Atheist Bus Ads in Chicago Countered by Christians

This past May and June, 25 buses in Chicago ran the following ad, courtesy of the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign:

mini_chicago_ad_pretty_version

It didn’t receive the level of publicity we’ve seen with other atheist bus ads, but still, it was nice to get the message out there.

Now, the New Life Covenant Oakwood Church is countering with its own ad, which looks something like this:

GodGod

It reads:

God is still God whether you believe it or not… Just believe.”

Essentially, they ran Pascal’s Wager as a bus ad, a “wager” that has been proven time and time again to be incredibly illogical and just plain absurd.

The ad doesn’t make any sense, anyway.

I could’ve written this:

Xenu is still Xenu whether you believe it or not… Just believe.”

And that would’ve had as much intellectual heft as the church’s ad.

But at least I’m not wasting $5,000 to make a point that anyone with a brain could dissect and prove pointless in a matter of seconds.

“We wanted to represent our city and the Christian community,” said [pastor John] Hannah, noting that the atheist group wasn’t from Chicago. “I felt like the atheists, to come in and say there probably isn’t a God, that’s an attack against our faith. We wanted to be loud just as they were loud.”

Hannah hopes other churches will pay for similar ads.

I would imagine the Chicago Transit Authority hopes for the same thing. So do I. Look what those atheists have started…

To the pastor: the atheists weren’t attacking your faith in particular. We were going after faith in general and the ridiculous way of thinking that it propagates, the same type of irrational thinking displayed in your ad.

I should point out that the pastor is right that the atheist group wasn’t from Chicago.

But a Chicago group is forming and will be putting up another atheist ad in the city, if all goes well. And this one will be far more visible than the one on the buses :)

(via Matt Bartosik)

  • http://forgetthisnoise.blogspot.com freelancer

    Glenn Beck ALERT!

    “BELIEVE in something, even if it’s WRONG! Believe in it!”

  • http://cdspoolrocket.info/ lalligood

    IMHO, the church’s bus ad reeks of desperation. It hopes to get out their message via mob mentality–that if enough people believe (in it), then it MUST be true!

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com Veritas

    Well, at least they’re fighting back the right way, by putting both opinions into the marketplace of ideas. Having said that, what an ugly ad.

  • http://skeptigirl.wordpress.com Kimbo Jones

    You know, that’s not a bad idea. The pastafarians could run an ad replacing “god” with FSM. It would be awesome.

  • zoo

    We wanted to be loud just as they were loud.

    Way to not achieve your goal. One states a position that is supported by evidence from several fields and the other just says ‘believe even if you don’t believe’.

    that’s an attack against our faith

    If you like. I think it’s really more about getting people to stop and think, really think, about what they believe and why. That and letting people know we exist in bigger numbers than they realize and we’re not all the monsters you make us out to be.

  • http://noadi.blogspot.com Noadi

    I think this church got their approach right. I’d welcome this sort of counter ad if I was running the bus ad campaign. Of course their ad is completely silly and illogical.

    Much better than trying to keep the ad from running or whining on Fox News.

  • Claudia

    Whether you believe it or not, just believe. God is still God.

    I welcome as many of these ads as they can pay to put up. Their so badly worded and patently circular that they’ll be doing us a favor.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    The part I like best? “For more info on God…”

    I would love some actual hard information on God. But of course, that’s not really what’s being offered. A more accurate ad would read, “For more unsubstantiated opinions about God…”

  • Matto the Hun

    When atheists state what they believe, or more precisely what they do not believe it is “attack against faith.”

    When X-ians preach and put forward the dehumanizing concept that we are all born bad, that only they “have the cure” (i.e. Jesus) and if you don’t believe that their deity built a special torture chamber to put you in forever and ever… well that’s somehow not an attack, that’s god’s love, it’s their faith, it’s just what they believe.

    Still, they are more than welcome to answer with their own ads.

    I think it’s a waste of money for two reasons.

