Social Question

6rant6's avatar

Are you more or less likely to patronise a business that advertises an affiliation with atheism?

Asked by 6rant6 (13692points) May 27th, 2010

Obviously, I’m piggybacking on a parallel question about Christianity (from Seek_Kolinahr).

Several of us weighed in against a WHJD drive thru. But what would you do if they had a sign that said, “We are not part of any religion” or “We do not believe there is a man with a long beard watching our every move and recording our actions so that we can be made to pay for them after we die.” or whatever.

Would that change your shopping habits?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

62 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I would shop at the atheistic establishment more often :D

Draconess25's avatar

As long as they don’t look down on my beliefs, I’m good.

At least they won’t be shoving religion down my throat!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When it comes to my shopping habits then religion or lack of it plays no part in my decision. What would affect me is if employees I come in contact with started to push a particular bent and then I’d probably find what I wanted elsewhere where I wouldn’t be sidetracked.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

It depends how relevant religion is to their service. For groceries or petrol, it wouldn’t make a difference. For a business involved in ethical decisions such as health insurance, I would be more likely to patronise that business.

Trillian's avatar

The only store I had a problem with was Target and that was because of their attitude about the military. Being in the military myself, I’m sure people could understand this.
Theist, atheist, monotheist, pantheist, means nothing to me.

Silhouette's avatar

No, When they start that kind of crap they are just another religion.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Couldn’t care less about their religion. I’d be more interested to know if they run their business in an ethical manner.

the100thmonkey's avatar

DGAF about their ethics or morals. Do they provide good service and products?

phoebusg's avatar

Definitely less likely. I also make sure the charity organizations I use are not religious.

Rozee's avatar

I am not interested in religous preferences; however, I do think of myself as a Christian. If the place is advertising theirs, I would think twice about it. Usually, when people are flying the flag it is more than a personal perspective, it is a cause.

Sarcasm's avatar

I had the same answer in the Christianity question.
Even as an atheist, I am less likely.

I feel religious (and political) affiliations have no place in business. It annoys me.

Haleth's avatar

When I lived in Richmond, the local grocery chain was Ukrops, which closed on Sundays and had big bible quotes on the wall. My friends and I mostly joked about it, but I did feel kind of uncomfortable shopping there. I would be very tempted to give an atheist-leaning establishment more of my business, but it would be hypocritical to do that if the opposite situation made me uncomfortable.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Haleth Really? I never felt awkward shopping at Ukrops at all.

I was super sad to see that they were gone when I visited.

Seek's avatar

As a professed Atheist, I think one’s religious and political views (or lack thereof if applicable) should stay the hell out of business. The difference being if the business in question had a social purpose (a bar/dining establishment or something). I would of course be more likely to visit an atheist bar than a Christian coffee shop, as I’m more likely to run into someone I’d share common interests with. Much like how I don’t cruise the Internet for Christian chatrooms.

Though, I have to say, I’ve never heard of a business proclaiming a lack of religion as an advertising tactic. My question was prompted by seeing several different Christian-based business adverts in a single day.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

An atheist shopkeeper may or may not get more of my business, but I’m not as intolerant as most of the rabid, die-hard Christian fanatics I’ve run into. So, unless some born-again pest makes the mistake of preaching at me when I try to make a purchase from them, I probably wouldn’t make that distinction and won’t do without something I want or need just to prove some useless point.

Ponderer983's avatar

As long as they don’t weave their Atheistic beliefs into the items in the store, it wouldn’t matter to me. I don’t go to “Christian” bookstores and the like because I don’t want to read about that crap, so the same goes for Atheists. If they are selling groceries, I could really give a shit what religion the people own the store are!

YARNLADY's avatar

If they ‘advertise’ it, I would not be interested. I don’t think it’s a good idea for business owners to tell people what to believe. If I found out through a third party (news, etc) I wouldn’t mind.

Jewel's avatar

Use your belief system as an advertising gimmick and I will go FAR out of my way to avoid your business.
I refuse to do business with the idiots who put little fishes on their Yellow Page ads and business forms. I would do the same for any dim wit who made a point of pointing out their religious views without me asking.

