Put an atheist on a bus


by Sunny
3rd July, 2008 at 8:54 am    

I’m not an atheist, but religious advertising mostly annoys me. In fact most people who talk about religion annoy me because they’re rarely well informed on the subject. So I was particularly amused by this recent piece by Ariane Sherine, who by the way blogs here and is now added to our ‘in-laws’ blogroll because she’s a great writer, which proposed that atheists should band together and take out an ad on a bus advertising atheism. (yes, should have blogged earlier but better late than never).

I’d contribute to that, especially given the recent controversy over a Heinz ad that got taken off air because it featured a gay kiss. People who lack compassion and tolerance are bad enough, but those who use religion as their excuse while piously informing everyone their religion is about compassion are particularly annoying. Anyway, sign the pledge for Ariane’s idea (started by Jon Worth, who I met yesterday and is also a nice guy)!

Saying all that, I’m not convinced by Johann Hari that its right to discriminate against the religious. The problems here are several.

Firstly, the Bushra Noah case wasn’t so clear cut (excuse the pun). Secondly, what if religious discrimination is used as a proxy? If someone said they didn’t hire a Muslim person because he might turn out to be a suicide bomber, wouldn’t you think that was xenophobic? After all, it’s not a theological disagreement is it?

Lastly, Johann says: “Are there all these bigots out there saying, ‘I hate those Muslims – but I love Sikhs?’ Of course not.” – Erm, sorry to burst your bubble Johann but yes there are quite a few people I’ve met who have said that (and vice versa from Muslims who assumed I was one). My point is, religious discrimination isn’t always because people hate their theology or hate them just because they choose to believe in some all powerful alien civilisation that is breeding us as an experiment and might get bored with us any minute (like I do of course…). Sometimes it’s just bigotry in a different guise.


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  1. civilisation 4

    [...] on the subject. So I was particularly amused by this recent piece by Ariane Sherine, who by thehttp://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2122Read “RE: Protecting the remaining lost tribes.. – Page 4 – SciForums.com” at Human Science Forum… [...]




  1. sarah — on 3rd July, 2008 at 9:32 am  

    It’s not showing up in the family section yet!

  2. Rohin — on 3rd July, 2008 at 10:04 am  

    I am an atheist. Hari’s argument, as is often the case, is tosh.

    You know, when I look at Ariane Sherine’s picture I find it hard to criticise her, which I find most inconvenient. Her piece is fun and well-written but I’m still not convinced I, as a NON-BELIEVER (tauba tauba), should feel at all upset by these ads. Churches say the same messages (and far ‘worse’) on their sites, should we complain about them too? They are seen by more people as they remain up for months/years. They are essentially adverts as well.

    I have seen many of these bus ads, they provoke little response in me.

  3. Letters From A Tory — on 3rd July, 2008 at 10:14 am  

    How about we agree that discrimination is just not acceptable in any circumstances and move on?

    http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  4. Leon — on 3rd July, 2008 at 10:56 am  

    which proposed that atheists should band together and take out an ad on a bus advertising atheism.

    Not sure about that to be honest, in fact it looks like a bit of an idiotic idea really…you know there’s a simple way to make sure Atheists are ok: stop the religious creep in our society. Don’t impose your faith on us and we’ll be happy to just to live our lives.

  5. Unitalian — on 3rd July, 2008 at 11:11 am  

    “Stop the religious creep in our society”.

    Yes, that the thing – atheists should be promoting what they believe in not what they don’t. They should be opposing religious schools, the growing use of “offence” as religious prohibition, the promotion of equality in all circumstances etc.

    The British Humanist Society, which I used to belong to until I became religious, promotes all these things – so maybe you should support them?

    Unitarianism is the next best thing to humanism which is why, as a believer in the “supernatural”, as they would have it, yet a staunch supporter of secualrism and opponent of dogma (which is just another excuse for human prejudice and stupidity in God’s clothing) it appealed.

  6. DavidMWW — on 3rd July, 2008 at 11:42 am  

    I like the idea of an atheist bus ad, although religious ads don’t bother me as much as they do Ariane Sherine. I think the proposed atheist ad is very good.

    “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.”

    But bear witness to this prophecy: if this ad ever goes up, there will be cries of outrage from various religious quarters eager to take offence at “aggressive” atheists insulting their faith and disrespecting their deeply held beliefs.

