Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Atheist Bus Campaign

It's been over a year now since the first adverts apeared on London Buses sporting the message "there's probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life". This caused a lot of fuss in the press, a lot of complaints, lawsuits, people refusing to get on buses and counter-adverts. After time has passed, I'd love to get a feel for how people react to this campaign. So I've gathered together some links with basic info to refresh your memory and I'd like to welcome general thoughts. Some questions for everyone to mull:

  • Did you ever see one of these adverts in the flesh? How did it make you feel if you did?
  • What do you think of the message, is a valid point being made?
  • This campaign was sparked by religious adverts linking to a website promising hellfire and damnation, do you think such adverts are appropriate?
  • A number of counter adverts were started including one reading "the fool hath said in his heart there is no god", did you see any of these? How did they make you feel?
  • The bulk of the money raised to pay for these adverts was raised by donations (full disclosure - including mine) why do you think people donated to this cause? Were they right to do so?
  • A number of posters were also placed on the Underground featuring quotes from famous atheists, are these better or worse than the bus advert?
  • More generally, what is the proper place for religion in public? Are religious adverts (including atheist adverts) appropriate?
  • The website linked to on the advert. "promotes Humanism, campaigns for an open society and a secular state, and works with others of different beliefs for the common good." Do you think such a website from a humanist perspective is worthwhile? Do you think there is a need for it?
  • Paul Woolley, the director of Christian think tank Theos, and a close associate of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has donated £50 as he thinks the campaign is a "great way to get people thinking about God. The posters will encourage people to consider the most important question we will ever face in our lives." Do you think this is a sensible attitude? Tactically do you think this is a good move for him?
Some background:

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