BY EAMONN TAYLOR, ABC News London
It’s not your typical bus advertisement. It has no commercial interest and doesn't even target a specific demographic. So what’s all the fuss about? It started with Ariane Sherine’s seemingly innocuous article in The Guardian.
The advertisement reads: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
Sherine helped gain support for the campaign when she wrote about a religious bus advertisement in The Guardian's "Comment Is Free" section. Commentators and supporters started lining up to donate money to the ad campaign.
“It was never meant to be a campaign," for the advertisement, "just an article. I didn’t think it as anything more than a punch line,” Sherine told ABC News. But Sherine's article was so favorably received that even Richard Dawkins, author of the controversial "The God Delusion," is matching all amounts up to £5,500 ($8,350).
Sherine said the advertisement that inspired her could be scary to some people. “It was just an evangelical advert. It looked very apocalyptic. I went to the Web site. It said non-Christians are going to burn in hell for eternity.”
The campaign has no intention of stopping and even received a response from the Church of England. In a prepared statement, a spokesman for the church told ABC News, “Christian belief is not about worrying or not enjoying life. Quite the opposite: Our faith liberates us to put this life into a proper perspective. Seven in 10 people in this country describe themselves as Christian and know the joy that faith can bring."
Sherine insists it was never her intention to offend anybody. “It’s a positive statement. I think a lot of people have felt a lot of solidarity and togetherness.”
The campaign has raised enough money to expand advertisements to the London Tube. The new placards will still carry the slogan “There is probably no God” but will quote actress Katharine Hepburn, Emily Dickinson and others.
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