An Open Letter to Jeep in Regards to the Super Bowl Ad “The Middle” by Christina Knowles

After viewing your recent ad, “The Middle,” which aired during the Super Bowl and claims to be a “healing message,” I was left feeling repulsed and excluded. I found your ironic attempt at “unifying” the country while airing the most divisive anti-inclusive ad possible, extremely bigoted and tone deaf. Your ad assumes we are all Christians and seems to embrace Christian Nationalism, the movement responsible, along with the former president, for the failed coup attempt and the storming of the Capitol on January 6th.  As an atheist, I felt as if the ad negated my existence as an American citizen, at least in your eyes. The religious iconography, especially the cross on the flag, is extremely divisive and promotes the idea that religiosity is our way forward to reconciliation. I would argue the opposite, especially in regards to government. Government should be inclusive and not promote any religion, or religion in general, over secularism. As a private company, your response to a divided nation is inappropriate if creating unity is your goal. You’ve merely taken sides and added to the divide.

At the very least, this Jeep ad was in particularly poor taste after the attack on the Capitol by a MAGA cult in a religious fervor. There is no “common ground” to be found with religious terrorists. If you are attempting to reel them in to find common ground with the rest of us, validating their bigotry is not the way forward. I, as an atheist, won’t be visiting the little chapel where liberals are accused of being vampiric pedophiles, where faith is valued over reason, where science is dismissed as conspiracy theory, and where homosexuals are considered an abomination.

With this tone-deaf advertisement, you have alienated both non-religious people and those of other religions, and even those religious individuals who honor and respect the beliefs, or lack thereof, of others, and you have continued to tear at the fabric of our fragilely held threads of unity. Your ad is not a healing message.

I do not own a Jeep, and if this is your view of what America looks like as a group, I won’t be buying one in the future. I don’t believe in cancel culture, but I am choosy about where I spend my money, and I choose to support companies that do not exclude me or others as a group and do not promote Christian Nationalism as the American way of life.

Book Review: Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment by Robert Wright

BuddhismMy bad. I should have noticed that this book had “Philosophy” in the title. I don’t have anything against philosophy in general. In fact, I really enjoy Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Nietzsche, and many more. However, with this book, I was hoping for just some science-based evidence to back up the claims of common Buddhist practices like meditation and non-attachment, etc. Instead, I got a head-splitting treatise on how the self does not exist. My mind hasn’t hurt so much since I took “The Philosophy of Mind and Reality.” The only discipline more aloof from clear-cut answers than psychology is philosophy, and that’s entirely what this book is–philosophical psychology. In fact, psychology is the one science where there is so much disagreement between sub-disciplines that I have no idea what is truly accurate. As a non-religious person who is completely open to the benefits and lifestyle of Buddhism, I did not agree with even half of what Wright explains in this book, at least the part I could even wrap my head around. It’s quite possible, the mind-numbing coma his arguments induced in me contributed to my lack of comprehension.

If you are looking for a secular view of the benefits of Buddhist practice, I recommend anything on the subject by Sam Harris, especially Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion. Don’t torture yourself with this one, unless you want to feel like a freshmen in Philosophy 101 again.–Christina Knowles