Saturday, January 31, 2009

Atheists, Bus Ads and the United Church

The atheist bus ad campaign, originally launched in London as a protest against fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christian ads, is coming to Toronto. As a "recovering Catholic", I find this campaign to be a lot of fun. If nothing else, I think that atheists and agnostics have as much of a right to promote their world view as those with other belief systems. I don't think that there was a pressing need for this type of ad in Toronto, which is pretty tolerant and diverse, but I still find it amusing.

All that being said, I was tickled to see a full-page version of this ad in the centre of this morning's Globe and Mail front section.

The ad is being run by, which is a discussion board/webpage sponsored by the United Church of Canada. I like the optimistic attitude to religion that is promoted by the ad, and by the UCC more generally. My partner was raised in the United Church, and when I see ads like this one, I realize that I'd probably be a lot less anti-religion if the church of my childhood had been as open, accepting and positive in orientation as the United Church appears to be. These ads haven't changed my world view, but if people are going to be religious, I'd prefer that it be in this spirit.

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At 12:49 pm, Blogger Chrystal Ocean said...

Agree with you.

Am an atheist, always have been. That said, when I was a child in the system, there wasn't much good about my life and few places where I was accepted just as I was. One of them was a United Church in Toronto. It was an old stone building.

One of the rare good memories of that time is of being in a room at that church, with the sun shining through the window at my right. Was painting one of those white plaster objects, the ones you hang on a wall.

All my other memories of churches are of dark, cold, uncomfortable places and of moralistic lecturing which assumed you were bad and had to be saved. As for Sunday "school," what a joke! My questions never got answered; either I was told that X was just the way it was, end of story, or I was given to understand that asking questions like that was bad and reflected poorly on the questioner.


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