A group of atheists have decided that riding a bus is somehow not tedious enough. Starting this week, CTA buses will roll about—in their slow, jerky fashion—with “Sleep In On Sundays” emblazoned on the sides.
This again proves the advertising adage: “Clarence Darrow can sell anything.”
The campaign is courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (a preposition being the difference between tolerance and intolerance). The group is made up of “freethinkers,” one of those intellectually dishonest terms like “Pro-Life.” If you aren’t Pro-Life on the abortion issue, then you must be Pro-Death, right? And if you aren’t a freethinker on the God issue, then your thoughts are constrained by primitive, childish beliefs not of your choosing, right?
In their defense, the Freedom From Religion folks are just doing what religious groups already do. Last year the Archdiocese of Chicago ran its “Catholics Come Home” campaign, which may as well have been called the “Practicing Catholics Cringe When These Ads Come On TV” campaign.
I actually thought they were a hoot. My favorite was the one where the guy remembered the time he looked at a woman and licked his lips. That monster clearly had either pre- or extra-marital sex! What was he thinking!?!
Today, believers and non-believers alike fight for our souls (or lack) with catchy slogans and crisp sound bites. “Just Do It,” worked for Nike. So, shouldn’t “Jesus Saves” work for Christianity? Won’t “Sleep In On Sundays” work for atheism?
Probably not. Faith in God is not a pair of shoes. It is a lifelong issue that you must face whether you want to or not. Believers must wrestle with things like wars and earthquakes; non-believers must wrestle with the fact there is something rather than nothing, and that Sam Cooke existed in an otherwise mechanical universe. What you believe at 20 you may not believe at 50. Heck, what you believe at breakfast you might not believe by lunch.
So, we are all freethinkers. Contrary to what the Freedom From Religion gang may think, that does not just mean a few extra hours of sleep. It means doubt, questioning, and an emotional and intellectual struggle that lasts a lifetime. Hooray. In the words of the Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, a man no one in their right mind would accuse of not thinking freely, “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” (There’s an advertising slogan that only Paxil would want.)
But I do agree about sleeping in on Sundays. My church has a 7 PM mass. If they ever cancel it, I’ll be in for a serious existential crisis.