The pissing match between theists and atheists that is being played out on city buses since last fall has grown to something of an international phenomenon/ridiculous waste of money. Forget Jihad, screw Inquisition — the best way to spite your opponent is via bus ads! In cities around the world, theists and atheists alike are spending tons of money to tell you what they want you to think about the existence (or not) of God. So far, here’s the crappy slogans that have been written and a running tally of how much it’s costing poor people (who could be getting the money instead).
Atheists: $340,828 + Unknown Costs
Group/Cost: British Humanist Association, $190,328
Ad: “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”
Group/Cost: The American Humanist Association, $40k per city (3 cities)
Ad: “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”
Group/Cost: Humanist Canada, Unknown Cost
Ad: “You Can Be Good Without God.”
Group/Cost: Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics — No cost as this was planned to run in Vatican City but Italy was all “hell naw”. Although, $10,500 was raised by the group for the campaign.
Ad: “The bad news is that God doesn’t exist, the good news is that you don’t need him.”
Group/Cost: Freethought Calgary, $20,000
Ad: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
Theists: $65,231 + Vodka + Unknown Amounts
Group/Cost: Trinitarian Bible Society, Unknown Cost
Ad: “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God taken from Psalm 53.1”
Group/Cost: Christian Party, $51,231
Ad: “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.”
Group/Cost: Russian Othodox Church, sponsorship deal with Russian Hour TV means it was probably paid for in bottles of delicious delicious blessed vodka.
Ad: “There is a God, BELIEVE. Don’t worry and enjoy your life.”
Group/Cost: Pennsylvania Friends of Christ, Unknown Cost
Ad: “Believe in God. Christ is Christmas for goodness sake.”
Group/Cost: Center for Family Development, Unknown cost
Ad: “Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake.”
Group/Cost: Random Christian JoEllen Murphy of Virginia, $14,000
Ad: “Why believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake. -God.”
This round-up isn’t exhaustive, but it gives you a good idea of the number of groups getting involved (there are almost certainly more than we’ve listed here), and the relatively large sums of money going toward campaigns that may only act as reminders to those in agreement with them. Conversely, they undoubtedly annoy opponents — but the point is there probably aren’t many conversions (for either side), and in the end it’s all a big waste of money.
Final thought: The only truth that can be pulled from this is that both sides of this issue are proving that they believe. Theists obviously believe in God. Atheists believe in the tangible things they can see — but no matter how you spin it, they still believe. In a way, they have faith — ironically, the problems many atheists have with theists is just that, faith. Though atheistic beliefs may be rooted in fact, taking them on as one’s mantra (if you will) requires the same passion, zeal, faith as believing in God or Zenu or life on Mars or The Big Bang. So, aren’t we all talking about the same thing? We’re all believers, in some way.
More: “Atheist Ads Spark Conversation”