Monday, February 9, 2009

There's probably no bus (2)

Bus ad war heats up....

It all started out with the London bus ads last October which says "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" by the British Humanist Association. Now that the run of those ads are closing out, it's the turn of the other side...

Christians and Atheists Battle in London Bus Wars

The word of God is on the move in London - literally. Beginning Feb. 9, three separate Christian groups will launch advertisements on more than 200 of London's buses to convince pedestrians of God's existence. "It may be unpopular and unpleasant, says David Larlham, the assistant general secretary of London's Trinitarian Bible Society, a group that distributes bibles worldwide, "but there is a whole lot of truth in the bible that people need to get to grips with." His organization has paid $50,000 to display posters on 125 of London's red double-decker buses that quote Psalm 53:

"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."

[The Christian Party, a right-wing political party whose policies mostly focus on moral issues, is joining the advert battle by displaying posters on at least 50 buses that says]

"There definitely is a God, So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life."

[The Russian Orthodox Church for its part, will to place ads on 25 buses with the message ]

"There is God. Don't Worry. Enjoy your life!".

[The Time report goes on]

While the Humanist Association defends the right of Christians to air their views, many of its members object to the Christians' choice of words. Richard Dawkins, the eminent Oxford biologist and author of the bestselling book The God Delusion, takes issue with a slogan that calls non-believers fools. "That's a particularly obnoxious quote from one of the Psalms," he says. "Ours was extremely gentle and respectful by comparison." The use of the word "probably" in the atheist slogan, he says, does not imply any sort of dogma, but merely encourages free thinking.

The use of the word "fools" is certainly unflattering, to put it mildly. Dawkins on the other hand, clearly implies that Christians do not encourage "free thinking". To better appreciate the context of Psalm 53, let us look at verses 2 to 7 of NAB:

"Fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God.' Their deeds are loathsome and corrupt; not one does what is right. God looks down from heaven upon the human race, To see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God. All have gone astray; all alike are perverse. Not one does what is right, not even one. Will these evildoers never learn? They devour my people as they devour bread; they do not call upon God. They have good reason to fear, though now they do not fear. For God will certainly scatter the bones of the godless. They will surely be put to shame, for God has rejected them."

[Those verses not only calls the unbelievers fools, but also evildoers, perverse people whose deeds are loathsome and corrupt. Scriptures have a way for being brutally frank. To avoid offending their atheist friends, maybe the Christian ads should have put it mildly. They should start looking for a diplomatic, tactful term for the word fools]

Dawkins goes on to say -
"If more people think for themselves, we'll have fewer religious people."

But then again, G.K. Chesterton also says -
"If everybody would just sit down, be quiet and think, the whole world would become Catholic."

Some bus passengers in London probably would start to get thinking one way or the other, assuming those ads hit their marks. Some would probably just chuckle and move on. Some would simply ignore it. I wonder what it all achieves. So far, the money spent exceeds a quarter of a million dollars, and counting. One could easily start a foundation for the needy with that much money, specially in these hard times..

If there is anyone who is clearly winning this bus ad wars, it is the bus companies.


petrufied said...

If there is anyone who is clearly winning this bus ad wars, it is the bus companies.

Haha! I lol'ed. :D

sunnyday said...

Funny, yes :-)

But it's true *sigh*

aeisiel said...

By quoting Psalm 53 "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." those Christian groups should have completely stayed away from those atheists as Prov 14:7 advises "Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge."
It's all just plain commercialism and sadly those Christians are falling for it.