Idaho Gets Its Third Atheist Billboard! September 17, 2009

Idaho Gets Its Third Atheist Billboard!

Over the summer, this billboard went up in Moscow, Idaho:


That was the second billboard in the area (the first stated “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone”).

And guess what? They’re getting a third billboard in the same location (near Highway 95 and Sweet Avenue) and this one will be up through January:

“We want people to know that you can be good without God,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Too many think that morality is the exclusive domain of the religious — we’re here to prove that assumption wrong.”

“We also want to reach out to other nontheists to let them know there is a community out there for them and that they’re not alone,” said Speckhardt. (via email press release)

Each billboard has generated positive response from local non-theists. (And I suspect the lower advertising rates in the state help keep the ads coming)

The advertising campaign as a while seems to be working amazingly. And several more billboards are about to crop up in cities across the country in the coming months…

At some point, you figure the “controversy” would just subside, but it hasn’t abated yet. In fact, the protests and complaints (which are really over nothing) never seem to stop. So the billboards will keep coming.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • TXatheist

    I really like the Millions are good without god sign. That one just stands out to me.

  • Tom

    The Millions Are Good Without God billboard looks just like Greg Epstein’s new book’s cover:

  • Shannon

    I see it’s based on that book title, but I would like it better if the “good” was larger than the “God”. Why make “God” so large and prominent in an atheist ad?

  • Siamang

    I like the “millions” one as well, for very advertising-y reasons.

    One is that the word “millions” is connected subconsciously with wealth, which gives people good feelings.

    The other is the appeal to the numbers. It’s kind of like 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Sure, it’s an illogical argument, as there are more religious people, and non Elvis-fans. But still, irrational advertising is often what gets your message remembered. “You’ll wonder where the yellow went/when you brush your teeth with Pep-So-Dent.” That ain’t logical!

  • Siamang

    Why make “God” so large and prominent in an atheist ad?

    Why make INDIGESTION so big in a Pepto-Bismol ad?

  • Luther

    Of course reality is:

    Billions are good without God

    Billions are bad without God

    People can believe what they will, but, bad or good they all are without God, gods, and other mythical beings and forces.

  • I wonder: Would theists would find it less offensive if the ads said “A god” rather than “God”?

    @Luthor: absolutely true. What the ads are aimed at, of course, are those who believe that you cannot be a moral person without the belief in (most often the Christian) god.

  • Richard Wade

    You’re right, we’re all doing our good or bad behavior without any gods. Which is why I wish the ad said,
    “Millions are good without believing in God.”


    I don’t think that the millions ad is necessarily an illogical argument appealing to numbers. That would depend on what it is trying to argue. If it was implying that millions of people are being good without believing in God and so therefore God does not exist, that would be a fallacious appeal to numbers. That would be just as fallacious as the opposite one we so often hear, that millions believe therefore God exists.

    I think the ad is arguing against the popular belief that no one can be good without believing in a god, and so claiming that millions of godless people are good is simply a refutation of that belief. It is not a fallacious argument. It needs demonstrable evidence for that claim, which we are providing more of every day, in the form of A. Hey, we’re here in the millions. and B. Look at our behavior; we’re nice folks.

    All this would be expressed clearly by simply having the ad say,

    “Millions are good without believing in God.”

  • Amazing that the state north of here is more open about non-believers.

  • Siamang

    To be clearer, Richard… I think that while the ad does make that case, there’s also a take-away-message of overall popularity of the atheist position… it’s not just for the fringes anymore.

    Which is something I like about the ad. But I will admit that while it’s a message people are likely to take away, it’s not a logical argument for atheism.

  • Emily

    I went to school at the University of Idaho which is located in Moscow. It always was a small oasis of more liberal though than the vast majority of the state (but then, being more liberal than the majority of Idaho is about as difficult as being slightly more socially competent than Kanye West). I’m sorry that I wasn’t there when the signs were up! I would liked to have seen some of the local religious zealouts’ heads burst into flame!

  • Carlie

    I like most of the ads I’ve seen, but I would rather they say “a god”, lowercase, rather than “God”. Makes it apply to more religions than the big 3, and lessens the ability of said groups to complain that they’re being specifically targeted. Also is a backhanded way to remind them that their god isn’t the only one.

  • Staceyjw

    Iowa is starting to look like a cooler place than I would have thought- with gay marriage and all. Low cost of living too.

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