Campuses all over the United States are looking a little extra spooky this week and it's not just because of Halloween — Secular Student Alliance affiliate groups are setting up their own Graveyards of the Gods! These displays are homages to lost and forgotten gods worshipped in past civilizations.
Graveyard of the Gods is an opportunity to demonstrate that there are thousands upon thousands of gods out there, and most of them are no longer worshipped, essentially debunking a common argument used against atheists: Pascal's Wager.
Blaise Pascal's Wager offers two options; believe in a god, or don't. If one chooses not to believe in a god and is incorrect, then they have the most to lose. Those who choose to believe in a god and are correct have the most to gain and the least to lose. However, Pascal's Wager doesn't account for which god one should worship - it assumes only one possible god (out of thousands) to bet on.
Ultimately, Graveyard of the Gods points to the past to question how long the gods of the present will last. There are gods of yesteryear that many people have never even heard of — will that be the case for today's gods in 1000 years?
Some groups have had their displays vandalized, such as the Individuals for Freethought at Texas A&M University, where the signs had 'He Reigns Here' written over their signs explaining what the display was, as well as the signs advertising their group. However, despite the ire that this event draws, Graveyards of the Gods has become one of the biggest events affiliate groups participate in.
"This is the most participation we've ever had for a new event," says Nick Stancato, Affiliate Program Manager of the Secular Student Alliance, "It's been really exciting to see how many different campuses are participating and what kinds of stuff they have come up with!"