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← Atheist Bus Campaign Coming to Finland

Atheist Bus Campaign Coming to Finland - Comments

ThePublicPolemic's Avatar Comment 1 by ThePublicPolemic

Wow, this is really getting around the world if it is reaching the Scandinavian regions. The only problem with this add in Finland is that it probably pertains to only a handful of people. What a great problem to have!

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 07:51:00 UTC | #342884

Rosser's Avatar Comment 2 by Rosser

I only wish this add had come to Cardiff. I love the idea, and the fact that it actually offended a few people (remember, it was a response to a Christian ad of the same ilk) is not only baffling but also bloody hilarius.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 08:17:00 UTC | #342905

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 3 by dochmbi

Thank you very much for posting this.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 08:20:00 UTC | #342909

HenryFord's Avatar Comment 4 by HenryFord

I thought the scandinavians were generaly apathetic about the whole god thing. Are things bad enough that a campaign is needed over there?

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 08:34:00 UTC | #342927

RisenAsh's Avatar Comment 5 by RisenAsh

Wow, this is really getting around the world if it is reaching the Scandinavian regions. The only problem with this add in Finland is that it probably pertains to only a handful of people. What a great problem to have!

Scandinavia is very secular, it's no wonder the campaign works in those regions. Not many Scandinavians believe in the Christian God any more. So I think this will pertain to quite a few people over there.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 08:35:00 UTC | #342928

Ania's Avatar Comment 6 by Ania

I hope Poland's next, although it's a long stretch. When I translate it into my own language directly, it actually sounds very rebellious and delinquent. Shows how much religion was hammered into our culture.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 08:37:00 UTC | #342929

RisenAsh's Avatar Comment 7 by RisenAsh

I thought the scandinavians were generaly apathetic about the whole god thing. Are things bad enough that a campaign is needed over there?

You're right, most Scandinavians don't need it. But there are of course still plenty people left who DO need it.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 08:40:00 UTC | #342931

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 8 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Religious culture can be pretty hardcore in all the ex-Communist cultures... for obvious, totally understandable reasons. Namely, the suppression of religion by the Communists, and Muscovite Imperialism entailed the deep association of religion and nationalism.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 08:43:00 UTC | #342933

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 9 by prettygoodformonkeys

I think it's all about coming out. Anyone may be secular without having examined it.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 09:08:00 UTC | #342950

sipelgas's Avatar Comment 10 by sipelgas


As a Swede now living in Estonia I would say that Estonians are no more religious than Swedes, a good thing in my opinion. However, a number of the more frivolous churches are working hard on getting proselytes and some new churches have been built. Maybe time for a campaign?

Jumala vaevalt et on olemas
Lopeta siis muretsemine ja naudi elu

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 09:14:00 UTC | #342952

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 11 by aquilacane

Positive reinforcement of the status quo is not a bad thing in this situation.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 09:42:00 UTC | #342967

Ben_Ridge's Avatar Comment 12 by Ben_Ridge

I wish I could get that started where I live... Salt Lake City, Utah. I doubt very seriously Mormons would let that fly.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 10:27:00 UTC | #342993

black wolf's Avatar Comment 13 by black wolf

Germany so far has not seen any campaign launched. The signs are ready, the money is there - what is lacking is consent from the various public transportation companies. Berlin has declined, having suddenly decided that no religious or world view campaigns will be run any longer, right after the ProReli campaign was done that ran until February (for re-introducing mandatory elective courses in confessional religion to public schools via referendum). I got my voting papers this week.
Cologne has declined, postponing any consideration to an undefined point in the distant future, blaming the uncertainty due to the building collapse tragedy, although I can't see what one has to do with the other. Munich has apparently lost the approval somewhere in the bureaucratic process, giving out contradicting statements on whether or not.

In my view, Germany's public transportation services unanimously seem to be shitting their pants in fear of offending extremists, but are also too afraid of the backlash should they honestly say so. For every person who understands this, the campaign has already won. For those in need of confrontation with the reality the campaign seeks to draw attention to, the absence of the campaign will mollycoddle their ignorance.

The extremists have silenced the opposition without raising a finger or writing a word.

I hope I'm wrong.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 10:37:00 UTC | #343001

Smith's Avatar Comment 14 by Smith


I think Spinoza is responding to Ania's comment:

"I hope Poland's next, although it's a long stretch. When I translate it into my own language directly, it actually sounds very rebellious and delinquent. Shows how much religion was hammered into our culture."

