Christians Have the Cross, Jews Have the Star, What Do Atheists Have?

There is so much interest in things like logos and symbols.  Here is N. D. we’ve argued for years about use of the Fighting Sioux.

The Christian Cross and Jewish Star of David communicate something about the faiths.  But, what symbol would communicate no faith?

The most popular atheist symbol seems to be an artful letter “A”.  It’s ironic the letter “A” was also the Scarlet Letter for a young woman’s “sin”.  Using “A” for the atheist symbol does not, it seems to me, communicate anything about atheism.  But then, what does?

Some of our family members attended an American Atheist conference a while back.  I was in the gift area with our daughter-in-law and told her I would buy her something.  She picked out a very nice pendant of the American Atheist logo, three crossing ovals.

She said later she wore it to work where several people noticed and gave compliments.  One lady asked her what it represented.  Learning it represented atheism, the woman was taken aback and, according to our daughter-in-law, cooled the relationship they had had.

On atheist sites, there is no shortage of snarky tee shirt messages and ridicules of the faith like the back-of-the-car Christian fish with “Darwin” written in the middle.  But, there seems no one presentation that encapsulates lack of belief like the cross does belief.

I’ve seen the question mark used and that may be as good as it every gets.  Those who do not believe question myths of both the past and future.

http://www.atheists.org/shop

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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60 Responses to Christians Have the Cross, Jews Have the Star, What Do Atheists Have?

  1. Henry says:

    Jon:“Christians Have the Cross, Jews Have the Star, What Do Atheists Have?”

    • entech says:

      That is good Henry, but it does display a tendency to lump everything you don’t like together. Not all atheists are communists and not all communists are atheists (the last might be a bit hard to prove, but perhaps we could say not all evangelicals are Republican and not all Republicans are evangelicals). I will try and remember this one for the next time I am chided for lumping all Christians together.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 1:48 Good one, Henry. We don’t happen to believe in that.

      Nevertheless, all suggestions will be considered. : )

  2. entech says:

    Without a common cause a banner or symbol is not needed. You can’t paint lack of belief with a “broad brush”. How many ways can you not believe and for how many different reasons? If i said all Christians believe in god because they fear hell I would, quite rightly, be jumped on from a great height.
    I am sure that there are many parts of the world where atheism is localised, the local atheists would then disbelieve in different gods.

    We need no symbol to say no superstition, you only need one to reinforce your superstition (and ward of the evil).

  3. Wanna B Sure says:

    How about a glazed donught. Sweet and compelling on the outside untill you get to the center, then nothing.

  4. Henry says:

    Jon: “I’ve seen the question mark used and that may be as good as it every gets.”

    ¿

  5. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    Wanna:
    “Let me guess, you only buy plain white sliced bread in a plastic bag, and probably put margerine on it, then complain.”

    Absolutely hilarious. Nice job.

    Reminds me of one of my snarky comments about Republicans sending our boys off to fight in the Bush Wars, then complaining that we have to take care of them because they got disabled rather than died.

  6. entech says:

    Not a flattering angle in your preferred view, but now I see who you are talking about. First Secretary of State to visit Timor, maybe the next visit will say First Female President :lol:

  7. Wanna B Sure says:

    While I don’t miss Jon’s usual slant on most topics , I notice his absence. I do hope it isn’t out of the ordinary, and that he is OK.

  8. Ross says:

    This is a point I have discussed with others. I think a symbol is extremely important. I hate to use something so negative as an example, but it’s a point I wish to make. Think about what happens to you every time you see a swastika. A chill runs down my body to my very subconsciousness. It can not be mistaken as to who they are and what they believe. That is the power behind a symbol. Ask any Jew.
    Now, take a positive symbol and you may have the same effect in reverse.
    It is also a way we may find each other in a crowd of myth worshipers (religious people). I once heard a Gothic girl asked why they choose to dress virtually the same, yet express a need for individuality. (The person who asked this was being very rude and said it differently, but it is what he meant). The girl replied, “So we can recognize each other.”
    I thought this was a very valid reason.
    If one is driving down a road and sees an atheist or an agnostic symbol (I like the question mark for agnostics ((like me)) better, but perhaps encircled), then there is an understanding and an unmistakable awareness as to what it means. I would love to have towns that attract people like us in the way that there may be a cross which attracts Christians to a particular community.
    How else are we going to united in such a way?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Ross 9:44 “I would love to have towns that attract people like us in the way …a cross which attracts..”

