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But Would it Play in Peoria? October 26, 2008

Posted by sociallyacceptableinsanity in Atheism.
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The other day I read an interesting article on the web about a group that is attempting to launch an atheist advertising campaign in London.  The Atheist Campaign intends to put the slogan, “There’s probably no god.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”, on 30 buses throughout London and is soliciting donations through it’s website.  Well-known scientist and author Richard Dawkins has offered to match donations for the campaign, up to £5,500.

The Atheist Campaign is the brain-child of Ariane Sherine, who first wrote about the idea on the Comment is free website in reaction to seeing religious advertising and bible quotes on several buses.  According to The Atheist Campaign.org website, the intent of the campaign is to

… brighten people’s days on the way to work, help raise awareness of atheism in the UK, and hopefully encourage more people to come out as atheists. We can also counter the religious adverts which are currently running on London buses, and help people think for themselves.”

I think it’s a great idea, but I do wish that they would take the word “probably” out of the slogan.  What’s wrong with just saying, flat out, that there is no god?  Of course, the inclusion of that word is most likely an attempt to reach agnostics as well as atheists, but I still think it is a bit cowardly.  I’m sure it helps them get more donations, though.

What struck me most about this campaign is that it would probably never fly in the United States.  I can just imagine the public cries of outrage, the condemnation, the accusations of discrimination which so many Christians love to level at those who have the temerity to offer a dissenting opinion.  What is harder to imagine is the probability of finding a bus company in the U.S. that would actually consent to displaying an advertisement like this.  I’m sure that many buses would be defaced and that religious groups would declare boycotts.   Isn’t that the way it usually goes?

So what, dear reader, do you think?  Would this campaign work in the U.S.?  Why or why not?  Please post a comment and share your thoughts on this.

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