It’s become quite the rage for non-theist, anti-theist and (so-called) freethought movements to use public advertising — say, on buses or in the subway system; this is certainly true here in Washington — to make their case.
I just wish it was a better case, which to my Christian ears sounds a lot like “You can be good without having an adolescent’s view of God.” Far from edgy or patently true, these ads seem — well — smug or petulant, as if the image of the cranky, smug, petulant atheist didn’t get enough play.
And that’s all well and good if your goal is stronger church-state separation, say, but if the goal is to be an appealing option to inherited religiosity or brunch culture, it needs to have a story and a way for persons to identify with it.
In short, dust off a copy of the long version of Cosmos. While it’s three decades old, Carl Sagan et alia has done a better job than anyone I can think of to sidestep the question of God — the right approach — and posit the idea of being human in the “forty thousand generations” of human development, and then to place our world in the context of a fascinating and almost unimaginably large universe.
It’s still quite thrilling — and a meaningful humanism — and available through the instant view service of Netflix, if you’re a subscriber.