Christian T-Shirts

29 January, 2009

Once or twice a week, I find my poor, innocent eyeballs subjected to Christian T-Shirts.  Luckily, this time of year the shirts are covered with sweaters, jackets, scarves, you name it (at least, they are up here in the frozen north — those of you down in the warmth of Florida or Australia are Shit Out Of Luck on that score).  I had assumed (stupid me, right?) that these shirts were homemade.  They all have the same cheesy iron-on-transfer quality that the famous, “I’m With Stupid ->” shirts had back in the late 70s.  Unfortunately, I found a site which sells religious shits.  Um, shirts.  Whatever.

In retrospect, this should not have surprised me.  Capitalism and right wing Christianity are closely linked (much in the same way that carneys and chaos are linked).  Some of the shirts, though, actually clarified Christian thought patterns for me.  Here is the link (recommended for those with a 16 Constitution role or better).

Here are a couple of the shirts, and my thoughts about them (what can I say, I’ve had a tough week so far):


If he lived (and there is considerable room for doubt), he was an itinerant street preacher living in the Iron Age, but the myths he supposedly fulfilled are strait from the Bronze Age.  He would have had little knowledge of physics, medicine, mathematics (pi = 3), engineering, logic, rhetoric, history, psychology, biology, zoology (bats are birds), etc.  So what would one learn at the self-proclaimed University of Jesus Christ:   School of Higher Learning?  I’m guessing a whole lot of ‘Believe or Else’ authoritarian bullshit. 

read-the-instructionsI build plastic models.  I am currently working on a late-production Tiger I by Dragon.  Also, a Ki-61 Tony (also by Dragon).  I’m real good with instructions. But the Holy Bible as an instruction manual?  It’s like it started out contradicting itself,  was written in three or four language and then inaccurately translated through a couple more.  If my plastic models had instructions like the Bible, I would end up with a kickstand on my tank, a screen door on my submarine, and no wings on the airplane (not to worry, faith will hold it up!).


So what was the question?  “Who makes me a narrow-minded bigot?”  “Who makes me intolerant?”  “Who makes me into an authoritarian git?”  “Who makes me hard?”  “Who did Mary Magdalene sleep with?” 


Pray until something happens?  Let me know how that turns out.  Really. 

I am an atheist (again, see the blog title).  I do not wander around wearing atheist t-shirts (though I do wear t-shirts from forest fires to which I have been assigned).  I don’t even have an atheist t-shirt.  Nor do I have an atheist bumper sticker on my car.  I have never seen a Jewish t-shirt.  Or an Islamic one.  Or Buddhist, Shinto, animist, you name it.

So I let my mind wander (Danger, Will Robinson!).  Why are Christians slapping their slogans on everything?  Chappie’sidea (and it’s a good one) is that they are, basically, flashing a gang sign.  I remember being in a production of Godspell when I was younger, and seem to remember a line in there about not hiding your light under a bushel.

But maybe it has more to do with (as the Spanish Inquisitor pointed out) insecurity.  Not saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is an attack.  Not letting the government pay for religious activities is an attack.  The existence of gays or atheists is an attack.    Anything that does not agree with a Christian’s personal world view is an attack (I am overgeneralizing but, let’s face it, the Christians who are not feeling attacked are not, according to the ones feeling attacked, real Christians (When is the last time you saw a Unitarian upset about the phrase, ‘Happy Holidays’?)). 

Do they view reality as an attack because they know, deep down, that reality and their faith do not agree?  Do they realize that, by any sane evaluation, religion is bullshit?  Are they lashing out to protect their fragile version of the world?  Are overoffensensitivity, bumper stickers, Jesus fish and Christian t-shirts just part of a well-developed anti-reality defense system?  Did I just make up a word?  Perhaps the Bard himself got it right:  “Methinks he doth protest too much?”

Next time you see a Christian t-shirt (luckily, I have to wait until it gets warmer up here (say, around Independence Day)), bumper sticker, Jesus fish, or a Christian taking offense at reality, ask yourself:  “Why Are Christian Overcompensating?”  And the great thing is, the phrase is easy to remember:  WACO!

Update:  I read this post to (((Wife))) and she began laughing.  I asked why she was laughing.  She said, “Look at your t-shirt.”  I was wearing on of my black ‘Federal Officer’ t-shirts.  But only as an undershirt.  It wasn’t exposed outside the house.  Honest.



