An exeptional campaign was launched last week at Tuesday October 21 in London. At that day AtheistCampaign.org started to raise £5,500 to run 30 buses across the capital for four weeks with the slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
They reached the total just over 10 hours after launch!
AtheistCampaign.org began when comedy writer and journalist Ariane Sherine (photo) saw an advert on a London bus featuring the Bible quote, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find Faith on this Earth?”. A website URL ran underneath the quote, and when Sherine visited the site she learned that, as a non-believer, she would be “condemned to everlasting separation from God and then spend all eternity in torment in hell”.
Unsettled that religious groups were allowed to advertise websites which warned that the non-religious would face torture at the end of their lives, Sherine pitched and began to write a comment piece for The Guardian’s Cif (Comment is free) website, called Atheists – Gimme Five. As part of her research for the piece, she called the Advertising Standards Authority, but was told that the website advertised wasn’t part of their remit. At the end of her article, keen to suggest a solution, she proposed:
If all atheists reading this contribute £5, it’s possible that we can fund a much-needed atheist London bus ad with the slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
To Sherine’s surprise and excitement, the majority of reader comments under the article were very positive and enthusiastic about the idea, with dozens of commenters offering to contribute to the campaign. Together with Political blogger Jon Worth (photo) she started to develop AtheistCampaign.org and over 1,200 joined the newly set up Atheist Bus Campaign Facebook Group.
As said the fundraising target was £5,500. Within five days AtheistCampaign.org funded over £100,000!
Sherine said she was surprised by the level of support but was pleased with the extra money, which would finance a more ambitious campaign.
“We could go national, we could have tube posters, different slogans, more buses, advertising inside buses. The sky’s the limit – except, of course, there’s nothing up there.”
Churches have responded favourably. The British Methodist church welcomed Dawkins’s “continued interest” in God, encouraging people to think about the issue. The Church of England said it would defend the right of any group representing a religious or philosophical position to promote that view through appropriate channels.
A spokesman added: “Christian belief is not about worrying or not enjoying life. Quite the opposite: our faith liberates us to put this life into a proper perspective.
The shown bus ads are Photoshop mockups. The atheist buses will run from January.
Picture above: © R. Longmuir / atheistcampaign.org
Second picture: © G. Nunn / atheistcampaign.org
Third picture: © Base on Mars / Josh / atheistcampaign.org