  7. Nav — on 3rd July, 2008 at 11:53 am  

    God I hate Hari. How that twit has a job as a journalist beggars belief.

    He tells us that we don’t choose our religious beliefs juxtaposing this with race, gender and sexuality which are thrust upon us without our warrant but indeed many people are effectively forced to adopt the religion of their parents from childhood and blindly follow it come what may into adulthood.

    Are there all these bigots out there saying, “I hate those Muslims – but I love Sikhs?” Of course not.

    This just sums up the level of the man’s intellectual nous and insight into… well, anything really.

    Jog on, son, jog right on.

  8. Sofia — on 3rd July, 2008 at 11:54 am  

    Although I don’t like the advertising of religious slogans etc. I actually find some quite amusing..it’s a free society and they aren’t harming anyone..so what’s the big deal…if athiests agnostics, scientologists or whoever want to waste a hell of a lot of money and resources then that’s their own stupidity…i say use the money on something a bit more practical…actions speak louder than words in some cases

  9. Nav — on 3rd July, 2008 at 11:57 am  

    I think I’m being stalked by Scientologists who camp near Goodge St.

    I mocked His Graciousness Tom Cruise as one of his disciples approached me and since then I’ve got this feeling that I’m being watched…

  10. Sofia — on 3rd July, 2008 at 12:10 pm  

    I always ask them to “show me the money!”

  11. Don — on 3rd July, 2008 at 1:29 pm  

    The best atheist advert would probably be selected bible verses. Exodus 21:20-21,Leviticus 25:44-46. Deuteronomy 12:6-10, … So many to choose from.

  12. justforfun — on 3rd July, 2008 at 1:53 pm  

    Is this Don(1) or Don(2) speaking?

    justforfun

  13. Don — on 3rd July, 2008 at 2:06 pm  

    Don(2) is sleeping with the fishes.

  14. Sunny — on 3rd July, 2008 at 2:10 pm  

    Don(2) is sleeping with the fishes.

    hah! Now everyone knows not to jack your online pseudonym.

  15. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 2:12 pm  

    The current bus ads are just harmless quotes from the Bible. I see nothing controversial – they are totally meaningless to anyone who is not familiar with the Christian faith. It doesn’t attack anyone’s faith or lack of faith.

    However, the proposed ad by this Ariane Sherine can be offensive: it attacks religious faith. Furthermore, what about kids that stem from religious backgrounds, who might read it? It sounds stupid, but I believe that the questions of faith, after-life, why are we here, are a big deal – and deserve a lot more than this immature joke. What we need is respect from both sides: religious and atheists. If religious people step on liberal values of compassion and tolerance, they will have to be called out and shamed. But in this case I feel this ad proposal is just a shameful flame-bait.

  16. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 2:32 pm  

    “However, the proposed ad by this Ariane Sherine can be offensive: it attacks religious faith. Furthermore, what about kids that stem from religious backgrounds, who might read it?”

    A fundamental message of Christianity is that if one is not a believer one will suffer for eternity. The fundamental message of atheism is that there is no God.

    Why do you only believe that the latter is offensive?

  17. justforfun — on 3rd July, 2008 at 2:47 pm  

    RIP – Don(2)

    Don – you’re taking a more robust defence of aetheism these days – moving onto the offensive eh?

    Don’t you think Aethism needs religion as a pedastal – without it we would be a little shorter – or perhaps not be able to see so far.

    I come from a pretty mixed bunch and having been left to my own devises by my parents ( religion wise) I have explored many and now find aethism very liberating. However without the access to the others via close and distant relatives – I don’t think I would appreciate aetheism so much.

    I can see though that for aethists who are children of aetheists, – it could be an ‘easy come – easy go’ attitude, and so this new PUBLIC religious revival is not being stamped on as robustly as it should. We are sleep walking into a society devided along religious devides. The future will be a paradise for fanatics and a misery for the rest.

    ———-

    as seen on a bus –

    “When the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    mmmmm interseting question – but the question assumes that he will find no faith and that is a bad thing but – perhaps from a certain Zoroastrian philosophical point of view the answer might be that when the sayoshant (messiah) arrives, if there was no faith – then the world will be a GOOD place – as faith is the opposite of the what humans should have – which is a free mind that makes up its own mind. Faith is actually a bad thing and the last thing we should relie on – we should have faith in nothing. Where faith exists – it is because we don’t question things or we choose not to seek answers and relie on others to spoon feed us and make decision based on nothing but faith.

    here endeth another funster sermon :-)

    ——-

    justforfun

  18. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 2:56 pm  

    “Why do you only believe that the latter is offensive?”

