That’s What You Call “Taking It In Stride”? October 29, 2009

That’s What You Call “Taking It In Stride”?

Here’s a news story about the Big Apple Coalition for Reason atheist ad campaign.

There’s nothing overly special about it, but reader Anna noticed some interesting juxtaposition:

At the beginning of the clip, the anchor says, “People we talked to took the ad in stride.”

A couple seconds later, the man being interviewed says, “… If they wanna burn in hell, they can do that.”

That’s kind of him…

Good with God? Please.


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  • Well, they expect that more than sixty percent of the people alive right now are going to burn in hell. So, yes, that’s taking it in stride.

  • Skippy

    I’m curious to know how this is, according to the anchor, an ad that’s “selling” atheism.

  • Gabriel G.

    What do you expect? It’s the same thing they say when asked about homosexuality.

    “I’m okay with the gays, they’re the ones who will burn in hell.”

    Total bullshit in every word.

  • Parse

    All in all, I’d rate the fellow’s response overall as a shrug. I imagine that the news crew kept looking for interviews until they got a sufficiently provocative statement.

    If you search long enough, you’re eventually going to find somebody to say what you want.

  • Richard Wade

    Nothing matches the hatred and cruelty you can find in someone who thinks the god of love is on his side.

  • Siamang

    “… If they wanna burn in hell, they can do that.”

    Why are Christians always so angry?

    And, you know, STRIDENT. This Christianity stuff will never take off unless they learn how to be less assertive.

  • Justin

    At least he’s tolerating our right to do as we wish.

  • JulietEcho

    lol… it’s funny, because for someone who believes that, it sounds like he *was* taking it in stride.

    Reminds me of some Weird Al lyrics from Amish Paradise:

    A local boy kicked me in the butt last week.
    I just smiled at him and turned the other cheek.
    I really don’t care, in fact I wish him well,
    ‘Cause I’ll be laughing my head off when he’s burning in hell!

  • muggle

    LOL!

    At first I thought he was saying what they used to say in New York and which I so strongly miss, you think what you want and I’ll think what I want then he continued talking and blew it.

    I think if I’d been talking to him in person, I’d have just shrugged and said, “You follow archaic laws written thousands of years ago that have utterly no relevance to modern life if you want.”

    But I’d have made damned sure I wasn’t standing too close to the edge of the platform when I said it.

    Either that or I’d have just quoted Billy Joel, yet again.

  • My, My! So much talk about going to hell. Its not really that bad there. I even got to send postcards back to Canada. One of my readers was not as fortunate because she found out that Hell was closed for the day!

  • Jeff Purser

    You don’t have to go to another country, there is a Hell, Michigan.

    Google it.

  • Sanity

    Actually… Yes, I would call that taking it in stride.

    The guy is free to think and believe what he wants. He can wish me to hell all he wants, whatever makes him happy. I’d prefer he didn’t of course, but I really don’t care much his beliefs.

    The problem comes when someone want to act on those beliefs. For all his “Atheists can burn in hell if they want” attitude, he’s not actually hurting anyone, suing for a takedown or anything else*. So all in all, I’m fine with his reaction.

    The add’s not even meant for him anyway. It’s targeted mostly for atheists who really do think they’re alone out there and to at the general audience to let them know that atheist exist. (something lots of people prefer to forget).

    Of course, this doesn’t mean he’s not an asshole. Like the “gay test” above, I like to use the “jew test”. Replace whatever population group they’re talking about with “jew” and see if it’s still acceptable. He fails miserably.

    * At least, let’s say he’s not.

  • Rajesh Shenoy, Sydney

    Well of course he is right! Do you want to justify any of these?

    * Burning people
    * War
    * Robbery / organised group crime
    * Anti-semitism
    * Paedophilia
    * Eye-gouging
    * Flogging
    * Genital mutilation
    * Blowing up of innocents by the hundreds

    There is a God for each of them! Complete with hundreds of stories of divine intervention. And thousands to millions of believers. And centuries of practice.

    Take your pick! Keep your conscience clean!

