British comedy writer Ariane Sherine wanted to raise $8,000 to put an atheist billboard on a few London buses, as a “corrective” to religious ads, said Sarah Lyall in The New York Times. “But something seized people’s imagination,” and she raised more than $200,000, with atheist writer Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Society. Now 800 buses across Britain sport the message: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
Thank goodness for that, said biologist Paul Myers in Pharyngula. The “godless signs” are a real solace to the silent masses of rationalists who are “appalled at the blind faith of their neighbors” but “reluctant to speak up” because they think they’re alone.
“Atheists are by definition free-thinkers who don’t follow the crowd,” said James Randerson in Britain’s The Guardian, but it does feel great “speaking with a single voice.” That’s one reason people gave so much. The other is the “charming” Sherine, who has been “the antithesis of the shrill, dogmatic, and shouty atheist that is so beloved of religious caricaturists.”
She “totally wussed out by tossing ‘probably’ in the slogan,” though, said Allahpundit in Hot Air. And if these “dopey ads” hoped to get a rise from religious groups, early indications are that they failed. Some Christian churches even welcome the ads, because they might encourage people to think about life's big questions. So it’s hard to say if this is a “bigger waste of time and mental energy,” or just money.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- The week's best photojournalism
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
Subscribe to the Week