Atheists launch bus ad campaign
By ARIANE SHERINE
Added: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:00:00 UTC
(Video from The Guardian)
Another video from the BBC (click to play)
http://twitter.com/AtheistBus has a listing of media and internet coverage of the campaign.
http://www.atheistbus.org.uk/bus-locations/ shows a map of Britain with locations of buses.
The official campaign site invites spotters to send bus sightings in to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Official Atheist Bus Campaign Website: http://www.atheistbus.org.uk/
Photos from the launch
More on Flickr
(Proceeds go to the bus campaign)
The atheist bus journey
by Ariane Sherine, Guardian
Thanks to you we raised enough money to put ads on 800 buses across the UK, and the campaign has gone global
Today, thanks to many Cif readers, the overall total raised for the Atheist Bus Campaign stands at a truly overwhelming Â£135,000, breaking our original target of Â£5,500 by over 2400%. Given this unexpected amount, I'm very excited to tell you that 800 buses – instead of the 30 we were initially aiming for – are now rolling out across the UK with the slogan, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life", in locations all over England, Scotland and Wales, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, York, Cardiff, Devon, Leeds, Bristol and Aberdeen.
From today's launch, two hundred of the buses will run in London, because the campaign was originally started as a positive counter-response to the Jesus Said ads running on London buses in June 2008. These ads displayed the URL of a website which stated that non-Christians "will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell … Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire prepared for the devil". Our rational slogan will hopefully reassure anyone who has been scared by this kind of evangelism.
In addition, we're running adverts on two further types of media. In my last Cif blog on the campaign, I asked Cif readers for ideas on alternative ways to spend the funds, and also for thoughts on different slogans. Commenters WoollyMindedLiberal, PaoloV and Catch22 suggested that we use quotes from famous freethinkers, and we've done just that: from Monday January 12, 1,000 tube cards will run on London Underground featuring atheist quotations from Douglas Adams, Albert Einstein, Emily Dickinson and Katharine Hepburn (see above), alongside the original campaign slogan.
An animated version of the slogan will also appear on two large LCD screens on Oxford Street (opposite Bond Street tube station), so that you can see the advert live without having to wait for an atheist bus. And, to thank all donors and show the strength of atheism in the UK, every ABC advertisement will contain the line "This advert was funded by public donations".
Amazingly, the campaign has now gone international. Spain's Union of Atheists and Freethinkers are launching buses across Barcelona today with a translation of our slogan, Italy's Union of Atheist, Agnostics and Rationalists are also planning to roll out atheist buses, while the American Humanist Association have been inspired to launch a campaign, and buses carrying their slogan "Why believe in a God? Just be good for goodness' sake" have now been running for over a month in Washington DC. Sadly, not every country has been so open to the idea: the Atheist Foundation of Australia tried to place the slogan "Atheism – celebrate reason" on buses, but were rejected by Australia's biggest outdoor advertising company.
The campaign's success is thanks to Cif and Cif readers. If Matt Seaton hadn't allowed me to run with the idea here, and so many of you hadn't been so enthusiastic about it and donated generously to it, it would never have happened. There may be further campaign developments, and the campaign website and Facebook group will be regularly updated with the latest news; but for now, I hope you enjoy seeing the adverts on the streets, and that they brighten these bleak January days just a little bit. As Charlie Brooker – one of the first people to donate to the Atheist Bus Campaign – says: "Public transport in Britain suggests there isn't a God anyway, but in case anyone hasn't noticed, or feels isolated for thinking such a thing, this campaign should help." I hope it does.
Atheists launch bus ad campaign by the BBC
An atheist advertising campaign has been launched on buses across Britain.
A fund-raising drive for the promotion, carrying the slogan "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life", raised more than Â£140,000.
The campaign, which will also feature on the Tube, is backed by the British Humanist Association and prominent atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins.
The Church of England said Christian faith allowed people to put their life into a "proper perspective".
A spokesman said: "We would defend the right of any group representing a religious or philosophical position to be able to promote that view through appropriate channels.
"However, Christian belief is not about worrying or not enjoying life."
Pressure group Christian Voice has questioned the campaign's effectiveness but the Methodist Church said it would be a "good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life" and suggested it showed there was a "continued interest in God".
The advertisements will run on 200 bendy buses in London and 600 vehicles in England, Scotland and Wales.
The British Humanist Association said the buses carrying the slogan outside London would operate in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Leeds, Newcastle, Dundee, Sheffield, Coventry, Devon, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Swansea, Newport, Rhondda, Bristol, Southampton, and Aberdeen.
Four posters featuring quotations from the likes of Douglas Adams, Albert Einstein, and Katharine Hepburn will also be placed at 1,000 London Underground locations.
The campaign was devised by comedy writer Ariane Sherine.
She was inspired to seek donations after objecting to a set of Christian advertisements on a bus.
When people went to a highlighted website address, they were told that whose who rejected God were condemned to spend all eternity to "torment in Hell".
Ms Sherine said she sought donations for a "reassuring" counter-advertisement.
She said: "I think there have been a lot of people out there who have been looking at evangelical advertisements and not saying anything and thinking that these advertisements have been approved and just shrugging it off.
"Now finally they have an opportunity to express this feeling of exasperation."
Professor Dawkins made a donation of Â£5,500 himself.
He said: "Across Britain we are used to being bombarded by religious interests, not just Christians but other religions as well...
"In the House of Lords we have bishops sitting as of right and we are still very much dominated by religious interests."
Other supporters at the launch of the poster campaign included philosopher A C Grayling, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, and Graham Linehan, co-writer of the Father Ted TV comedy series.
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