Seek's avatar

I also think many people didn’t quite grasp the intent of my question and by default, this one.

Many have stated they would patronise the business if they provided a good product or service. Of course this is true. My question (and this one) are intended to focus on the advertising alone.

Assuming you know absolutely nothing about the quality of the good or service offered, would a religiously-leaning advertisement affect your choice to use one company over another?

Jewel's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr As stated, yes, it would (and does) affect my choice about which service to use. The quality means less to me than the mental workings of any person who would use their religious leanings as ad fodder. It is a cheap tool, and my personal experience with Christians is such that I can readily assume I will be ripped off if I do business with them.
Good question!

Seek's avatar

@Jewel I’m on your team. I’ll always go to the “Empress Tea Room” before the “Angel Tea Room”. I’m absolutely appalled at the idea of a supermarket that paints scripture on the walls.

Jeruba's avatar

I would be less likely (assuming some average of likelihood) to patronize any business that advertises an affiliation with any religious or spiritual point of view, whether for or against, unless it is a position explicitly related to the business itself. For example, if I wanted to purchase materials and supplies for a practice of Wiccan rituals, I might choose a shop where the proprietor is a knowledgeable practitioner with relevant expertise.

To me such advertising says “I’m trying to take advantage of something we have in common—some shared belief or worldview—to influence your interest in patronizing my business.” This is not my idea of a legitimate way to attract customers to a business. Even if I agreed with the shopkeeper’s position on religion—which in this case I do—I would think it was completely inappropriate for him or her to use it to secure my trade. In fact, the assumption that it could influence me is insulting and would make me avoid the business.

JLeslie's avatar

My preference, as some others have stated, is to leave religion out of business altogether. I do have to say that when businesses have a sign of the fish or are called Christian Brothers Auto (which we have here in Memphis, and I never would have gone there because the name does deter me, but I “broke down” one day right next to one, and I have to say they were amazingly kind and helpful) but I just find it to be a turn off in the name of the company or in any part of their advertising, Christian or atheist.

Jewel's avatar

@JLeslie Christian was probably their family name. It is a fairly common one.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jewel Possibly. I had thought of that too. No way to know unless I actually look it up. I’m just thinking that when we see certain last names they can be giveaways to what religion the people who own it might be, especially law firms, but it is not the same as purposefully incorporating one’s religion into the “sell” of the business. I don’t think we can get around that even if it is their name, they probably like the double entendre, especially dow here in the bible belt.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jewel I just looked it up the guy who founded the place is Mark Carr, which is kind of funny actually since it is an automotive place, yet he opted to go with marketing the Christian thing. Here is the link to their mission I can save you the click, it says:

“To glorify God by providing ethical and excellent
automotive repair service for our customers,
according to Colossians 3:17,

“And whatever you do in word and deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Ron_C's avatar

I tend to stay away from businesses that advertise their religious affiliation. I guess doing business with an atheist is my default position.

My experience is that people use their religion to overcharge especially for religious trinkets.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No.I couldn’t care less what someone’s religious beliefs are and whether or not they want to make grand announcements about them.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t check whether a business is owned by Christians, Muslims, Jews, or any mainstream religion. I would prefer to do business with atheists, as I would prefer not to use my money to support any religious superstitions that have done so much to harm mankind and impede scientific progress. I would go out of my way to avoid patronizing businesses owned by cults such as the Hare Krishnas, Scientologists, Christian Scientists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the like. I would absolutely avoid giving any financial support to businesses owned by any new shooting-star cults such as James Jones’ Peoples Temple, or David Koresh’s Branch Davidians. Any money given to people like those helps them dupe and eventually kill more people.

I doubt that a business owning atheist would put a sign out bragging about their lack of faith in a sky daddy, because it would certainly cost them far more in sales than it would win. But I would go out of my way to reward their courage of convictions and even that scale in what little way I could.

Facade's avatar

No thanks.

anartist's avatar

If any business has to wave a flag about anything having to do with religion [except a kosher deli] I’m putta there!

cockswain's avatar

I think it would be a foolish business idea as they’d alienate too much potential clientèle, but yeah I’d shop there.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yeah I’d probably be more likely to support that business even though religion or lack thereof shouldn’t make a difference when it comes to products that have nothing to do with it, but that’s what I’d honestly do.

