Okay, I’ve missed something.
Today on the talk radio station, there was some …uh… talk of “what would you say if Atheists bought advertising on billboards?”
I can only assume this has something to do with the now fairly-old news story about Atheists purchasing advertising space on city buses in the UK. Of course, Christians (and, I would suppose, Jews and Muslims and Hindus and any other religious group that believes in the existence of imaginary super-beings) got up in arms about the thing. Christians are always the most vociferous about this sort of thing in Western countries. And, unfortunately, if a Muslim says anything about anything in this environment, s/he is immediately branded as a terrorist or a hate-mongerer or worse. So let’s just deal with the Christians.
As could be expected, the Roman Catholic church is pretty peevish about the idea that adverts on public transit might make people question their own Faith and belief systems; their own value systems, perhaps…maybe even so far as the bases for their understanding of morality. The Roman Catholic church and other Christian organisations have, of course, banded together to try to get these adverts removed. The point I want to make now is that the Commandment is “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me”, and not “Thou shalt not not have any God at all”. Semantics are important.
IT’s becoming an issue in Canada, I guess, because there are Central Canadians who are Very Concerned now that the campaign has come to Toronto. Folks in Ottawa are trying to have the adverts banned before they even get there. I should say off the bat that “Freedom OF Religion” is a Constitutionally-protected right. Freedom FROM Religion is not. That’s an extremely important teeny little
pronoun preposition. And it’s a pronoun that needs to be included in our Constitution. Canadians should have the constitutionally-protected right to worship in whatever way they see fit, provided their worship does more good than harm. Canadians should also have the constitutionally-protected right to choose not to worship anything at all. Currently, we do not have that right.
Now, I also want to say something else.
Where are the Roman Catholic and other denominational protestors when there are adverts on buses that show women in various (degrading and/or offensive) stages of undress, promoting fornication and covetousness of neighbours’ asses all over the place? Where are the Christians asking that all images of Jesus (and Mary, and anybody else with a fricken’ halo-head) be removed from all billboards, bus ads, leaflets, greeting cards, dashboard buddies, lawn ornaments, keychains, shirts, bumper stickers, underpants, crucifixes, lunch boxes, running shoes, etc., etc., etc.,? Where are all the Christians refusing to go shopping on the Sabbath? Refusing to work and refusing to eat at restaurants? Any takers on that one? And let’s just see how many Christians are willing to stand up and say “no, please don’t show any advertising at all, not on my television, not on my buses, not in my newspaper, and certainly not on my radio, because advertising promotes covetousness. It makes you want those things you do not have. And if we only take as much as we need; if we only take *enough*, then there is more than enough for everyone in the world three times over.” Where are those Christians?
You should be *pleased* that there are challenges to the way you worship and what you choose to believe. Because when people make *informed* choices, they tend to make life-long choices.
Brainwashing Inundating children with your own particular brand of crazy only lasts as long as your children continue to use you as their primary and only source of information (and believe you me, the thought of my children being old enough to not ask me first kind of scares the shit out of me). If you teach them *why* you believe what you do, and let them make their own choices, you might be disappointed in the end, but you also might be pleasantly surprised. Regardless, if someone changes their opinion on their Faith based on an advert they see on a bus, chances are *really* good they weren’t all that serious about it in the first place.
So lay off. Go and promote your (or our, for that matter) religious beliefs somewhere else. You have every right to kneel wherever you want (except in government buildings, unless you have special access privileges), whenever you want, and offer your supplications to whatever deity(/ies) you wish. That is your right. And while it is not yet a constitutionally-enshrined right for you or for your neighbour to choose not to bend a knee, you should, if you expect them to respect your Faith and your belief system, at least accept that they believe something different.
Your atheism isn’t going to change my knowledge that God exists, and your disbelief (and, in some cases, open mockery) of my religious belief isn’t going to change the way(s) in which I worship. Likewise, my belief in an invisible super-power isn’t going to change your knowledge that there is no God. I’m okay with that. Spend all the money you want on bus ads. If my kids come to me and say “Mum, I saw on a bus today that God doesn’t exist; WTF?”, I will tell them, “Some people believe different things. I *know* God exists, and I know it is the truth. You have to find your own way to the truth. I’ll help you if you’d like, and I’ll try to help you without influencing your decision. But it has to be your decision.”