  • DreamDevil

    “..If they wanna burn in hell, they can do that.”

    Yeh, Fuck You too, buddy!!!

  • Jon

    I just have to say I really enjoy reading your blog. Being from Sweden, it’s not that much of a deal to be an atheist, therefore, I find this very interesting! Keep it up!

  • Christophe Thill

    “… If they wanna burn in hell, they can do that.”

    The best reply, in my opinion:
    “OK! See you there!”

  • Mountain Humanist

    Couple of thing:

    As a journalist, I am very critical of the handling of this clip even it I were a theist (which I am not). The news station didn’t exhibit the minimum journalistic integrity required to interview the group posting the sign. Also, the unprofessional tone of the newscaster was disgusting. Notice how he said: “selling ATHEISM.” You could tell in his non-verbal tone he considered the word on par with “NAZISM” or PEDOPHILIA.”

  • Mountain Humanist

    I just noticed two other tidbits: The station reporting this is a Fox affiliate and the owner of the sign spot seems to be CBS (notice the tag at the top of the sign). Could be more to this then just simple demagoguery. But of course Fox is fair and balanced…I forgot.

  • $25000? I’m torn between saying that these ads are a good idea, or saying that the money could be better spent on charitable purposes or groups like the SSA or science education. Some of the billboards or bus ads were $5000 by my recollection, and a lot could be done with that.

    Here in Tennessee, the bible belt buckle, I see plenty of billboards for churches. It makes me wonder if it’s a bit hypocritical of Christians to throw up signs instead of using the money for charitable things like Jesus promoted (Especially in an area where the vast majority of the people seeing such signs already go to church. Is it some kind of competition for membership numbers?). It also makes me wonder if the same could be said of us – although we have no divine command to give our money to the poor and take care of orphans and suchlike, it doesn’t seem to me that atheists are developing a reputation of actually being good without gods, which seems to be a goal to many.

    Don’t get me wrong though, rational people need to know that there are other rational people in the world. I’m just pondering if this is the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing what are seemingly collective goals.

  • Spurs Fan

    I too have more of a problem with the tone of the ad rather than the “burn in hell” guy. “New Yorkers will put up with just about anything”….what? They’ll even put up with a sign that encourages skeptics that they are good and worthy without the sky fairy? I can’t imagine anything more horrible to endure!

    Also, the term “selling atheism” is pathetic in this situation. As everyone knows, the best way to seel atheism is to sell insurance. That’s proof that you’re not putting your faith in god!

  • Mountain Humanist

    Does anyone know if the station is actually in New York or the Web site? I would like to complain from one editor to another about the lack of journalistic ethics.

  • Guest Pest

    Mountain Humanist Said:

    Does anyone know if the station is actually in New York or the Web site? I would like to complain from one editor to another about the lack of journalistic ethics.

    It actually was from CBS 2 & KCAL 9 in Los Angeles, CA.
    It just as well could have been from CBN News (700 Club) from the tone of the anchor announcing it.

  • Tom

    Ahh, the old “It’s just one opinion of many” shrug-off (and whenever anyone says this, you can all but physically hear the unspoken corollary “and it’s wrong!”).

    Thing is, I’m pretty damn sure it’s not just an opinion, but an undisputable, observable fact. There probably are that many people in NY who don’t believe in god, and if you were to rigorously observe them and their fellow theists, you’d probably have real difficulty trying to show that the genuine atheists weren’t “good,” on the whole. Of course, if you make an argument along these lines, the most common, infuriating, religious response is usually to move the goalposts and insist that it is some residual or unacknowledged belief in god that is actually stopping those atheists from just going on a sin-binge and eating baby bagels every day or whatever. The desperate, dissonance-avoiding logic is that since nobody can be good without god (a position on which faith will not allow the devout to budge), and these self-identified atheists are demonstrably not irredeemably evil (irrefutable unless you actually want to deny observational reality itself, something even the most rabid fundamentalist often hesitates to do), the only option left is to insist that they cannot really be genuine atheists, but theists in denial or something along those lines.

  • joey2joey

    I’m pretty sure he was joking.