Jabe73's avatar

That would be just as bad as not shopping at a store or eating at a restuarant owned by a hindu, muslim or jewish person because their religious beliefs are different than yours. It wouldn’t make a difference to me.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Trillian What’s Target’s attitude toward the military? I didn’t even realize it was an issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jabe73 Being owned by an atheist, Jew, Hindu, or Christian is different than making it part of the marketing scheme of the business. Kosher deli might be the one exception that everyone would understand that it is not really about religion, but about the food, the same as Greek restaurant, or French bakery. My example of the Christian auto service, I don’t think Christians are famous for fixing cars, they are promoting that their religion to convey they have integrity I guess, and I assume they think other Christians will like dealing with Christians.

Qingu's avatar

More, to balance the religious folks who would stay away like the plague.

Trillian's avatar

@Dr Dredd A few years ago in VA Beach there was a big stink because they wouldn’t let the Marines stand outside and take Toys for Tots. They also stopped allowing the Salvation Army ring the bell outside their stores. I see a bunch of positive press now for Target, but at the time it was pretty ugly. I was still in Va Beach so it had to have been around ‘03 or ‘04…

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Trillian That sucks. Yeah, I can see where you don’t like them…

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian I thought the Marines started Toys for Tots? It seems odd that a marine would take a toy? I am not defending Target, just saying it seems not in line with how and why toys for tots was started. I think I remember reading that Target donates money to Salvation Army directly (this might have been to clean up the bad press?? I am not sure if they donated after they would not allow them to ring bells outside of their stores, or if it was done simultaneously or what).

Trillian's avatar

@JLeslie Target would not let them stand outside and collect the toys in their barrels. From the customers going in and out. ;-) Sorry if I didn’t make that clear!

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian I misunderstood. Thanks for clarifying.

Trillian's avatar

@JLeslie Hehehe, i had a really funny picture in my head from what you wrote. A nice looking marine, all sharp in his blood stripes, sneaking up and snatching a toy from the barrel and then running!

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian My thought was not that devilish, but yeah, I was thinking a Marine wanted to take a toy. I am actually torn on the whole topic you raised. I don’t like being asked for donations every time I walk in or out of a store. However, I know people are happy to be able to donate without having to figure out how to get their donations to the right place. I guess I am fine with Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, even Girlscout Cookies set up at a store, I just don’t want them to approach me. If I want to give I’ll give.

Trillian's avatar

The Marines have a directive already. They do not ask, they just stand there. Everybody knows about them though, so I guess they don’t really need to ask. People know what they’re about, so if they’re like me, they say to themselves “Ok, a ten year old girl, and a twelve year old boy” or whatever.
I actually prefer to take a tree angel because you can them supply their whole Christmas and you have all the stats; age, ht & wt, hair color, sizes, toy preferences….
But yeah, they don’t approach people, probably because they know how off-putting it is.

JLeslie's avatar

Interestingly it would mean that Target could sell more. If people actually buy something in the store to donate it would be good for business for Target I would think. I would rather Target just donate the toys from dollars donated by people for toys for tots, because they would be donating at cost, and would cost everyone less in the end, or afford double the amount of toys.

YARNLADY's avatar

Target and most other stores will not allow any charity to stand outside their store, because of the liability issue – if the charity is robbed, which happens a lot, who gets blamed? The store, for not supplying security. It the charity is fake – the store gets blamed. What if every one of the 80,000 registered charities insisted on equal time and space? The mind boggles.

Target has a ‘give back to the community’ program that give grants based on need through an application process.

Cat4thCB's avatar

if there were a sign posted that said, “We are not part of any religion,” yes, i would change my shopping habits by not going there. i want a good product, a good service sold to me by knowledgeable, courteous, clean people at a reasonable price. if your religion, nationality, skin color, shoe size, or what you had for breakfast interferes with that, i would have an issue.

otherwise, who cares.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cat4thCB I don’t get it. If the product and service is good, and you don’t care what religion, skin color, or shoe size, then why does it matter that they are not part of any religion? Or, do you just mean the sign would turn you off?

