I am not sure I understand what is so offensive about the sign. Here is what it reads:
At this season of
THE WINTER SOLSTICE
may reason prevail.
There are no gods.
no devils. no angels.
no heaven or hell.
There is only
our natural world.
Religion is but
myth and superstition
that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.
Setting aside all the reasons "atheists wouldn't celebrate a natural phenomenon", what is offensive about what the sign says? The last sentence is merely a retooling of what most religions, and especially Christianity, say about Atheism all the time. It would go like this: Unbelief is but error that hardens hearts and enslaves minds. And this, without any repercussions from any Christians, who universally simply nod inside and go on with their day.
Need I go pull out from the Christian scriptures all of the places that unbelief and unbeliever is mentioned. Here is a sample:
"But to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their minds and consciences are corrupted."
The Christian public statements about unbelievers, based on scriptures like these, are far harsher and more insulting than the statements in the Atheist sign. When Atheists DO make equally harsh statements (which is actually quite hard to do), other Atheists can disavow them. Not so with Christianity: Disavowal would be to deny what the scriptures state.
"But to the cowards, unbelievers
, detestable persons, murderers, the sexually immoral, and those who practice magic spells, 1
idol worshipers, 2
and all those who lie, their place 3 will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. 4 That 5 is the second death
To illustrate, in order for me to make a statement equally harsh with the Christian scripture's statement, I would have to say something like this:
The believer in Jesus' place is to be kept on the edge of life and consciousness and endlessly tortured until that person shall expire. It would be preferable to be able to keep them alive eternally for this torture, but alas, we cannot. Perhaps science will one day make it possible.I don't think I ever remember an Atheist making such a statement in print or elsewhere.
Quite frankly, I don't think Christians can say anything about Atheists engaging in offensive attacks until they disavow their own scriptures. This is simply impossible unless they make their Christianity into something unrecognizable.
As for the offensiveness of the nativity scene: It is. It represents the manipulative story of Christ. This story's subject is only necessary in the event that humankind is corrupt. So, tied up in the nativity scene is the insult that I am corrupt along with the rest of humankind. It is likewise condescending.
The Christian display is sneaky, because it conceals it's message behind the cloak of a peaceful scene with charming baby.
The Atheist sign is more direct, and so what?