      It would be great to see the row of church and service club signs include a nonbeliever sign. Maybe we can organize a fund drive to so this. Now, the emphasis in on atheist/agnostic bill boards.

      • entech says:

        But Jon, don’t you see that would illegal, it would be against the spirit of freedom of religion. :?:

        • Ross says:

          (((Firstly, please tell me how you made that encircled question mark. It’s great!)))

          With all do respect, and assuming you are not being sarcastic, I don’t see it that way. Certainly it is not illegal, without question. But also, if there is a “spirit of religion” then there must also be a “spirit to not be religious” which would give us every right to speak our minds- the same as them.
          We are free to think, speak and act as we choose (within the parameters of the law on the “act”).

          Read the First Amendment. If you Google “forefathers quotes christianity” you shall see the VAST majority of them were in fact Deists, Atheists and Agnostics- not Christian at all. Actually they loathed religion, despite the hijacking in this country which implies that the US is a “Christian nation”.
          We are in fact founded on those freethinking principles.

          That aside; if they have a right to speak their mind, so do we. We are the counterbalance which keeps science, technology, reasoning and logic from being shoved in the backseat in favor of myth-worshiping.
          Someone must do it, and if not us- then who?

          • entech says:

            When doing the little symbols – smileys etc. the first thing to remember is that they need a space before and after the characters that you type the smiley is simple – space colon right bracket space. :) without the proper spacing you get just the characters :) like this (I hope I have that right. The complicated ones are enclosed in colons the question mark in a circle is space colon question mark colon space :?: a good one is an embarrassed face which has oops written between the colons just in case the smiley actually worked :oops: . if you check the wordpress site they have a list of all that are available.

            We do need a symbol for sarcasm, yes it was intended as a jibe against those who would have everything they don’t like as being against Freedom of Religion. Not American so don’t really know much about it except the stuff you see on the net, strange people with strange placards.

      • Ross says:

        An excellent idea, sir. Perhaps the best strategy would be to firstly place them up along with our chosen symbol (I really like the encircled question mark myself (especially now that entech has shown it may be done on the computer) since technically it would cover Agnostics, Atheists, Human Secularists, as well as critical thinkers in general) and “freethinkers” perhaps along with a sub-statement that represents people like us, at least until it becomes common knowledge as to what the symbol means. Then just the symbol alone would eventually do it.
        Perhaps we should have a voting on this wonderful site you have.

        PS- I just thought; perhaps the encircled question mark could have short arrows pointing in all 4 directions to mean: “Question everything”.

        • Henry says:

          Ross: “perhaps the encircled question mark could have short arrows pointing in all 4 directions to mean:”

          That would be great. Your proposed new atheist symbol represents a swastica. I personally wouldn’t want to promote that, but if you insist….

          • entech says:

            Henry once again your prejudices and preconceptions allied with your desperation to score points against anyone that does not believe as you do has let you down.

            A question mark with arrows, as described looks nothing like a swastika. The swastika was used as a religious symbol long before the cross or Egyptian ankh. Hitler usurped a perfectly respectable symbol and twisted it to his own perverted ends.

            “During World War I, the swastika could even be found on the shoulder patches of the American 45th Division ”
            From History of the swastika on about .com.

            You are becoming increasingly desperate :evil:

          • T says:

            The symbol in question (I hesitate to call it a swastika because of the obvious negative connotations) has been in use probably since the ancient Mesopotamians. Many Native American cultures associate the symbol with the four sacred directions and the rotation of the sky above your head. Again, Hitler appropriated a perfectly good symbol and now everyone associates it with him, but he did not initiate it, by any means.

