No God on the bus

image Here’s a funny little news item that I just stumbled on. Apparently the British Humanist Association joined together with atheist Richard Dawkins to create an advertising campaign promoting their cause. At first it appeared that the earnest advertisers weren’t going to be able to raise the dough but since then they have raised more than £49,000. It’s quite fun to read the reactions to this campaign. Check out Atheists fail to cough up for London bus ad at Digg for example and also Atheist evangelising? by Simon Barrow at the Guardian. Barrow says a lot of good stuff, but one paragraph particularly struck me.
But back to those bus slogans. The "stop worrying and enjoy your life" bit I find more problematic. Not because I want people to worry and not enjoy life, but because for so many people it is really difficult to do this right now. Which is why the real message that needs to get out there is about encouraging one another in active compassion.
At the very least, I think I’d rather ride on a bus that had this slogan than one that said something like, “Prepare to meet your Maker!”

A few more links: Church Times, MetaCatholic, Telegraph: Prof Richard Dawkins drives support for London's first atheist bus advert

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Keeping this bland, there are some opinions in circulation in the current US election cycle that run contrary to Mr. Dawkins...
What a stunning display of certainty in one's beliefs! There "might" be no god- why spend thousands of dollars promoting something you're not sure of yourself?
Anybody else find it offensive that Dawkins et. al. characterize religion of all types as The Obstacle keeping people from enjoying our lives?

To a religious person that's like saying "There's probably no downside. Drown your kids and enjoy being single".

Religion is hard enough to explain to people who aren't familiar with it. We don't want to change our religion any more than we want to change our race or change our families, and if people fall into easily believing the slander that being who we are and believing what we do is just "being miserable", they deny our love and mock it's object. Good propaganda is bewildering because its having many conversations with you all at once, and replying to one makes you seem like you're forced to accept defeat in all the others.

I hate this guy.
As a Christian who is often skeptical of traditional dogma, I resent the efforts of Dawkins and other atheists to press on all of us an agenda of what NOT to believe. It is one thing to say, I believe this to be true, and try to explain why, and why it is important. If there is no God, it is of no more importance to disbelieve than to believe. The greatest damage is that many monotheists and even a good number of polytheists reject patently proven facts about the physical world, because Dawkins et. al. have loudly proclaimed that, e.g., evolutionary biology disproves either divine creation or (of specific concern to Christians) that Jesus is the Son of God. It proves no such thing, except in Dawkins's own biased imagination. Evolutionary biology is all laid out in the first five chapters of Genesis. God knew all along, its man that took a while to figure it out. However, I would rather see them out evangelizing for their unbelief than filing law suits to suppress the expression of believers, as the totalitarian freethinkers at Freedom From Religion Foundation do. I WISH they would devote their time and money instead to passing out tracts proclaiming "Good News! There is no God!" and see how many flocked to hear them.
Just thought I'd address a few points:

@bpinks:
The word "probably" was added because without it the adverts would have been considered offensive to religious people (see http://www.atheistcampaign.org... if you're interested). And how can you can be so certain of *your* beliefs despite the absence of any credible evidence whatsoever?

@lynch-patrick:
Well you DO sound rather miserable to me.

@SiarlysJenkins:
The atheist bus campaign started out as a reaction to a Christian group which had placed adverts on buses to spread the message that atheists were doomed to "spend all eternity in torment in hell". Are you suggesting it's somehow wicked to suggest that this might actually be untrue and not worth worrying about? And surely you can't be serious about Genesis. It starts out with two contradictory creation myths and a story about a talking snake.
This doesn't seem very well thought-out. Who is their target audience?

Believers? If they're trying to un-evangelize (for lack of a better term) Christians (or people of any faith for that matter), the "don't worry" part doesn't make much sense. I'm a Christian, and if one day I found out there were no God I absolutely would worry. I'd be back to square one and "what is life all about?"

Atheists? They already believe that. What a waste of money.

Agnostics? They're clearly okay with not knowing, thus, they're probably not worried. Again - pointless.

Is there a group of people out there perpetually worried about whether or not God exists? Even those who are unsure, are they worried about it? Is the question keeping them from enjoying life?

Give me a break. This is a publicity scam to get a laugh at the expense of the faithful. How completely stupid.
Like it or not, all religions use fear to assist indoctrination. From an early age, children are taught that if they don't accept their parent's beliefs, they will suffer eternal damnation.

