The Center for Inquiry has launched a new campaign, “Living without Religion,” that will place ads in Washington, D.C., Houston, and Indianapolis (press release here).
“With this campaign, we are aiming to dispel some myths about the nonreligious,” said Ronald A. Lindsay , CFI president & CEO. “One common myth is that the nonreligious lead empty, meaningless, selfish, self-centered lives. This is not only false, it’s ridiculous. Unfortunately, all too many people accept this myth because that’s what they hear about nonbelievers.”
The campaign was created with the goal to reach different areas of the United States, with a city in the heartland (Indianapolis) and the largest city in the Bible Belt (Houston) supplementing the nation’s capital. Other cities may be added as the campaign progresses.
The campaign website features this video: it’s quite nice, and packs a lot of punch into a minute:
Ooo, that’s so strident! You might recognize some of the faces in the video; if so, identify them in a comment.
And here’s another ad: I hope they turn it into a bumper sticker:
My only beef: they could have added “to be moral” to that last ad. My experience has been that the issue of morality is the true sticking point for those considering atheism. Here’s a common view:
We have to hit the morality issue hard; I am in fact writing a piece on it now. That issue is, however, nicely dealt with on the CFI’s campaign site:
There are some common myths about the nonreligious—atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists. One popular myth is that the nonreligious are immoral, or at least that they can’t be relied upon to be as good as those with religious beliefs. If you know any nonreligious people (and almost everyone does—see below), you already know this is not true. Human decency does not depend on religious belief. There are good believers and good nonbelievers; there are wicked believers and wicked nonbelievers. You can’t predict a person’s moral character just from knowing his or her metaphysical beliefs.
Another prevalent myth is that the lives of the nonreligious are empty, meaningless, and dominated by despair. This, too, is false. The nonreligious experience the same range of emotions, sentiments, and sensations as the religious. They are joyful and sad; they feel sympathy and disgust; they experience pain and pleasure. They have aspirations; they are concerned about others. They love and are loved.
These are simple facts, not subject to dispute. Sadly, some of our fellow atheists, who rebuke us for pervasive scientism, implicitly disagree. Or they claim that while we, the big-brained atheists, can find solace in a life without faith, the bulk of humanity can’t. You know the condescending mantra: “religion will always be with us.” Tell that to the Danes and Swedes!