Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Atheist Evangelism

I have to admit I got a chuckle out of this headline on the Fox News website:

Italian Bus Boasting Anti-God Ad Breaks Down on First Trip

The article begins:

"The first Italian bus to boast an atheist advertisement rolled out Monday and certainly did not have God on its side.

"No sooner had the bus — carrying the message, "The Good News Is There Are Millions of Atheists In Italy; The Excellent News Is They Believe In Freedom Of Expression" –- hit the streets of Genoa when it suffered battery problems and had to go straight back to the depot for repairs, UPI reported."

Fortunately, a member of the Italian Union of Atheists, Agnostics and Rationalists assures us that the 'curious problem' with the batteries happened 'by pure chance'. Well, that's a relief!

Now please understand, I don't see the breakdown of this bus as a great triumph for faith in God! But I do find it interesting that even atheists feel compelled to 'evangelize' others. One of the things that I've heard non-believers say from time to time is that the world would be a much better place if the different religious believers would just keep their faith to themselves and stop trying to bring it into the public square and convert others to their beliefs.

Yet in this case -- and what's happening in Italy is an offshoot of campaigns already launched in Washington, London and Spain -- Atheists themselves are spreading their own version of 'good news' in the public square.

Certainly people are entitled to their views, and they are entitled to put their views on buses if they want to shell out the money to do so. Such advertising does not strike me as a threat to my beliefs. But why exactly do Atheists feel compelled to share their non-belief? And how can they engage in this kind of advertising while condemning adherents of other religions for trying to convert others?

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