Much like Ronald McDonald helped to make McDonalds the leader in selling hamburgers Jesus is working as the Christian version of the McDonalds clown to sell product.
|The Last McSupper|
Marketing is important and it doesn't always have to be used to victimize people. McDonalds actually gives you something for your money Jesus and Christianity gives you faith or maybe you give them faith and they give you hope...or maybe you... Oh never-mind you get my point. McDonalds food may not be great for your health but it isn't asking for you to make sure everyone else eats it. McDonalds hasn't asked customers to kill anyone who eats at Burger King or Taco Bell. They aren't demanding a statue of Ronald McDonald be erected at the entrance of the local courthouse. And there will be no Ronald McDonald 9/11 memorial as a tribute to the victims who ate at McDonalds. Considering those points the burger chain has actually done a better job of targeting a specific audience and keeping the focus on their specific product.
Sure you will see a questionable commercial every so often but it is quickly dealt with by the company because they have planned ahead. Any critics are usually diffused by a intelligently worded press release. This doesn't always succeed because you never know which way an issue will run when you get the public involved. Thinking ahead does no harm and sometimes proves invaluable. It can make the difference between people relating a product with a good/positive feeling or a bad/negative one. Sometimes just the person who sends the statement makes all the difference. Human nature makes us more responsive to people who are like us. We will tend to believe someone who is a peer more than someone who is not.
It's all about marketing. Good marketing brings attention to your product in a positive light. Good marketing can also be stirring up controversy and gaining attention through the anger and outrage of the public. The second type is risky and can result in your products decline. Sometimes the controversy over bad marketing has been so bad it takes years for the brand to come back, if it manages to at all.
Atheism is also a product. It should be an easy sell, right? I mean, it is based on reality, we all live in a real world where we make choices based on things we can see or feelings that are supported by actual experience. There are a few problems we face when marketing atheism. One is our product doesn't promise eternal bliss. In fact it promises, nothing. Nothing happens when you die, no angel trumpets, no harps, you don't get to go up to heaven where a new car full of horny virgins awaits in front of your incredible mansion where you will reside in harmony and bliss for the rest of eternity. Sorry. All atheism offers is the real world, the one you've been living in all this time except without allowing your imagination to control some of your life. If you can admit imaginary figures are not best used to make laws, or make life choice choices then you have just bought yourself a nice new set of atheism. It comes with a free unlimited lifetime warranty. Congratulations!
Notice I said "a few" problems. Another one of those problems is our competition....religion. Religion (see jesus above) does make incredible promises to people. If you pray and god thinks you are worthy your prayer gets answered, if not then keep trying we never know when god may change his mind and decide it is important .You want that girl at the Quick Stop to give you her number, or you want to loose 10 lbs of fat off your ankles? Do you really need god to intervene and get your kid on the honor roll cause that dummy just isn't ever going to manage it on their own? Maybe you want to see your wife and the girl at the supermarket checkout , makeout... With god you never know it's like playing the lottery for free, all you have to do is believe. By the way if we don't believe, we are going to burn in hell forever! That's what the marketing people tell us anyway. But if you do buy into Jesus, miracles, self affirming books, and verses taken out of context, there is a grand reward when this life ends (see car full of virgins above)
Another competitor is often overlooked, it is the people who don't really believe but religion provides them power and wealth.The people who represent this segment of the market are probably our biggest challenge yet we often do not take their actions into consideration probably because we tend to assume the people opposed to us will do so in an obvious fashion.
This last group waits for atheists to give them an 'in' then they capitalize on it.Anything that can be used to make atheist look bad will be used just for that. It has been done through history, it will be continue to be done in this case.
Recently a billboard was put up that read "Slaves obey your masters" there was a picture of a black slave next to the text and below there was a reference to a biblical verse and the "year of the bible" being touted by the Pennsylvania government. It was a protest to the government supporting a book that condoned slavery and the fact it violated the separation of church and state. That was the message.
It was quickly declared racist and less than 24 hours after being put up it was removed by vandals.
At first this angered me. I though about the stupid people who couldn't understand the message, those morons. Then I heard some of the rational behind the racism argument.
