This is the Atheist sign being displayed in Washington State’s Capitol building alongside various religious displays… it has been stolen — and returned — and is now being picketed…
I can see how, if one was keen to be offended, one could be offended by such a sign… it doesn’t offend me at all, but does it offend you?
Please rank your level of offendedness on a scale of 1-10 (10 being absolute, unspeakable outrage!)
I should rush to add, however, I fully agree that if the government is going to allow religious ornamentation on public sites, atheists have a right to post such signs. If religious organizations don’t like it, then they shouldn’t seek to have their displays on public grounds.
I lay in bed last night thinking, “Hmm… how could atheists do it ‘better’?” Could they find some sort of wordless symbol to represent them — to put a more positive spin and avoid the controversy. And I realized — no, they can’t. And if they could, they shouldn’t. That is to say, the more atheists bend their message to appear like a religion, to follow the methods and traditions of religion, the more atheists are going to be accused of “having just another religion.” And as any regular reader of this blog will know, that is something I am keen to avoid.
Atheists stand in rejection of the predominate, theistic (“religious”) worldview. For me, it is a position outside of the cycle of the creation of new gods and faith-based “ways of knowing.” And while we could certainly debate the finer points of what constitues faith, suffice it to say, I am eager to avoid a labelized “Atheism” that coopts symbols and/or consolidates it’s “tenets” in any fashion.
And yes, I realize this is a great marketing deficiency for atheism. I am told with great regularity that people, “need somethign to believe in.”
But atheism should not be that “thing.”