"Enjoy Life Now: There Is No Afterlife” is the message a Wisconsin Lifetime Member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is sponsoring for several weeks on a billboard near Columbus, Wis.
The octogenarian, who prefers anonymity, also sponsored a similar billboard last year "as a legacy to his grandchildren" in a different location. He expressed the hope that other FFRF members might be “inspired” to place similar messages in their areas on behalf of the Foundation.
The colorful billboard is on the east side of U.S. 151 just south of Fox Road. It continues the “stained glass window” theme which is FFRF’s signature billboard look, first debuting with the slogans “Imagine No Religion” and “Beware of Dogma.”
“The idea is both to be eye-catching, and to create a little cognitive dissonance,” explains Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president of the nation’s largest association of freethinkers, atheists and agnostics, which works to keep state and church separate. “We want passerbys to ponder: What if you saw this message in a church?”
“This life is it,” says Dan Barker, Foundation co-president and author of Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists (Ulysses Press, 2008). “If life's eternal, life is cheap. As Emily Dickinson put it, 'That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.' "
It’s not only “one world at a time,” as Henry David Thoreau famously said on his deathbed when asked if he believed in an afterlife, Barker adds. But nor is there evidence of a future, transcendent realm.
The Foundation thanks its kind benefactor for coming up with such a positive slogan to represent the freethought point of view.