Christians respond to atheists with pro-God campaigns

LONDON - A number of Christian groups have responded to last month's bus sides by an atheist group declaring "There is probably no God" by launching their own counter campaigns.

The original £130,000 campaign by the British Humanist Association (BHA) was backed by 'The God Delusion' author Richard Dawkins and ran on 800 buses and 1000 tube cards.

Now the Trinitarian Bible Society, an organisation founded in 1831 for the circulation of Protestant or uncorrupted versions of the Word of God, has spent £35,000 on its own bus-side campaign.

Posters bearing the headline "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God taken from Psalm 53.1" will appear on 50 London buses. The campaign will officially launch on Monday and will also offer free bibles to members of the pubic who email in.

The organisation has said it is considering expanding the campaign outside London and into other media.

Another ad by the Christian Party takes a more light-hearted approach. It too has decided to spread the word using bus sides but, parodying the BHA ad, urges the public to join the group with the headline There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.

The third organisation to respond to the atheist campaign is the Russian Othodox Church, again using buses. The ad uses the line: "There is a God, BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life."

The original BHA campaign was funded by donations following a suggestion of a bus campaign by comedy writer Arianne Sherine on The Guardian's Comment is Free blog last June.

Sherine had the idea after seeing a Christian bus ad linking to a website telling non-Christians they were condemned to hell for not accepting the word of Jesus.

The atheist bus ad drew around 100 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, however, the watchdog declined to act.

Hanne Stinson, the BHA chief executive, said: "We were successful in our campaign to abolish the blasphemy laws last year but it is clear that we must still keep fighting for the fundamental right to freedom of expression, while there are those who would wish to have us gagged."