More Pictures from Ottawa

The Humansit Association of Ottawa has done a phenominal job in trying to bring the Atheist Bus Campaign to Ottawa. They have fought hard, worked hard, and spent a lot of time trying to reverse the decision made by OC Transpo. I am proud to have worked with such dedicated humanists and atheists and I recommend that if you live in Ottawa and are looking for a community of atheists, take a look at their website and get in contact with them

Here are some photos of the HAO with one of the 24 OC Transpo buses our ad is on:

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On a side note, paypal has suspended our donation account so please hang on to your money until we sort it out.

Atheist Bus In Other Countries

Below are a few videos from other atheist bus campaigns around the world. The first from the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign, who have very kindly linked to our discussion board as a place to discuss atheism. Check out their cool video below and also their website –

Atheist Bus in Spain:

This video below is from a British comedy called “Have I Got News For You”. The episode aired last fall.

The next is from a show called University Challenge:

More to come soon.

Recap of Atheist Ads in Ottawa

By Julie Breeze (Director, Humanist Association of Ottawa)

The Humanist Association of Ottawa has been working to bring ads to Ottawa buses saying: THERE’S PROBABLY NO GOD. NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE.

We are part of an international movement which began in Britain last June. A woman named Ariane Sherine went to a website advertised on a London bus and read that non-Christians will“spend all eternity in torment in hell. Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and all his angels.”

Disgusted, she decided to counter with an ad of her own. She teamed up with Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and the British Humanist Association, and set the goal of raising £5500 (about $10,000 Canadian) for their own counter-ads. Dawkins pledged to match all donations up to £5500. They settled on the slogan THERE’S PROBABLY NO GOD. NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE. “Ours is a fun and light-hearted message,” said Sherine, “but it does have a serious point to it: that atheists want a secular country. We want a secular school (system) and a secular government.”

In spite of there being no plan or funding for soliciting donations, the money flooded in. The original fundraising target was met within twenty-four hours. Today the total raised in Britain is in excess of £140,000, which is being used to put bus ads in twenty cities across the nation.

The idea is spreading rapidly around the world. At the time of writing, groups of Freethinkers have placed ads in Canada, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and the USA. Groups are working on ads in Germany, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, and Croatia.

Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal accepted and ran the atheist ads. Halifax’s Metro Transit initially rejected the PROBABLY NO GOD ads on the basis that they were offensive, though they said they would reconsider Humanist Canada’s YOU CAN BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD if they “toned down the message” (!)  Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna BC, and London, ON do not accept religious advertising on their buses, and so rejected atheist advertising also.

Halifax transit officials announced they will be forced to reconsider their decision once the Supreme Court hands down a verdict in a pending related case. The Canadian Federation of Students and BC Teachers’ Federation are currently appealing BC TransLink’s decision not to allow their political advertising on Vancouver public transit on the grounds that this violates their right to freedom of expression. Given that BC TransLink is a public rather than a private company, and is thus obliged to follow public standards concerning freedom of speech, their success seems likely, and is expected to have a great impact on other Canadian cities’ decisions of whether to allow atheist bus ads.
In Genoa, Italy, the Catholic Church forced atheists to change their slogan from The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that we don’t need him to The good news is that there are millions of atheists in Italy. The best news is that they believe in freedom of expression.

In Australia not only was the  “probably no god” message refused, but even Celebrate reason: Sleep in on Sunday mornings and Atheism – Celebrate reason were turned down by the largest outdoor ad company in the country.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation in the United States came up with very creative ads, including


The atheist bus ads have become such a household word that the United Church of Canada has started running their own ad.


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

People have opened their wallets to the campaign because they feel it gives a public voice to their point of view, in a way never seen before. It gives them a sense of solidarity with other atheists. They derive satisfaction from giving confidence to other nonbelievers and doubters who may feel bound by a need to appease religious family and friends.

The Humanist Association of Ottawa teamed up with the Freethought Association of Canada and to put Sherine’s ads on Ottawa buses. We were told that the Transit Committee had rejected our ads, but Pattision, the company which places advertising on the buses, offered us a discounted rate on roadside billboard ads instead. We thought about the billboards but decided to stick with our original application, since
OC Transpo had previously approved a number of Christian ads for the buses and we saw no reason why we should not receive equal treatment.

The HAO Board met on February 17th. Realizing that City councilor Alex Cullen, the Chair of the Transit Committee, had decided to ask the reason for OC Transpo’s rejection of our ads at a Transit Committee meeting the following day, it became clear through discussion that we should go to City Hall right before the meeting to make our opinion known.

