Wednesday 21 January 2009 | How about that? feed | All feeds

Advertisement

Atheist buses denying God's existence take to streets

Atheist adverts declaring that "there's probably no God" have been placed on 800 buses around Britain after an unprecedented fundraising campaign.

 

Organisers originally hoped to put the message on just a handful of London buses, as an antidote to posters put up by religious groups which they claimed were "threatening eternal damnation" to non-believers.

But after the campaign received high-profile support from the prominent atheist Prof Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association, the modest £5,500 target was met within minutes and more than £140,000 has now been donated since the launch in October.

Enough money has now been raised to place the message – "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" – on 200 bendy buses in the capital for a month, with the first ones taking to the streets .

A further 600 buses carrying the adverts will be seen by passengers and passers-by in cities across England, Wales and Scotland, from Aberdeen and Dundee to York, Coventry, Swansea and Bristol.

In addition, two large LCD screens bearing the atheist message have been placed in Oxford Street, central London, while 1,000 posters containing quotes from well-known non-believers will be placed on Underground trains for two weeks starting on Monday.

They feature lines doubting the existence of God, and celebrating the natural world, written by Albert Einstein, Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Adams and Emily Dickinson.

It is the first ever atheist advertising campaign to take place in Britain, and similar adverts are now also running on public transport in America and Spain.

Ariane Sherine, a writer who first thought of the atheist bus adverts, said: "You wait ages for an atheist bus, then 800 come along at once. I hope they will brighten people's days and make them smile on their way to work."

The campaign has even been welcomed by religious groups for increasing the profile of debate about faith, and although there was tight security outside the launch event by the Royal Albert Hall, the campaigners have not received any threats from fundamentalists.

Paul Woolley, director of Theos, a theology think tank which donated £50 to the cause, said: "The posters will encourage people to consider the most important question we will ever face in our lives."

Some atheist supporters of the campaign were disappointed that the wording of the adverts did not declare categorically that God does not exist, although there were fears that this could break advertising guidelines.

Prof Dawkins, the renowned evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion, said: "I wanted something stronger but with hindsight I think it's probably a good thing because it makes people think. It's just food for thought – people will have conversations in pubs when they see these buses."

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said the adverts were "overwhelmingly positive" and were intended to reassure agnostics and atheists that there is nothing wrong with not believing in God.

Advertisement

Telegraph.co.uk on Digg

Advertisement

EDITOR'S CHOICE

We should be angry with the bankers

Fred Goodwin, former chief executive, Royal Bank of Scotland: We are right to ben angry with the bankers

Bosses who wrecked rock-solid institutions walked away with millions - leaving us to pay for their folly.

Sponsored Features

Breathing space with Virgin credit card

0% on balance transfers for 16 months (2.98% fee), 0% on purchases for 6 months. 16.6% typical APR variable

Open an ING Direct Savings Account

Get 5% AER (includes a 12 month bonus). New customers only. Apply here

Australia's Northern Territory

Hugh Jackman says the real star of his new film Australia is the landscape. Discover the Northern Territory here.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

The Gentleman's Library

Bonhams' Gentleman's Library Collection

Bonhams auction house puts eccentric items under the hammer.

Palestinians return home

Gaza City: a scene of destruction as the Israeli offensive ends.

Celebrity sightings

Our regularly-updated review of celebrity photos and paparazzi snaps.

The Royal Sovereign pub in Brighton

Pub owner feels the pinch

Entrepreneur Martin Webb on running a small business during a recession.

Dollar notes and pound coin, book your holiday now or later

The sterling slump

As the pound continues to plummet, do you book a holiday now or wait?

Take our health challenge and we could help you get in shape. Plus, dieting, exercise and motivation advice.

Getting in shape

Take our health challenge and we could help you get in shape.

Pets for sale at the Telegraph Market Place

Give a pet a home

Find your next family pet in your local area at the Telegraph Market Place.

Back to top

More Telegraph.co.uk

Archive Contact us Reader prints RSS feeds Subscribe and save Syndication Today's news

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009 Terms & Conditions of reading Commercial information Privacy and Cookie Policy.