    1) The god meme has thoroughly permeated the culture of the US. It introduces nothing new. It preaches to the choir.

    Part of what makes the atheist bus ads important is that it lets other non believers know they aren’t alone and that we do not have to be content with bowing our heads and keeping our mouths shut… contrary to what the theistic meme in this country says.

    2) as pointed out above, the X-ian ad offers nothing new, it does not provoke any thought. It’s more akin to a 5 year old stamping his little feet, tears in his eyes, snot streaming out of his nose, and shrilly crying that “god is real because god is real… and… and… my dad can beat up your dad… you… you poopy you!

    On the other hand, the wording “God is still God” is something I can agree with. I think his God is imaginary, and now that he said his piece, God is still imaginary.

  • Matto the Hun

    @ Greta

    he part I like best? “For more info on God…”

    I would love some actual hard information on God. But of course, that’s not really what’s being offered. A more accurate ad would read, “For more unsubstantiated opinions about God…”

    Ha, good call.

    I imagine further info would include “God didit”… and that’s probably it.

  • Pustulio

    Pascal’s Wager is a sucker bet.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    So weak it’s almost embarrassing.

    What’s that circle in the corner? “.making disciples.changing lives.keeping his word” Round and round, like the thrust of the poster and just as meaningless.

  • Makes No Sense

    Whether you can whistle or not… just whistle.

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger

    Note to self: Invest in outdoor advertising company.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    The church should have countered with

    “God, putting Jesus images on toast since 1995″

    Since that is about the only thing God apparently can do anymore. ;)

  • Russ

    US Christians claim to have the most powerful ally in the universe, yet they feel that they need to come to its aid, to defend their ultimately powerful ally against attack. They certainly do not act as if their god is powerful. They do not act as if they believe their god is powerful.

    Non-believers have a legitimate need to inform other non-believers that they are not alone. The Christian has no such need. The ad campaign by non-believers makes a great deal of sense, whereas the Christian ads underscore that their god is imaginary, and thus powerless.

    Further, I think the real concern has nothing to do with non-belief, but is instead a reaction to the threat of interrupted cash flow down the line should the trend of people leaving organized religion continue.

  • mikespeir

    God is still God? Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?

  • Siamang

    “whether you believe it or not… Just believe.”

    Translation: Even though we can’t give you any sane reason whatsoever to abandon your epistemological position and adopt ours, do it anyway. Just because. Alright?

  • Karlover

    “Just Believe” should be replaced with “JUST OBEY”.

    Does anybody else have trouble reading that sign without a Southern accent in your head?

  • http://godlessgirl.com godlessgirl

    Possibly the most ridiculous, non-convincing ad ever.
    “Whether you like peanuts or not… just like peanuts.” How does that make any sense at all?

    It’s basically shouting “Leave your brain at the door! We’ll take anyone! Just don’t be an atheist.”

  • John L

    They should stop being so afraid and attack us then. Put up some ads that include what they are really thinking like “Bow down to your master, the Lord Christ, or forever burn in hell.” Maybe include a simple bible quote to prove this point and drop some names like George Washington and perhaps some images of children playing for good measure.

  • Dan W

    Wow, what a stupid ad the Christians put up!
    “God is still God… whether you believe it or not… just believe.”

    WTF is that supposed to mean anyway? “An all-powerful invisible man in the sky, for whom there is no evidence of his existence, is still an all-powerful invisible man in the sky with no evidence for his existence. Don’t use your brain to think about this nonsense, just accept it without question despite how ridiculous it sounds.”

    Or, to put it another way, “An invisible pink unicorn is still an invisible pink unicorn… and you should believe in our invisble pick unicorn, because we said so, and oh by the way it’s implied that horrible things will happen to you after you die if you don’t believe in this bullshit.”

    Really, that Christian ad is so pathetic it’s just sad.

  • Richard Wade

    To me, it sounds like they’re saying:
    “God is still God, whether you believe it or not… Just SHUT UP AND believe.