  1. The common link I’m seeing in the slogans you posted is that believe in Jesus preempts any real knowledge, learning, or education. He’s apparently a crutch for stupid people to justify and glorify their stupidity.

  2. I love it. Great post as always. Time to give up the “Jesus is my homeboy” ball cap.

    15% off votive candles for you and your readers at my convenience store!

  3. Thanks for the link love.

    Actually, I think SI and I both hit on two different aspects of the same phenomenon. Christians flash their gang signs at each other because they’re insecure and need evidence that there are others like them.

  4. […] View post:  Christian T-Shirts « (((Billy))) The Atheist […]

  5. Well, I’ll confess, I have a FSM “Last Spaghetti Supper” t-shirt and an Invisible Pink Unicorn logo t-shirt. However, I know that no one is going to know what they mean, and, having been on the viewing end when others had such things on, I found it hilarious.

  6. Kate: Not necessarily stupidity, but cupidity or ignorance.

    Ram: I votived in the primary and the general election. If I votive again, I would be committing votive fraud. Maybe in ’10, neh?

    Chappie: Yeah, the gang signs and the offensensitivity are definately two sides of the same coin.

    Newbie: Welcome to reality and welcome to my blog. That is one of the greatest freedoms we have in the real world — the freedom to laugh at asshattery.

  7. There are a lot of atheist tee-shirts available so someone’s wearing them. Cafe Press has designs ranging from subtle to in-your-face obnoxious, so does evolvefish.com.

  8. How about WHACO? Why in Hell Are Christians Overcompensating?

  9. To piggy back off Nan, I think atheist gear is the way to go. Simple marketing and it introduces “our kind” to the public. I’ll make fun of xian shirts, but I’ll admit they are onto something I can roll with. Then again, I have to ditch my jeans and plain black shirt style as I hate being a walking billboard.

  10. Your comment about the “university” parallels very much with what I’ve heard about Liberty and Bobby Jones universities.

    One of our former CAP cadets was a very nice girl, but kind of a bible moth, and she went to Bobby Jones. She didn’t stay long, felt it was a less than nurturing environment.

    I knew an officer who’d been there, too. Said they called it “Seven Miles from Sin” as that’s how far it was from town at the time. One was discouraged from wallowing in pleasures like ice cream and popcorn, and the fleshpots of movies.

    The T shirts are branding, I’d guess, and a sort of symbolic sticking of fingers in the ears and chanting, “neenerneenerneener, I can’t hear you” to the reality they see around them and that sometimes pokes them rudely with doubts.

  11. Nan: I’ve seen the atheist shirts. I’m just not wild about being a billboard. Even my fire shirts (generally) are jused just as undershirts.

    Ric: Okay, but how do we get a ‘K’ in there? WHACKO would be ideal. Too bad we don’t have any wordsmiths visit here.

    DB: Again (just like you), I’m not wild about being a billboard. I think that the only shirt I have that even has a logo is a Victorinox mock turtle neck.

    Sarge: There was a time when the religious schools (universities, monestaries, etc.) were, in the European milieu, virtually the only source of higher learning. Some religious schools (BC, Providence, Notre Dame, etc.) are really top notch schools. Others seem to have embraced the medieval approach of revealed knowledge rather than actual learning. Too bad.

  12. WHACKO? Why in Hell Are Christian Kooks Overcompensating?

  13. Thanks, Spanqi. WHACKO it is.

  14. seeing as I’ve just put two atheist and one secular sticker on my car, I’m a bit biased towards atheists advertising their ideas. at least ours make sense. 🙂

  15. Related to the university logo commentary, I’m seeing an assumed dichotomy. You could say religous people are concerned with learning about humanity and right living, in the sense that a God-human relationship is preeminent and that there is much to learn about relating to God and other human beings. Supposedly we have been shown the way, so why wouldn’t you study that?

    You assume that knowledge of the world is preeminent. Well, should it be?

    Is it better to go through life without any knowledge of physics and the like but know how to run the “human machine”, or is it preferable to know all about the world but less about how to best love other humans in light of progressive revelation of a God who started it all?

    Wordy, I know.

  16. No offense Kizzle, but I disagree completely. I don’t see religious people (right-wingers at least) concerned about anyone but themselves. They are not concerned with anyone who is not Christian unless they can convert them. They would rather force their views onto everyone else than to “learn” (or even respect) their differences. If you are arguing from a liberal Christian or humanist standpoint, then your argument holds water.

