On the 13th of November of this year, the American Humanist Association managed to cause some outrage. How? By doing what all religions do in order to exist; making their message known in the hopes of attracting members. They launched an advertising campaign aimed towards children who may be unsure about the existence of god, driving them to their website KidsWithoutGod.com.
This is another move made by the American Humanist Association which aims to encourage those who don’t believe in a god to embrace their doubt instead of fearing it. Instead of overly preying on the apparent irrationality of those who believe in god, the AHA have worked on building a more positive, less cynical image for its atheist members. The Kids Without God website welcomes children without a belief in god, those who seek an alternative understanding of how the world works or in their words ; “a site for the millions of young people around the world who have embraced science, rejected superstition, and are dedicated to being Good Without A God!
Embracing science and questioning religion is of course positive but something about some of the wording of this website is as forceful as some pro- religious websites aimed at children. It seems as if they’re saying that if you do believe in god then you automatically reject science, reducing religious beliefs to ‘superstitions’. The website itself does have a positive message brought to you by Darwin the dog (If rearranged this will spell Darwin the God- even science enthusiasts end up worshipping heroes, it’s inescapable). Children are asked to treat others with respect, protect the earth and tell the truth ect because this is the right thing to do not because if they don’t they’ll go to hell. It uses reason instead of fear mongering to get results, like Catholicism always never does.
Again however, the advertising creates less of a welcoming tone and more of a mocking one; you’re a fucking idiot if you believe in God. I think it could be the advertising that lets this movement down and gives it a real sardonic tone with the real message of the website getting lost in the scornful copy used.
Overall I’m in favour of the idea that good work does not need to be steeped in religious undertones which is the message of the AHA or ‘non-prophet organisations’ as they are sometimes known who operate as atheist charities without using the fear of god as a motivator.
However if they continue to use this tone within their advertising then they run the risk of appearing as dogmatic as the principles they’re trying to counteract.