More and more and more and more
See, here’s yet another one – yet another apparently grown-up responsible person who apparently feels quite comfortable saying things about atheists that are not true. I bet she would not feel comfortable saying things that are not true about Other Races, or gays, or Jews, or Muslims, or immigrants, or foreigners. But atheists? Well you say they are bad people, so it’s all right to say untrue things about them. That would appear to be the thinking, at least.
Coming a year after London’s city buses were plastered with adverts that stated flatly, “There’s probably no God. Stop worrying and enjoy your life,” New York City’s subway trains were plastered with similar ads…
But buses weren’t plastered with the ads in either city – that would mean the ads were all over the place, and they weren’t. That’s only the second paragraph. That’s exactly the kind of misrepresentation by silly exaggeration that atheists are subject to all the time these days, starting with all the indignant complaints about a ‘deluge’ of atheist books when the deluge amounts to maybe ten or twelve if you count generously, spread over a few years. Yeah right, atheist books are crowding all other books off the shelves and every bus in the city is entirely covered with atheist ads.
It’s the latest promotional push by a special interest group that has grown increasingly vocal.
‘Special interest group’ nothing – that’s a bit of political rhetoric that doesn’t mean anything except perhaps ‘group with an agenda I don’t share.’ But more to the point is the pointing and frowning at atheists’ daring to ‘grow increasingly vocal.’ More to the point is even mentioning at all, as if it were abnormal and obviously bad.
But not all atheists are comfortable preaching the gospel of the nonbeliever. After all, the New York advertising effort could be seen as something most atheists consider repugnant: evangelizing.
It could be seen as that only because people like Lauren Sandler, and Lauren Sandler herself, keep portraying it like that. This is reminiscent of Chris Mooney’s lamenting that journalists ‘go on impressions and what they’ve heard’ and so keep thinking of Dawkins as Mr Big Atheist, when Mooney has done so much to train them to do just that. The advertsing effort doesn’t really resemble evangelizing very much – but it’s very fashionable to say that atheism looks just like religion only the other way around.
She does it again a few paragraphs later, after chatting to Paul Kurtz and Tom Flynn.
[A]theism, for all its progress, needs to do something to change its image…Even if more than 15 percent of the population believes in what the word represents, they may be loathe to embrace a label that is often preceded by the adjective “rabid.”
She says, doing her bit to make the prophecy self-fulfilling.