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 10:48:00 UTC | #343007

Smith's Avatar Comment 15 by Smith

black wolf,

It sounds a good opportunity to push those transportation agencies until they can utter a reasonable (and universal) principle that rejects this campaign, so that you guys can trot out this very principle when they try to cater to the religious

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 11:01:00 UTC | #343013

black wolf's Avatar Comment 16 by black wolf

the organizers state that they are considering to check if any legal action is possible or promising, althought they would like to keep this outside of judicial proceedings if at all possible.

Update: reading the German campaign site, I just learn that Regensburg, Stuttgart, Dresden, Potsdam, Fulda, Hamburg, Leipzig and Bremen have all rejected the campaign. Bremen argues that they fear damage to their image so shortly before Church Day in May.
It makes me speechless.
It's very simple: there is no principle, they just favor whoever is stronger and wealthier.

There it is, black on white. Religion is profitable, atheism may reduce that profit, therefore religion gets protection from any form of criticism.
And that in the predominantly atheistic and religion-apathetic North. Have I said that it makes me speechless yet?

Another update:
Berlin's public transportation service BVG has today run advertisements for the large Christian expo ProChrist, a sort of one-week megachurch event in the city of Chemnitz (near Berlin).

They lied.

They are simply sitting there in all their fat smugness and lie to the public. Just like that.
The German campaign site displays photo evidence of six German cities where there are currently religious campaigns running in subways, buses and on train station billboards. They are allowing psycho-cults, Rosicrucians, evangelical YECs, other Evangelicals, Christian Scientists (YEC). No atheists.
I checked on one of the associations responsible for some of the billboard ads. They even advertise in Turkish, directly addressing muslims to convert to Christianity.
But advertising atheism is unsafe. Yeah, right.

Damn I'm angry now.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 11:19:00 UTC | #343018

Aztek's Avatar Comment 18 by Aztek

#8 Spinoza Comment #359197:
Was that comment about ex-Communist cultures somehow related to Finland or was it just a general comment about such cultures?

Anyhow, as a Finn visiting this site frequently I kind of feel duty-bound to say something about the campaign.

Yes, Scandinavian people are fairly indifferent to religions. Personally, I think it partly has to do with the fact that religious beliefs are considered a private matter. The educational system is also very good, and at least in Finland education is highly respected.

But there are still a lot of people who are believers. Actually, when people say that Scandinavian countries are non-religious it applies to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Finland, which is not actually a Scandinavian country, is more religious. So raising awareness is still important over here.

Just a few days ago there was a man who complained about the campaign in a newspaper. He said the message "stop worrying, and enjoy your life" was terrible. He asked if it is a smart idea that people are encouraged to enjoy life when it would lead to people running around in the streets killing each other. I guess idiots can be found everywhere on this beautiful planet of our's. And many of them seem to be over here.

Mostly people are against the campaign because they feel the church is an untouchable institution which shouldn't be criticized. Respect traditions and all that. The same old argument...

What is positive is that the number of people resigning from church (Finland has an official state church) has really increased during the last few years. That happened after it became possible to resign using an Internet form. Since many of those resigning from church today are young adults, it looks like a large part of the next generation will be very much uninterested in belongning to the church. Hopefully this campaign will give the numbers another boost.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 11:52:00 UTC | #343032

serotonin_wraith's Avatar Comment 17 by serotonin_wraith

Rosser: "I only wish this add had come to Cardiff."

It was on the Newport buses, which made their way down to Cardiff too.

2nd pic down-

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 11:52:00 UTC | #343030

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 19 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Doesn't surprise me at all that they're doing it in Finland. They're among the most agnostic countries in the world. I'd like to see it done in NYC.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 12:08:00 UTC | #343037

RisenAsh's Avatar Comment 20 by RisenAsh


I think Spinoza is responding to Ania's comment:

Yeah, you're right about that. Sorry, I only saw that comment later.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 12:15:00 UTC | #343039

Alfster's Avatar Comment 21 by Alfster

"Finland, Finland, Finland,
The country where I want to be,
Pony trekking or camping,
Or just watching TV.
Finland, Finland, Finland.
It's the country for me

You're so sadly neglected
And often ignored,
A poor second to Belgium,
When going abroad"

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 12:16:00 UTC | #343040

MMAtheist's Avatar Comment 22 by MMAtheist

"I thought the scandinavians were generaly apathetic about the whole god thing. Are things bad enough that a campaign is needed over there? "
Yeah, we are very secular but over 80% of people are still church members (resigning is on a continual rise though, like Aztek said) in Finland.
News of this campaign got the religious people very aggressive though. Comments about "going to Hell" and so on immediately came from the very vocal minority of the deeply religious.