    We are talking about doing public ads for making such statements. Having an ad saying that non-believers will suffer for eternity is totally unacceptable.

  19. DavidMWW — on 3rd July, 2008 at 2:58 pm  

    OK, maybe we won’t have to wait until the ad goes up. :)

  20. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:00 pm  

    “Having an ad saying that non-believers will suffer for eternity is totally unacceptable.”

    Yes, but that is one of the fundemental tenets of the faith that it is advertising. It is deeply offensive to many, as is the Bible itself.

    That’s not to say that they should not plaster quotes onto buses, it is just that I will feel little sympathy should they be offended by seeing a tenet (or the tenet) of atheism.

  21. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:11 pm  

    *Clumsy use of the word ‘they’.

    “That’s not to say that Christian organisations should not plaster quotes onto buses, it is just that I will feel little sympathy should theists be offended by seeing a tenet (or the tenet) of atheism.”

  22. Ariane Sherine — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:16 pm  

    Thanks a lot for writing about this Sunny – and on my birthday too! 28 is great so far.

    @Sofia, I’m going to try this with the next Scientologist I meet.

    As for the ad proposal, it was a response rather than a statement of its own accord. I hoped it would be reassuring to uncertain agnostics (as I used to be). We only need another 4556 people…

  23. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:23 pm  

    “Yes, but that [if one is not a believer one will suffer for eternity] is one of the fundemental tenets of the faith that it is advertising. It is deeply offensive to many, as is the Bible itself.”

    No, that is not the fundamental tenets of the faith, not by a long mile. In fact, different Christian churches will have different saying on the matter, but most will say nothing on it – they focus only on their flock. However, the current teachings of Catholicism defend that non-believers can be saved when they seek peace and the good of the community.

    In any case, the point here is about responsible public advertisement not about an individual’s right to believe in whatever they see fit, so if you agree with that, let’s leave it at that.

  24. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:29 pm  

    Ariane,

    Happy birthday :)

    Ravi,

    A fundamental tenet is one that serves as a basic principle or law. I went to a Christian church for fifteen years, and all believers that certainly held that those who did not accept Christ would be condemned to eternal suffering. Where they differed was whether this suffering would constitute burning/proddings with trident etc. or just separation from God.

    Anything pertaining towards such a belief could and does cause offence to people, and I fail to see why it is any less offensive (and, by extension, possibly irresponsible) than advertising an atheistic belief.

    Respectfully,

    Ben

  25. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:30 pm  

    * “all believers that”
    all believers there

  26. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:35 pm  

    Ravi,

    I should also point out that the sign Ariane described in the article included the domain name of a website that supported the tenet detailed above.

  27. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:42 pm  

    “Anything pertaining towards such a belief could and does cause offence to people, and I fail to see why it is any less offensive (and, by extension, possibly irresponsible) than advertising an atheistic belief.”

    Do you fail to understand the difference between the power of advertisement on our society – specially to young people, against what a group of people thinks to the Truth? I am against any advertisement – that disrespects both religious and atheist beliefs. But I am glad to live in a society that has both.

    Think this over, Ben.

  28. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 3:47 pm  

    “Think this over, Ben.”

    Think what over? I’m quite aware of the power of advertising, but, as I’ve stated, I fail to see why the proposed bus ad should be considered any more offensive or insidious than a Bible quote.

    Why, then, should I be concerned about its possible impact upon our society, especially young people?

    Respectfully,

    Ben

  29. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:03 pm  

    Let us compare the two quotes:

    “When the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    - Begins from the premise of Christ’s existence.
    - Invokes the return of Christ to judge the world.
    - Invokes the separation of those who have faith from those who have none.

    We are then linked to a site that describes the penalty for the faithless as being “everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell. Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and all his angels.”

    “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.”

    - Disavows the existence of a deity.
    - Implores onlookers to live life as if death is nothingness.

    Respectfully,

    Ben

    (Obviously, though, if the former is correct then those behind the latter should be worried).