    Pastor John Hannah, making those remarks about how the atheists are not from Chicago, and that they “came in” to say there probably is no god sounds like he’s trying to paint the atheists as invaders who don’t belong on the Christian’s physical turf. So the hell what that they aren’t from Chicago? What difference does that make? Regional tribalism is always a cheap way to try to discredit an opponent: “Them kind aint from ’round these here parts. They’s furriners, they aint to be trusted. We oughter drive ‘em back cross river.”

  • keddaw

    Would someone please just run an ad saying: “You CAN’T be good without God”

    Then we can have the lawsuit and show that, in fact, you can be good without God.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    FOR GOD’S SAKE can’t they get some good graphic design? That ad is hideous! I tell you this, if we have to choose religions based on graphic design and marketing ability on bus ads, the atheists win every time.

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    “God is still God whether you believe it or not… Just believe.”

    Not to mention, the sentiment behind this statement is “Sit down and shut up”. Not a point of view that garners much trust. One trait I have noticed amongst the uber religious is a strong desire for control and order sometimes to the point of totalitarian authority.

  • Jude

    God is still God? Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?

    Um… a failed hypothesis is still a failed hypothesis?

    A delusion is still a delusion?

    A mass hysteria is still a mass hysteria?

    Tell me, am I getting close?

  • Jason R

    (your deities name goes here), is still (your deities name goes here).

    Whether you believe it or not…Just believe.

    ————————-
    I prefer the add below…
    ————————-

    (your deities name goes here), is still (your deities name goes here).
    So believe or you will go to (your eternal torment place name here) for all eternity, because (your deities name goes here) loves you.

  • http://www.BlueNine.info Blue Nine

    On August 4th, 2009 at 1:27 am, Richard Wade posted:
    Pastor John Hannah, making those remarks about how the atheists are not from Chicago, and that they “came in” to say there probably is no god sounds like he’s trying to paint the atheists as invaders who don’t belong on the Christian’s physical turf. So the hell what that they aren’t from Chicago? What difference does that make?
    Of course, they think it’s okay for them to go around and spread their message, but nobody else can.

    When Christians in this country say “Freedom,” you can substitute “privilege.”

  • Slugboi

    Aside from the ridiculous message, the design is frakking terrible. The illustration is something that anyone would learn to do in their first seven minutes of an Adobe Illustrator class, and the typeface… Copperplate? Seriously? That’s amatuer hour. If you’re going to pony up the cash to run such an idiotic message, at least have the decency to make it look good!

  • Marion

    As a Christian SDA/graphic artist, I find that ad unintelligent and bad in taste. The colors don’t pop and the letters look cramped. For more info on God visit http://www.blahblahblah? What’s that about? If they were smart about it they would have put “For more info on God read the Bible.” or something of the sort. I’m not here to push anything on anyone. I don’t even know how I got here. I’m just here to comment on a horrible ad. Not to mention, the new covenant church doesn’t even worship on the right day. No wonder they didn’t put “For more info on God read the Bible.” Because obviously they haven’t read it thoroughly.

  • Marion

    I forgot to mention, God’s love has a connection to freedom of choice. True love is freedom and non-controlling. The portion that says “Whether you believe it or not…Just believe.” sounds exactly like what some of you have said. Let’s believe in something we have no belief in or let’s believe in God because they’re telling us to. That’s really dumb on their part. It’s like they’re saying we as humans don’t have a choice. That seems like the complete opposite of God to me. My faith is more like, I’ll tell you about God if you want to hear it. You don’t have to believe if you don’t want to.

  • Paula

    Well done America! Its quite easy (if not equally frustrating!) being Atheist in reserved, non-confrontational Britain but you could be taking your life in your hands with your ‘blasphemous’ views in the good old US of A. You have my best wishes, keep up the good work :-) I do believe it’s only a matter of time before the same types (Pro-lifers) shooting and blowing up abortion clinics and their staff start on you, so keep your heads down!


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