The message of these adverts is that it's OK not to believe any of this. There's no need to be afraid. Life is it's own reward. Be happy.
I accept that any assemblage of individuals, who have been publicly told they will spend all eternity in hell, has a right to make a good-humored response. I have myself been told that I am going to hell because I do not believe in hell, among other heresies. However, the appropriate response would have been "There's probably no hell," rather than "There's probably no God." The latter offends all kinds of people who never told the atheists they were going to hell, some of whom don't even believe it. Other possibilities include "Jesus says I'm going to heaven - Matthew 25: 34-40," or "I'll be sharing grapes with the beggar, while wealthy Christians are parched with thirst."

I am serious about Genesis. A good deal of poetic license has been taken with the chronological order, but the first myth is about the physical unfolding of matter, then life, while the second myth is about the relationship of the Adam (humanity) to God, and of the male (Ish) to the female (Isha), as expressions of distinct components of the image of God. Don't rely on English translation, check out the original Hebrew. Genesis 1: 2-4 anticipated the now well accepted understanding of the mis-named "Big Bang." (The misnomer was provided by Fred Hoyle, a skilled astronomer, an atheist, who fought against the theory for years because he could not accept the notion of a moment in time and space when it all began.) Genesis 1:20 anticipated what most science textbooks now admit: life began in the seas. Genesis 1:21 clearly establishes that all life was not created at once in its modern form, but that God continued the pageant of creation of the life "which the waters brought forth abundantly." For more detail than I have any right to take up space with here, check out A Third Look At Creation. I know a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran pastor who observed that if he had to believe in creation, he likes this version better than any other he's seen. Eventually I hope most Christian schools will adopt this perspective, which seems to me much more creative and productive than painting gratuitously offensive slogans on the sides of buses. By the way, Dawkins's book The Selfish Gene is a work of unadulterated science fiction and speculation, without any evidence to back up its speculative tale. His skepticism as to the existence of God is not much better.
Phil,

RE: "How can you can be so certain of *your* beliefs despite the absence of any credible evidence whatsoever?"

1. Having a relationship with the living, resurrected Lord Jesus Christ helps immesurably in this matter, and...it's just the way He continually proves Himself to me through a verifiable, historical document called the Holy Bible that keeps me excited and secure (see point three for details). And, gotta be honest about this, you guys may not believe there is a God, but I know for a fact there is. But you keep trying to disprove His existence. You never will, that much I KNOW : )

2. As to Lynch Patrick sounding "rather miserable." Interesting you did not respond to any of his points, merely went for him personally. But then, a true response would have required thought instead of a huff of hot air, right?

3. As to that talking snake, I'm glad Genesis has the record of Eve's encounter with it. It is an incredibly relevant portion of the Holy Bible. For example, you can plainly see by the big sign on the bus, the snake's words are being spoken even today - i.e., "God is not," "One can be as God and get along just fine, if not better, without Him," etc. After all this time I would have thought mankind would have been able to 'evolve' something new under the sun, but nope, the campaign slogans for no-God are documented well in a several thousand year old document. How could this possibly be?

Oh, goodness, I just have to laugh. This whole bus-thing reminds me so much of my favorite C.S. Lewis book, "The Great Divorce." I DO hope the spirits already on this {atheist) bus will let the painful and merely temporal shadows go for the unsurpassed reality of knowing God...because He generously showers His love and grace and forgiveness on even those Who deny Him. Take it from me, Phil. I was once a denier, too, until I met the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hi Christiane,

You might not get to see this; my last post here didn't make it through the moderators, so this probably won't either. But just in case...

1. The Bible is neither verifiable nor historical. Here's one small example: Matthew 2:1 says Jesus was born during the reign of king Herod, and Luke 2:2 implies that Jesus was not born before Cyrenius (or Quirinius) became governor of Syria. But by the time Quirinius was appointed to this position, Herod had already been dead for ten years. Atheists have never attempted to disprove the existence of a god. But that's only because it is impossible to disprove the non-existence of something when there is no evidence for it's existence in the first place. Presumably as a Christian you don't believe in the existence of Thor, Imhotep or Amun-Ra. How do you square that with your certainty about the Judaic god? Are all other faiths delusional?

2. OK, I was unfair. But I don't think Lynch Patrick's comment about drowning children was fair either. Do you think that deserved a serious response? To put the record straight, the bit about not worrying is *not* intended to imply that all people of religion are inherently miserable. Like I said, this campaign is a response to an earlier Christian campaign that was putting out the message that non-believers would spend eternity in hell. The purpose of the atheist bus campaign is just to get the message out that in fact these claims of eternal damnation are unfounded and probably untrue.

3. "One can be as God"?? Sorry, you lost me there. Are you suggesting atheists think themselves to be omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent? I'm afraid I don't understand what you're getting at.

 

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