          • Henry says:

            T:“a perfectly good symbol”

            Please, please feel free to use this “perfectly good symbol”.

          • Henry says:

            entech:“usurped a perfectly respectable symbol and twisted it to his own perverted ends.”

            One could say the same for a rainbow, the sign of God’s covenant, now made into a sign for sin.

          • entech says:

            Sorry I will need to bow to your superior knowledge of sin in all its forms. The only thing I know about a rainbow is that it is supposed to be a sign that your god was sorry about trying to drown you and promised not to do it again.
            There is also a perfectly good scientific explanation, but you probably reject that.

          • T says:

            Henry 1:23 “Please, please feel free to use this “perfectly good symbol”.”

            Like I said Henry, it’s been appropriated.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry apparently regards himself as an expert to providing us with a Christian interpretation of art. Unfortunately, I, myself am the world renouned expert at this.

            Take, for example, the Touch Down Jesus Statue in Ohio. It was a fifty foot high art work that depicted Jesus signally, “Touch Down”. Everyone who understood the Bible knew a statue impying Jesus was pleased with us would be destroyed by God. Sinners do not cross the goal line, they are always short, and we are all sinners. And, guess what, the Touch Down Jesus statue was “struck by lightning” and destroyed.

            Yesterday, the replacement statue was dedicated. It is also 50 feet high. This artist understood the Bible. It depicts Jesus signally that sinners are always short of the goal line, very appropriate. I’ve named it the “Yard Short Jesus”.

            I’m glad I could help people interpret Christian art today. :)
            http://www.christianpost.com/news/ohio-megachurch-dedicates-new-52-foot-jesus-statue-82462/

          • entech says:

            “Ultimately, I hope Lux Mundi will be a constant reminder for all of us to get along with each other,” Tsuchiya was quoted as saying.

            That would be nice, there is little precedent for it though. Christians can’t seem to agree who is a real Christian and who is not, so how could they get along. Just mention JW and they all seem to reach for the invective.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            “Just mention JW and they ((all)) seem to reach for the invective”. And you say they can’t agree. Do I detect a little contradiction here? Yup.

          • entech says:

            Contradiction not at all, exaggeration certainly. A little omission I am afraid {all} should have been most, and I should have qualified it by saying I was mainly referring to the Christian of the Trinitarian variety.

            So a bit of modification, and allowing for generality , always remembering that there are always exception to a general rule. We can only hope that Mr. Tsuchiya’s ‘Light of the World’ does help bring Christians to the point where they can all get along together, all worship the same Jesus and get along with those that don’t accept their Jesus.

            I am never sure that with Americans having so many gods whether calling them all Jesus makes it more simple or more complicated.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            A modification here, an exageration there, and an ommission all over the place, and you are right. uh huh. Clear as a bell. The Squirmie wormie escape.

  9. Ross says:

    Thank you for the information and I’m also sorry, entech. Sometimes myth worshipers say the silliest things, so I wasn’t truly sure where you stood at the time, as I still very new here. My apologies.
    I’m not sure how Henry’s imagination took an encircled question mark with arrows extending into all four directions and managed to get a swastika out of it. Before I read your reply, I was going to pretty much say what you said. The swastika was perverted by Hitler and is so ancient that it can actually be found on cave drawings and looks nothing like my suggestion.
    With the proposed symbol you would have to remove the center- the question mark and the circle both (which is the meat of the sandwich- so to speak), throw away all four arrowheads, fill in the empty spot which was left behind by the lack of a question mark and circle, which would leave a simple cross, and finally crook the remaining extensions at their center most points. However with a cross, essentially all you have to do is crook the ends, so I don’t get the logic there. If my proposed symbol is similar to a swastika, then the symbol for Christianity is much, much more similar all on its own. Perhaps there is too much Glen Beck in his life.

