Every year the Super Bowl is at the center of some sort of controversy. Sometimes it’s the game itself, sometimes it’s the halftime show . This year it was an advertisement. The Church of Scientology found a way to buy ad space during the airing of the big game without having to pay those exorbitant prices. They cleverly bought ad space in local markets during times that were scheduled for breaks saved for regional advertisers. They did this in a multitude of local markets including, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Clearwater, Florida. Here is the original ad (the one that aired during the super bowl was cut to a 30 second run time).
This ad has been online on YouTube since December, where it had been viewed 60,000 times until yesterday. As of 1:30pm EST today (less than 24 hours after it aired during the Super Bowl), it has been viewed 93,500 times and counting. Not the landslide, I’m sure they were hoping for with such a high exposure time slot, but it’s still more than half of what they had been able to accumulate in the past 6 weeks.
This morning, there is a video going around the twitter-verse (thanks to the CultOfDusty) that I wish had aired instead of the Scientology ad during a time when the whole of the USA was praying to a god that their team would win. At first glance it looks like exactly the same ad, but if you stick with it until the end, you will see that it is indeed very different.
The tag line, ‘We go one god further’ is in itself a stroke of genius. Atheists have long said that everyone in the world is an atheist when it comes to all of the deities in which they choose not to believe. For example a Christian does not believe in Zeus, Allah, Krishna, Vishnu, Jehovah, Freyr, Loki, Ao, Maru, Jupiter or Shiva. Therefor a Christian is but one god (and his son) away from being an atheist. The same holds true for the Islamic people, the Hindu, the Shinto, the Jewish people, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and so on down the line. Once you have decided that you do not believe in a long laundry list of gods, it’s such a small step to shed that last one, which is why the fastest growing group in the Western world is the non-religious.
After all, we are all born atheists. It’s not until we are indoctrinated by our parents or our “spiritual leaders” that we succumb to a belief in any one deity.