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Know Your Memes

Updated on December 3, 2012
Good Guy Lucifer, the newest atheist meme.
Good Guy Lucifer, the newest atheist meme. | Source

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.


Mythological Memes

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.

Original Lt. Pike pepper spray incident photo.
Original Lt. Pike pepper spray incident photo. | Source
Inception pepper spray meme.
Inception pepper spray meme. | Source
Lt. Pike last supper meme.
Lt. Pike last supper meme. | Source
Lt. Pike pepper sprays the Declaration meme.
Lt. Pike pepper sprays the Declaration meme. | Source

God Memes

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!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wearing clothes has nothing to do with critical thinking, so whoever made that Lucifer meme could have left the naked part out. Everyone /should/ be naked. Lucifer would know that. It's religious people and people with skewed moral codes who believe wearing clothes is somehow positive.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Posting pics with text written on them... So hostile. Almost reminds me of something much worse that Internet trolls do...

    • TonyDan profile image

      Tony Daniels 

      6 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Using memes as a weapon? Sounds very hostile and antagonistic. And why attack religion in the first place? If its as flawed as you elude it to be why not just let it flounder on its own? The apparent need of atheists to attack religion has always been amazing to me. I doubt if using memes as a "weapon" was the originator's intent.

    • TonyDan profile image

      Tony Daniels 

      6 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

    • Kukata Kali profile image

      Kukata Kali 

      7 years ago


    • emmaspeaks profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Kansas City

      Yes, Indigo Atheist, they are definitely a tool. Thanks for the comment.

    • Indigo Atheist profile image


      8 years ago

      I enjoy memes, and as the term "meme" was coined by Richard Dawkins himself in The God Delusion, I think they are a valuable tool for atheists to use as satirical weapons.

    • emmaspeaks profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Kansas City

      Thanks for the comments, guys!!

    • hawkdad73 profile image


      9 years ago from Riverside, Iowa

      This was short and sweet. I think it wonderfully summarizes the whole meme thing. Funny too.


    • Pikachusif profile image


      9 years ago from Castelia City, Unova

      Very nice, comical as well. I can see that you have quite some experience in hubbing. Do not stray off of the course of excellence...

      -The Yellow Blur, Pikachusif

    • emmaspeaks profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Kansas City

      Have to agree with you there, Titen, although, some believers do lend themselves to being ridiculed, sad to say. And sometimes I find myself just biting my tongue.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 

      9 years ago from SE MA

      Too good not to share..

    • Titen-Sxull profile image


      9 years ago from back in the lab again

      Funny stuff emmaspeaks :)

      The best rule for ridicule, IMO, is to ridicule the BELIEFS but try not to ridicule the BELIEVERS. Ridiculing the people directly is likely to make them shut off mentally and walk away but if you make fun of the beliefs their angry knee jerk reaction will wear off faster and give way to making them actually think about what you said.


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