Blacks were upset because they are sensitive to the subject of slavery, it still bothers a lot of people. The people telling blacks they shouldn't be bothered and that the truth is sometimes hurtful, were white. I think it's pretty safe to say African Americans are not going to appreciate white people telling them when they should or shouldn't be offended about racism or slavery. It also happens that the billboards were put up in a mostly black neighborhood because the rates were cheaper. So that means a billboard was put up that blacks considered racist, white people told the black people they shouldn't be offended because it wasn't about race yet the billboard ended up there because the, black neighborhood was the cheapest place? Is anyone else seeing the problem with this scenario? Yea blacks might be a little sensitive to the subject of slavery because they still feel the effects of it today. Poor neighborhoods, profiling, crime and various forms of racism. Despite the fact racism has been dealt a serious blow by education, common sense and compassion, it is still around. I know that as a white male there are many injustices done to other groups I will never be able to fully understand. Slavery is one of those. But I realize that and that helps me to 'get it'... I think.
So we have the billboard , the deed has been done. The message was never intended to be racist.Some people are pissed, what do you do next? Shouldn't you find someone to convey your thoughts on the issue? I would look for an African American who could see, understand, and explain my point. If people could hear a person who had just as much right as anyone else to be offended explain things they would be less likely to see it as just some white guy saying he never meant to send that message.
The bible is really repulsive in parts, the actions that were acceptable behavior in those days make people uncomfortable when they are forced to think about them. Believers can claim verses are "taken out of context" but there was a time when those verses were not taken out of context, they were the law of the land. At what point did parts of the bible suddenly become a matter of context instead of 'gods will'? Who made the decision that the parts about slavery were taken out of context? If you tried to say people were taking parts of the bible out of context 500 years ago you would have some serious explaining to do and I doubt you would be the next pope. There has been no directive from god informing us of the context guidelines. The reason for that is because we make religion what it is. Religion and god are man-made and continue to change according to what we accept as a society. You can see how every religion has evolved as time goes by. How would a typical christian today look to a typical christian 200 years ago? Did jesus come to earth and hand over a revision to the bible? Nope. The Christians evolved because attitudes changed. This shows me that religion is probably going to evolve itself into extinction eventually , the problem is, it is going to take a very long time.
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Another force to contend with is ourselves.
As atheists find themselves in the public eye, it is going to be harder not to appear as something we are not due to the subject matter.
People already make incorrect assumptions about us as it is. Atheists are baby-eaters, worship Satan, angry at god, lost those are just a few and they stem from what people have come up with on their own. Now that atheists are coming out there are going to be plenty of opportunities to mislabel us and accuse us of being some of the things most hated in society. We can not let this stop us. I know for a fact most atheists are tolerant, peace-loving people. We have differing points of view on many subjects, so what? Not having religion as part of your life is going to result in that because there are no constraints on our thinking. We can think out of the box without worry our ideas may get us thrown into a lake of fire. I hear constantly about people complaining because what some atheist is doing makes them look bad. There are times when this can be true such as in cases where a leader was speaking on behalf of a group. And then the actions and ideas can only be attributed to that group. Hopefully people who find themselves on the public stage or speaking on behalf of others will realize the strength and effect of their actions.
If you feel the actions of individuals are making you look bad then you have self esteem issues, it is that simple so please shut up about it. If a person who's favorite color is green goes on a killing spree and when caught says "I did it for the color green, it told me to kill!" Is that going to mean anyone can assume people who like green are at any moment going to start hacking people up? I don't think so, but I've been wrong before. I like blue by the way, people who like blue are cool. it's the only exception to the rule.
To wrap it up, I think it's time we started looking at the way atheism is presented. Mainly to limit the opportunities others have to make it into a monster they created with rhetoric and propaganda. We can't avoid some sensitive issues but we should act in ways that show an awareness of people's feelings.
There is hope for us yet, after all McDonalds removed Ronald from all their marketing (except the Ronald McDonald House) because the public had outgrown it. Why shouldn't jesus go for the same reason?