All Aboard the Atheist Bus Campaign!

In an attempt to counter pervasive and disturbing religious advertising, writer for guardian.co.uk Ariane Sherine proposed an interesting idea: running the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” on the sides of London buses. She chose the phrase “probably” to try and ensure the ads don’t run afoul of the Advertising Standards Authority (never mind the fact that Christians can run whatever Biblical quote they want!). After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea, the atheist bus campaign was launched on October 21. And it raised £83,000 in only two days! Apparently the donation web site, JustGiving, had never received so much support for a campaign before! It just goes to show that atheists do have money to spend, and can organise themselves to counter the religious juggernaut if they want to. We really need to see more of this!

It is also interesting that the slogan picks up on the fact that atheists are usually happier and more content then theists, contrary to what most people think or expect. There is great happiness in the freedom that not having a God looking over your shoulder (and especially the threat of hell) brings!

Thankyou to Joe Miller for bringing this story to my attention!


Tags: , , ,

Theists spend their entire lives worrying and killing each other about whether or not they’re going to Heaven or Hell.

Atheists spend their entire lives enjoying life with everyone. Easy concept. Life is too short to waste wondering about what might be instead of being part of life and enjoying it.

  
Quote
  Reply

Well I’m not atheist and I can tell you that most people are just going to hate that slogan and the woman or people behind it. I might not be the most religious person around but I do i have my belief and personally I could care less about that slogan, If someone decided to follow that slogan it’s what they feel like doing then they should go ahead, why stop them.

It’s my choice to believe in god like it’s your choice to not believe in it, everyone makes their own choice and as long it’s doesn’t hurt anyone I don’t know why people should get upset about it. i’m a happy person who follow, in a sense, my own religion and I think everyone should have the right to decide what they want to believe in because no one can be a 100% sure they are right

  
Quote
  Reply

@ruffrydero5 – I think you are missing the point somewhat: this campaign is a response to Christian advertising on the sides of buses, directing people to a web site that told them they would go to hell if they didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. It is not normally atheists’ style to do this kind of thing, as we strongly believe in people’s right to think for themselves. But unfortunately, many religious people feel they need to force their beliefs down other people’s throats, and we have to respond to that. In short, if theists want us to respect their beliefs, then they have to respect our lack of belief too, and leave people alone – trying to scare people into following Christianity in this way is just plain wrong.

Oh, and it’s good to see you back John – I couldn’t agree with you more!

  
Quote
  Reply

Amusing in a way, but I tend to think that this only contributes to the knee-jerk reaction mindsets of people. Plenty of antagonism already…

  
Quote
  Reply

I think this will go over fine in London where there are a LOT more atheists, agnostics and the “religiously aloof”. I couldn’t picture that ever happening in America, not even in a large metropolis, where ruffydero5′s prediction of the negative reaction to said ad would happen before it saw bus one. If you don’t mind, Sachiko, I’ll post a link to this post. Know a lot of atheists who will love to hear about this!

  
Quote
  Reply

I saw a bumper sticker on a car once that summed it up nicely.
It said:
“I believe in life before death”

  
Quote
  Reply

LOL – I’ve got to get that bumper sticker! :-D

And you are very welcome to link to anything you want here Aspasia!

  
Quote
  Reply

Thanks Sachiko!

@Craig: Ha! I wanna get that bumper sticker too. Though my favorite one says, “Born right the first time”. :)

  
Quote
  Reply

GregInVancouver

GregInVancouver

Hi Sachiko,

I wouldn’t doubt that RuffRyder’s prediction of negative reactions is accurate. Denying the existence of God is seen as a mortal sin in many religions, American Christianity especially. The message within these religions is that people who deny God are inherently evil, cannot be trusted and are destined for hell unless they are “saved”. Christians are taught that atheists are unhappy, spiteful people who lack morals since they have no guidance from a religion and will do anything they want.

We need to start broadcasting a clear message for the religious that instructs the positive aspects of atheism. Why our lack of belief in an all-powerful master or a post-life punishment/reward encourages us to place greater value on the one life we have. They need to understand that what drives many of us is a simple desire to make life better for others as well as ourselves. This simple premise provides us with more than enough moral guidance.

The reality though, is that the issue is still a sensitive one hence this first step in a relatively atheist-friendly environment.

  
Quote
  Reply

If I lived in a counter culture of no morality or accountability, I’d be very happy. Sure, there’d exist deviants who killed for pleasure or freely chose to enjoy sexual pleasures on a whim, but eventually those individuals would die off as a result of non-productivity.

