Friday, January 9, 2009

Complaints about "probably no God" campaign

Atheist bus adverts could lead to watchdog ruling on God's existence (link via telegraph.co.uk) The advertising watchdog is being called upon to rule on the likelihood of God's existence after complaints were made about the atheist bus advert campaign. Members of the public donated £140,000 to the Atheist Bus Campaign after its founder, the writer Ariane Sherine, suggested there should be an antidote to religious posters on public transport that "threaten eternal damnation" to non-believers. I think this campaign is about freedom of speech as much as it is about religious beliefs versus non-religious beliefs. I did wonder about the wording of the message - "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." - since it sounds more like an agnostic campaign than an atheist one but the word, "probably" was only included to meet British advertising guidelines. Anyway, I think they were wise to include the word, probably because it is true to say there is no proof that "God” does exist or not. Since "God" can't be proved to exist, why should the opposing view - that there probably is no God - be offensive? It seems to me that people (particularly so called "religious" ones) should be more tolerant of other views! And if people believe in God, they shouldn't feel worried or threatened by this campaign. Indeed, in my opinion, their faith isn't very strong if this campaign bothers them enough to complain. Furthermore, the statement "There's probably no god" printed on the side of a bus is actually no different to the statement, "Jesus Christ: The Only Way" — printed on a message board outside a church or on a billboard. Both state a religious view that cannot be proved or disproved. Atheists tolerate religious views that are quite openly advertised and broadcast all the time and yet when the opposing view is aired, "religious" people like Stephen Green claim to be offended! If this campaign message is banned then all churches should be banned from displaying religious slogans outside where the public can see them. It's a shame the Atheist Bus Campaign is so controverial and is attracting complaints instead of promoting tolerance and being used as a platform for an open debate about religious and non-religious beliefs. Personally, I was raised a Christian but as I got older, I questioned my belief in God and became an agnostic (skeptical about the existence of God). I think this campaign is a good idea and I'm pleased the message will be spreading* all across the UK. *The campaign aimed to raise £5,500 but has ended up raising over £140,000 – enough to support buses all across the UK, adverts on the London Underground and two animated screens in Oxford Street. Official Website of the Atheist Bus Campaign What are your thoughts about the campaign?

2 comments:

  1. What an interesting entry!
    I have no religious beliefs but feel that it's become a real nightmare, and much more polarised, where things like this are concerned. xx

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  2. Thanks!
    I agree with you flighty - it has become a real nightmare. It seems crazy to me that the opposing views are causing so much conflict instead of teaching people to tolerate each other's viewpoints.

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