Evangelical Atheists Take to Street to Spread the Word There is No Hell
A group of atheists has turned the tables on evangelicals by taking their own non-theistic message to the street. Gathering in Balboa Park, the San Diego Coalition for Reason hopes to spread the word that there is no God.
“If we can de-convert people away from these religious ideas that keep them stuck in this dogma that forces them to believe these things, that’s a moment of pure joy for us,” Jim Eliason, one of the regulars told local news outlet KPBS.
Under a large banner that reads, “Relax, Hell does not exist, Heaven either. Enjoy your life,” members of the group encourage the conversation with snacks on Saturdays in the park.
“These are what we call theistic pretzels,” Eliason explained. “And a theistic pretzel, as we can see, is made with actual twisted logic.”
For those that have “a little more hunger,” he continued, “we will save them with the power of Cheez-its.”
Organizer Debbie Allen said the Saturday events provide a gathering place for fellow atheists to join together and chat, but the evangelistic activities also have another motivation. “We like to let the community know that there are groups they may want to participate in,” she noted.
Eliason, who co-organizes the events with Allen added that the group’s street preaching is also a way to fight against religion in the schools. He pointed out that atheist organizations are “constantly fighting to get creationism out of the schools,” and keep religion out of secular life.
The San Diego group’s activities are one of a growing number of vocal atheist groups and mega-churches popping throughout the United States both to combat religion in public places and to form a community of like-minded people.
According to Eliason, this trend of reaching out to others and having an open group of non-theists is important because many atheists have faced discrimination of feel alienated from others because they do not believe in God.
“There are a lot of people at the booth who have been estranged from their families or who can’t tell their families, or who have lost a job because of it, or who are afraid to lose a job because people might find out,” Eliason said. “And it’s one of the reasons that people are so relieved to find out that we’re out there, that we exist, that they can come and join us in social activities.”
Photo Credit: Steven Depolo via Creative Commons