Italy’s atheists to launch their own “no God” bus ads

January 13, 2009

The members of Italy’s atheist association probably would not fill one of the side chapels of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. But that’s not stopping the group from launching an unprecedented ad campaign on buses in Italian cities, much like the one recently started in Britain.

(Photo: Planned Italian bus ads/UAAR)

The Italian Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics (UAAR) will run the ads on four buses in the northern city of Genoa next month. The ads, which will cover the entire bus painted a soothing sky blue, read: “The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that you don’t need him.”

The Padua-based group is launching the campaign in Genoa because advertising is much more expensive in other large cities such as Milan and Rome. But Genoa is also home to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of  the Italian Bishops Conference. According to some Italian reports, one of the buses will pass near his residence.

The group claims to have some 3,000 members and says it has received many more contributions since news of the bus campaign.  UAAR, which has chapters in 40 Italian cities, says if more funds come in,  it will take the campaign to Pope Benedict’s backyard in Rome. It says it decided to run the ads because the Italian media pays no attention to atheists. It added that Italian politicians “don’t always have to say ‘yes’ to the Church.”

The UAAR says it got the ad idea from the British Humanist Association, but it didn’t follow the London example completely. The British ads say “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” One would have thought the British atheists would be more decisive than Italian ones in denying the deity.

(Photo: British atheist Richard Dawkins in a London bus, 6 Jan 2009/Andrew Winning)

Atheists in Barcelona, London and Washington have already run ads like this and more are bound to come elsewhere. Do you find these offensive? Humourous?  A waste of valuable ad space? Do you think atheists get ignored by the mainstream media?


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I think it’s ironic that atheists are organizing and tithing to spread their beliefs.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive

Drewbie, fight fire with fire, right?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

While ads on buses probably won’t make everyone give up their gods, I think these little stunts are necessary to show the world’s theists that us atheists are rising in number and won’t just sit around anymore, living with their unrealistic dogmas and silly superstitions.

Posted by Rachel | Report as abusive

As long as people still value morality and right-and-good ethical conducts, a faith in sth, that to some people, exists, and to some not, doesn’t really affect much.

How many wars have there been, that had happened in the name of religions in the past anyway?

Posted by MaxP | Report as abusive

How many people did atheist ideologies kill in the 20th century? 90 million? 100 million? Only God knows…

Posted by Luc Bomel | Report as abusive

There is plenty enough error to go around. God said that because they did not want to believe in Him, he gave them over to strong delusion. That is why they can believe in evolution when scientific and observable proof is in front of them: God said He created all things with a seed in it to reproduce after its own kind; and it does. Everything from smallest creatures to man, grass, trees, and plants. He created the two that were necessary to reproduce. No small blob of evolution could live long enough to find a mate to gain another little peace of (what?).

Now for church correction: The Pope needs to correct his church; they fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy and changed times and seasons. That distorted Jesus as though he ended the Law of Moses. Only a false prophet was to do that. The church spread that through all the daughter churches of protestantism etc.

Muhammad was sent in 600+AD to say follow the whole Bible, not part. Jesus said to live by EVERY word of God. God told Moses not to add or take away from the word of God he gave him. Jesus gave understanding, not new teaching. He came to restore what was lost. All prophets came saying follow what is written, not the errors passed down.

Exodus 20: Ten Commandments says not to make images and to keep the 7th day, the Lord’s day, a Sabbath of no work for anyone. Exodus 12: New Year and Passover commands. Leviticus 23: God’s commanded Holy Feasts and memorial celebrations, and more Sabbaths of no work. (not to be changed or added to). Jesus comes again when His enemies are under His feet. His enemies are those who refuse to follow the word of God, the same yesterday, today and forever.

There will be no peace until we turn to restore God’s laws and follow them. Correction is needed now.

Posted by Marie Devine, Kansas City, MO, USA | Report as abusive

They should buy space on billboards.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

As a Christian, I don’t think the atheist bus ads are bad. I’m glad that these are countries that are free enough for people to express their religious (or irreligious) opinions in public. If I want to express my own opinions in public, I’d better be prepared to allow others to do the same. It’s good that these ads are starting conversations about religious beliefs.

Also, I read in a NY Times article that the word “probably” did not result from a lack of decisiveness on the part of British atheists. Rather, it was inserted because of advertising guidelines. Here is a link: europe/07london.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=athei st%20buses&st=cse

Posted by Elliot Ritzema | Report as abusive

I think it is important in the the land of a Pope nicknamed ‘la camicia marrone’, that people with more sane views are heard.

If God existed, he would have not been an onlooker while children, for example, are horribly injured and murdered?

If I did nothing I would feel complicit in these terrible acts of violence.

God must be hanging his head in shame?

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

make up your mind the truthis,first you say he does not exist,then you say he is hanging his head in shame,is this a fruedien thing? are you keeping your options open?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Since when have you seen bus ads and commercials saying “There is a God, so start worrying, cause you’ll burn in hell.” People who believe in God don’t go around advertising it. Even if I didn’t believe in God, I believe in peace, and these ads are going to do nothing but get everyone angry, from both sides of the argument. It’s just so sad, these are going to do nothing but cause more hatred in this world..Do we really need more of that?

Posted by Leela | Report as abusive

God doesn’t hurt anyone, he isn’t responsible for the sick people in this world who hurt children. Why would someone do evil things to people? because there is a lack of caring on how they live their life. They don’t care, they want to do what they want to do. Evil is the absence of God. Even if there was no God, the bible is a good way to live your life. If people cared about what they did to each other, which is what the bible teaches, to love one another, we would’nt have these problems now would we?

Posted by sam | Report as abusive