Atheist bus campaign: quick update

Just a quick update on the atheist bus campaign, which we first featured here.

The campaign opened a page on Justgiving for donations yesterday, and smashed through their fundraising target in a matter of hours. By the end of the day, they had raised over £35,000 – seven times their initial target of a fortnight’s worth of advertising on a handful of London buses.

And Ariane Sherine, who inadvertently set the whole thing off a few months ago, penned a further post here for the Grauniad.

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17 Comments

  • Time to look for an better slogan?

    why not – “You’ve probably already concluded that thousands of Gods don’t exist – how about adding one more to the list? ”

    About half the world population is just one God away from being atheists.

  • I think wit and wisdom has made a good point.

    How about a positive humanist message?

  • Forethought 25th Oct '08 - 1:31am

    “The question is, what are atheists hoping to achieve? Religious people will still hold to their faith and everyone else is clearly indifferent. Atheism isn’t ‘for’ anything so why collect money and campaign?”

    Apart from the campaign being a reaction to the “criminal” ads threatening vulnerable people (and non-believers) with eternal torture, it is also an attempt to raise awareness that atheists exist and that it is OK to not believe in a god.

    “The big problem with this campaign is that it will drive the various religions to start advertising more vociferously, which may not be such a good thing.”

    I agree. The thing is though, religion is already on a rampant ad campaign and has been for quite a while. There also seems to be an increase of religion on TV – and not just on Sunday. Increasingly, religion is being featured in junk like Eastenders, Emmerdale and other popular soaps – reason? because the majority of people have no interest in religious programming. The religious are misusing using popular TV as a way to proselytize – something I find very disturbing.

    I think this campaign is needed.

  • I don’t understand what people have against christians. The whole point of being a christian is to make your life worth while. I’m not saying that if you haven’t got a faith your life isn’t worth while. Where did the stereotype of boring christians, who don’t live come from? I’m christian, I go out and drink, I enjoy life to the full. There isn’t much else to do I’m at university.

    I am really gutted that people only tend to hear about the crazy christians that go nuts in peoples face about it. You never hear about the christians that do so much good work and don’t take credit for it. You don’t tend to realise until they come out and spell it out that they are big in faith and then when they do people switch off to that fact. Big actors, musicians, athletes etc. people that everyone wants to be. Why can’t you focus on them for a bit instead?

    If you think about it as well, if you knew a bridge was broken and no one else did, would you try and stop people from crossing it? Or would you let them plunge to there death because they don’t know any better? The christians that know what they are doing aren’t trying to threaten you, they’re trying to warn you.

  • Forethought 31st Oct '08 - 6:54pm

    AJ

    “I’m not saying that if you haven’t got a faith your life isn’t worth while.”

    You are correct. Most people (with or without faith) find interests in all sorts of things to make their life seem worthwhile and complete.

    “Where did the stereotype of boring christians, who don’t live come from? I’m christian, I go out and drink, I enjoy life to the full. There isn’t much else to do I’m at university.”

    This is news to me! Do people stereotype Christians as boring? I’ve never once thought of Christians being like that.

    “You never hear about the christians that do so much good work and don’t take credit for it. You don’t tend to realise until they come out and spell it out that they are big in faith and then when they do people switch off to that fact.”

    I think the same applies to atheists. Countless atheists do good and few people hear about it. This is probably because they don’t have an agenda to promote their atheism when doing charitable acts. Maybe their atheism never comes to mind because helping others is far more important than promoting their PERSONAL lack of belief in gods.

    “If you think about it as well, if you knew a bridge was broken and no one else did, would you try and stop people from crossing it? Or would you let them plunge to there death because they don’t know any better? The christians that know what they are doing aren’t trying to threaten you, they’re trying to warn you.”

    This is precisely what many non-believers find insulting. Are you so arrogant or ignorant to think that Christians alone hold the copyright to morals and decency? Do you think non-believers are incapable of making good, decent choices in life? Oops! I forgot! The Christian cultish mythology considers anyone who doesn’t accept Christ, the embodiment of evil – their is none good but god to the Christian. So, whatever morals or decency the non-believer of any kind has, he or she is still evil – what a repulsive belief system.

