Atheist shoes

As the less hip among you may not know, there is an über-cool company in Berlin that specializes in neo-Bauhaus footware with names like Kitten Testicle Grey, Ocean Fish, Höllenfeuer (Hellfire) Red, and Naughty Schnitzel Pilz. They come with either the Darwin Love Sole or the Ich Bin Atheist Sole.

For under $200 you can get yourself a pair. The company? ATHEIST SHOES, of course.

It will astonish no one who’s been following the rise of the Nones that sales in the U.S. have been pretty darn brisk, but last year word reached the company that packages were taking longer to arrive than they should. Sometimes they didn’t arrive at all. American customers began suspecting that the problem was that ATHEIST-branded packing tape. Could it be that the U.S. Postal Service was holding up the merchandise because of its manifest godlessness?

Good Germans that they are, the company decided to conduct A Serious Empirical Experiment. They sent 2 packages to each of 89 customers in 49 states, one sealed with the branded tape and the other with neutral. Sure enough, the ATHEIST-taped packages took an average of three days longer to arrive, and of 10 that didn’t arrive at all, nine were ATHEIST-taped.

Significantly–especially for those of us interested in regional religious differentiation–there was no regional variation at all. Packages were no more likely to slow down in the hyper-religious Deep South than in the hypo-religious Pacific Northwest. This was a nationwide federal problem.

Atheist soles

Would Fedex and UPS also go piously postal? Opting not to find out, ATHEIST SOLES has instead dispensed with its ATHEIST-branded tape. Your next pair of Naughty Schnitzels will now come wrapped in an unmarked plain brown wrapper, just like your old issues of Penthouse. Just don’t put your feet up on the counter next time you’re in Mississippi.

Categories: Culture


Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service


  1. You can not be serious. I would be very very interested to know, first off, how long the packages took to pass through Customs. Second, I would be interested in seeing how the packages were addressed. Thirdly, I would be wondering how the mailer figures a plain brown wrapper is going to change anything. Actually, that would make it MORE likely to have problems. Wrapped boxes become separated from their covers all the time. Did anyone at the senders end start an inquiry? If sent by certain classes of mail, claims can be made and paid for losses.

    Seriously though. These things pass through numerous machines before it is handled by a person. When I have a few hundred packages to get sorted for dispatch in a short period of time, the last thing I am concerned about is what kind of tape is being used. On top of that, I am not going to risk my job to make a point that nobody is going to really pick up on anyway.

  2. John McGrath

    They need to open a factory in the US, somewhere in Mississippi. Maybe they could incorporate as a religious organization and get tax exemptions.

    Do they give blessings at public events? Could one of them become the Congressional Chaplain?

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