Judgement Day: Not Happening

Oct. 21, 2011 KCAC celebrated Harold Camping’s most recent failed Rapture Day prediction. At the heart of Kansas City’s Power & Light District, KCAC proudly hefted signs with messages such as “JUDGMENT DAY: NOT HAPPENING,” “THE END IS FAR,” and “ATHEISTS BELIEVE IN YOU!”

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The reaction to our presence was quite mixed. The patrons of Power & Light were there for a country music concert and were clearly not familiar with evangelical atheists. There were a lot of baffled looks. A few people seemed not to appreciate the parody of our signs. Upon reading our “I BELIEVE IN LIFE BEFORE DEATH” sign, a woman enthusiastically asked if we were a pro-life group. Which we are — we think life is grand! It turns out that she was interested only in protecting a very tiny subset of what she defined as “life.”

The next-most-common reaction was similar to that of another woman, sitting in her car at a stoplight, who smiled and waved at us. After reading our “GOD IS UNAVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. CAN I HELP YOU?” sign, she quickly can you buy viagra over the counter withdrew her wave, averted her gaze and crossed herself.

A lot of passers-by wanted us to know that Jesus loved us. We enjoyed responding, “And we love you!” Several people, after reading our “SMILE: THERE IS NO HELL” sign, thought it important to inform us that there is indeed a hell. The common theme was eagerness to inform us that hell is real, but an awkward silence when we asked for proof. One gentleman laughingly informed Josh that he would be “going to hell for truth” after reading Josh’s “TRUTH: BROUGHT TO YOU BY SCIENCE” sign. And one young man yelled, “Praise Jesus and fuck you!” at David from the passenger-side window of a pickup. He didn’t stop to clarify his position.

Many people were amused. A lot of pedestrians giggled and smirked at our signs, and we had some fun conversations about whether people were happy that the world did not end that day. A few people snapped pictures of us with their phones. Some even wanted their pictures taken with the signs. One young man liked a sign so much that he insisted on buying it! That young man is now the proud owner of a sturdy 2’x2’ particleboard sign that reads, “I’M TOO OLD FOR AN IMAGINARY FRIEND,” and KCAC is the recipient of an unexpected $25 donation! One gentleman played a bit of a trick on Amanda and Sarah Nessel by pretending to be a religious fundamentalist. After a few minutes spent antagonizing them, he revealed he was a businessman from Seattle, fully supported our message and was pleasantly surprised that Kansas City was not at all what he expected – partly because of us!

All in all, the experience was positive. It is equally important for KCAC to have our presence known and message heard by people who do not understand atheism and who fear atheists as it is to be seen and heard by those who do agree with us.