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Anti-atheist bus campaign launched in London - Comments

benrinnes's Avatar Comment 1 by benrinnes

One for the Advertising Standards to look into, " There definitely is a god"?
I would expect proof of that statement!

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:01:00 UTC | #320088

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 2 by The Truth, the light

Let me get this straight. Certain conservative Christians get their knickers in a knot because they claim the phrase "There probably isn't a god" is offensive and contravenes the advertising standards, but an absolute statement of "There definitely is a god" is just fine.


Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:03:00 UTC | #320092

tokehashi's Avatar Comment 3 by tokehashi

If our side had used the word definitely, SG would 'probably' have won his case

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:04:00 UTC | #320095

MadMonkey's Avatar Comment 4 by MadMonkey

Let the Bus Wars begin...

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:06:00 UTC | #320096

wengerj's Avatar Comment 5 by wengerj

And the Christians fire back with a bunch of unsupported BS and an insult. How typical.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:12:00 UTC | #320101

tvictor's Avatar Comment 7 by tvictor

Evidence? No? TYVM

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:15:00 UTC | #320106

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins

In response to requests for comments on the news that three Christian groups will be running adverts inspired by the atheist bus campaign, Hanne Stinson, the British Humanist Association's Chief Executive has made the following statement:

We entirely support free expression and freedom of belief, and so fully support the right of these Christian groups to place their ads on buses. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Of course, there are differences between the Atheist Bus ads and the new Christian ones and I want to take this opportunity to reflect them.

Our ads were a response to ads run by whose website promised an eternity of hellfire for non-Christians. Our response message, suggested by comedy writer Ariane Sherine was intended to be reassuring, telling people not to worry and enjoy life, as there was probably no god and so no cause to fear an eternity of hellfire.

Our ads were funded entirely by thousands of individual donors who gave small amounts in an outpouring of popular support for the positive message. The ads now launched in response to our response are funded by organisations or wealthy individuals.

Our ads were positive and peaceful. They didn’t say, for example, that religious people were ‘fools’, unlike one of the response ads being run, which says that "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."

Our ads were undogmatic and funny, with the addition of the ‘probably’ in line with the continuing openness of humanists to new evidence and in an echo of previous funny ads, like the Carlsberg ad which stated that it was ‘probably the best lager in the world’. The new ads are dogmatic and declaratory, leaving no room for reason and debate.

Of course, these groups are free to express themselves as they choose. Our ads encouraged people to think for themselves and I am convinced that they will continue to do so.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:15:00 UTC | #320105

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 8 by rod-the-farmer

I agree. Howcum they get to say "definitely" and we don't ? Where are the email addresses for the Ministers responsible for this question ?

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:15:00 UTC | #320107

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 9 by Cartomancer

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Pathetic. I find it tremendously unflattering when people respond to a witty, subtle and amusing advert like "there's probably no god, now stop worrying and get on with your life" with something so crashingly heavy-handed and crass. It's like watching a five year old parroting your words back to you with a crude twist and thinking he has done something incredibly clever.

Still, if I know the British public these adverts will only have the opposite effect to that intended, and serve to win people for our cause. There is a reason British advertising tends to use wordplay, cleverness and subtlety (as opposed to the rather more direct and straightforward adverts you see in places like America and Japan, which as far as I can tell just say "buy our product, it's great" in a not-very-interesting way). We are a naturally ornery and suspicious lot over here, and do not take kindly to self-proclaimed experts telling us what is best for us. We tend to remember and like adverts that make us think or laugh, or impress us with their style and wit.

Just seeing the crude bombast of puffed-up apologists plastered on the side of a bus will not go down well. Even worse, it's advertising a political party - if there's one thing we are even more suspicious of than corporate advertising it is politicians.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:17:00 UTC | #320108

epeeist's Avatar Comment 10 by epeeist

Interesting article on this here -

One of the comments that amused me was on the decision of the "Christian Party" to run in the European elections. It seems they have run in elections before, they came in behind the BNP.

As the comment said, if you come in behind the nazis then perhaps you ought be considering what this tells you.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:20:00 UTC | #320111

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 11 by scottishgeologist

That Christian Party advert is adirect rip off of the "Probably" advert. Its so blatant its unreal.

This has to be the ultimate Flea trick. Imagine, an advert with its own fleas - these people must be getting desperate

As for the TBS advert - well at least it is the bible they are quoting. In all its depressing KJV-speak.... Just love the "hectoring" tone of these sorts of adds - "Prepare to meet thy God" and other pish like that

Sort of thing you would see on a man carrying a sandwich board up and down the street...


Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:21:00 UTC | #320114

flying goose's Avatar Comment 12 by flying goose

I am now thinking that we should have an agnostic's bus campaign, 'We will probably never know, so let's talk about something else for a change, Religion and Politics, come on we're British.'

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:22:00 UTC | #320117

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 13 by Quetzalcoatl

Re the BHA response-

Exactly the right note to strike, I think.


The guy who runs the Christian Party is one of the priests who was on the absurd three-part series "Make Me A Christian" that ran on Channel 4 earlier in the year. Nobody was truly converted by the end of it, but the programme did do a good job of completely destroying his credibility.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:22:00 UTC | #320118

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 15 by scottishgeologist


"As the comment said, if you come in behind the nazis then perhaps you ought be considering what this tells you. "

Hahah! Pwned by the BNP. FFS. That has to be the ultimate put down. Thats probably worse than getting your bum kicked by the Monster Raving Loonies. Actually, compared to the faith heads, the MLP speak tons of sense.

Screaming Lord Sutch - sadly missed!


Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:23:00 UTC | #320121

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 14 by Sargeist

I love Richard's avatar!

The BHA's response is nicely worded, carefully considered, and so far far away from the vitriolic nonsense that I no doubt would have come up with.

Don't suppose you want to offer me a job, BHA? ;)

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:23:00 UTC | #320119

the way's Avatar Comment 16 by the way

It is a bit amusing how the church was wittering away at how wonderful the 'atheist' bus ads were and that they welcomed the chance for people to think about it and that they were confident that the ads would only serve to swell their congregations (coffers), and then to see this knee jerk response just a few days later!
Methinks they ARE worried. Loss of sheep to fleece means loss of income, credibility, the lot.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:25:00 UTC | #320122

root2squared's Avatar Comment 17 by root2squared

Join the Christian "party"?


God! These people are unimaginative!

What a dull slogan.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:25:00 UTC | #320123

JackR's Avatar Comment 18 by JackR

Richard - great avatar!

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:26:00 UTC | #320124

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 20 by Jay Cee

Like the avatar Richard. The most dangerous man in the world though, surely.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:27:00 UTC | #320126

Eshto's Avatar Comment 19 by Eshto

Absolutely wonderful comments by Stinson.

And I also love Richard's avatar.

But can the religious group rip off the exact design and colors of the atheist ads like that? Isn't there a copyright issue there?


I agree. Howcum they get to say "definitely" and we don't.

Well maybe they can't, and it just requires that someone makes it an issue. But is a humanist going to be so ridiculous as to do the same thing those idiots tried to do?

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:27:00 UTC | #320125

flying goose's Avatar Comment 21 by flying goose


I rather suspect that we are suspicious of any expert these days, self proclaimed or not.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:28:00 UTC | #320128

righton's Avatar Comment 22 by righton

Wait, isn't this claiming a fact that is not provable? Shouldn't those advertising people be investigating this just like they did with ours?

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:28:00 UTC | #320129

flying goose's Avatar Comment 24 by flying goose



Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:29:00 UTC | #320132

decius's Avatar Comment 23 by decius

We should collect funds ourselves for more christian busses, rigorously sporting scriptural quotations.
We could even pose as a christian association - the believers get to pay, but we choose the passages.

Strictly Leviticus and Second Samuel, of course.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:29:00 UTC | #320130

popeye's Avatar Comment 25 by popeye

agree. Howcum they get to say "definitely" and we don't ?

We don't say 'definitely' because we are rational and understand that it is not something that can yet be proved. They are just showing close-mindedness by not encouraging people to think for themselves.

I like what Hanne Stinson said. It makes us the better, more moral, people even if other people don't realize it.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:29:00 UTC | #320133

Quine's Avatar Comment 26 by Quine

If the religious were required to prove their claims before they could inflict them upon the public, it would be over.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:30:00 UTC | #320134

Jeppo's Avatar Comment 28 by Jeppo

It was only a matter of time before the theists struck back & I for one am delighted with their response.

The anti - atheist ads are unfunny, arrogant & condescending. A spectacular own goal!

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:31:00 UTC | #320136

MrPickwick's Avatar Comment 27 by MrPickwick

I think that quoting from the bible is a great idea.

"Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves." Numbers 31:17,18

Woudn't it be nice to see that on a bus?

Or this one:

"There definitely is a God. So join the Zoroastrian Party and enjoy your life."

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:31:00 UTC | #320135

debaser71's Avatar Comment 30 by debaser71

I would think it were a spoof or something but it's really just mean spirited and pathetic at the same time.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:32:00 UTC | #320138

righton's Avatar Comment 29 by righton

They had a problem with "probably". I think "definitely" should definitely be investigated. They should have to offer proof of this claim right?

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 11:32:00 UTC | #320137