Atheist bus: three Christian groups launch counter-adverts
The campaigns are being launched following the success of atheist bus adverts – now on 800 buses across Britain after an unprecedented fundraising drive collected £140,000 in donations – that declare: „There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
The atheist adverts, devised by Ariane Sherine, a comedy writer, and supported by the British Humanist Association and Professor Richard Dawkins, were themselves a intended as a response to posters on public transport that „threaten eternal damnation” to non-believers.
But now Christian groups have decided that they must regain the initiative.
In one campaign, the Trinitarian Bible Society is putting posters on 100 London buses starting on Monday with a quote from Psalm 53 that reads: „The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.„
The £35,000 campaign will also include an offer of a free Bible.
The Rev George Hargreaves, the leader of The Christian Party, is running adverts on 50 bendy buses from next week that proclaim: „There definitely is a God. So join The Christian Party and enjoy your life.„
Meanwhile a Russian TV producer is paying for adverts on 25 London buses in March that will feature a photograph of a monastery as well as the slogan: „There is God. Don’t Worry. Enjoy your life!”
Alexander Korobko, the head of the Russian Hour satellite TV channel, which is based in London, said his campaign is being supported by the Russian Orthodox Church.
„We are living in a difficult time, when crisis is being extensively promoted, and people need some life-asserting message,” he said.
However some critics claimed the money spent on the adverts would be better directed at charity projects or improving understanding between religious groups.
Simon Barrow, of the religion and society think tank Ekklesia, said: „It is part of a societal trend to package and ‘sell’ beliefs of all kinds, as if they were commodities.
„Many people will feel this has little to do with anything Christianly or humanly edifying. One has to wonder whether the purveyors of pro- and anti-God slogans really think they will persuade people? It feels more like a war of position between groups who cannot resist ‘having a go back’.
„But imagine if these tens of thousands of pound could be spent meeting human need and promoting understanding rather than sloganising. That might be both more persuasive and more useful.”