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Launching today: the Atheist Bus Campaign, raising money for an advert to be placed on London buses reading "There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Um, hee. It's basically poking religionists* with pointy sticks, but hey, it's funny, and it does actually have a point. It's in response to adverts running in the summer which sent readers to a website warning that non-believers would burn in hell, and I also associate it with the Alpha Course ads that I see on buses all the time. Ariane Sherine suggested it in a Comment Is Free article in June, originally - it stalled for a while, but was mentioned again a couple of months ago, and the campaign proper starts today.

It was discussed on News 24 this afternoon, unexpectedly, which is where I found out about it again. It's got a brief mention in the Times today (which mentions "Richard Dawkins, the atheist" as if that's his profession) and a full article in the Telegraph, albeit one which implies Dawkins is behind the whole thing until it mentions Ariane in the last paragraph. It's all good, though.

They need to raise £5,500 to pay for adverts on 30 bendy buses for a month. Which is pretty cheap, actually, there are all sorts of possibilities there. Anyway. Richard Dawkins has also promised to match any donations up to £5,500. The British Humanist Association is sponsoring it, so you can donate through their Atheist Bus JustGiving page, and claim Gift Aid, too. It went live at midnight, less than 90 minutes ago, and they've raised about a grand already, so that's looking healthy. I might have to arrange my next London trip to coincide with the advert.

Edit: A-ha, I thought there must be a website. Atheist Campaign, with lots of good links.

* A particular type of religious person, handily exemplified by the type of person who'll complain about this advert.

Comments

( 11 comments — Comment )
san_valentine
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
I haven't seen any Alpha ads on Sheffield's buses. A couple of friends attend Alpha group regularly. I was most surprised last weekend, when Becky asked if I wanted to come to a meeting. I can't be bothered to get into the debates about religion they have sometimes in the pub (I'm not going to change her opinion, and she's not going to change mine). So quite why she thought I might be interested, I haven't the faintest idea.
I'm quite happy in my Godless, non-belief system.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC)
They're on quite a lot of the Glasgow buses, but I've never met anyone who's been to one of the courses! I believe their schtick is that it's about asking questions and fulfilling your curiousity, rather than evangelising, but there are some dodgy people behind it.
(Deleted comment)
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's the point, I think - hopefully they'll complain so that people can explain in small words why it's not one rule for them and another rule for us!
sloopjonb
Oct. 21st, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
Sounds a bit juvenile to me. And it might as well be Dawkins' job, he bangs on about it so much. Boringly.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean about it feeling a bit juvenile, but I've decided I don't care. If it works, it works - and it's going to put a smile on so many thousands of people's faces, it's worth it just for that.

I doubt Dawkins phones up the papers to bang on about atheism - it'll be the other way round, because he's now the go-to guy for atheist quotes. And I'm glad he's doing it - I do think that atheists need to be visible, partly because people still get grumpy and start on the personal attacks as soon as someone mentions atheism in public.
sloopjonb
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
There is one big problem with all this, for me: it's a lot like proselytising. Religions do that. I really don't care what other people believe, and have no wish to convert them to or from anything. It's none of my business.

Oh, and the problem with Dawkins is he preaches atheism so badly. Have you read The God Delusion? It is very lame. Dead strawmen everywhere.
dave_t_lurker
Oct. 21st, 2008 08:49 am (UTC)
Good! I do hope the ads make it to a broader swathe of London buses than just the ones running through the centre. I've seen those other ads on buses all over London.

Very recently, in the last year or two, a lot of 'churches' have been spiring up on my home town in converted warehouses. These seem to be evangelical type places with name like 'Fountains & fire miracles ministry', 'Seraphim church of fire and light' and 'God is gonna kick your arse you infadelic pagan scum'. Well ok, I might have made that last one up, but the others are real and on the increase.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
Well, the fundraising seems to be going well - three times the target within, what, 12 hours? - so they might well be everywhere!

As secularism takes hold and people are more likely to be atheist or Christmas Christians, it does seem like the reaction from religion is to get more extreme, which scares me. I want to force them to *think about what you're saying, goddammit*, which is very unliberal of me.
donbert
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
As of lunchtime it's exceeded its target by over 10,000 pounds. Not bad.

I've seen a few Alpha ads on the bus shelters round here, but they concentrate on smiling, clean-cut young people rather than the doomed-if-you-don't parts.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
I just checked, and yeah - nice going! The Alpha Course ads tend to be very clean-cut, but they still annoy me (I don't like being patronised, either, heh) especially since I've read some dodgy things about the people behind it.
( 11 comments — Comment )

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