The enlightenment movement is rarely short of good arguments, but is in need of some good PR. Especially in the media-driven society we live in, it’s not enough just to have good arguments; they have to be communicated effectively to people. Provocation is an essential part of promoting enlightenment; it comes from “pro-vocare”, to call forth or challenge, and that is exactly what we wish to do. If we want to push society forward, we must not be afraid of being called “pushy”.
Many people have objected to gbs campaigns in the past, and that is certainly one of the reasons for their success. When the foundation set up a “religion-free zone” parallel to the Catholic World Youth Day, as a means of offering asylum to those fleeing the Catholic event, many Catholics were doubtless angered. However, this was the only way of effectively counteracting the otherwise uncritical reporting on the Pope in Germany.
When the gbs started the “We have forsworn” campaign with the Central Council of Ex-Muslims, this enraged Islamic fundamentalists, who view renouncing Islam as a crime punishable by death. But the international headlines relating to the campaign gave critics of Islam (especially in the so-called Islamic countries) reason to hope that the regime of the Mullahs, Muftis and Imams can one day be brought down.
Naturally, some Christians were indignant about the gbs campaign “Evolution Day, not Ascension Day” to mark Darwin Year. Yet this “heretical initiative” made sure that the theory of evolution finally came to be discussed outside the ivory towers of academia. (It is worth remarking that in an online poll conducted by the German current affairs magazine “Der Spiegel”, more than 69 per cent of the respondents were in favour of Ascension Day being renamed “Evolution Day”.)
»Enlightenment is a nuisance: when the world is illuminated, its filth becomes more visible.«