Graveyard of the Gods

Timeline_Photos_-_Atheists__Humanists____Agnostics_at_UW-MadisonSomebody has gone to the trouble of creating a completely fake graveyard, and if you are wondering why, well perhaps there is a hint in the date – 31st Oct.

OK, so the story here is that this is of course a Halloween event, but one that is not simply designed to entertain, it actually has an important point to make, and so it should of course be no surprise to learn that it was done by the members of the AHA (Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics) Society at a university, in this case UW-Madison in Wisconsin.

It made the news, the Wisconsin State Journal has a writeup on it here …

A fake graveyard on Bascom Hill today honors more than 250 ancient deities. Well, honors might be too strong of a word.

The point of the tombstones, erected by a group of UW-Madison atheists, is to suggest that one person’s god centuries ago may be another person’s myth today.

Large signs say, “Here lies the graves of hundreds of past gods. Once worshiped by entire civilizations, now forgotten by most. How much longer will the gods of today last?”

Each tombstone contains the name of a god. Zeus and the Greek gods are depicted alongside Quetzalcoatl and the Aztec gods.

I must confess that I love the idea .. it’s fun, it’s funny, it works well as a Halloween event, it offends nobody, and yet at the same time makes a rather good point.

What we discover from this is that when it comes to gods and religion we all have rather a lot in common. When it comes to considering the possibility that there once really was a god such as Quetzalcoatl, we would all (atheists, christians, muslims, etc…) quite rightly conclude that it was only ever a superstition and that Quetzalcoatl was never real, and so  today the idea of Quetzalcoatl is truly dead. This holds true for all these ancient gods such as Zeus, Thor and all the others and so we are all skeptics.

The only different between those of us who are not religious and those that are is quite small, we just happen to believe in one god less, but together we all stand united in the rejection of all these other gods.

So is this just in Madison?

Nope, lots of secular student groups are doing this, and over at the Friendly Atheist blog there is a collection of pictures from many of the other events.

Pascal has a Wager for you

What this all does also is to scupper Pascals Wager in which you get two options; believe in a god, or don’t

  • If you believe in a god and that is incorrect, then you don’t lose anything by believing
  • If you don’t believe in a god and that is incorrect, then you have lost eternity.

Ah, but which is the right god to believe in, and so as you can now see it is not a binary choice at all, because if you still do believe and pick the wrong god, then you are still completely scuppered.

Additionally, believing is also not really a choice either. Try this … I want you to now take a few minutes to truly believe that invisible pink unicorns are real …. go.

So how did that work out then?

Hey this is all cool, our student group should do that next year

If you have a group that is interested in doing something similar next year, then you can check out the informational packets right here on the secular students site where you can find downloadable materials that you can print, a sample press release, a FAQ, and much more.

Perhaps one day the gods of today will be laid to rest alongside Zeus, Mars, Apollo, Aphrodite, Thor, and all the other dead gods that were once worshiped,” – Sam Erickson, president of Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics (AHA) at UW-Madison.

Oh wait, hang on a second, Thor is real … I’ve actually seen Thor himself in the Marvel documentary, and I can assure you that the emotional experience we all felt and shared in the theatre at the time was quite real, so the Thor claims just must be true … right?

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