Magic Bus

At the risk of upsetting viewers in Owasso, Oklahoma, the Guardian report on a campaign - assisted by the British Humanist Association - to put adverts on London buses saying "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life"

The idea was first suggested by Ariane Sherine in the paper, and now Richard Dawkins has agreed to match the funding raised.

Whether the campaign will have any effect is largely unimportant. A positive message and one that will bring out the 'But-this-is-a-Christian-country' brigade.

The article adds:

  • As you read this, a new advertising campaign for Alpha Courses is running on London buses. If you attend an Alpha Course, you will again be told that failing to believe in Jesus will condemn you to hell. There's no doubt that advertising can be effective, and religious advertising works particularly well on those who are vulnerable, frightening them into believing. Religious organisations' jobs are made easier because there's no publicly visible counter-view to refute their threats of eternal damnation.

    The atheist bus campaign aims to change this. In addition to the slogan, the adverts will feature the URLs of secular, humanist and atheist websites, so that readers can find out more about atheism as a positive and liberating alternative to religion. We've also set up an interactive campaign website and Facebook group, so that questions raised by the adverts can be publicly debated.

UPDATE: 22/10/08 (or 10/28/08 if you live in Owasso)

The Daily Mail are on the case. Wheel out self-proclaimed Messiah, Stephen Green of Christian Voice:
  • Stephen Green of pressure group Christian Voice said: 'Bendy-buses, like atheism, are a danger to the public at large.

    'I should be surprised if a quasi-religious advertising campaign like this did not attract graffiti. 'People don't like being preached at. Sometimes it does them good, but they still don't like it.'

On his own website, he believes that this advert is being proposed because atheism is dying on its feet. Therefore, Christianity must be so strong that he doesn't need to make ludicrous pronouncements on non-stories just to get publicity. Exhibit A:
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's decision to write the song and front a Eurovision talent show for the BBC and his announcement that he will not be back until 2010 to find a Dorothy for the Wizard of Oz means he has abandoned his attempt to resurrect the resurrection-less Jesus Christ Superstar as a result of pressure from Christians, a Christian pressure group said today.
Green has been quoted as comparing Allah to Satan, so maybe the Owasso Doll Horror is further evidence that Green is not as barking mad as he seems, or that the Mail is not being lazy and ridiculous by keeping CV on speed-dial.

Although Christian Voice is just a mouth piece for one particular zealot, it does offer membership. However at £20 a go, I think the money is probably better spent on the atheist bus campaign.

What is it about the Green clan? Damian Green, rentaquote Tory shadow minister; Andrew Green, rentaquote head of Migrationwatch; Al Green : "Call me call me call me
What a beautiful time we had together