Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Atheist busses

Work is going a lot better now I've kicked myself up the ass. It's amazing what you can do if you get out of your chair and try.

Now, what I wanted to talk about, the atheist buses.

I live in England. The british humanist association ran a campaign at the end of last year for donations to get adverts on buses reading "There is probably no god, stop worrying and enjoy your life". Or something of the sort. These buses are now roaming the street creating all kinds of drama and censorship including other countries refusing to run the ads and a bus driver coming over all faint and refusing to drive the bus.

I love the atheist buses. I saw lots of them in town when I was there over the weekend and every single one brought a smile to my face. It's the acnowledgement that you exist, that the entire world isn't dominated by people who believe in a god. It's the feeling of having been part of something this big, this evident. It's the pride of not sitting back and being quiet but of having your opinions out there.

Though I did end up doing something I hate, which is debating religion with a strongly religious friend. See, I like to respect my friends, but debating religion is an easy way for me to loose respect for them. This particular friend, let's call them Bob, had already annoyed me by reading a page of comments for and against graduating in a cathederal, pointing out the one secular argument that refered to gods as an imaginary friend as dispicable and an attack on all christians and ignoring the three religious arguments on the page that openly attacked anyone who wanted a secular graduation. So, talking to Bob about religion is definetley a bad thing.

So the atheist buses came up. Bob doesn't like the message. Fair enough, you can't please everyone. Bob seems to think that the statement 'there is no probably no god' will cause everyone on the street to have a crisis of faith and therefore next telling them to stop worrying is strange. I presonally don't think it'll cause anyone a crisis of faith, it's a possitive message to non-believers and those who are already in a crisis of faith. Bob agrees with the bus driver, equating the statement to me refusing to drive a bus if it has, say, posters advocating violence against women (though i hardly thing "There's probably no god" and, say, "You should probably beat up your wife" are equatable). Bob also thinks that christianity isn't shoved in anyone's face, despite my evidence to the contrary.

Anyway, conversation moved on and I aired my complaints about the christian union at my undergrad university. My grievances, let me show them to you. The CU was everywhere. They had talks every week, covered the guild of students in posters, managed to get posters into every toilet I went into. They had advisers in the student halls and would occasionally stop people eating their dinner in the guild and try and talk to them about religion. It annoyed me. What annoyed me more was their targetting of vulnerable groups. I'm sorry but whatever your beliefe, going up to foreign students and first your students you find sitting alone (both of which the CU did) and offering them friendship and a support network on the basis that they come to your prayer meetings and worship your god is morally reprehensible. And bob defended these people. According to Bob, taking advantage of them when they're vulnerable to try and convert them to a different religion is fine because you're saving their immortal souls.

Bob then basically told me that worry about my immortal soul.

Well, you know what, screw you. Maybe, just maybe, my 'immortal soul' is nobody's buisness but my own. And, hell, maybe I'll end up being completely wrong and rotting in hell like bob thinks, but it's my 'soul' and therefore it's my choice to make. And, you know what, those poor kids without any friends or from different countries who's immortal souls you're so concerned about, they aren't your buisness either. You no more have the right to come up to me in the street and try and convince me to put my mortal soul in the hands of your diety then you do to come up to my in the street and try and talk me into, say, having liposuction for the good of my mortal body.

The only soul your need to worry about is your own. Keep your busy-body interfearing hands of mine.

If think if other people could just learn to let us know what's best for ourselves, body and soul, instead of being convinced they need to show us 'the right way', then the world would be a lot better place.

((As an afternote, I don't believe in a soul, but I have no secular alternative to the term to use and bob beleives I have one and it needs saving, so we have to use the term))

((Oh, second afternote, aren't people who say "Well, they're not real christians" fucking annoying? I don't go around telling other atheists that they're not really athiests. Own your own crazies, they're yours if you like them or not.))

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am on your sympathy. Usually when you think of busses you think of the bright yellow ones that you used to be forced to ride on the way to school but not anymore. Although busses are still primarily focused on bringing transportation to a large number of people at a time, they are now shifting their attention to building busses made for luxury and style. They are comfortable and fun to ride and drive.