Joined: July 2006
Hey Marc, thanks for posting. I have some suggestions, or at least, some food for thought. The problem as I see it is that atheism just doesn't have the trappings of religions, and is completely lacking in any kind of PR department. So here are some things we could try:
* Costumes for the clergy. Look, I know the cool religions nowadays are moving away from costumed clergy, but I think that's a mistake. Costumes give your religion a sense of history. They also are used as a way to seperate the really good Realists (the clergy) from the laymen Realists (the "monday Realistis" (I'm flexible on mondays being the holy days, but the Muslims have Friday, the Jews have Saturday, and the Christians have Sunday, we came late to the party so we just have to make due)). Given the realities of global warming I think we should be forward thinking and go with something with a middle eastern flair. They've been living in the desert for a couple of millenium, so I'm guessing they've figured out the whole cool clothing thing. The only problem I see with this is that it could cause problems at airport security lines, but i'm willing to be a matry for the cause. Lastly, the importance of the inclusion of a funny hat cannot be underestimated.
* A Holy Book. We could use Origin of the Species, or maybe The Selfish Gene, but that's rather dry reading. It seems obvious to me what it's missing....monsters. Inclusion of dinosaurs are a definite plus, but none of them breath fire (Note: can we get some paleontologists to study the feasability that some dinosaurs breathed fire?). We've got no dragons, no djinn, no giants (ok, 1 ton giant rats are at least a good start). How hard would it be to stick some giant hominids somewhere in the evolutionary tree? I know we have those south asian hobbits, but that seems just a bit too much like a product tie-in for The Lord of the Rings.
* We need some prophecies. These are best sprinkled at random through the holy book. Remember, the most important thing about prophecies are not that they are accurate, it's that they are vauge. Let the adherants of the religion figure it all out in a few hundred years (this has the added benefit of making easy religious book sales).
* We need a reason for people to believe us. All the big guys seem to have a fairly simple setup. If you listen to us you get good stuff, if you don't listen to us you will suffer unimaginable pain in a prison of fire for all eternity. Right now the best we can muster is that you are a chemical machine who's mind is an illusion, and who will one day stop functioning, and in the process destroy all consciousness and knowledge that we has obtained up to this point. Ok, be honest, this just sucks. We're never going to win converts like this. For the "good stuff" I think we should use clinical immortality. No one likes dying, so this seems like a sure thing. Get the PR guys to work on a motto like "Why wait till you die to go to heaven when you can have heaven right here on earth". Also, make sure to mention the lax moral standards we have. I think right out on the church sign we should put "You can have sex whenever you want with whoever/whatever you want, it's okay with us". As for the eternal flames of damnation, well, they've got us on this one, but we can at least close the gap. I think a combination of global warming with killer asteroids would work ok. This has the added benefit of effecting everyone, even the faithful. This should make the faithful bigtime evangalists for our cause.
That's all I've got for now, but I'll keep you in the loop if I come up with anything else.