Sunday, November 28, 2010

Facebook Follies: Nativity Myth

My Facebook feed is filled with howls of outrage about this billboard in New Jersey, put up by the group American Atheists.

The Billboard says, "You KNOW it's a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!" [Blogger's note: Odd punctuation is not mine, it's on the billboard.]

"How dare those atheists!" my friends rant. "We never tell atheists that what they believe is wrong!" Uh, folks, yeah, you do. Every day. In so many ways, both explicit and subtle. Even your comments on Facebook letting atheists know that we're all going to burn in hell and that "it's atheists who believe in myths!!!!" is doing exactly that. Do you have no self-awareness at all? Oh, and I'm curious; what myths do atheists believe, and why don't you believe in those "myths"? You weren't very clear about that.

"Why do atheists insist on shoving their beliefs into our faces? Why can't they keep quiet and keep their offensive beliefs to themselves?! Christians would never express their faith publicly, especially at Christmas. (Please ignore the Nativity scenes in front of our Churches, in our front yards, in storefront windows. Also please ignore the Christian carols that have been playing and playing and playing on the radio since Halloween, and torment you in every mall and store you enter.) We're very sensitive to that fact that some people don't believe as we do, or don't believe at all." Right. So, you express your sensitivity and tolerance by protesting this billboard? This one. Single. Billboard. In New Jersey.

Can you explain what offensive atheist beliefs you're complaining about being shoved in your face? Atheism is non-belief. Your yelps that atheists have (wrong) beliefs and faith (in the wrong things) only make sense to you because you don't recognize the logical fallacy of equivocation when you use it. 

"Those atheists are ruining Christmas!" (Horrors! The atheists are on to us! They have history to back them up! They have geography to back them up! They have cosmology to back them up. They have archeology to back them up! They have evidence!!!!! What do we do now?! We're not allowed to torture or burn non-believers anymore! We can picket at the local atheist church! No? Drat! Those clever atheists don't spend their money on building churches! We'll fight back by putting up Nativity scenes in front of our churches and our homes. Oh, yeah, we'll howl and whine and do news stories on Fox on how awful the atheists are! That will show those awful atheists how abominable they and their billboard are! (We hope God is watching. He'll be so impressed!))

If a billboard in New Jersey can ruin Christmas, and what Christmas is supposed to truly mean to Christians, then that's a mighty powerful billboard--and a mighty weak myth you believe in. I'm rooting for the billboard.

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