MN Atheists Responds to Local Anti-Atheist Billboard

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

By Eric Jayne

Photo of billboard

Originally appeared in the St. Cloud Times (8-4-13); picture courtesy of Mary Carlson.

“With atheism there is no hope, only despair.”

At least that’s what a billboard tells us on Stearns County Road 75 near Interstate Highway 94 in St. Joseph. Of course, a lot of billboards say things that aren’t true, and to be sure, this is one of those.

It’s important to first point out that all people, regardless of religious beliefs or cultural affiliation, are susceptible to feelings of hopeless despair. If those feelings negatively affect a person’s ability to successfully function in life, then it would likely be a good idea to seek help from mental health professionals.

Regarding atheism, many people have been empowered once they reach the atheist conclusion because it provides clearer thinking and triggers a more focused approach to life here in the corporeal world.

Atheists exercise hope when we work to enhance the well-being of others, such as when we volunteer every month at a local homeless shelter, donate holiday gifts to children in hospitals, and work with our LGBT friends to bring equal opportunities and justice under the law.

We find joy and genuine spirituality in learning how the vast universe works in and out of the blue speck we call Earth.

We celebrate our knowledge of life that Darwin crystallized through his theory of natural selection, which complements our understanding of how the atoms that flow in and out of our bodies zipped through the vacuum of space eons before our solar system formed and eons after Earth is swallowed up by our sun.

I invite everyone, including those behind the misguided billboard message, to learn more about how we practice positive atheism in action.

Minnesota Atheists and Central Minnesota Freethinkers offer a variety of social gatherings and intellectually stimulating lectures happening throughout the Twin Cities and St. Cloud area.

If you’re a baseball fan, you may want to consider traveling Friday to Midway Stadium as the St. Paul Saints become the Mr. Paul Aints for a night at our atheist-sponsored game against the Sioux City Explorers. The main purpose of the game is to build freethinking camaraderie and display our friendly, lighthearted nature.

My hope is that atheists become better understood and more accepted in Minnesota, but I will withhold despair if that doesn’t happen as quickly as I’d like.

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