Atheist Bus Campaign

The British Humanist Association has launched a campaign to put the slogan “There probably is no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” on UK buses. I think this is a great idea. We could launch like-minded campaigns across America. As Richard Dawkins is quoted as saying in the above link, “This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think - and thinking is anathema to religion.” I am not sure this will have a great effect, really, but I like the thought behind it. Does the Dope think a campaign like this would be effective in the UK or elsewhere?

My take on Dawkins-style anti-religion campaigns like this is that in the long run it is a bit of waste of time. To be honest they kind of remind me of “Abstinence-only” sex education campaigns. There may be all sorts of rational reasons not to beleive in Religion, but the fact is people always will do, for better or for worse. So campaigns like this are really just a waste of money IMO

Yeah, nothing promotes good, solid thinking like bumper stickers, slogans on buses, and the like. :rolleyes:

I’m an atheist, so that slogan makes perfect sense to me. However, I cannot imagine that campaign having any sort of positive effect. It would just be spun by the right as more evidence of the “war on christianity”.

To a theist, woudn’t that be said as “You’re wrong about your beliefs, moron. And we evil athiests are now encroaching on your community! Look! We’re on your busses!”

By the way, this strengthens my belief that Richard Dawkins (and others of his ilk) really don’t understand religious people. Or else, they understand some of them, but think they’re all like that.

As I posted in the other thread, I’d be much happier with some kind of drive for charity instead. The way to promoting atheism isn’t to launch a “Nuh uh!” to a “Is too!”, but by showing that atheists can be good people. Especially not by doing something which, at best, is going to give people who agree a small chuckle and people who don’t a small annoyance.

I think if you want to prove you’re as good as someone else you have to think not in terms of stooping to their level but of aiming and being better. And someone being slightly pissed off at a sign on a bus is not an impressive starting point for any campaign.

Damn, I searched and everything. The other thread title isn’t very descriptive and it’s not in GD though.

I dunno, if public transportation in the UK is anything like it is in many US cities, riding the bus may well be the reason why many people turn to religion in the first place (or, like the bus system here in Tampa, may disprove the idea of a loving God entirely).

Hardcore atheist, but I’d agree that the bus slogan seems rather stupid. Among other things, it appears to endorse hedonism. But mostly, it seems more masturbatory than like an honest appeal to people on the fence.

So you are assuming that good people = those who do charity? May I beg to differ? Among the atheists I have known have been some of the most moral, solid individuals it has been my pleasure to meet. I say that without having any notion of what their charitable activities might be, if any.

I tend to agree that the first time this sort of campaign goes on, there will be some annoyance and also some convinced that it’s another sign of the end of days.

But - if this point of view were to have the persistent presence that religion has, over time, so that children would be exposed to it consistently as they are growing up and learning to challenge received wisdom from their parents and society, it could have a decidedly beneficial effect in reducing the sort of knee-jerk, never-thought-about-it religiosity that we see so much of in the U.S.

By itself, this kind of bumper-sticker wisdom doesn’t give enough information to change anyone’s mind. But it can trigger curiosity and further research. That never hurts.

No, i’m saying that charity is a good method by which one might show one’s goodliness. It’s easy to build a moral and solid reputation (if you are that) amongst friends who you have known over a good period of time, and distinctly trickier to do so with people you haven’t met, and if your response is going to get the media time of a single slogan on a bus or a paragraph in a newspaper.

Only if the sentiments are not addressed in a snide way. And only if it is clear that the problem being addressed is unthinking religion, rather than religion as a whole - speaking out against never-thought-about-it religiosity isn’t going to help if it appears that you are speaking out against just religiosity.

I imagine that’s precisely the thought running through the minds of the people who came up with the original advert. Yet it would not appear to have aided them.

A complete waste of money and billboard space. It won’t convert anybody.

I suppose you could create a different type of ad, something that says:

“Religion getting you down? Visit www.(whatever).com to learn how giving up religion can make your life better.”

(where the link is some website that explains atheism from a rational and thoughtful perspective, without Dawkins style bullying).

I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t work either. Atheism is something that must be discovered – you can’t just ram it down people’s throats.

How 'bout one of those black-background signs that says:

“Just Funnin’ Ya: I Don’t Really Exist.

Darn, I was hoping to go campaigning on the atheist bus.

I want to second this sentiment! From reading the various atheist/theist threads on this board, the atheist argument seems to boil down to “I don’t understand your beliefs, they don’t make sense to me, therefore you’re irrational” They never seem to want to make the effort to understand theism from a theist’s point of view.

Atheist who’s mainly worked for religious organizations in his life =). I tend to be fairly severely annoyed by Dawkins and his crowd.

Despite that, I have no problem with these bus signs. Probably mainly because I think billboards and bus signs and so on are an inherently jerky medium in the way that pop-scholarly nonfiction books are not.

Plus, I really really hate those white-on-black “What part of “though shalt not covet thy neighbor’s ass, nor his wife, nor his land, nor anything that belongs to him” do you not understand?” billboards.

You are mistaken. We have no problem understanding your beliefs, the problem is either understanding why you have the belief, or with treating your belief with the respect you think it deserves.

I obviously don’t speak for all atheists, but… why would I want to? If I took you to task for not trying to understand some Thor-worshipping cult from their point of view, would you take me seriously?

First thing I thought of…is the desired reaction from a bystander: “You’re right. I think I’ll hold up a liquor store, and then get me some hookers & blow.”

I’d rather the bus signs said, “There are more of us than you think,” or “We’re all around you,” or something along those lines.
Maybe “We believe in one fewer god than you do.”