To support and amplify the already pervasive non-religious reputation of Seatte, the atheist bus ads are set to arrive in Seattle. To refresh your memory, remember my posts from recent months about these bus ads from the UK: There’s Probably No God and then of course the Christian response: The Atheist vs Christian Bus Ads…
I suspect that in the near future, some Christian group or folks here in Seattle will fund a set of new ads in response to these ads.
And then at that point, I’d like to launch my own campaign and website called:
Don’t buy that url. It’s mine. Anyways, in an earlier post, I shared 3 reasons why I think these ads can be good:
1. Christians shouldn’t feel entitled to anything. We live in a larger marketplace – if you will – and we need to compete to have our voice expressed and heard. Maybe it’s my upbringing in San Francisco and living the past 12 years in Seattle but while there are times it’s tiresome, I enjoy living in a culture and context where the culture isn’t dominated by the christianese subculture. Being a follower of Christ isn’t part of the cultural expectation but a choice that one must live out…
2. I find it funny that “atheiests” are identified by an opposition to the belief of God. It’s a reactive belief system. To atheists: What is your purpose?
3. Conversation. They’ve invested tons of money on these advertisements and frankly, it’s probably been the greatest recent catalyst for conversation about God for many people and churches. It’s like free advertisement for theists and Christians.
But seriously, we don’t have to go through this in every international city, do we?
From the Seattle PI: Atheists are about to take the city for a ride.
The bus is the pulpit and the bus riders the congregation. A group called Seattle Atheists is planning to display ads inside 40 different city buses. Its message: there’s a community for atheists, too.
“There is a group out there that get together and we talk. There is a sense of community for those who are atheists,” said member Paul Case.
Seattle Atheists are working to rally those who share their though. A Christian organizer suggested April Fool’s Day as the launch date for the ads.
“He said, ‘What these atheists need is their own holiday. How about April 1st? Yeah, April 1st sounds about right,” Case said.
The words on the ads are intended to stir thought, not controversy.
One carries the words of Susan B. Anthony: “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
Another features an Albert Einstein quote: “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”
“In fact, we do like to build bridges with people who are religious,” Case said.
Pastor Bill Berger of All Saints Church agrees the ads will open trigger conversations.
“I think it’s very honest and it’s an open dialogue,” he said.
Berger believes the bus stamps will likely preach to the choir.
“Much more nuanced than just saying, ‘Here’s what we believe.’ We’re going to do it in a nice way. Christians around the world are trying to be nice about what they believe in, as well its strategy,” said Berger.
Believers send missionaries. Atheist send messages.
“It’s a faith talk. They have faith to believe that there isn’t a God,” said Berger. “What would people think if Christians put up ‘This is what we believe in’ on the city bus, how would we be received? I think that would be an interesting take on this whole thing as well.”