You’ll doubtless have heard the story of the journalist and comedian, Ariane Sherine, who was irritated by a Christian ad campaign on buses declaring that non-believers “will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell … Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire prepared for the devil”.
Writing a series of articles on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, she suggested that atheists club together to pay for a some ads with a more reassuring atheist messsage (“There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life”) the campaign gathered momentum and raised far more money than was needed. It also became a meme that spread around the world.
Sometimes it’s more about the journey than the ad. The ads, or the process of getting them there, became a social object.
The effect of the advertising itself is almost peripheral to the effect of the debate, the bringing together of atheists – a group usually less adept at organising itself than anarchists – with the focus of getting these ads made and the space on the buses bought.
So, some online debate plus a donation website (with a fund that is still growing) and there you have it… a potent piece of activism.
: : Finally, as a riposte to the inevitable complaints to the ASA, Richard Dawkins, a devise proponent of atheism gives a choice quote in this video: “They have to take offence – it’s the only weapon they’ve got.” Got to remember that one, right?