This is the beauty of communism. It allows people a chance to do what they do best without regard to their socio-economic situation, since everyone would be in the exact same socio-economic situation. It’s like Star Trek. There is no currency in Star Trek since they’ve created/discovered a machine which can produce anything on a whim. Even in this social context, where none should go hungry, there is war. Why? Because there will always be someone who believes things could be better. There will always be someone who reasons that if they controlled the tools of creation, that they could control the world. This is why a research vessel (Enterprise) is equipped with weaponry and defense systems capable of taking on the best combat machinery of combat driven societies (Bird of Prey).

Psychology and neuroscience tell us that a certain percentage of the people of the world will fall outside the range of normalcy. Statistics and probability tell us that a certain percentage of the time, these individuals will gather en masse for destructive purposes. People often say that a precursor for non-belief in God is the problems of religion. Some say that a non-belief in God is mandated by reason, citing that until we can prove the existence of a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being, it makes no sense to believe in such. Still others claim that religion is the root of evils done in the world.

This last point may hold water. George W Bush started wars all over the world in the name of peace and democracy, so there is definitely a problem with the ideas of peace and democracy.

  
Quote
  Reply

Of course there will always be crazy/evil people who will want to go to war, but the problem with religion is that it makes it so much easier for bad people to get otherwise sane people behind them. And I do believe the wars started by George W. Bush are at least partly religiously motivated, along with oil, big business, pride etc. – he just preaches “peace and democracy” to appease the gullible.

  
Quote
  Reply

Originally Posted By Dane
If I lived in a counter culture of no morality or accountability, I’d be very happy. Sure, there’d exist deviants who killed for pleasure or freely chose to enjoy sexual pleasures on a whim, but eventually those individuals would die off as a result of non-productivity.

Actually, this raises a crucial point: even if we had total anarchy, order would eventually establish itself, as the majority of people would realise that working co-operatively is the best thing for them as individuals. And the people who work together would eventually contain the remaining anarchists. Ordered society would arise naturally out of this chaos. And here, in a nutshell, is the true source of human morality – we are good to eachother beacuse it is the best thing for each of us as individuals. Natural selection (hence evolution) favours it. There is no need for religion to give us morality, and no need for a God to explain it.

  
Quote
  Reply

GregInVancouver

GregInVancouver

@Sachiko

Bingo! In fact, you could say that since Religion imposes a forced, unnatural morality, the end result will inherently be conflict as the believers have to deal with the contradiction between their natural altruistic human emotions (I should help this person who has been in an accident) vs the edicts of their religion (He is a non-believer, let him die and receive God’s punishment)

Your scenario of order naturally resulting from chaos, although it may still be perceived as a hopelessly idealistic dream, stands a far better chance of occurring in the modern world as the conditions that led to conflict in the past (limited education, communication and resources) are being rendered increasingly irrelevant by technology.

  
Quote
  Reply

Absolutely! The majority of atheists are consequentialists i.e. they judge their actions purely by an objective analysis of the consequences of them. This actually means they are almost always more truly moral than the people who blindly follow the teachings of a book aimed at an audience that died 2000 years ago, as a whole lot of things have changed since then. And even when those books were written, those who wrote them did so to advance their own power. Most atheists are smart enough to know that altruism is the best thing for us as individuals, so they actually end up being very moral.

In Biblical times, things were a lot harder, and people had to do what they could to get ahead. But today, we are comfortable enough for altruism to truly be the best thing for each and every one of us.

  
Quote
  Reply

One of the most dangerous consequences of reproductive ignorance + religions that suppress responsible family planning is global overpopulation. Imagine if Communist China did not have a One Child policy, in 20 years there could easily be 10+Billion additional human beings just in China alone. Think about how the world is going to be covered with human locusts, eating everything in site, including each other. The greatest gift to humanity all religions could give is an edict of One Child per family. Communism as we know it is just another form of repressive religion with a corrupt heirarchy as is Neocon Democracy. The naked monkeys just don’t get it! One day, after the middle east and indonesia run out of oil and have exploded with families of 10-12 individuals, where do you think all those hungry people going to go?

  
Quote
  Reply

I absolutely agree with you that overpopulation is the “elephant in the room” when it comes to all the problems human beings have caused the world. I will have to do an article on this actually, as it is one of the things I most frequently gripe about when I talk to people. I am just bowled over by the insanity of all the western governments these days who are encouraging people to have children.

I also agree with you that commmunism as it has been practiced is just another religion with a new God: it really pisses me off when religious apologists cite communism as an example of how secular government has “failed”. So far communist governments have in reality been anything but secular.

  
Quote
  Reply

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.