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Atheist Buses launched

Atheist Bus in the wildI am extremely pleased to hear that the Atheist Bus Campaign has been a massive success. It raised over £135,000, from an original target of £5,500. Excellent. 800 buses were launched today: 200 in London, with the remaining ones spread out over England, Scotland and Wales.

There are also 1000 Tube cards, with quotations from Douglas Adams, Albert Einstein, Emily Dickinson and Katharine Hepburn. Lovely.

There’s been a bit of infighting over the slogan, what with us atheists being contrary by nature. I still like it. There’s also been some deeply entertaining commentary on us arrogant humanists pushing our agenda and being – wait for it – just as bad as those we’re complaining about and (you knew this was coming) isn’t it ironic. To which I think the best reply was served up on BoingBoing:

lets convert this to muffins. because its nicer to talk about muffins than gods.

Say there was a prevailing belief that there was a supreme muffin that would punish you for not believing in it despite the fact that around the world there were other religions with supreme croissants supreme cupcakes, etc.

The muffinites put up billboards and television advertising, and little pamplets, and had people on the street telling you that there really was eternal punishment in a magical oven if you didn’t accept the muffin as the one true path to salvation.

Not only that but they try to legislate certain beliefs to try to ensure the safety of the souls of the people who don’t believe what they do (only out of concern mind you, when you get to heaven through their efforts, you’ll be with the muffin)

one day someone puts up a sign that says “there probably isn’t a muffin.”

Lets criticize this arrogant and obnoxious sign.

The buses are all a-twitter, and photos are coming in from around the country. Similar buses are also doing the rounds in Barcelona and Washington D.C., and there’ll be some in Italy next month. Australia’s outdoor advertising company sadly rejected them, which is pretty miserable. Hopefully they’ll relent.

I like it. I like it a lot. I must ride one.

3 comments

  1. I don’t understand this? You say “Don’t push your beliefs on me” Then you turn around and do thesame thing.

    Do you know how rude and hurtful this is to me? I believe in harmony between everyone. No-one being pushy or difficult.

    Imagine having go on a bus or stand at a bus stations that says “All atheists will go to hell.” It won’t feel good I can tell you that.

    I honestly don’t understand why atheists are doing a 360. I thought the whole point of it was ‘free-thinking’ your not being very free-thinking now.

    I was shocked when my mother showed me this in the Metro. How can you do to someone else what you know you wouldn’t like being done to you. At least with Jehovah’s witnesses you just shut the door – how can you escape publis transport? And what’s next: religious talk should only happenin private places? England oficially losing the religion it’s roots are burie in? People with religions being taken out of the country?
    Every persucution of a type of people probably started this way? Are you so blind that you cannot see?

    Oh – how the roles have reversed.

  2. This is a statement of non-belief. It is not an attack on you. It is not intended to convert you, or anyone. It’s a response to a bus advert last June which pointed to a website saying precisely that all atheists will go to hell. No atheist I know takes offence from that – it’s just bonkers gibberish – but it gets a lot less funny when you remember that people will gleefully scare the everloving crap out of children with such nonsense. That’s not ok.

    At a very minimum, this is covered by fair’s fair – if religion gets to advertise itself, so does non-belief. And please don’t start with the slippery slope stuff. Nobody’s suggesting any of what you say – please don’t make things up.

    Nobody’s persecuting you. It’s words on the side of the bus. Riding said bus does not mean you endorse them. If you don’t like it, ignore it, or provide some evidence for the existence of eternal suffering. But don’t come all ‘I’m offended therefore you shouldn’t have done it’, because we can all be better than that.

  3. The buses round my area sometimes have adverts on them for churches. (This does not offend me.) These adverts almost invariably make direct claims about God and Jesus (although they tend to attribute them to a celebrity so they won’t be expected to defend them). They do this so people will join their church, which in turn makes them money — although the convert’s life might be ruined in the process. I don’t know how selfish and cynical their motives are, but the atheist message is pure charity: probably more than 99% of the time, people like the British Humanist Association get nothing at all if someone becomes an atheist, but the new atheist gets a life free of worrying about what God might think of every little thing they do.

    This is just part of the wider atheist movement to ensure that people don’t get to make fantastic claims about omnipotent beings, present them as unarguable facts and expect everyone else to act as if that’s somehow reasonable. But when you take away an ill-deserved privilege, people invariably react as if you’ve taken away a fundamental right (as neatly demonstrated by the repeated petitions asking the government to force the FA to sell TV rights to free-to-air channels).

    In any case, it’s certainly not worth trying to accommodate people who are offended by somebody disagreeing with them. If we do that, nobody will be allowed to say anything. That’s what would lead to religious talk being restricted to private places. (That, or Matthew 6:5-6.)

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