Welcome to Kelly Martin's Blog! Here I share my stories from my blessed life as a wife to a super-talented man, Jason, mom to my precious kids, Lucy, Jack, and Connor, and friend to my amazing girlfriends who inspire me every day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Athiest Billboard

Church was all kinds of interesting Sunday. After a great worship time with fun Christmas songs (see post below this one), pastor Andy Stanley opened his sermon with this billboard:

You can imagine the hush among the large audience. He used this billboard as an intro to a message, using the book of Luke, to focus on the factual way Luke presented his account of Jesus' life and death. It was a good sermon, but I want to focus back on the billboard.

I appreciate the "freedom of speech," but, I myself, can't easily find what I'd like to say. I guess my initial thought is that people are welcome to believe what they'd like, and I probably shouldn't feel so offended because I have seen several religious billboards around Huntsville (although personally I believe the ones that "bully" people are far from effective, and actually bother me).

If any athiests even pay attention to those, I'm sure they just dismiss these just like I would dismiss this billboard above. I'm a little heartbroken, of course - because of what I believe- that there are so many people who would believe this message as fully as I believe in the message of my lord and savior Jesus Christ. And I doubt athiests are heartbroken over Christians who believe - my guess is that they feel more pity towards the group, but at a basic level, there's just a disagreement between the groups.

So for now, I wanted to post the picture, and here's a link to an article if you want to read more about it: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/for-the-holidays-an-atheism-billboard/

I feel pretty confident Jason will have formed some thoughts on this...maybe he'll post something...

I'd love to hear any thoughts from readers...


  1. So do athiests celebrate Christmas? I mean, I put up lights around my house to celebrate Christ's birth...it is a birthday celebration for him. It is just too bad some people out there don't see it like you or I do...I would like to ask athiests why they put Christmas lights up if they do & other decorations...hmmm...you got my mind going Kelly but in a good way!

  2. Regarding the atheist billboard... There are many people in the world who believe that ideas different from their own are unfit for public consumption, or that lifestyles that they don't want for themselves should not be lived by anyone. These people will often go to great lengths to try and "help" others see as they do, often by employing ridicule or even using the force of the law to try and enforce their viewpoints on those who don't want them.

    No doubt while the proud atheists hung that billboard up they were patting themselves and each other on their backs, congratulating themselves on being such wonderful people. While on the surface they claim to be encouraging people to think for yourself, the truth is that such actions reveal a tremendous amount of contempt for individual thought. These people say they want you to "think for yourself" but what message are they really saying? That billboard says "think like me."

    The people who think this way are so full of (often unperceived) self-contempt that it becomes necessary for them to ridicule others or produce "converts" through intellectual superiority to achieve any reasonable degree of self-worth.

    The sad thing is, there are plenty of Christians who behave this way too. I don't mean this to be an anti-atheist rant. It's not a problem isolated to atheists. I have several very good atheist, agnostic, or "i-don't-know-what-they-believe" friends who are quite wonderful people. And I know there are a large number of annoying, self-righteous, self-loathing Christians out there. I have seen Christian billboards which are just as bad as that one, actually. Worse. It's just that you're more likely to notice the ones from their side who are picking on you than the other way around.

    Kelly, as you said, who really pays attention to those? Other than the people who get mad about them? I just feel bad for them, knowing that they wasted a bunch of money on that sign that they could have spent on non-specific-secular-holiday winter-gift-giving-day presents for their families.

  3. April- I think there are lots of people who do put up Christmas lights and celebrate the holiday Christmas, they just don't believe in the "Christ-centered" meaning of it. I know plenty of people who do.

    To them, celebrating Christmas could be compared to the way we participate in Halloween. I don't believe in the Pagan beliefs that began Halloween, but I still dress up my kids and send them out trick or treating ;-)

  4. Jason - I knew you'd have some great thoughts on the topic! Spoken much better than I could have!

  5. I, an atheist, agree with Jason. All of it is crazy. Think about all the good that money both groups spent on their billboards could have done this season if given to causes instead of self promotion.....


  6. Are you Christians aware the earth is 4.5 billion years old?

    How can you Christians simply ignore all of the fossil evidence available that clearly shows that life did evolve over a couple of billion years.

  7. What a cowardly post for someone to not put their name! I hate it when people Throw random things out there that don't even apply to the point you were making Kelly! Ignore them!


  8. Ha, thanks random idiot for proving my point. Merry Christmas!


  9. At least this random idiot is not ignorant of many scientific facts that a reasonable mind can clearly see that they prove there was not a supernatural creator.
    Your mythological invisible friend in the sky is simply wishful thinking.
    As a past practicing believer, I find it sickening that 80% of my fellow Americans still believe in this BS. Have ya’ really ever stopped and really thought about what it is that you believe? Have ya’? I did! Reality is a great place to be! Now please, stop and try and use your actual mind. That’s all I can ask you? STOP AND THINK!
    Steve B.