    Of course, to many atheists, that so-called warning you claim to be giving us is nothing more than a criminal attempt to get us to sign up to your cult. We don’t believe in your untestable warnings/threats/claims of eternal damnation/torture/punishment – which you haven’t a shred of evidence for. We see Christians who push those so-called warnings/threats as nothing more than snake oil salesmen.

    Let me give you a warning for the sake of your wellbeing: My gypsy friends are going to put a curse on you and your entire family. If you want to avoid this curse – which will harm you here and in the hereafter – you better buy their junk and visit their camp every Sunday at 10 am. While you are at their camp, it may be best to place a shilling on the saucer and beg my gypsy friends for forgiveness. If you don’t, you and your families wellbeing is still at risk. You better believe – just in case!

    You going to believe the above? I don’t think you do. Why? Because you know it’s nonsense. You understand that it’s a criminal attempt to extort money and belongings from fearful, gullible people.

    If you understand the above, then you should understand what atheists think about your mythological, superstitious garbage.

  • I don’t understand what people have against christians.

    I love the way you assume that the phrase “There’s probably no God” is targeted specifically at Christians.

    That persecution complex is never far beneath the surface with you religious types eh?

  • Hey Forethought, I can see some banter coming on here mate. Lol!

    Thought I had better add a bit more, to make myself more clear. Think you took me the wrong way, might have been how I wrote it. I don’t know.

    About the whole christian boring thing, I didn’t mean that you had said that or even thought that. It just came across to me that the buses are telling you to live your life and not believe (correct me if I get anything wrong). To me that implies that if you do believe in a God that you aren’t living your life. Me personally when I’ve said I am religious a lot of people then say I’m boring for just that reason. So that might just be something I get(hope they don’t just think I’m boring).

    The whole bridge thing you didn’t like at all did you? I don’t understand where you got the idea that religious people think that they “hold the copyright to morals and decency” I’m sorry if thats how I made it sound. All I was getting at was that if you truly believed there was danger ahead for anyone you would try and help thats all. I wasn’t saying that atheists wouldn’t. What I meant was that some people do believe there is and some people don’t, so the people that do are just tryin to help. If you truly believed that the gypsy curse would haunt me and I said it was a load of crap you’d want to make me believe wouldn’t you.

    Say for a minute that religion is all one big con, what would i get for signing anyone up? I don’t get anything, well it makes me feel good but you said yourself that I’d just be another “snake oil salesman.” I’m not one to push religion down anyones throat. I do talk to people if they’re interested and I kind of like having proper discussions about it. Like the one we are having.

    One last thing, I don’t beleive that if you don’t believe your a bad person. No where that I know of does it say that anyone that doesn’t believe is evil. I know crazy fanatics say that but (sorry if you don’t like the whole bible verse bit coming up) bible says that everyone is made from God and was made in his image. So whether a person wants to believe or not, I say how can that person be evil. If I heard someone say they were evil because they didn’t beleive I’d tear a shread out of them myself trust me. Aswell I know you didn’t say it but just incase I’m not saying either that religious people are perfect, we all know that everyone makes mistskes.

    Oh and iainm, sorry I made it seem like an attack at christians. I know it means all religions but it was easier for me to say christians because that’s where I’m coming from.

  • Forethought 1st Nov '08 - 3:20am

    Hi AJ,

    I understood it wasn’t personally directed at me. Of course, I didn’t understand where your notion that Christians are boring was coming from – now you’ve elaborated, I understand. Of course, on a personal note, I actually find Christians and other theists very entertaining.

    I think the main aim of the ad is to say that non-believers have a voice and opinions too. I also thinks it function is to try and raise awareness that it’s OK to not believe in a god, try not to worry about it and enjoy your life. It’s also probably being used to counter the sometimes very distasteful religious ads/church signs knocking about (the ones claiming non-believers can do no good, etc).

    The ads aren’t making claims that Christians or any other theists are boring – I personally think you are reading to much into the ad.

    “The whole bridge thing you didn’t like at all did you? I don’t understand where you got the idea that religious people think that they “hold the copyright to morals and decency” I’m sorry if thats how I made it sound.”

