Thursday, April 23, 2009

Comic Relief: Mark of the Beast

"The Atheist Bus" campaign has reached the Midwest and caused a premature stir:

There’s either a sense of humor at work here, a vindictive streak, or divine interference.

Whatever the case, chalk it up as odd, at the very least, that when the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign applied for a telephone number, it was assigned 812-666-4135.

Telephone number of the beast?

“We’re taking it with good humor,” said Caroline Klein, and Indiana University student who serves as public relations officer for the group. “It just happened to be the number they gave us.”

The atheist organization is taking its inspiration from a London group that began buying advertisements on buses, bearing the message: “There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Other groups have formed in Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Croatia and Australia.

The Bloomington-based organization believes it is the first to crop up in the Midwestern Bible Belt. “We’re kind of amazed that we sent out our first press release last week and we raised $1,000 in three days,” Klein said. The group’s goal is to come up with $50,000 and buy ads on buses in Bloomington, Indianapolis, Lafayette and Gary.

On its Web site, group members can be seen in posing next to a Bloomington Transit bus, holding a mock-up of the kind of sign they’d like to put on buses. It reads, “You can be good without God.”

Now for an atheist or agnostic that number has about as much meaning as superstitions on black cats or umbrellas, but I'd wager some fundamentalists (who often consider the evil of atheism on par with working for Satan himself) would find this quite revealing, and possibly "a sign."

More on the Indiana atheist bus campaign is available here for all interested. The main atheist bus campaign website recently had an international roundup post noting where other efforts have sprung up along the same idea to break the taboo on talking about atheism and reaching out to those who may feel isolated in their agnostic/atheist views.

(h/t American Atheists)

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