Thursday, January 08, 2009

Atheists and buses

The UK press is full of reports of the Atheist Bus Campaign, which has raised 140,000 pounds to fund ads on buses saying "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life". The campaign is now spreading to Spain, Australia, and the US. So why not here? I can think of two reasons. Firstly, while religious belief holds on in all sorts of odd places, we're a country where secularism has won, at least in our public culture. Religion is widely seen as a private matter, and seems to be quietly dying out (particularly among the young). Secondly, in the absence of the kind of public fightback / death spasm from religion against secularism currently seen in the UK, there seems to be little reason to give a damn - and every reason not to. After all, the whole point of godlessness is not giving a shit. There's no point being an atheist if you're going to waste all your time talking about the god you don't believe in. And talking about it simply boosts the belief amongst the godful (God-ed? Begodden? Godly has certain implications...) that their imaginary friends are somehow relevant to people's lives. Better to avoid that, and let their delusions die a quiet, demographic death, than waste breath on it and in the process give them oxygen.