  30. Sofia — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:03 pm  

    ” A fundamental message of Christianity is that if one is not a believer one will suffer for eternity. The fundamental message of atheism is that there is no God.

    Why do you only believe that the latter is offensive?”

    well if you believe in a religion other than christianity you won’t find it offensive cuz you’ll think the same of them. And if you’re an athiest you won’t give a damn cuz you don’t believe in God. So it’s a moot point

  31. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:04 pm  

    “I’m quite aware of the power of advertising, but, as I’ve stated, I fail to see why the proposed bus ad should be considered any more offensive or insidious than a Bible quote.”

    Because the proposed bus ad is plain, crude and goes against the core of every religious faith. It affects all major religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so on. On the other hand, most people will have no idea what the current Bible quote means, let alone get offended. You also make the mistake of thinking there is one Christianity, one teaching and one interpretation.

    I am left wondering this. If your ex-Christian church made a bus ad saying “that non-believers will burn in hell”, would you believe that this ad is appropriate? If not, then why would you think it is appropriate to have the proposed ad? What good either one would bring to a secular society that should respect the differences that comes from having the freedom to choose a religion or none at all?

  32. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:16 pm  

    Ravi,

    “Because the proposed bus ad is plain, crude and goes against the core of religious faith.”

    Do you imagine that believers are so weak in their faith that a ‘plain, crude’ advert will cause great offense? Although this sounds uncomfortably like the ‘some of my best friends’ gambit, I know many wonderful people that happen to be religious believers, and I would not be so patronising as to claim that such a statement would cripple their system of belief.

    “On the other hand, most people will have no idea what the current Bible quote means, let alone get offended. ”

    Bare assertion fallacy.

    “If your ex-Christian church made a bus ad saying “that non-believers will burn in hell”, would you believe that this ad is appropriate?”

    That is just about precisely what this particular advert implies, as I hope I’ve shown in my deconstruction. It is meant for no others purpose as to challenge the views of the faithless.

    Burning for eternity is also a rather more intimidating prospect than the non-existence of a deity, I would argue.

    “What good either one would bring to a secular society that should respect the differences that comes from having the freedom to choose a religion or none at all?”

    I don’t happen to support this movement for a bus ad – it would change few minds and is, as you say, simplistic – but I would defend it against the charge of being gratuitously offensive. It does not impinge upon anyone’s freedom to choose a religion, or reject them. It does not target a particular faith and it is less patronising than advertising a book called ‘The God Delusion’.

    Respectfully,

    Ben

  33. Sofia — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:18 pm  

    on a funnier note you can imagine some curious kid asking what religion athiesm is..

  34. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:19 pm  

    I also think it is a fallacy to think that advertising that God exists has the complementary effect as advertising that God does not. It feels like it is the same as the effort required to build a bridge, and the effort to destroy it. Not the same, is it?

  35. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:30 pm  

    “Not the same, is it?”

    It is if you believe that faith is to the detriment of a life. A closer – but by no means perfect – analogy could be the effort to destroy a damaged bridge that cars insist on driving across.

    Incidentally, I had to go and ask my Dad. He said that he wouldn’t be offended, but he would be a bit bemused.

    Respectfully,

    Ben

  36. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:32 pm  

    “Do you imagine that believers are so weak in their faith that a ‘plain, crude’ advert will cause great offense?”

    Yes, I can. Kids that are taught by parents and religious leaders about their religion, and then witness these type of advertisements.

    Bare assertion fallacy.

    No, it is a reasonable assumption. I would be totally clueless if a vague quote from the Koran, Rig Veda or the Torah was put in an ad without any context.

    Now, you didn’t answer my question. And I will ask again. If your ex-Christian Church has put an ad like: “God exists. So, non-believers will probably burn in hell”, would you find this gratuitously offensive or not?

    “It does not target a particular faith”

    You are right, it targets all of them.

  37. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:50 pm  

    “It is if you believe that faith is to the detriment of a life. A closer – but by no means perfect – analogy could be the effort to destroy a damaged bridge that cars insist on driving across.”

