Friday, October 05, 2007

Atheists Pollute

According to a Wisconsin paper, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is sponsoring some anti-religious billboards.

They're actually kind of snappy looking -- faux stained-glass, reading "Beware of Dogma." Frankly, the message has some appeal even for religious people. As the Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson pointed out years ago, a lot of doctrine gets passed off as dogma. That is to say, a lot of religious groups (and religious leaders) want you to belive that their specific teachings are statements of ultimate truth according to a broad religious tradition. For example, the "dogma" of the Immaculate Conception is a local Roman doctrine, pretty much laughed off by every other Christian community in the world. Lutherans may be especially sensitive on this topic, since their Reformation was largely a technical argument about whether certain doctrines -- especially regarding penance -- could legitimately claim dogmatic standing.

So we would approve heartily of these antidogmatic billboards, if only we weren't so committed to the wonders of nature. When we drive, we like to see fields, and trees. Barns, maybe. The occasional stop sign or mile marker.

But FFRF spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor says that they want "to place freethought billboards around the country, wherever an irreverent billboard is needed -- which is practically everywhere!" And we have to object, not because we oppose freethought, but because we oppose littering the roadside and polluting the viewshed.

As a wise man once said, "I think that I shall never see / a billboard lovely as a tree. /Indeed, unless the [FFRF] billboards fall / I may never see a tree at all."

No comments: