Swedish Atheist Ad Campaign

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The Swedish Humanist Association is currently running our version of the Atheist Bus Campaign in the Stockholm subway. Gud finns nog inte — “God probably doesn’t exist”. It may seem a little gratuitous in a country where few people are religious any more, but the ads make the point that there’s a lot of quiet Christian influence still around in society. For instance, the country’s flag carries a cross. Anyway, the campaign isn’t making much of a splash as far as I’m aware, though Göran Rosenberg (a liberal columnist who contributed to a pro-Anthroposophy anthology five years ago) wrote angrily about it in last Sunday’s newspaper. He’s pushing the “atheism is a religion too!” line. I don’t worry. Sweden’s going to keep moving away from religion, deprogramming pious immigrant groups as they become socially integrated and generations pass. Because in a good society, the people doesn’t need that opiate.

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9 thoughts on “Swedish Atheist Ad Campaign

  1. Given the strong negative influence in the past of religion on society I can understand the sentiment. A powerful institution in which merit is ignored and being a sycophant is the best way to gain advancement can’t really be seen as a good thing. Of course this would also mean we should disband business, the military, the government, etc. All organizations which have created sins similar to religion. Perhaps the problem is not so much the organization as a problem with the components they all hold in common. AKA people. At any rate, I wouldn’t force my religion/spirituality on anyone. But, it is a mistake to think it is only a balm/drug in easing difficult times or “the pain of life.” But, I don’t believe in fate or a controlling diety.

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  2. Being a theist, I don’t see religion per se as the problem so much, but something more like legalism, the rigid application of rules, whether or not they apply. I see this without the application of thought or compassion in organized “religion” and also in secular society at large, where it causes grief. Some folks talk earnestly about the danger of our world being taken over by intelligent machines, but I think the unintelligent machines — namely the unthinking people — already have taken over in some locales. SIGH.

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  3. What I find very interesting is that ‘Humanisterna’ these days (unlike ‘Humanetiska förbundet’ about 20 years ago) has turned into an association strictly dependent on the Abrahamitic religions. Were I a secular humanist, I would take very little interest in a society which serves exclusively an alleged purpose of opposing external currents of thought (especially if everybody agreed that these currents did not play a big institutional role in society).

    Moreover, I think we are in disagreement over what is opiate and what is meat and potatoes in civilisation. 😉

    / Mattias

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  4. I’ve never really seen the point of joining an association of people who do not believe in any gods when you live in a country where such unbelief is uncontroversial. It’s not like I need the support of my brethren in unfaith to stand up against hostile neighbours. On the contrary, the neighbours would be really taken aback if I started talking to them about religion.

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  5. I shall qualify this by saying that I am an atheist American expatriate living in Stockholm, and although i support and appreciate this blog entry. Yet, there are a few nits I have for accuracy.

    The entire ad contains a Jewish/Hebrew Star of David, and the Islamic Crescent in the Swedish national colors of Yellow and blue.

    Also the complete text of the tag line translates to:
    Perhaps God Does Not Exist, but you can feel (his) affect on you.
    photo of the same ad, from the same t-bana stop, expanded: http://www.flickr.com/photos/neitzert/3646538064/

    This is indeed from a humanist organization, yet there is just a bit more to the ad that does indeed agree with your assertions, yet perhaps expands the scope of it.

    Thanks for the post, and I found you via Billy The Atheist’s blog and will add you to my rss feed for daily reading.

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  6. Atheists and Gnostics are right in most of their thinking

    It has been common among religious believers to look with misgiving to atheists and Gnostics, and to think that they are mistaken; however, in many instances the opposite is the truth; some religious beliefs are not just irrelevant, but baseless. The “God” of main line traditions simply does not exist. I accepted the challenge of finding the One who may be recognized even by Gnostics and atheists: the Existence itself, “All-That-Is.” If something is there, that is God. Look at the book “Christianity Reformed From ist Roots – A life centered in God” (Amazon.com). I am confident that some of your friends will be relieved of the illusion, as I did myself.

    Jairo Mejia, M. Psych., Santa Clara University
    Retired Episcopal Priest
    Carmel Valley, California

    http://www.mbay.net/~jmejia/Grudzen.htm
    http://www.mbay.net/~jmejia/Churcher.htm

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  7. Martin R says: “Sweden’s going to keep moving away from religion, deprogramming pious immigrant groups as they become socially integrated and generations pass. Because in a good society, the people doesn’t need that opiate.”

    Does that follow from the campaign of the The Swedish “Humanist” Association, or is it just a hasty conclusion based on wishful thinking?

    Jairo Meira says: “Atheists and Gnostics are right in most of their thinking”.

    You prob. refer to the A-gnostics, not the Gnostics. The Gnostics were a group of prob. unrelated heretical religions, some of them Christian.

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  8. Does that follow from the campaign of the The Swedish “Humanist” Association, or is it just a hasty conclusion based on wishful thinking?

    Neither. It is gnosis.

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