a big non-demoninational advertising push in this country which kicks off next week (13th of September 2009). The slogan behind the campaign is “Jesus: All About Life” and is about pushing christianity as a whole rather than a specific sect of it.
There’s been a few stories about this in the Sydney Morning Herald, but today they decided to open up the comments for feedback. From the outset the comments lambasted christians, threw up claims of false advertising, told them to educate themselves, talk about discrimination against race, sex and sexuality.
I do not approve.
The tone of the comments from the outset was critical, harsh and sometimes even had somewhat of a resemblance to abuse. This does not put the Atheists in a good light. In fact it’s about the worst light we can be put in. If anything this kind of behaviour as seen in the first five comments would only do one thing to a believer, pure-agnostic or someone who has never put any thought in to the matter, and that is to verify their false beliefs that Atheists are angry hateful and evil people.
It may have only been tenants of anger displayed, but the false impression foisted on people by the religious fundamentalists has become quite indoctrinated into many of the population. If you wander the street asking random passers by, I’m sure you will find many whose honest personal beliefs are quite in line with agnostic Atheists but the Atheist tag is one they almost fear being labelled with.
It has been said before and it will be said again that what we need is to remain calm at all times, friendly and happy. It is ok to make posts like these and talk like that on private Atheist boards, meetings and get togethers as it helps to let off steam, get things out which may have been on ones chest. In public facing situations though, the rules do change. Don’t attack the fundies, but discourse with them in a confident but polite manner. Show a lighter side of atheism, promote the good things Atheists have done, do, and will do. Fine examples of this can be found in the highly anticipated upcoming Rise of Atheism Conference in March 2010, as well as the Atheist Blogroll.
Before you ask – yes, this little rant of mine does make me a hypocrite. All too often I too fall in to the trap of abuse and derogatory comments. That is why it’s always good to receive a reminder like this one, which is all this blog post is for.