Jan Maria Jackowski
In January 2009, 800 buses with the advertisement ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’ ran across Great Britain. The author of this derisive campaign is Ariane Sherine, an atheist and journalist of ‘The Guardian’, who launched this campaign as retortion to the advertisement banner with the biblical quotation ‘But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth? (Luke 18:8) placed on the London bus. Her idea was supported by Jon Worth, the author of the well-known political blog. He prepared a special web page to promote the campaign and he raised funds. The campaign, which some people defined as an attempt to promote another intellectual deception in the mass media, arose a vivid social resonance. 115 complaints were sent to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The complainers argued that the advertisement insulted Christians and followers of other religions. However, city buses with atheistic messages do not only run in London but also in Washington and Barcelona and recently they were to appear in Genoa, ordered by the Italian Association of Atheists and Rationalistic Agnostics. Genoa was chosen on purpose because its metropolitan is the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. But some public transport drivers in the capital of Liguria do not want to drive their buses with the motto, ‘The bad news is that God does not exist and the good news is that you do not need him’, which were to run along the streets on 4 February and their protest of conscience was supported by their trade union. In Poland there has been no campaign of this kind, but who knows whether similar actions will not occur. Although the times of the forced atheisation of Poles organised by the communist authorities are gone, it does not mean that the opponents of Lord God and his Church furled their banners. Mass culture, the Internet, television, films, newspapers and magazines, items on the shelves in bookstores – all of them can make you have the impression that atheism is attacking. Its contemporary form, which the experiences of Western Europe indicate, makes us realise that it is perfectly politically organised and has big influences in the media; thanks to that some minority can effectively block in the public space the rights and convictions of the majority of believers. However, will the people of the 21st century want to yield to ideologies that give our existence a dimension of nonsense and negate life after death? Or will they rather be open to the Good News – to faith, hope and love? Since in the times of confusion even an avowed atheist begins seeking the Truth.