A friend, writer Ariane Sherine, is launching the Atheist Bus Campaign on 21 October 2008.
The short explanation:
The campaign has the slogan ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’. It is designed to reassure people that they won’t be consigned to eternal damnation should they renounce religion and God. The motivation behind the campaign is explained on the Facebook group page, and in Article 1 and Article 2, written by Ariane for the Guardian’s Comment is free section.
Ff you are an atheist, please join the group and support the campaign. If you are not an atheist but aren’t particularly bothered about the wrath of God, do also join. If you’re not a Facebooker, you can e-mail Ariane through the link on her site with “Atheist Bus” in the subject line to register your support or interest.
For the record, I haven’t joined the campaign because I do believe in God, but I think it’s a great idea purely because it provokes thought. It has reminded me of some of the questions I’ve asked in the past: do I believe in my religion because I’ve been conditioned to or because I truly believe it? Can the things I disagree with really be explained away with deeper knowledge and research? Can the fundamentals of my faith really be applied fully and properly in today’s world?
I believe in God. I believe there is a balance in my life that I haven’t achieved alone. I believe that I have been both tested and guided. I believe that many of my prayers have been answered because someone was listening.
The thing is, God is different from religion, albeit not entirely separate. I have discussed some of my issues with Islam before – sometimes questioning it, sometimes defending it – but to question the entire religion is a different thing entirely. I will admit that in the past I have thought, ‘What if Islam isn’t real and true? What if we just believe it because we’re meant to?’. Of course I immediately feel guilty about these thoughts, but surely it’s healthy to question the things that govern our lives?
I’m interested in asking followers of religion, and particularly of Islam, how they maintain strength of belief. In an age where science screams so loudly and atheist proselytisers tell us we’re not really enlightened if we still believe in God, how do followers objectively and logically maintain belief? These are not rhetorical questions. I genuinely want to know if there are Muslims out there who have ever questioned the worth of their worship. And if not, how are they so sure?