I think it's good that the apathetic people see this reaction. I'm sure it will again lead to more resignations from the church.
The church being in the news always seems have that effect. Whether they're debating about gay priests, asking for more tax income or reacting to atheist buses. :D

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 12:36:00 UTC | #343051

Smith's Avatar Comment 23 by Smith

black wolf,

I got the following from the page about Germany in wikipedia:

"According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 47% of German citizens agreed with the statement "I believe there is a God", whereas 25% agreed with "I believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% said "I do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force"."

Seems like a pretty strong minority to me. Does this resistance from these agancies has anything to do with the pernicious misconception that (neo-)NAZI equals atheism? I watch the german remake "The Wave" recently. Do the general public in Germany think that this is a film aimed at dissecting atheism and warning about its influence on the youth?

By the way, does the fact that Christian Democratic Union is leading the coalition government mean there is no such thing (at least on paper) as church/state separation in Germany? (I heard that every newborn german is automatically catholic unless a change is "requested.")

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 12:59:00 UTC | #343058

ridelo's Avatar Comment 24 by ridelo

Have these words the same meaning as the English text?

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 13:10:00 UTC | #343060

Aztek's Avatar Comment 25 by Aztek


Yes, they have.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 13:24:00 UTC | #343062

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 27 by dochmbi

If anyone wants to donate, here's the website to do it:

More specifically here:

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 13:34:00 UTC | #343068

Origami's Avatar Comment 28 by Origami

Meaning of the words is something like: "There's hardly any God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 13:34:00 UTC | #343069

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 29 by nalfeshnee

I was actually a little miffed that my submission of the German bus campaign to this site was not posted.

I have no idea why, since the trouble they are getting into there has surprised me no end and would be very interesting for freethinkers here to mull over. Germany being one of those famous "secular European states" supposedly.

So here is the mail I wrote to RDnet on March 13th:

The bus campaign has reached Germany!

In fact, it has already met its target of EUR 20,000.

The campaign site is here:

I know, it's all in German, but then it would be :=)

Here for starters is a translation of the introduction on the first page:

" will die britische Atheist Bus Campaign nach Deutschland bringen. Auch hierzulande haben säkulare Menschen mittlerweile genug davon, ständig „übersehen“ oder missachtet zu werden. Als Anfang sollen in drei Städten (Berlin, Köln und München) Busse beschriftet werden, die öffentlich bekunden, dass eine nicht-religiöse, aufgeklärte Weltsicht eine positive Möglichkeit darstellt. Nicht-Religiöse, Agnostiker und Atheisten sollen wahrnehmen können, dass sie nicht alleine sind. Sie sollen mutiger werden, sich gegen religiösen Hochmut zur Wehr zu setzen und sich in die öffentlichen Debatten einzumischen. Das Leben ohne einen Gott kann eine Bereicherung sein: angstfrei, selbstbestimmt, bewusst, tolerant und frei von Diskriminierungen."

" is bringing the British Atheist Bus Campaign to Germany. Secular-minded people in this country have also had enough of being constantly “overlooked” or disregarded. As a starting-point, we are looking to put posters on buses in three cities (Berlin, Cologne and Munich). The message will be a public announcement that a non-religious, enlightened world-view is a positive alternative. Non-religious people, agnostics and atheists should realise that they are not alone. Indeed, they should be encouraged to defend themselves against religious arrogance, and enter more actively into public debate. Life without a god can be an enriching experience: free of worry, self-determined, purposeful, tolerant and free from discrimination."

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 13:41:00 UTC | #343070

Invisible Talker's Avatar Comment 30 by Invisible Talker

Hip, hip hurraa! Greets to everyone from Finland!

Great to finally see this campaign coming here. Contrary to most people here I think this campaign is much needed. Finland's overall secularity is masked by the fact that nearly 80% of Finns still belong to the Lutheran church. Most do this out of a sense of tradition. This 80% figure is rapidly declining though. The people of Finland need to be shaken gently that there's valid alternatives to simply paying lip-service to a thing you half-believe.

It will be interesting to see the theist reaction here, because the Lutheran Church is still very strong here. YLE listed it among the top 100 companies in the country.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 13:45:00 UTC | #343071