Archive for Ariane Sherine

All Aboard the Atheist Bus or is it Agnostic…?

Posted in Atheism with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by neandergal

It depends on what the former publishing Director of Hello! Magazine, the Managing Director of Boots Opticians and other members of the British Advertising Standards Authority think about the existence of God. Apparently they came to the conclusion that there “probably” is no God and that asserting “there is no God” might be misleading the public since you can’t prove that God does not exist. The philosophical dispute came about after the British Humanist Association started a bus advertising campaign to declare that “There is no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” To comply with the Advertising Standards Authority the British Humanist Association had to agree to insert the word “probably.” The final advertisement reads, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Philip Hensher in his article, The Religious Find a Friend in the Law, published in the UK Independent newspaper asks us to “Imagine the uproar if it became a legal requirement to insert qualifications in religious statements – “God Probably Loves You.” How about this one? If you jump off the top of this building, gravity may just pull you down to earth!” It seems typical of the double standards that surround religion and non-believers. Faith-based assertions are completely free of restrictions and yet the British Humanist Association cannot assert that there is no God. However, non-believers do have to look on the bright side of life.

It is encouraging news that such a campaign exists thanks to British comedy writer and journalist, Ariane Sherine who came up with the bright idea. Henry Chu in his article, Richard Dawkins on board with a pro-atheist message published in the LA Times, interviews Richard Dawkins whose Foundation backed the campaign. Sometimes we really do have to go with the flow and choose our battles carefully. As Dawkins says during the interview, the statement is now “more likely to get people talking than something definitive like “There is no God.” It encourages people to start talking.” Getting people talking is exactly the point, otherwise we really are on a road to nowhere. No matter what bus you’re on.