The HAO put out a press release that night to every English-language media outlet in the Ottawa area. We contacted as many members as we could reach at the last minute. Seanna Watson (HAO President) spent most of the night making T shirts saying “Why not in Ottawa?” with our ad slogan. We didn’t think we’d be allowed to carry signs in City Hall, but we were pretty sure clothing was permitted (or even required).

In spite of the short notice, four of us were able to make it the next morning. We stood somewhat nervously in front of the door to the meeting room, not sure what would happen. There had been no time to apply for a permit or ask about rules. We didn’t know if we were allowed to be there, if we would be asked to leave, or if we were even at risk of being arrested.

And then the first cameraman showed up. We put blue tape over our mouths and waited. He came up and began photographing us. Then more people arrived. One asked us tentatively “Would you speak to us?”

I have never been too free with identifying myself as an atheist, for fear of the silent discrimination in our society. People almost never ask my religion, and if they do ask what they really want to know is whether I am part of their own particular denomination. I tell them I’m a Humanist.

That day we were surrounded by microphones, still cameras, and TV cameras. Everybody wanted to know our names and why we were there. It was just like a movie scene of a media scrum. I felt like after a lifetime of keeping my toes dry I was suddenly standing on the edge of the high diving board.

I took a deep breath and jumped in.

That day we were all over the news. I heard we were on CBC radio at noon, even before the vote had been taken at the meeting. We were on the television news, the radio, and in every one of the five daily English and French newspapers in the Ottawa area. The publicity was phenomenal!

Once the reporters had had the chance to interview and photograph us to their hearts’ content, we learned that we were allowed to attend the Transit Committee meeting. Alex Cullen even came over and told showed us the form we should fill out if we wished to have up to five minutes to address the Committee.

It took most of the day to get to the bus ad issue, with the journalists coming up to us periodically to take more photos or ask more questions. When the matter came up, Alain Mercier, the Manager of OC Transpo, waffled around a bit, ultimately giving several reasons for his staff’s decision to reject the ads. He said that the policy stated that religious advertising was unacceptable unless it advertised a specific event, with a date and time listed. (Nothing wrong with that policy, except that OC Transpo had previously accepted ads from the Anglican Church, the Pentecostal Church, and Bus Stop Bible Studies, none of which listed specific events, times, and places.) He said that they felt that our ad could be offensive to Transit riders, and that they had wanted to avoid controversy. Oops.

David Burton (another HAO director) addressed the Transit Committee, making a wonderful case for why we should be allowed to run the ads. Then another member of the public, Teresa Milligan, took a turn to speak. She stated that atheists should never be allowed to run ads, since the Stalinist Soviet Union was atheistic and they had committed
terrible atrocities, killing millions of people. Atheists are therefore dangerous people who should not be allowed to air their views.

When I heard that I knew that we could never let these ideas go unchallenged. Even though I had not planned to speak, and had not prepared any remarks, I quickly grabbed a “Request to Speak” form and scribbled in the required information as fast as I could before Milligan finished her five minutes of speaking time. A man appeared and took the form from my hand, and I was called to the microphone. I explained to the committee that Humanists never advocate or participate in violence of any kind, and that far more atrocities have been committed in the name of religion than in the name of Atheism. I cited the bombing of the World Trade Centre as one such example. One of the Guiding Principles of Humanism is that we advocate the peaceful resolution of conflicts. (I later discovered that Stalin’s evil was in fact committed in the name of Communism
rather than Atheism.)

The six councilors present at the meeting discussed the ads for a while prior to the vote on overturning the ban, with Cullen calling the ads censorship and a denial of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ guarantee of freedom of speech. Councilor Marianne Wilkinson stated that she found the ad offensive to her as a Christian.  ‘It grates on me,’ she whined. They voted 3-3, not enough to overturn the ban, so Cullen said that he would bring the matter to a full City Council meeting on March 11.


This time we had a chance to be much better prepared. Seanna added a back to the T-shirts which listed all 15 cities around the world where atheist bus ads were already running, along the lines of a rock concert tour, with Ottawa? at the bottom. We got together two dozen people from as far away as Bowmanville for a protest at the start of the meeting on March 11, and had lots more press coverage. There was a group of children who had been bussed in from a Christian school to protest our ads.

A new member of HAO, Paul LeClair, had written a song about the bus ads titled “Freedom of Expression”. He played it for the press, and then went outside to serenade the Christian schoolchildren with it.

