we dove pressed-together palms first into the God debate, via rabble-rousing outdoor from the British Humanist Association. The atheist group announced plans to put posters that read "There's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life" on London buses in January. The announcement garnered $80,000 in donations to fund the ads, some of which evolutionary biologist and vocal atheist Richard Dawkins committed to match. We asked about belief systems and advertising, and we received comments from believers, non-believers and the ever-present ad police.
One defender of the campaign said freedom of speech trumped personal religious beliefs. From "bluquill": "As a Christian I don't agree with the content of the ad itself, but I do believe advertising should be open to all who have something to say, and I would defend their right to say it. I welcome the discussion it fosters. And I actually like the simplicity and directness of the campaign."
Bringing accountability to the Rate the Ad moderator, one commenter challenged the assertion that religious groups can advertise in public. Viewer "jduer002" says, "Christians are silenced more often than atheists. I completely disagree with the statement 'religious groups can advertise in public' because they are being silenced more and more. For example: 'Christmas' is forbidden and 'winter holiday' is said to be politically correct. Another example, a high school graduate was fined because she mentioned 'God' in her graduation speech. Now, you tell me, if atheists can advertise, then Christians should be able to advertise too, without question and without penalty."
Even commenters who align with the Humanists couldn't ignore their offended ad sense. Viewer "ray_jay" says, "Someone needs to give atheists, rationalists, humanists, non-believers or whatever you want to call us a chance to be proudly 'out,' but the strategy should be 'not believing is cool, too' rather than 'there's probably no God.' First of all, what society resents is anyone forcing their thinking onto someone else, and secondly using the word "probably" will only make believers cling more tightly to their beliefs and reject the BHA's ham-fisted assertion."