    Well, I’ve come across the “bridge thing” and its variants many times when discussing Christianity with believers – especially with the more fundamentalist/fanatical type. Nine times out of ten, the discussion always leads to morality and the silly claims of hell, eternal punishment, and you better believe just in case wager. I think because I’ve come across the above many times, I went into auto rant mode – save going through a very tiresome discussion.

    “…What I meant was that some people do believe there is and some people don’t, so the people that do are just tryin to help. If you truly believed that the gypsy curse would haunt me and I said it was a load of crap you’d want to make me believe wouldn’t you.
    Say for a minute that religion is all one big con, what would i get for signing anyone up? I don’t get anything, well it makes me feel good but you said yourself that I’d just be another snake oil salesman. ”

    I understand that many Christians believe they are helping when warning about the threat of not being a Christian. I also understand a great deal about Christianity and how other cults operate. Now, without trying to sound insulting towards you, Christianity operates around simple “criminal” behavior. It creates the threat and offers the reward or way out. I won’t go into this much further because it’s not the right place for discussing this.

    Now, obviously, if you have been duped into believing the claims that threaten your wellbeing made by religion, then yes, you will become just another snake oil salesman – hence your initial, glossed over, “The christians that know what they are doing aren’t trying to threaten you, they’re trying to warn you.” and the rest of the bridge story – it’s a glossed over way of saying, “if don’t listen to me, you are going to burn. I’m only warning you. Now buy my talking Jesus head – it comes with an amazing vocabulary of 32 words that may have been spoken by him! No miracles or batteries included”.

    “… I do talk to people if they’re interested and I kind of like having proper discussions about it. Like the one we are having.”

    Nothing wrong with that.

    “One last thing, I don’t beleive that if you don’t believe your a bad person. No where that I know of does it say that anyone that doesn’t believe is evil. ”

    I suggest you read: Psalms 14:1(claims non-believers are fools and can do no good), Hebrews 3 3:12 (claims non-believers are evil), 1 John 2:22(non-believers are the anti-Christ which has been traditionally known as the embodiment of evil), 1 John 5:19, 2 John 1:7, Mark 16:16, Matthew 12:34, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Revelation 21:8 (puts non-believers on the same level as murderers, liars, etc).

    I’m well aware of the rest of your apologia.

    Anyway, enough!

    All the best.

  • “If you have been duped into believing the claims…”
    I just want to say that if christianity was just some book written ages ago about a random bloke then, yes, it would be something you could be duped into believing but the point is that when you believe, it’s a real thing that you can feel and it makes things happen. I am doing a bachelor of science degree and I know the whole thing sounds crazy from a scientific point of view but once you start to really find out more from people there is no way you can’t believe. There are a lot of stories of people being healed and maybe a large proportion of them are made up by crazy people who want to con people but I personally know very sane people who have been healed and the doctors can’t explain it. My mum had serious epilepsy for years which included having fits and hallucinations and the treatment the doctors had her on was barely having an effect. She had prayer and has never had another problem. She was able to come off her medication and an EEG showed no trace.

  • Forethought 1st Nov '08 - 4:57pm

    Steph, why do you jump from “the treatment the doctors had her on was barely having an effect.” to “She had prayer and has never had another problem.”

    It seems to me that the treatment did have an effect. Only she has mistakenly attributed the remission of her illness to prayer.

    Now, if you care to do your research, there are countless intensive studies that show prayer does not work – many of which have been carried out by religious institutions themselves. I’d also do some study on the post hoc fallacy.

    Strange that prayer doesn’t heal amputees – maybe they haven’t enough faith or god just can’t quite manage to pull that one off.

    If you want to discuss this further, maybe you could discuss this over at richarddawkins.net or the James Randi Education Foundation – randi.org

    I think this website isn’t the right place for us to be having these lengthy discussions.

  • You are right about this not being the right place so this is the last comment from me. My mums epilepsy was incurable and the medication was simply an attempt to supress it. She has had proof from two seperate ecgs that it was there and now isn’t. Healing doesn’t work like some magic wand, mum had to be in the right frame of mind, it had to be the right time and you simply need to accept that God can help but doesnt heal everyone. If everyone was healed and nothing bad ever happened noone would need God, it’s when things are going wrong that people feel the need to look and find him. Mum had complete faith and has since given her testimony many times to help other people find their own faith.

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