  17. @Kizzle:

    If it weren’t for the many, many people who devoted themselves to the pursuit of real, practical knowledge (including “physics and the like”), then you and your happy hippy brethren would be enjoying the “progressive revelation” of your imaginary god from the comfort of a mud hut, scratching at your syphilitic sores and wondering where your next meal was coming from. Please, be my guest – but don’t try to compare the acquisition of genuine, tangible information about the world with the metaphysical ramblings of a bunch of mystic gobshites. Scientific endeavour has done more to improve the lot of humanity in the last couple of hundred years than all the world’s religions combined, throughout their entire histories, so if you really want to show your love for your fellow Man, get a damn education!

  18. Oz: Bumper stickers, t-shirts with slogans (other than ones I’ve ‘earned’ by working fires (I still have to pay for them)) and other self-billboardization just aren’t my thing. Not being judgemental about it, but it just ain’t me.

    Kizzle: Thanks for stopping by. Just a few questions, though. Have you ever taken anti-biotics to clear up, say, a sinus infection or ear infection? Did that come from studying the Bible or the real world? Have you driven over a bridge? Did the materials and civil engineering come from studying the Bible, or from studying the real world? Near as I can make out, the only thing that studying a god-human relationship does is create preachers who want to tell others what to do (or not do). Divinity studies are mental masturbation with no real world applications.

    DB: Even many of the more liberal Christianities have conversion as a goal. It may be covert (intentionally or unintentionally) or it may be overt. Either way, they want the victim to know where the help has come from and who they should thank.

    Yunshui: Yep.

  19. Yeah, I agree about the Bible Instructions one. I lost the instructions to the Trumpeter MiG-19 I was working on and nowhere in the bible did it say “and the LORD sayeth “use thou a combination of parts B15 and B16, built twice previously, and attacheth them to the underside of wing thou didst prepare in Step 7”.

    Disappointing, really.

    On another tack, I had some “WWFSMD” T-shits made. Wore mine to a Shoney’s Sunday Brunch in Louisville last year. I thought for a bit that I wouldn’t make it out alive.

  20. Rallymodeler: Thanks for stopping by. I’ve built the MiG 15 by Trumpeter. Of course, if I was using Bible-style instructions, I would have had a step from a Sherman tank, followed by a step from a B-17, followed by a step from a Mig 17, followed by a step from a Lotus 10, followed by . . . . Garbage.

    I’m not so worried about physical safety, I’m just not into being a billboard.

  21. I always knew Spanqi was a K kind of guy. I’m happy to have collaborated with him, my fellow WHACKO.

  22. I always know I can count on you, Philly and others. You are good people.

  23. Mark 16: 16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.


  24. You are funny. (So…you think I’m funny!)

    You have a good sense of humor but the hate you spew kinda sours the jokes. I suppose you hate Jesus and anyone calling themselves his followers because they represent right and wrong and you just don’t want to go there.

    I’m a Christian. (Now I know you can’t wait to read the rest) Still have my brain, heart and ability to reason. No bumper stickers though, sorry. Mainly because I think they make a car look trashy. I do have a couple shirts from projects for which I design the shirts. No cutesy WWJD or anything.

    I have seen my share of Liberal, Leftist, Earthfirster, Rainbow Family, GLBT, Democrap and various other wacko group stickers. Not to mention T-shirts, bookmarkers, websites, movies, billboards, coffee cups, postage stamps, tattoos, oven mitts, graffiti…etc.

    Being a Christian I think we should claim dibs on the whole T-shirt thing. Maybe even the whole written word thing in general. Because. We believe The Universe was made by The Creator who spoke it into existence. “The Word” is another name we call Jesus. Hey maybe we should call dibs on Logos as well.

    If anyone has dibs on putting words on T-shirts it should be us. Since you don’t claim to know the creator of all, you are an interloper and should ask to use anything of this world for your own purposes. T-shirts included.

    So there. 🙂

    By the way. I can’t recall the last time a heard of the Atheist Children’s Fund or Godless army Food Drive, or Atheists Disaster Relief Organization. And yet Christians are suppose to be the Bigots, Haters, and Racists who want to bring misery and suffering to the sinners?

  25. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

  26. amen bryan and micky

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