  10. The story of Jesus was stolen! Bet you didn't know this???
    Born of a virgin on Dec. 25th, known to his disciples as the "Son of God", & resurrected 3 days after his death, I wish a Happy B-day to Horus (3000BC), Attis (1200BC), Krishna (900BC), Mithra (600BC), Dionysus (500BC), Jesus (0AD), Quetzalcoatl (600AD) & all the other mythical, imaginary saviors, from different periods, from all over the world that subscribe to the same storyline.
    AND YOU CALL ME AN IDIOT! I call you ignorant. I learned and you didn't. Shame on you.
    Steve B.
    PS Now cuss me out and call me more names "Christians".

  11. I'll ignore Steve, as the rest of us should. :)

    I'm going to quote from Jason:
    "There are many people in the world who believe that ideas different from their own are unfit for public consumption, or that lifestyles that they don't want for themselves should not be lived by anyone. These people will often go to great lengths to try and "help" others see as they do, often by employing ridicule or even using the force of the law to try and enforce their viewpoints on those who don't want them."

    It's really funny, because that's how most agnostic and atheist people I know (myself included) feel about most religious people. That's a sweeping generalization obviously and *certainly* doesn't apply to all...but as I read it that was the first thought that popped into my head. :)

    I'm not a fan of that billboard. I don't believe that I have any right to call someone else's beliefs a myth, no matter what I personally believe. If I was going to support any kind of atheist billboard, it would be the ones that say "Don't believe in God? You're not alone." which is more supportive to me than attacking anyone else's beliefs. However, even those caused quite a stir and I think in more than one situation were vandalized by outraged religious believers. Apparently even the insinuation that there might be people out there that believe differently than they do is cause for retaliation. :)

    And that really is the rub. No matter what the belief, there is always going to be a segment of the population who just can't stand the idea that there are people who don't agree with them. Jason is absolutely right when he says it's shameless self-loathing and self-promotion. Beat others down so that you can prove yourself right. It's an aspect of humanity that constantly saddens me.

    Just for the record, we do celebrate Christmas as a loving and special family holiday. I don't think that traditions have to have a deep meaning behind them in order to be meaningful in my life. Christmas is special to me because of the time I get to spend with my kids, because I get to make their dreams come true for a day (within reason LOL), and because of all the happy family memories I have of the holiday in my past. It doesn't have to be celebrated as a birthday in order to be celebrated and special, IMO.

    - Jeri

  12. wow...i thought my blog was read by no more than 10 people; kind of cool to have anonymous posts and some from people i don't even know. ;-) glad it has spurred an interesting discussion - i've enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

    good post, jeri. christmas IS a wonderful holiday to celebrate family and make great memories. my family did not raise us in a christian household, and i have the fondest memories. like i mentioned with my example of halloween, it's certainly not necessary to believe in what some groups of people would consider the "fundamental meaning" of the holiday.

    if i implied that families should only celebrate christmas IF they are christians, that's certainly not what i meant, i apologize.

    it's funny how the "extremists" of any group (christians, athiests, whomever) get all the attention. like i also mentioned in my original post, the christian billboards that bully people - one i've seen says, "Repent now! God forgives you!" - are a waste of money that could have gone towards something to actually help others - just like molly wisely pointed out.

    i'd love to know if anyone has actually come to christ because they read a billboard like that on the road. i doubt it...

    i'm just glad that there are plenty of people out there (perhaps "Steve B." notwithstanding ;-), who have radically different opinions, but can still hold an interesting discussion.

    hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and have lots of fun family memories to add to your pot.

    i'm off to edit pictures of my kids tearing into their presents... ;-)

  13. Hey jeri I definitely agree, and I was thinking of some Christians also in my first paragraph there. Lots of bigotry from both sides. I won't name issues to avoid sparking political debate but I have been embarrassed by my Christian brethren before. But to imply that all belief is irrational because there are some believers who dont apply reason is a very broad and incorrect generalization.

    My belief is not irrational, and to imply that reason and belief are incompatible is just wrong. A person who thinks otherwise should probably take some time to learn a little more about the subject before making that claim, and is actually what is most offensive about that billboard. There are many opposing ideas out there that are both perfectly rational. Which one you choose to believe usually hinges upon which set of assumptions you're willing to accept. And no, neither Christianity nor atheism can be accepted without making some assumptions. The great thing is that you get to choose. Sometimes it really just comes down to preference. Some people just want to believe in god, reason be damned. I'm not so sure there's anything wrong with that either.


  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Dunno if our pal Steve B. has anything to do with this, but it appears that this caustic little ad campaign has targeted Huntsville next. This is going to get ugly.


  16. uggg! I saw WHNT posting about it on Facebook. It would be so much less of an issue if they didn't stir up arguments about it. Take it down and at the same time take down that terrible religious one between here and Monte Sano that says, "I forgive you- God" or whatever it says this week! Donate the money to the children's hospital or the homeless!


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