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News – Atheist adverts

February 2009

Atheist adverts

 

A campaign sponsored by atheists advertising ‘there’s probably no God’ has been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. Posters with the slogan appeared on around 600 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, recently (see p.32).

     There is also a poster campaign planned for the London Underground and two large LCD screens bearing the atheist message have been placed in Oxford Street.

     The campaigning group Christian Voice has complained that the adverts break rules on substantiation and truthfulness. The ASA’s code states ‘marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims’. The ASA is looking into the complaint.

     The adverts contain the slogan: ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’. The idea was conceived by comedy writer Ariane Sherine and has financial support from atheist Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association (BHA).

     Stephen Green of Christian Voice, told The Times newspaper: ‘There is plenty of evidence for God, from people’s personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world. But there is scant evidence on the other side; so I think the advertisers are really going to struggle to show their claim is not an exaggeration or inaccurate, as the ASA code puts it’.

     The BHA said it was not taking the complaint seriously. ‘I am sure that Stephen Green really does think there is a great deal of evidence for a God (though presumably only the one that he believes in), but I pity the ASA if they are going to be expected to rule on the probability of God’s existence’.

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