    Ben, all cars need to eventually cross to the other side. In my view, it’s much better to cross a damaged bridge, then to fall into the abyss because you have no bridge. So why destroy it? ;)

  38. Roger — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

    I don’t know whether it says something about by nonsusceptibility to advertising or my lack of observation or whether I live in the wrong bit of London but I’ve never noticed any of these advertisements. As a non-practising atheist I- and most other atheists, agnostics, nonbelievers, disbelievers and such- have better and more enjoyable things to do with our time and money than pay London Transport to stick up tosh on buses. I’d rather they spent their money doing that than trying more active methods of bringing us supposed the word of god.

    “I also think it is a fallacy to think that advertising that God exists has the complementary effect as advertising that God does not. It feels like it is the same as the effort required to build a bridge, and the effort to destroy it. Not the same, is it?”

    If you start trying to build a bridge to a nonexistent other side many more casualties will result the further it is when it collapses. Therefore the humane thing to do is to destroy the bridge as early as possible.

  39. Unitalian — on 3rd July, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

    “However, the proposed ad by this Ariane Sherine can be offensive: it attacks religious faith.”

    Thank HEAVEN!

    I’m sick and tired of tossers taking offence at anything from Jerry Springer to icky puppies.

    They wouldn’t know God if She struck them with a thunderbolt. Those Christian ads offend me. Anti-gay archbigots offend me. Women in burkhas offend me as do raving blokes in beards of any denomination.

    They’re all deluded, immature losers, the lot of them, ramming their disfunctions down our throats.

    And I say that in the spririt of love, understanding, and a loaded gun, which is the Unitalian way. ;-)

  40. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:00 pm  

    Ravi,

    “Kids that are thought by parents and religious leaders about their religion, and then see these type of advertisements.”

    So, you believe that the worst that this advert could do is cause some children to to challenge their beliefs…is that wrong?

    You yourself have stated that you are glad – as I am – to live in a society where in one is free to have a religious belief or none.

    “I would be totally clueless if a vague quote from the Koran, Rig Veda or the Torah was put in an ad without any context. ”

    This advert does have context. It challenges the reader as to their faith by invoking the return of Christ.

    “Now, you didn’t answer my question. And I will ask again. If your ex-Christian Church out an ad like: “God exists. So, non-believers will probably burn in hell”, would you find this gratuitously offensive or not?”

    Curses, my futile plan to avoid your argument-savaging gambit has fallen at the first hurdle. Never mind, pressing ever onwards..

    - I wouldn’t, I’d find it to be a ludicrous appeal to fear, but I think that you mean ‘would atheists/agnostics find it gratuitously offensive’.

    - The message of the advert is this, you have just phrased it more crudely:

    It invokes the separation of those who have faith from those who have none, and we are then linked to a site that describes the penalty for the faithless as being “everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell.”

    - Your argument assumes that any promotion of atheistic belief is offensive, as an atheistic belief entirely constitutes the belief that there is no deity.

    - Your argument assumes that the threat of eternal
    suffering is an intimidating as the concept of atheism. This cannot be directly refuted, but I would argue against it.

    This advert would certainly not encourage open debate and understanding, but I have also said that neither would the proposed atheistic one. It is not, however, gratuitously offensive (though admittedly a little patronising in saying ‘stop worrying.)

    “You are right, it targets all of them.”

    No, as the problem of explicitly targeting a faith is that – while not directly offensive – it bears the risk of being seen as encouragement to undue discrimination (an extreme example is the entiretly of the Mail coverage of Islam). Targeting the concept of theism will not lead to such gratuitous discrimination.

    Respectfully,

    Ben

  41. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

    “Ben, all cars need to eventually cross to the other side. In my view, it’s much better to cross a damaged bridge, then to fall into the abyss because you have no bridge. So why destroy it? ;)

    I DEMAND the deletion of this post. It OFFENDS me!

    In amusment,

    Ben

  42. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:05 pm  

    *amusement

    *facepalm*

  43. persephone — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:13 pm  

    Ads in buses that kids MAY see? I came across this recently: children had been given a verse to learn by their school which included the following line:

    “if you are a friend of Jesus, you are a friend of mine”

    It is a C of E primary school in London that also takes in children from other religions.

    Is this divisive or feasible given it is a C of E school?

  44. Roger — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:18 pm  

    Logically, “if you are a friend of Jesus, you are a friend of mine” does not mean if you are not a friend of Jesus, you are not a friend of mine so it is not necessarily divisive.

  45. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:29 pm  

    Persephone, the bottom line is that parents have no control over the ads children see in buses. They will know what they are doing when they put their children in faith-based schools.

