Friday February 6, 2009
Last Thursday, there was a piece in the Guardian newspaper about the current struggle for the souls of the nation being played out on the sides of London buses. It started with an advertising campaign launched back in January by the British Humanist Association and luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and A. C. Grayling, in which the advertising space on a number of London buses was emblazoned with the words: “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” The appearance of these so-called atheist buses led to at least one hundred and fifty complaints being registered with the advertising standards people, on the grounds that this slogan was offensive and that here was a claim that could not be substantiated.
Fear of claims incapable of substantiation does not seem to have hindered The Christian Party, however. Under the leadership of Rev. George Hargreaves, they have just announced that they are countering with the following slogan, similarly emblazoned: “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.” The move from ‘probably’ to ‘definitely’ seems, to my mind, to be a retrograde step, and the Christian Party have failed to iron out the apparent non sequitur lurking in the original; but it is rather touching, nevertheless, to see that Professors Dawkins and Grayling are united with the Rev. Hargreaves in wishing our well-being and enjoyment.
At this stage in proceedings, it seems to me that there’s no reason for Buddhists not to pitch in and join the fun. My proposal is for a Madhyamaka bus bearing the following well-known verse from the Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā of the philosopher Nāgārjuna:
Neither an entity nor a nonentity
Moves in any of the three ways.
So motion, bus
and route are nonexistent.
Oh, and why not enjoy your life while you are at it?
Image: FordPrefect on Wikimedia.org, Creative Commons ShareAlike
Nagarjuna quotation adapted from Jay Garfield’s translation of the Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā
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