Know Your Memes
Memes are the newest weapon in our arsenal, so you should know what they are. If you don't know what a meme is you should read Richard Dawkins' 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, where he coined the term. Of course, he was only trying to illustrate the behavioral equivalent of a gene, this new term, however, took on a life of it's own. Other authors like Daniel Dennett and Susan Blackmore built on his definition of a meme--any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator of a certain idea or complex of ideas--and created what we now know as memes.
A meme is anything such as a word, a phrase, a song, a story, an invention--anything that can be passed on in our popular culture. The social media culture we are living in now has been highly beneficial to this end. So, my intention with this hub is to highlight some of the latest and most effective atheist memes. I'll start with Good Guy Lucifer to the right. I think it's pretty self explanatory. The point is, memes are an effective way of spreading a message. If they are funny, that makes it even better. If they are funny and leave you going hmm... then we have a winner! So pay attention and pass it on.
I love memes with other mythological gods or creatures! Why? Because they point out the obvious really quick--the Christian god is a myth, too. This one also points out that Jesus hasn't kept his promise, while Odin, here, has. It's funny, but it makes you think if you are a believer--one hopes. No, this isn't going to prompt millions of hardcore Christians to wake up all of a sudden and realize they have been lied to, but it is something that a Christian will see, laugh at, then go, Oh...wait a minute. The best thing about memes is that there are literally millions of them, and new ones get invented every day, so there are plenty to go around and around. Just like genes.
Famous People Memes
Another popular and effective meme is the famous person meme. This one is a double whammy because it depicts a famous person, Keanu Reeves, and it mentions another famous person, a politician, Rick Perry. How funny! The message is conveyed quickly and effectively. You know immediately what Keanu is talking about and that worried look on his face is priceless and says it all. But these can work both ways. Memes don't always have to be funny. There are many famous atheist memes that are just famous people being quoted on their stance on religion or god. Or sometimes it's a character that an actor played, like the Taylor Durden meme below.
Memes Appear Overnight, Literally
A wonderful thing about memes is that they are created so fast. If something big happens today expect memes to start circulating almost immediately. One recent incident that proved this was the UC Davis pepper spray incident this past November. Lt. John Pike became famous, and not in a good way, because of his stupid decision to unload pepper spray on peaceful, unarmed, college students. Even though this isn't exactly an atheist meme, I think this shows just how effective memes are. Within hours of the incident hundreds, and I do mean hundreds, of Lt. Pike memes were circulating. None of them held any sympathy for him. If he was expecting to come out of that situation unscathed, he was wrong.
As you can see, people got quite creative. And these are only a handful of the hundreds of Lt. Pike memes that were created within hours of the incident. My favorite is the Inception meme. I just like Leo, and Inception has inspired hundreds of its own memes.
I'll do one more atheist meme. The ever popular god meme. What better weapon than to fight fire with fire, right? So here is just one of several god memes. As you can see, it goes in for the kill pretty quick. There is no beating around the bush.
So, I hope this has been educational for you. As atheists, the best weapon we have is ridicule. Memes enhance the ridicule at least 100 times. So know your memes, and pass them on!