The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, has launched a bus advertising campaign featuring quotes from six famous skeptics about the existence of God. Six advertisements are being presented in the interior of buses, in contrast to the “Probably No God” messages launched by the British Humanist Association in London.
English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins smiles at passengers with a line from his best selling book, The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.”
Clarence Darrow, the agnostic “attorney for the damned” who famously represented John Scopes in the 1925 Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tenn., appears somewhat grumpy with his quote: “I don’t believe in God, because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.”
19th century American poet Emily Dickinson provides the lines of her 1860 poem, slightly amended for the advertisement. Dickinson, whose poetry became well known after her death, wrote conventional poetry about religion and reflected on her own religious experience. However she did not easily fit into the fervent Evangelical culture of the seminary and congregation.
“Faith” is a fine invention
When gentlemen can see–
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency!
Butterfly McQueen, known for her role as “Prissy” in the movie, “Gone with the Wind,” said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal and Constitution in 1989: “As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.” McQueen was a lifelong atheist, and became a lifetime member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Mark Twain, author of the irreverent War Prayer and Letters from the Earth, provides a quote from his 1894 novel Puddinhead Wilson: “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
Actress Katharine Hepburn was quoted in Ladies Home Journal, October 1991, “I’m an atheist, and that’s it. I believe that there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people”.