"There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life".
These words, or something quite similar, are likely to be coming soon to the side of a TTC vehicle near you. This advertising campaign began in the UK and the ad's are already prominently displayed on the sides of London buses. Advertising coming soon to Italy will proclaim "The bad news is that God does not exist. The good news is that we do not need him".
As you can imagine, this has created a flurry of responses, primarily from two extremes. One are the strident atheists (whose own 'god' might be Richard Dawkins) and another the hell-fire and damnation religious right [many of whom claim their own ownership to God]). I wonder if either group recognize the similarities between each other.
Both cling passionately to their own dogma ... whether God/god does/doesn't exist. Both will argue opposite sides of the same point using science or faith depending upon their viewpoint without listening to the opinions of the other. Just like a kid who sticks their fingers in their ears to drown out the things they don't want to hear. [or the 'Vancome Lady' from MADTV]. la la la la la la
The young university student who is promoting the Toronto campaign received, in one week, over $21,000 in donations towards the cost of the ad's. In the UK the campaign raised almost $250,000. Many of the comments that I've heard are about how much good that money might have done had the donors contributed to other [non-religious if that is more palatable] organizations.
The basis for the campaign resulted from a young woman in the UK whose attention was grabbed by an advertisement quoting a particular Old Testament passage that basically said 'if you don't believe in God you're going to hell' (I'm paraphrasing but there are numerous Old Testament passages that can be interpreted in this way). This woman created the campaign to 'provide a balance' and 'the other point of view'.
Both campaigns are, in my opinion, offensive. I wonder if the old adage 'two wrongs don't make a right' is applicable here. It's interesting that these folks seem to think that there is only one religious type (aka the hell fire and brimstone) and paint us all with that same brush. I'll be damned if I'd worship a God who condemned me to hell. ;)
One person who commented on this uproar said that - contrary to the ad's -she does believe in God yet isn't worried about anything and is enjoying here life very much.
If there's one one positive result from this advertising it might be that it will stimulate discussion. Sadly the groups who would benefit the most from an open dialogue are those most unlikely to participate.
As Dylan (a fellow with many of his own followers) reminds us ....
you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.