Inexplicable Respect – Is It Time For Guerilla Marketing?

The respect for religion has been present in modern, enlightened societies for the better part of… well, since the existence of religious belief.

This is not to say, however, that this respect is well earned.

In Soviet Russia, talk of the government in public would be in hushed and awed tones, heaping praise and, well, respect. I would not hesitate to draw parallels between this totalitarian situation and the situation with religion.

In fact, for most of history until very recently (in Western Europe), any criticism of the established religion could very well land you shunned, hated, ostracised or even in a torture chamber, depending on where in Western Europe you lay.

This is clearly different from the Middle East, which lags severely behind modern enlightened values. For what it’s worth, it’s hard enough for a non-Muslim to walk around in Saudi Arabia, let alone express some sort of discontent with the way things are organised there.

In Soviet Russia, talk of the government in public would be in hushed and awed tones, heaping praise and, well, respect. I would not hesitate to draw parallels between this totalitarian situation and the situation with religion.

Focusing on the case in Europe, thankfully atheism is gaining respect and popularity. In the Scandinavian countries, the proportion of atheists is incredibly high, something which is certainly something to envy. All of these countries have the highest living standards on Earth. Not wanting to fall into the trap of bad statistics, it’s unreasonable to claim that atheism led to these elevated living standards. But it is certainly part of the equation.

Religion is merely a manifestation of a belief system, just like support of a particular political party or support of a particular sports club.

In the rest of Western Europe, any criticism of religion will get you some kind of reaction. During the shameful episode of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Muhammad, again, Islam proved to lag at least several centuries behind enlightened values (contrasted to the Middle Ages, when the situation was arguably the opposite). What was even more shameful was the reaction in, say, Britain. To be more precise – the lack of reaction. For some reason, the spineless media in the United Kingdom decided that criticism of Islam would result in British windows being broken, but the arguments placed by liberal circles was that they were “shocked” and “respected” the “deep hurt that the Muslim community must feel”. It’s rather worrying that the right of free press and speech would come as a “shock” to elements of European politics.

The arguments that religion should be enshrined and protected against criticism don’t have a leg to stand on. Certainly, senseless defamation is abhorrent. It was the backdrop for the Final Solution in the Second World War. But criticism is not defamation.

It’s rather worrying that the right of free press and speech would come as a “shock” to elements of European politics.

To criticise someone for professing a belief in God might be obnoxious and boring, just as when someone hounds a smoker for smoking, but it cannot be out of range simply because of ‘respect’.

One freely criticises and arguments about philosophical ideas, political manifestos, sports clubs, entertainment, world affairs, and a long etc. Religion is merely a manifestation of a belief system, just like support of a particular political party or support of a particular sports club.

Hence I wonder aloud – is it time for guerilla marketing tactics on behalf of the atheist creed? Not loud, obnoxious, annoying preachers with loudspeakers like on Picadilly Square. But subtle discussion. Perhaps visually compelling brochures or leaflets placed strategically outside congregations?

 Hence I wonder aloud – is it time for guerilla marketing tactics on behalf of the atheist creed? Not loud, obnoxious, annoying preachers with loudspeakers like on Picadilly Square. But subtle discussion.

I’ve thought about the concept of guerilla marketing against faith. It would have to be polite and educated but strategic. Every time someone uses the “Everyone’s an atheist about all the other Gods” line, it’s one point up for secularism. I’ll organise a wiki sometime if there seems to be support behind this idea. But think about it: talk to your Faithful family, to your Faithful friends. Don’t be pushy – be exactly what you would expect a convincing preacher to be. Just change the message to something positive.

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5 Responses

  1. When people resort to violence and oppression to support their religious beliefs it only goes to show not only the intellectual weakness of their position, but the their downright personal delusion and lack of ethical/moral understanding.

  2. Hence the parallel between the Soviet totalitarianism and ‘love’ of the system and the respect for religion.

    In a timeless joke from the Motherland:

    Radio Yerevan is asked: Is it true that there is freedom of speech in the Soviet Union the same as there is the USA?
    Radio Yerevan replies: In principle, yes. In the USA, you can stand in front of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished. In the Soviet Union, you can stand in the Red Square in Moscow and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished.

  3. Funny

  4. http://pageshots.com/Education/Dont-Take-Away-My-Euler/

    Submited post [pressposts.com]- Inexplicable Respect – Is It Time For Guerilla Marketing?

  5. Nice post. Thank you for sharing your expertise. I found it enlightening.

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