I have often heard people comment on the surprising evangelistic enthusiasm of certain Richard-Dawkins-like atheists. But now they are even asking for donations to fund a new atheist advertising campaign.

Professor Richard Dawkins has, apparently, generously agreed to match all contributions up to a maximum of £5,500. The bus slogan is set to read

“There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”

I’m a Christian, and I don’t think this is a particularly bad thing. I do think it’s a little peculiar, but not ‘bad’ in any way. Peculiar, because one of the claims made by evangelistic atheists is that Religion hinders rational thought, but persuasion-by-bus-advert isn’t exactly the pinnacle of such thought.

However, the supporters of the campaign do hope that it might make people think, and if this is the case then I might be in favour of the slogan. Anything to get the question out there is a good thing.

I particularly like what Simon Barrow has said about the campaign:

For what it’s worth, as a Christian, I agree wholeheartedly with the slogan. The first part, anyway. It is indeed most probable that the kind of vindictive sky-god caricatured by the “new atheists”, perpetuated by fundamentalists, and subtly compared to flying space teapots by over-eager Cif readers, does not exist.

Barrow is not so sure about the second part:

The “stop worrying and enjoy your life” bit I find more problematic. Not because I want people to worry and not enjoy life, but because for so many people it is really difficult to do this right now. Which is why the real message that needs to get out there is about encouraging one another in active compassion.

Exactly. Furthermore, it hardly seems that being an atheist (or an agnostic) has anything to do whatsoever with worrying and/or enjoying life. If the aim is to encourage people to stop worrying then it seems like a severe mis-diagnosis of the problem. If the aim rather is just to persuade people to believe in atheism then the motivation that is offerd just seems way off the mark.

So, yay to the campaign if it encourages people to think about what they believe and why, and what they value in life, but an odd thing for Dawkins to fund. The biggest challenge to people beginning on an honest and sincere journey of faith is not athism but indifferance, or so it seems to me. Perhaps this slogan can help to challenge some of that indifference.