Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Atheist busses in London

saw on boingboing today that there are atheist-advertising busses roaming the streets of London - 800 of them that say "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." this intended as a 'positive counter response' to fear-mongering ads about sinners/non-Christians going to a lake of fire, etc.

as an agnostic, and a strong freedom-of-religionist, I'm just not sure how i feel about this. Although I appreciate and empathize the "enjoy your life' message, my gut is that it's the same as the fire&brimstone kinds of ads, and for those with strong faith (of any stripe) potentially just as offensive. Is it proper to advertise for religion (or lack of?). is this a good use of funds (in a recession)? The campaign raised £135,000, significantly more funds than their target in a very short period - thou no one should dictate what the best thing to spend ones money on, if you were going to promote your own brand of belief in a way to reassure others, is this the most helpful thing you can spend on?

I know I would like this campaign a lot better if they'd gone guerilla, graffitti or any other less commercial route - why is that?

Apparently the American Humanist Association has a separate campaign busses in DC saying "Why believe in a God? Just be good for goodness' sake" any of you DC folks seen these?

if only freedom of religion was the same as freedom from religion...

2 comments:

offfwhite said...

i totally hear what you're saying about a more productive use of money, but the same could be said of campaign spending in general, and in the US there's an enormous amount of money poured into election campaigns. the impact that religious motives have on people's lives here (specifically women's rights and LGBTQ rights) more than justify it in my mind.

the NY Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/world/europe/07london.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=athiest&st=cse) made it sound as if religious groups don't have as much political power in the UK as they do in the US, so perhaps this money would be better spent here. either way, i do like seeing this point of view expressed within "legitimate" spheres of commercial expression.... those in power determine the language and context of legitimacy, and i like seeing their tools used to provoke thought rather than dissuade it.

Maya said...

wow! oh wow! its so cheerful!