There is probably no God…

There is a report in today’s Evening News suggesting that atheists in Edinburgh are looking into the possibility of buying advertising space on Edinburgh’s buses. This is apparently following the lead of Richard Dawkins who is sponsoring such ads in London.

I remember that when I was in TISEC, we had a speaker who was thinking about putting ads for his church (a prominent one which stands at one end of Princes St) on every bus in town. The slogan that he had devised was dusted with brilliance. It was: ‘We Still Have Matins!’

Now, which slogan would cheer you most?

‘We Still have Matins!’
‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”


  1. Just out of interest, one ‘t’ or two in Matins, and why?

    But mainly, the News has just wrapped a kilt round this self-confessed frolic of Guardianistas stroking each other to make a story stand up.

    Dawkins’ miserable contribution of £5.5k can be weighed against the Church of England’s admirable response:

    “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.”

  2. I’m a bit puzzled why some people consider Dawkins’ contribution miserable? If completely matched it would be exactly the amount the group was initially seeking to raise. Or is it miserable because it could be better spent elsewhere? In other words did he give too much or too little?

    I also wonder if all the 7 in 10 self-described Christians actually believe in a God (whatever version)? Or whether they are better described as secular Christians. I for instance like a certain amount of church music and ceremony admittedly I wouldn’t describe myself as a Christian or a theist (or a panentheist or a polytheist).

    If I were choosing the words and inclined to do this sort of stunt, I would have modified the second half. Perhaps “There is probably no God to help, so help each other instead”.

  3. The number of uses of the letter t in matins is optional up to 2, if you ask me.

    It may be that the person wanting to put the ad wanted 2 ts.

    I don’t consider Dawkins ad particularly miserable. The alpha ads on buses always leave me feeling slightly depressed. The Dawkins ones would be unlikely to do so.

  4. Robin says

    ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’

    This strikes an instinctive chord even with me, a lifelong Christian. And yet we read:

    ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have life more abundantly.’ (John 10:10)

    What’s gone wrong?

  5. Rosemary says

    I can’t say either grab me. And I cringe at Alpha.

    What goes wrong? Sigh. I think there are serious difficulties in taking an Iron Age text and applying it to the 20c. WITHOUT grappling with the need to think and re apply.

    Two instances. One – we have totally lost (or so it seems) the edgy uncleanness of Jesus’s preaching. I was recently pondering what the reaction of a congregation would be if I took off my shirt to wipe the feet of … well let’s say Kelvin, or the ABC. Yet this is the cultural equivalent of what Jesus accepted. Leven – yeast – and mustard seed are unclean – yet Jesus tells us THEY are how the kingdom grows.

    Secondly I was recently in a group where at least one member was reading Jesus promises of goodness in response to prayer (Luke – friend at midnight, gift of stone/scorpion to son) as a promise that if you just asked God for anything IN THE RIGHT WAY you would get it – her example was the right price for your house……. Thos of us in adversity, then, had just failed to get the magic right.

    So picking up on Robin’s point …. how about a slogan ‘There is a God and he wants you to live life to the full. To find out more…’

  6. ‘…be careful of where you go.’

  7. Rosemary,

    I think most of us reading this (Christian or not) would agree that the ‘prosperity gospel’ people seem to have gone seriously astray (and certainly haven’t read Job). I should note that leaven in itself is not forbidden except during Passover (at other times enjoy the challah). Also where is mustard listed as unclean (though like many other seeds it is forbidden at Passover by Ashkenazic though not Sephardic Jews)? A lot of things are forbidden at Passover as it is to remind the Jews of the hardships they endured in leaving Egypt (such as not having time to let their bread rise).


    The ‘miserable’ query was in reply to Ian’s comment (it has also appeared in a few other places but not in your initial blog). My apologies for the confusion.

    BTW given your love of the ceiling decoration at St. Mary’s perhaps “Come see the stars at St. Mary’s” would be an apt slogan.:-) I’m not completely sure how many of the younger generation even know what matins are.

  8. serena says

    Mattins!!!! That would do it for me!!

  9. Ritualist Robert says

    ‘We Still have Matins!’ I suspect is really code for ‘We still haven’t worked out how to tell people about God’s love effectively’

    I was always taught that Mattins = the Book of Common Prayer’s morning office and that Matins = the monastic office because it can be a useful distinction I suspect, though, it’s really just a matter of the spelling of the word changing through time.

  10. Robin asks: “what’s gone wrong?

    One aspect of human nature seems to be a tendency to act as tribal factions under labels, regardless of what those labels say. Thus you get the US & UK claiming some kind of “freedom and democracy” that they might impose it on Iraq, and yet in practice there are at least as many laws breaching privacy and individual liberty as anywhere else.

    This also happens amongst right-wing Christians, to the extent that such a person would define themselves as “not Muslim” or “one true…” etc.

    When such a mentality overtakes the idea, the idea is screwed. That goes for “have life in all its fullness” too. “You SHALL have life in all its fullness! Our way! Or else!”.

    Kyrie elysion?

  11. I would rather see on the buses: ‘There probably is a God – now stop worrying and enjoy life’ – that seems more to the point


Speak Your Mind