The Atheist London Bus campaign which recently kicked of with the slogan "There's probably no God. Now Stop worrying and enjoy your life" appears to have triggered a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency ( ASA) in the UK. A christian group is attempting to attack the advertising campaign by complaining that the adverts break the ASA rules which require that Advertising be factually correct.
Myself and many others had been concerned that the Atheist Ad campaign was if anything too wimpy in it's message but it seems that the use of the word probably had been included in order to try to thwart this very form of attack.
The ASA is now in the unenviable position, if it accepts the complaint as within its jurisdiction, of having to decide on the existence of god. They would be very very foolish to go down that route but it will be all to the good for us atheists. Whose god or gods will they decide exist? After all not all non-atheists are monotheists so a finding for monotheism could be the subject of complaints by atheists, pagans etc etc.
Christians may also risk opening up a can of worms here if they do force the ASA to take a position on this. If the ASA take that position then any future advertising by a single religious group becomes fair game to complaints to the ASA not only by Atheists but also by other religious groups who do not share their beliefs.
Religion and Atheism are essentially about belief and non belief. The "evidence" that Christians use to support their faith is not evidence in the way that facts are used for example if claims about a beauty cream treatment are decided as accurate or not. Equally the Atheist view that there is an absence of evidence for a God is not the subject of the sort of fact finding that an organisation like the ASA is capable of undertaking.
The state would do well to keep out of the arena of religious belief and the lack of religious belief and the right of people to state their case. Religious believers have had the public domain to themselves for far to long. They have had absolute freedom to advertise their messages and make claims about salvation through religion. Can they substantiate their claims with factual evidence? Hardly - otherwise it would not require faith.
But they better be able to because there is no doubt that Atheists will be looking up the ASA telephone number ready to make their own complaints if the ASA opens up this issue. I for one hope the ASA do open this up because then the fun will only just be starting and a massive debate about the existence of god will open up. This will provide space for atheists to raise a debate in the public sphere which doesn't get anywhere near enough airing.