    And Henry; If you believe that the myths of the bible are literal truths, and you find the “sin” represented by a rainbow (homosexuality) to be offensive, than perhaps you should follow the instructions of Matthew 18:9 and Matthew 5:29 just as literally every time you see a rainbow or a same sex couple.
    And as far as you saying… “Your proposed new atheist symbol represents a swastica…” I have never heard of using a symbol to represent another symbol to represent a thing, probably do to that being so extremely redundant. Would you make up a symbol to represent a cross to represent Christianity?

    • Henry says:

      Ross: “Would you make up a symbol to represent a cross to represent Christianity?”

      No. Other Christians have made varying representations of the cross. I don’t need to make the effort. However, please keep defending the swastica in your own efforts and by all means proceed.

      Ross: “just as literally every time you see a rainbow or a same sex couple.”

      Ahh…another atheist who can strictly interpret the Bible in a literal fashion. How very refreshing and unique.

      • entech says:

        Henry, swastika was a bad choice, even a stupid one, give it up.

        • Henry says:

          I would agree. I am not sure why Ross first brought it up. (Godwin’s Law perhaps?) He later proposed an atheist symbol with similarities to a swastika. Following that, he defended the swastika.

          I will follow your advice, freind entech, and “give it up”.

          Ross:“Think about what happens to you every time you see a swastika.”
          http://redriverfreethinkers.areavoices.com/2012/09/27/christians-have-the-cross-jews-have-the-star-what-do-atheists-have/#comment-61886

          • Ross says:

            Henry- perhaps I need to throw some common sense at you… AGAIN. I am really wondering how mentioning the swastika and using words like “NEGATIVE and sentences like “Think about what happens to you every time you see a swastika. A chill runs down my body to my very subconsciousness” to be defending it. It may help if you paid more attention to what is being said and not what you want to hear. This discussion is about SYMBOLS and as such, the swastika is a very, very powerful symbol. THAT DOES NOT MEAN I ENDORSE OR CONDONE ITS USE. Understand? I was obviously using it to make a point at how powerful symbol can be. You already have a symbol, so you really have very little to bring to the table to begin with in this matter. Are you are discouraging us from creating a symbol for a reason? Could it be that such a thing frightens you? Will something that helps us unite more be something you would not want? Shocking. If that is not the case, then why are you bothering to throw static and distract our discussion in this matter?

            Secondly, if you read what I actually wrote, instead of the way you wish it to see it, you would have seen me state that I am not an atheist, but an agnostic. And in fact, I am closer to being the opposite of a nazi then anything else. You would probably referee to me as a pinko. Nazi’s were RIGHT WING CHRISTIANS. They hated the Left. The first thing Hitler did was kill the unions, and then he dissolved the Democrat Socialist Party. He made thousands of references to the bible in his speeches and constantly spoke of Jesus as being the living heart of God and to himself as being the living fist of God. He wanted prayer in school, as well a whole slew of other conservative ideals.
            My Czech heritage is filled with my family fighting and dying in an effort to expel the nazi’s from their country. My great grandfather fought in the resistance, so you see, it’s kind of a sore spot when people imply what you seem to be implying. Sorry, Henry, but Hitler was a conservative, Left-wing hating Christian- not a liberal agnostic- like me. In fact, he would have killed someone like me. That makes him much closer to being one of yours- not ours.

            “In the life of nations, what in the last resort decides questions is a kind of Judgment Court of God…. Always before God and the world the stronger has the right to carry through what he wills.”
            -Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich, 13 April 1923

            I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

            “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.” Hitler, April 26, 1933

            What more…? just ask.

            PS- I don’t interpret the bible literally- and that is a silly thing to say to someone what has repeated said that the bible is a book of myths and calls Christians “myth-worshipers”, now isn’t it.

          • Henry says:

            I should probably have taken friend entech’s advice and “give[n] it up.”

            Ross:“Nazi’s were RIGHT WING CHRISTIANS. They hated the Left.”

            You are likely wrong on two accounts, and correct that they hated “the left” – Stalin.

