Published 18 February 200919 February 2009 · Main Posts that’s me told, then Jeff Sparrow In a previous post, I suggested that it didn’t take much courage to proclaim onself an atheist in most developed countries. I still think that’s basically true but I hadn’t counted on exactly how timid the public sphere has become. Australia’s largest outdoor advertising agency, APN Outdoor, rejected an attempt by the Atheist Foundation of Australia to put slogans on buses. British atheists have 800 buses around Ol’ Blighty emblazoned with: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” So the Little Aussie Atheists decided to do their bit for the cause. The cause being freedom of speech, rational thought, intelligent discussion and consciousness-raising. In the same way religious groups try to spread the good news to help ease people’s existential pain, so too are the atheists. […] The Atheist Foundation of Australia approached APN with a slogan and a fistful of cash. APN, a company that has run religious and political slogans in the past, initially said: “Sounds good, no problems.” So APN and AFA spent three weeks tweaking, diluting and compromising until APN abruptly pulled the plug. End of discussion. How offensive was the message? Was it, “Sucked in, there’s no God. Ha, ha, ha.”? Was it, “Those hours in church bored out of your brain, those years of guilt and all those prayers? Wasted. God’s not real.”? Was it, “The look on their faces when they find out God doesn’t exist? Priceless.”? No. It was, “Atheism — Celebrate Reason”. How scary is that? That was after “Atheism — Sleep in on Sundays” and “Atheism — Because there is no credible evidence” were knocked back. How flimsy does APN think people’s faith is if they’d be rocked by a gentle comment like that? Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 25 May 202326 May 2023 · Main Posts The ‘Chinese question’ and colonial capitalism in New Gold Mountain Christy Tan SBS’s New Gold Mountain sets out to recover the history of the Gold Rush from the marginalised perspective of Chinese settlers but instead reinforces the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty. Although celebrated for its multilingual script and diverse representation, the mini-TV series ignores how the settlement of Chinese migrants and their recruitment into colonial capitalism consolidates the ongoing displacement of First Nations peoples. First published in Overland Issue 228 15 February 202322 February 2023 · Main Posts Self-translation and bilingual writing as a transnational writer in the age of machine translation Ouyang Yu To cut a long story short, it all boils down to the need to go as far away from oneself as possible before one realizes another need to come back to reclaim what has been lost in the process while tying the knot of the opposite ends and merging them into a new transformation.