And Lo… actually, scrap that, it’s far too predictable a way to start a report on the latest events surrounding the Atheist Bus.
Less predictable however, is the complaint that has recently been lodged with the advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Sure, we all knew that someone would raise a complaint over the “There’s probably no God” adverts sooner or later, but what’s surprising is the grounds for this specific grievance. Instead of complaining that the adverts are offensive or unfair in some way, which would be the most predictable approach to take, the Christian Voice organisation has chosen to complain that the adverts break the ASA’s code by being impossible to substantiate. Stephen Green, the organisation’s director, had this to say:
There is plenty of evidence for God, from people’s personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world. But there is scant evidence on the other side, so I think the advertisers are really going to struggle to show their claim is not an exaggeration or inaccurate, as the ASA code puts it.
This would seem to put the ASA in the unenviable position of having to address the complaint by investigating, and then ruling on, the definitive existence (or nonexistence) of God. They’re bound to be relishing that particular challenge.
It’s hard not to think that this is all a bit pointless. People tend to believe (or disbelieve) what they want to – no amount of advertising, pseudo-intellectual ridicule, shouting in Oxford Street or official complaints is going to change that. Still, it’s clear that some people just like an argument, and this one could trundle on for longer than a 25 bus in the rush hour.