            Christian? Doubtful. More pagan than Christian, unless it was useful for political effect.

            Right wing? I associate the current political right-wingers with those that embrace individual freedom (i.e. Mr. Ross and pk on this forum as clear, fine examples). I associate political left-wingers with those that embrace collective control and management (i.e. obamba). With that in mind, Hitler was clearly the collective control and management type. Individual freedom was not a high priority for him. He is in sharp contrast to fine specimens of right-wingers that we know. With that understanding, it provides credence to the label they chose for themselves, the National Socialist Party.

            Stalin was power in competition to Hitler. Hitler’s ambitions were restrained by Stalin. He had to go, and was hated by Hitler.

        • entech says:

          Ross, you are feeding his ego. Don’t take him seriously, I think he thrives on others anguish.

          • Ross says:

            Entech: I’d say you are correct, my friend. I love how Christians claim Hitler wasn’t really one of theirs, despite the proof. He was a secret atheist or pagan, using religion on the German people to get his way, all the while killing the communists to create a collective, who were mostly atheists, and were actually the majority at the time. If he really felt that way, why would he not have used them instead? Even if somehow that were the case, it still proves that religion is used to control the masses, even to preform such disgusting horrors.

            Notice the religious right always claim to be for individual rights and don’t try to create a collective.
            “Laws should not control people on the federal level. Let the individual states control things and stay out of personal lives. Oh, except for gay marriage. That we want to control by banning it completely on a federal level. And polygamy, since we don’t like that either. Oh, and the drug laws. You may get as obnoxiously drunk as you want, but you can’t smoke a bowl of weed and chill after work. We’ll ban that on a federal level. Mmm, and we need to make sure you don’t have the right to healthcare. We can’t have that. Oh yeah, and workers rights too. We must put a stop to that sin. Gee, I almost forgot abortion. We are super-special and we believe that life begins at conception, so YOU must believe it too. We care about kids before they’re born, but let’s make sure we cut education and don’t give them healthcare AFTER they’re born. And no euthanasia; suffering’s good for the soul. And we need prayer in school… well, as long as it’s to the god we believe in. And certainly no homos in the military. No, no, no… they can’t shoot very well. Oh, and…. blah, blah, blah…”

            They are good at creating the illusion that they are for individual rights through a self-generated reputation (thanks a lot, FOX) but in reality they want to control individuals more than any liberal I have ever met in my entire life. They just want the federal control totally THEIR way.
            It reminds me of that old Metallica song; “You can do it your own way, if it’s done just how I say.”
            GOP should stand for; Good On Propaganda

          • Henry says:

            Ross, you have a very black and white worldview. I find this typical for an agnostic/atheist. You’ll fit right in on Jon’s blog.

          • entech says:

            Henry, you haven’t used that ‘black and white’ line for months.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 12:29 “Henry, you haven’t used that ‘black and white’ line for months.”

            He uses it when he knows he has fallen behind. We forgive him.

          • entech says:

            You are right Jon, he has a couple of diversions available to lead down a different path when he is approaching a dead end with one.

            Note how he has taken any talk of swastika away from its religious and cultural origins to concentrate on Hitler, not a good directions because that is one of the few bits of common ground – in general, both theist and atheist find the man and his ideas despicable. Now on the verge of losing touch he diverts to “black and white worldview” whatever that may mean.

          • Henry says:

            entech:”Note how he has taken any talk of swastika away from its religious and cultural origins to concentrate on Hitler”

            Note how I have followed your advice concerning swastikas, and you are still unhappy. Very telling.

          • entech says:

            Come on, it is obvious I was talking of how you introduced black and white because your other line was dying.

  10. Ross says:

    Jon, Entech… You guys are so awesome. I love having such intelligent verbal fighters on my side. It is funny how when backed into a corner and out of ammo, myth-worshipers suddenly resort to such generic and vague replies.
    Now back to the topic; I am curious, guys. I love Jon’s idea about gathering funds for this. I think it is beyond a pipe dream. If we did it, it could effect our cause greatly.

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