This time tomorrow I will be making my way to Heathrow Airport back to Australia. If there are two things that have surprised me about England are the copious amounts of empty Fosters cans I have seen on the streets and in bushes and the face of Charles Darwin on the 10 Pound Note.
Before I came there was an ad campaign run by the British Humanists on the side of buses saying "There is probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life". Well the Christians could not let that go unchallenged so naturally they came out with ads of their own. First were some ads which I saw which said "The fool said in their heart there is no God", a biblical reference (from Psalms if my memory serves me well) and there is a new ad campaign which was mentioned on TV. It mirrors the style and message of the atheist campaign and will say something like "There is definitely a God and you should join the Christian Party".
I believe the ad campaign by the British Humanists has done more than they could ever have anticipated and follow-up ads like these which hit the news headlines are bound to get people talking again about these things. I do not mind that the Christian Party is using their political funds for this purpose, they have the right to free speech after all, what bothers me is what happened behind the scenes.
The humanists were not allowed to say "There is definitley no God" nor "There is no God", they had to compromise with the word probably. On what basis? I believe its to do with standards of advertising and not allowing false claims. Compare this to the Christians who are allowed to get away with "definitely a God". No doubt there was no objection to making such strong statments of fact despite the ability to produce a smigin of evidence. This to me is the nature of the game, for thousands of years we have been told by assertion that a God exists, and atheists have the burden of proof to prove a negative - an impossibility.
Still, I wont be losing any sleep over it or protesting in the streets or refusing to ride (or drive, as the case may be) a bus which said God exists. But this debate is one which will favour the atheists - mainly because we aren't staying quiet or in our place but coming to the table, something which in the past would have gotten us run out of town or burned at the stake. The Christians are free to run counter-ads but all they will do is highlight what they are countering against - more free advertising for the original ads - at no extra cost!