Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leaving God on the bus

There was an interesting article in the West Australian this morning (you can read a similar one here) about moves by England's atheist brigade - the British Humanist Association - to run billboard advertisements on Londons buses claiming "God probably doesn't exist" and urging people to live their lives any way they want in response to this incredibly deep and profound claim.

The campaign has been funded by Britains leading evangelist for atheism, Richard Dawkins, who, according to the Age newspaper said; "This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think — and thinking is anathema to religion."

Apparently the atheists were sick of seeing advertisements on buses promoting Jesus and threatening people with "eternal damnation" and so thought they would run a campaign of their own in response.

The cost of the campaign is more than $27,000 (Australian).

While obviously dealing with slightly different motivations, this campaign reminds me a little bit of the Jesus all About Life campaign happening over here in Oz. The irony is the atheist campaign is a little more financially efficient. While $27,000 is still a lot of money, it isn't anywhere near as much as the sweet half million the JAAL crew are trying to raise for their Western Australian media campaign.

At the end of the day, while the atheists are obviously trying to get God off the bus (I'm sure He is actually more in favour of environmentally friendly means of transport such as walking anyway), it's interesting that in the process they are leaving him in his seat!

Whether the money is coming from atheists or Christians, I think these kinds of moves present a moral and ethical delima in that they waste a colosal amount of money on what is pretty much a dead end action that serves only to line the pockets of advertising agencies and the companies that sell the space on billboards, in newspapers and television. The upside to the atheist's campaign is that it actually may serve to get people talking about God in a meaningful way allowing Dawkin's anathema - thinking followers of Jesus - an opportunity to engage in meaningful, relational dialogue with those whose interest is piqued by the bus billboards in a way I don't think the JAAL, church centred, campaign will.

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