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Ads Say God Doesn’t Exist

  • January 16th, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

Atheists have begun spreading the word that God doesn’t exist through advertisements on public buses across Barcelona.

The ad campaign, brought about by the Catalan branch of Union of Atheists and Free Thinkers, was inspired by a similar initiative this month in Britain…

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY WIHOUT GOD

Bus ads on two routes in Barcelona have been carrying the message: “There’s probably no God. Stop worrying and enjoy your life”, written in Catalan.

Barcelona’s Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach expressed disapproval of the advertisements, saying for people who believed, faith in God was not a barrier to enjoying life but a, “solid foundation to live life with an attitude of solidarity, peace and a sense of transcendence”.

The president of the union, Albert Riba, said the ads weren’t directed at those who believed in God.

“It is addressed to atheists, who are regularly threatened with punishments” in a country with strong Catholic traditions, he said.

The union aims to further the campaign to bus services in Bilbao, Seville, Madrid and Valencia.

It has so far raised €15,000 (Dcerates: US$21,980, 15.01.09) through its website to fund the campaign.

CATHOLIC BACKLASH

Many religious leaders have condemned the advertisements; one retired French Cardinal, Paul Poupard calling them “stupid, superficial and ridiculous.”

Cardinal Poupard said atheists should show proof God doesn’t exist as opposed to the burden of proof falling to the faithful.

Pablo Molinero of the Observatory for Religious Liberty and Conscience said the message was destructive.

“The message of Catholics is positive”, he said.

One evangelical pastor in Madrid paid for an opposing message to appear on a bus in the capital saying: “Yes, God exists. Make the most of life with Christ”.

BRITISH ORIGINS

The British Humanist Association (BHA) and professor Richard Dawkins came up with the idea of an atheist ad campaign in Britain in October 2008.

On 06.01.09, 8000 buses carried the message of God’s “non-existence” across Britain; 1,000 ads are also set for British subway trains.

The BHA said on its web site that the advertising offered “an alternative view to the traditional religious messages.”

It plans to take its message across Europe, including countries such as Italy.

NOT WELCOME IN AUSTRALIA

The anti-belief message has not been welcomed in Australia where media reports say an attempt to replay the British campaign was shunned by the country’s top outdoor advertising company.

Reference:

Anna Patrice Bitong, The Catholic Review, ‘Spain’s atheists continue other countries’ ad campaigns on buses’, 13.01.09, http://www.catholicreview.org/subpages/storyworldnew-new.aspx?action=5387, (16.01.09).

The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Atheists spread the word’, 14.01.09, http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/atheists-spread-the-word/2009/01/13/1231608708085.html, (16.01.09).

Atheist Bus (21.10.08), http://www.atheistbus.co.uk/, (16.01.09).

British Humanist Association, http://www.humanism.org.uk/home, (16.01.09).

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