There’s an interesting idea floating around at a few other godless sites: the Parking Lot Challenge, which proposes that atheists take up the task of putting together positive statements about reason and rationality and materialism and naturalism, a little active proselytizing for godlessness.
Instead I want to see YouTube videos of people ambling around church parking lots during Sunday services and placing pro-rational “tracts” on people’s windshields. I’m not talking about in-your-face “God doesn’t exist, get used to it, ya fuckin’ hayseed!” stuff, but something genuinely useful and even seductive. Material that simply asks readers not to trust Pastor Blowmuff out of the gate; to consider that science is not in fact a natural adversary of a moral or spiritual or introspective life; to understand that evolution is not a tool created for the express purpose for battering Jesus into submission, but is simply one more aspect of how nature works, with or without my, your, or the Holy Ghost’s approval.
I like the idea (in general; I take exception to some of the details, since I do think science is an adversary of a ‘spiritual’ life). It’s being stated as a counterpoint to the Blasphemy Challenge. I liked the B.C., which I thought was a great tactic to rally those who are like-minded; the P.L.C. has a different goal, to convert the faith-dependent. That’s a much trickier job, I fear, and although it seems Kevin and Skepchick are well aware of possible pitfalls, I think Hank Fox also has a few words of warning:
The Christian at the Party
… a short, one-act play …
Scene Opens: A group of bright, funny people is having a pleasant evening together, talking and laughing on a redwood deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean, while gentle music plays in the background and dolphins frolic in the surf.
A Christian enters the room and says in a loud voice “Have you all heard the Good News of Jesus Christ?”
There is an embarrased silence. Suddenly everyone is looking at their watches and saying “Oh, would you look at the time! I have to get up in the morning.” Soon, all is quiet and still.
A dolphin rises in the ocean, and surveys the empty deck. Curtain.
There’s the problem: you don’t want the atheist at the party to be the Christian at the party.
I’m all for a stronger evangelical effort by the godless, but it’s going to require some finesse and humor and something more than just declaring gods to be dead. I’m not too keen on the idea of flyers stuffed under windshields, either, since that is immediately coupling the message to obnoxious behavior. I’m going to be thinking about this some more — make suggestions!