The Atheist Bus Campaign, which started in the UK (largely with the funding and inspiration of artist Ariane Sherine and lots of donors), has moved to other countries, and has now found its way to the US: Bloomington, Indiana to be precise. Here’s a news report detailing the controversy over the slogan, which is “You can be good without God.” That’s a pretty tame slogan compared to what they showed in the UK: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Nevertheless, the Bloomington plan is going to court since the bus company refused to display the slogan. It’s strange because supposedly they reject only ads that are controversial, but I don’t see much that’s inherently controversial about “You can be good without God.” It’s simply true. Yes, it may be inflammatory, but who can doubt that the statement is a palpable fact?
Lots of atheists are good (I’m one!!!). The bus slogan is about as controversial as saying, “You can help people without God,” or “you can donate money to charity without God.”
To learn about the secular sources of morality (and the idea that religion has impeded rather than enhanced moral progress), read Anthony Grayling’s superb popular book, What Is Good?: The Search for the Best Way to Live (2003). Few books on philosophy are as accessible — or as enjoyable — to the average person.
Anyway, word is that the bus campaign is moving to Chicago. Stay tuned.