Atheism on the Bus III
Well, it seems the bus wars are heating up across the pond, according to this article from Time (h/t: Paul). Aside from being a rather depressing commentary on the state of our cultural discourse (for more on that, have a look here) and the imaginative capacities of a few Christian groups in the UK (“There definitely is a God. So join the Christian party and enjoy your life?!” Seriously?), the article is mildly interesting for two interesting quotes it contains. First, here’s what Ariane Sherine had to say about what motivated her to spearhead the atheist bus ad campaign:
Our campaign provides reassurance for people who might be agnostic and don’t quite believe, and worry what will happen to them if they don’t.
OK, so for all those people out there who are wrestling with some fairly big questions, who have some anxiety about the consequences of belief/unbelief, who may be open to the possibility of God but are confused by the number of options, etc., the response thought to be most up to the task of providing existential assurance is….
Eleven words on the side of a bus?
Tormented agnostics everywhere (or at least in the UK) are no doubt grateful to Sherine & co. for clearing things up for them.
Second, Richard Dawkins offers this gem in response to Christians adding their idiotic slogans to the bus-war cocktail:
I don’t object at all to the Christian ads that are going up, especially if they make people think… If more people think for themselves, we’ll have fewer religious people.
I’ve read enough of Dawkins by now to be familiar with this kind of sentiment—he certainly isn’t shy about reciting this mantra whenever the opportunity presents itself—but it still catches me off guard whenever I come across it in such explicit and simplistic form. In Dawkins’ world, thinking for yourself is a one-way superhighway to atheism. End of story. Amazing.
Of course, according to the Sherine quote above, people are thinking for themselves and the answers to their questions aren’t exactly obvious. Presumably they have not been blessed with the luminous, clear-sighted intellect of Richard Dawkins. Or maybe they just need to see eleven words on the side of a bus to unravel the mysteries for them.
God help us.