Just weeks after the British Humanist Association unveiled plans for “No God” ads on London bendy-buses,1 the American Humanist Association (AHA) is starting a similar campaign to run during the holiday season.
The ads borrow a line from a popular Christmas jingle and proclaim, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” Costing an estimated 40,000 dollars, the ads are slated to appear on Washington, D.C., buses between mid-November and December 2008.
AHA spokesman Fred Edwords told the Associated Press, “Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of nontheists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion.”2
But he failed to recognize that atheists, agnostics, and other types of nontheists need not be bothered about what Christians or other religious adherents celebrate at any time of the year. Since they don’t observe any “holy” days at all (that is, if they are true to their creed), any loneliness experienced is by their choice.
Edwords said the ads, unlike the British ones, were not aimed to argue against the existence of God, but were instead intended to “try to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.”2 He didn’t explain how using lyrics from “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” would accomplish that goal. Without an absolute standard for “good,” then being “good for goodness’ sake” is a relative concept that can be redefined by anyone.
The ads’ audience will be small, however, since a survey by the Pew Forum in February of this year found that over 90 percent of Americans are theistic, over three quarters of whom profess Christ as the Son of God.3
It’s no surprise that during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season that, rather than for “goodness’ sake,” people desire to be good for a higher reason: It was part of their original design.4
- Dao, C. Dawkins Supports “No God” Ads. ICR News. Posted on icr.org October 23, 2008, accessed November 12, 2008.
- Group’s new Christmas message: Be good, not godly. Associated Press, November 12, 2008.
- U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Affiliations. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
- Genesis 1:31.
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor.
Article posted on November 18, 2008.