  46. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:41 pm  

    “So, you believe that the worst that this advert could do is cause some children to to challenge their beliefs…is that wrong? You yourself have stated that you are glad – as I am – to live in a society where in one is free to have a religious belief or none.”

    Responsible parenting means you control external influences to your children. You also teach them what you believe is the best for them. I believe children benefit from believing in a higher-being, in meditating and praying. I certainly cannot control advertisement in buses with messages so crude as the one proposed. And I certainly wouldn’t let my children’s beliefs be influenced by it. Let them sort out and choose their paths when they are older and more mature. But at least they have something to hang on to in times of need. Mind you, this is not a religious vs atheist debate: it is about responsible advertisement. I have said before that I would hate any religious advertisement that is explicit, crude and divisive.

  47. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:43 pm  

    “And I certainly wouldn’t let my children’s beliefs be influenced by it.”

    You would hide your children from any reference to the possible non-existence of a deity?

    Ben

  48. Sid — on 3rd July, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

    I have said before that I would hate any religious advertisement that is explicit, crude and divisive.

    Advertisers don’t usually suggest how crap a product is in the copy. You only find that out after ‘purchase’.

  49. douglas clark — on 3rd July, 2008 at 8:29 pm  

    Clearly these adverts are not geared towards the core audience of believers. They are however directed at agnostics. It is quite amusing to see BenSix and Ravi at war with each other, as I consider them both to be folk that share my lack of belief.

  50. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 8:33 pm  

    “It is quite amusing to see BenSix and Ravi at war with each other”

    Heh,

    An illuminating discussion between comrades, I hope.

    Ben

  51. douglas clark — on 3rd July, 2008 at 8:41 pm  

    Ben 6,

    Heh.

    Hopefully.

    I think the pair of you are like peas in a pod.

    Obviously the fact that I think you are both brilliant commentators might mean I’m a trifle biased.

  52. stinkingsadhu — on 3rd July, 2008 at 9:48 pm  

    bhratr Sunny, if you’re not an atheist, what are you?

  53. BenSix — on 3rd July, 2008 at 11:02 pm  

    Why, thank you, Douglas.

    The respect is of course reciprocated.

    Ben

  54. Amrit — on 4th July, 2008 at 12:00 am  

    ‘Sometimes it’s just bigotry in a different guise.’

    Amen to that! I actually became agnostic due to the general appallingness of religious people around me rather than because of the badness of the religion itself.

    I have to say though, it is often people’s hypocrisy that messes religion up – it is not always religion itself that is to blame.

    But WHO CARES? I’m hardly a believer! :D

    Happy Birthday to Ariane :) , my own is coming up in a while.

    Incidentally, has anyone here pledged towards the bus?

  55. Don — on 4th July, 2008 at 12:19 am  

    Religious triumphalism all over the place, but one atheist comment is a problem?

  56. persephone — on 4th July, 2008 at 10:38 am  

    @44 logic aside, the point is what seeds is this sowing in young impressionable minds? Would logic equally prevail if the line was “If you are a friend of Allah, you are a friend of mine?”

    @45 the parents were aware but because the ethos of the school is to be inclusive of all religions and that christianity is about being tolerant of other beliefs (this ethos is sign posted in the school) they were dismayed

  57. Ravi Naik — on 4th July, 2008 at 2:00 pm  

    “the parents were aware but because the ethos of the school is to be inclusive of all religions and that christianity is about being tolerant of other beliefs (this ethos is sign posted in the school) they were dismayed”

    Well, I agree it is unacceptable, but that is a risk that parents take (and should be aware) when they put their children in such schools, even if the school promises to be secular. Hence, I don’t see a parallel between this and putting ads in buses. I am not fond of faith-based schools or charities as a principle.

    “Religious triumphalism all over the place, but one atheist comment is a problem?”

    You sound like this fellow I met a few days ago (in one of those Church events my wife drags me to), who told me with certainty that atheists have won all over (look at TV, media… everything glorifies…), and that Christian values are being under heavy attack from secular forces. Now, Don, who should I believe? :)

    An illuminating discussion between comrades, I hope.

    Of course. :)

  58. Don — on 4th July, 2008 at 3:41 pm  

    Ravi,

    Well, you could replace attack with counter attack and give a bit of credence to both.
    But not too much to either.

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