Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is the bus ad campaign working?

The atheist bus campaign is being run and organized by a small group of individuals who have put a lot or work into it. Most of them are members of Freethought Association of Canada whose President is Justin Trottier.

I support the campaign to put atheist ads on city buses for the following reasons.
  1. It supports other atheists and encourages them to "come out of the closet" and discuss their atheism openly.
  2. It stimulates debate and discussion within our society, often raising questions that many have never seriously considered.
  3. For those who get it, it injects a welcome note of humor into a subject that really needs it.
The campaign will be a success if it attracts attention and gets people talking about rationalism and superstition. That discussion has already been kick-started by several best-selling books in the past few years and this ad campaign will keep the discussion going.

Up until recently, atheism was rarely mentioned in the main stream media and atheists were never interviewed on television. All that has changed in recent years and now you can hardly do a story on religion without getting the "other side." That's remarkable progress in a very short period of time. Today, it looks like more that 20% of Canadians are atheists and that number is growing rapidly in spite of what religious leaders might tell you.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. The atheist bus campaign is worried because Global TV calls Atheists ‘Fanatics’?, but that's missing the point. The point is that a show like this would have been unheard of ten years ago. Look at how Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders are now obliged to defend their belief in God.

There's a remarkable segment in this video beginning at 4:30. The head of Toronto's Transit Commission is asked whether the TTC would approve some religious ads written up by the host of the TV show. The TTC head says, "These, would be more than welcome." That's the correct answer. Game on.

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