Cat4thCB's avatar

@JLeslie just the matter of the sign being posted would be off-putting. to me, that means that their focus is not completely on me, the customer. the sign implies another agenda and gives tacit permission to make religion a focal point instead of me and the product they are selling to me. a place of business is not a forum for making public one’s beliefs or opinions. it is exploiting an opportunity they would not otherwise have; were it not for the store, they would not have a means to make their statement.

besides, the fact that they’ve announced that religion is not important to them means that it is important; their declaration is antithetic to its implication. it would be no different than a sign saying that they are part of a specific religion.

finally, it is not welcoming to those with other views and may even be offensive to some.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cat4thCB So we agree that a sign alone about religion is offputting. I just wasn’t sure what you were saying orignially. Thanks for clarifying.

6rant6's avatar

What if they posted a sign that said, “To clear up some confusion among our friends and loyal customers, we want you to know that we are not in any way affiliated with any religion. The people who work here may have their own views, we don’t really know.”

JLeslie's avatar

@6rant6 I would wonder why religion is even a factor for the customers or the employees.

6rant6's avatar


I’m guessing you might frown, but really now, would you be wondering why it’s a factor? You aren’t aware of anywhere people are hired in part because of their religious views? Do you think there are customers who don’t go back after realizing the proprietors are Muslim? Or Buddhist? Or Sikh? Or Jewish? Or Wiccan?

It’s the nature of religion for it to matter in the thinking of the believers, don’t you agree? It’s precisely that replacement of meaningful discrimination with orthodoxy that makes religion so pernicious.

I agree wholeheartedly when you say you wish it didn’t matter. I wish people looked at what’s going on rather than relying on a secret handshake, an icon, or a special scent to tell them right from wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@6rant6 It would not matter to me what religion someone is. If it matters to them so much that they feel the need to advertise it at their place of business that is a total turn off to me. Then I start to think THEY care what religion people are. Your point was tha the business was trying to specifically say they don’t care or don’t have a religious affiliation. I just think religion is a private, personal matter, for your family and church.

6rant6's avatar


“I just think religion is a private, personal matter, for your family and church.”

I’m a astounded by the irony. Please tell me it was intentional!

JLeslie's avatar

@6rant6 I don’t get it what irony? I was giving you credit in your example that the owner of the establishment is trying to say they don’t give a damn about anyone’s religion. How am I being ironic?

Seek's avatar


I think it was the use of the word “chuch” in your sentence. As though you don’t care what religion anyone is, as long as they go to church. I know that was not the intent.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Oh. Maybe I worded that sentence very poorly?? I just meant IF someone is religious they don’t have to wear it on their sleeve or advertise it for all the world to see. They can go to church and pray every day for all I care, just don’t tell me about it.

6rant6's avatar

@jleslie @Seek_Kolinahr

Yes, as used, I find the use of “Church” ironic.

Further, the rules of many religions like, say, Christianity and Islam direct the believers to witness their faith – which I believe means making their views known to others – believers and non-believers alike. Some denominations of Christians see the work of converting people as a “Must do” not a “May do.”

So to say, “It’s a private, personal matter” kind of flies in the face of it, don’t you think? And I know there’s that uniquely American point of view that says, “Well I’ll follow the tenants of the religion that suit me, but if they ask me to do things that seem too intrusive, or time consuming or costly then I will exercise my God-given right [intended irony] to opt out.”

But still. It’s silly, isn’t it? If you don’t really believe in it and just go to church for the pot lucks, okay, that I can see.

But to say it’s religion and think you can pick and choose – it’s just weird! “Oh, I don’t want to tithe, I’m saving up for vacation.” “I know it’s TECHNICALLY adultery but he was in a bad marriage…” “Yes, I keep the sabbath holy. I even go to the early service so I can be back in time for kick off!” There is no moral compass if you keep it secret and opt out of whatever you don’t like.

Okay, I’m ranting. Sorry.

JLeslie's avatar

@6rant6 Where do you live? Are you Christian?

Ron_C's avatar

This is just an additional remark. The only businesses that I have seen advertising their Christianity are religious book and article stores. Since they have nothing that I want, there would be no need for me to go in them.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther