Monday, 26 January 2009

Atheist Slogans

Found via the talented toomany tribbles, here are the latest tools in the Atheist Bus Campaign.

The campaign was begun by Ariane Sherine as a response to a bus advert she saw with the slogan “When the Son of Man comes, will He find Faith on this Earth?”. Although the slogan was in itself harmless enough, when she visited the website referenced in the ad, she found the somewhat more disturbing announcement that, as a non-believer she was "condemned to everlasting separation from God and then spend all eternity in torment in hell” and decided to do something about it.

A piece she wrote for the Guardian website quickly attracted moral and financial support and this month buses in London are trundling around the city with the energising slogan " There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life".

So much money was raised that an Underground card campaign has also been funded. There are four cards, with quotes from Albert Einstein, Emily Dickinson and Katharine Hepburn, as well as the classic Douglas Adams observation above.

I have mixed feelings about such an in-your-face atheist campaign (I'm far too polite) but I love these cards. I'd love to see them as bumper stickers - I'd buy one.


Robert said...

I'm a non-believer - being an atheist is a belief system too - and I think that advertising campaign is brilliant. Not too preachy. It would be great if buses here in the West Country would carry those slogans, but I fear it's very unlikely.

Puddock said...

I don't altogether agree with you about the definition of an atheist. I think some people do treat atheism as almost a belief system but speaking for myself it is simply the best and most assertive way of saying that I do not believe in any gods. If I don't call myself an atheist people can kid themselves that I'm just not sure.

I'd love to see the slogans up here in the wild and wacky Highlands but it'll never happen. We still have, particularly on the islands, extremely conservative churches. Only last week there was a news item about a golf course on one of the islands that does not open on a Sunday because it's the Sabbath. So I can't see the council allowing scary atheist buses!

Robert said...

I know what you mean about conservative churches - I originate from Northern Ireland...

I call myself a non-believer because I don't know if there are gods or creative forces or nothing. And I don't care. I expect to die without knowing. Either way, it's not affecting my life.

I've read Richard Dawkins and agree with most of what he says, but he's a firm believer in atheism and a crusading atheist. I don't have his certainties.

Nathan said...

I find the 'crusading atheist' a little bit of a contradiction. Surely the whole point of Atheism is that you know that God doesn't exist. It doesn't matter how many atheists there are to you, because when you die, nothing happens, you just cease to exist.

I just don't really understand why Atheists feel the need to try 'convert' people to their opinion.

JennyB said...

My late husband always said there was no God and that we all have a predetermined number of heartbeats before we die. I always used to think, but never commented, that if something is predetermined, then surely it is a belief in destiny? It is still a belief. However, rather than call myself an atheist, I think I prefer being called a 'non-believer' as so-called Christians have uttered to me whilst rolling their eyes to the so-called heavens. Non-believer sounds good to me. Now I have the courage to say it openly and with confidence whenever a do-gooder knocks on my door inviting me to join them at Church or in Prayer. I, on the other hand wouldn't dream of knocking on others' doors inviting them to dis-believe. Sorry for rambling on so...

Bunc said...

Atheism is not a belief Robert - its a lack of belief in Cod. Atheists come in all shapes and sizes and believe in all sorts of other things. The things they tend to have in common apart from not believing in Cod is a belief in the importance of rationality and that science is often the closest we humans get to rationality.

I thought the atheists bus campaign slogan was a bit wimpy personally. I would have liked to have seen a strongest statement but it was great to see it out there in public.

Robert said...

Hi all!

The problem with calling oneself an atheist is that there is no single definition of the word - even among those who call themselves "atheist".

"atheism - Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. The doctrine that there is no God or gods. Godlessness; immorality."

The above is the most common dictionary definition, and one of the possible definitions implies having a belief. Hence my reluctance to call myself an atheist.

Richard Dawkins, in his book "The God Delusion" clearly states that he wants to "convert" theists to non-theists - which is why I called him "crusading".

Just as I have not seen any evidence to support the theory that there is a superior creative being (or beings) responsible for creating the universe, I have also not seen any evidence to confirm that this is NOT the case.

Nathan - Many more people are murdered in the name of some supreme being than for any other reason. Some atheists see this as an excellent altruistic reason to try to "convert" theists into non-theists.

Puddock said...

Hi Jenny! I wonder if your man meant predetermined in the same way that a battery has a set amount of power or a clockwork mouse a certain number of turns. I remember reading somewhere years ago that slower living creatures tended to live longer than rushing around creatures, as if the faster ones actually used up their allotted heartbeats more quickly than the slower ones. Maybe that's what he meant - not predestiny in a spooky sort of way but in a practical, genetic way.

This atheist/non-believer debate is a difficult one. I am sure that both groups have much the same outlook on life. It seems to be that some people (many people?) are growing concerned at the more militant atheists, and call themselves non-believers in order to disassociate themselves from them.

Robert, I wasn't sure for many years what I thought about religion. It was only about eight years ago that I came to the pretty firm conclusion that religion and gods were man-made. I call myself an atheist mainly to make it absolutely clear that I am not open to persuasion by street preachers, people who come to my door, well-meaning friends and interfering neighbours. My atheism is NOT a belief system. It is an absence of belief, in the same way that being amoral means living in the absence of morals and being anaerobic means living in the absence of oxygen.