At the meeting we learned that Alex Cullen had asked the City’s legal team to analyze the City’s chances of upholding their ban of our ads should we decide to take the matter to court. They released a six-page document giving all the reasons and precedents why the City hadn’t a hope of winning any such lawsuit. The City lawyer estimated the cost to the city of such a battle at about $10,000 – 20,000.

Marianne Wilkinson and her cronies on the council had another try at banning the ads, wanting to rewrite the city’s policy so as to exclude them. They had no particular plan of how they could word such a policy, given the legal opinion that it couldn’t be done, but their move would at least postpone the ads’ debut. Mayor Larry O’Brien spoke about the inter-faith council which he chairs, and said that everybody on the council felt that the ads should be allowed to run. In spite of this, he later voted to uphold the ban.

Alain Mercier was on the hot seat again, and was forced to admit that had he known that the ban would never stand up to a court challenge he would not have suggested it in the first place. At this point there were about fifteen of us sitting together in the public seats. Even though the public is not allowed to speak at full city council meetings, we were quite noticeable in our white T shirts, and the councilors were clearly aware of our presence, referring to us several times during the debate. At one point Cullen mentioned that the city “hadn’t a prayer” of winning a legal challenge, and the councilor beside him
gestured towards us chuckling in the audience, commenting “They got it!”

Whether due to personal convictions that it was the right thing to do, or from distaste at the idea of  wasting city money on an unwinnable legal battle, the Council voted 13-7 in favour of running our ads. The ads have been running on Ottawa buses since 7 April.

You can read more about the worldwide atheist bus campaign in the Summer edition of HumanistPerspectives, expected to be published in June.

Atheist bus campaign rolls into Ottawa (Media Release)

As you probably know we’ve had a rollercoaster ride in the nation’s capital, being refused access to buses by the Ottawa transit, then having that challenged to the Ottawa transit committee which ended in a split vote meaning the original decision was sustained.  But this was then further challenged by Ottawa city councillor Alex Cullen to the Ottawa city council where it was overturned.  To make a long story short, our ads went up on Ottawa buses last week, accompanied by the following media release:

416-402-8856 (Justin Trottier)

613-592-3609 (Seanna Watson)
Web site:

Atheist bus campaign rolls into Ottawa

Toronto, ON. (April 13, 2009)―There’s probably no god.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.   The atheist ads are now up on buses in Ottawa.

“The campaign has overcome a few hurdles,” said Justin Trottier, President of the Freethought Association.  “A long bus drivers’ strike followed by refusal by OC Transpo and city of Ottawa Transit committee.” In March, those decisions were overturned by a vote of Ottawa City Council.

These ads are an invitation to begin dialogue, discussion, and demonstrate the principles of freedom of expression and religion that apply equally to non-believers and people of all faiths.

Visit the Campaign at for more information.

The Humanist Association of Ottawa ( has been promoting secular humanism in the nation’s capital for over 40 years.

A Few Pictures from Ottawa and Calgary

All 24 of our Ottawa ads have been posted and are now running around on the sides of OC Transpo buses. Here are a few photos that have been submitted.
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And below are a few more images that were sent to us from Calgary.
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Right now we’re lacking images of both Calgary and Ottawa ads. If you happen to snap a photo of our ad and feel like sharing them, please email them to photos {at} Thanks!

Jesus, A Brief Look at the Evidence.

There may be some evidence claiming a Jesus existed and if he actually did exist, he most definitely isn’t the one that you’re probably thinking about. So let us go over the sources for the life of Jesus and see what we can come up with.

We will start with the Roman’s. They were meticulous for keeping records and in fact there are hundreds of surviving documents from the 1st century. Documents from historians, philosophers, religious thinkers, public officials, poets, and even private persons have been discovered all from the 1st century. How many of these sources made reference to Jesus? Zero. There were no birth records, no correspondences, no literary discussions, no personal reflections, nothing at all that mentioned a Jesus in any way at any time… you’d think there would be something, especially after the way Mel Gibson portrays Jesus in “Passion of the Christ”.

Finally at 112 C.E. Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor of Bithynia-Pontus made mention of Jesus. He was concerned about the prosecution of Christians and mentioned that they were in a range of social classes and that they worshiped Jesus as a god, there was no reference to the life and teachings of him  or anything else.

The second, from a Roman historian named Suetonius who only mentions “Chrestus” aka “good one” once and this was a few years after Pliny. He made mention of riots among Jews in Rome during the reign of Claudius from 41-54 C.E.

The Third Roman reference was by Tacitus at 115 C.E. He mentions that emperor Nero blamed the Christians for fires he started and that he was executed by Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius but does not mention how Jesus lived, his teachings, etc.

There are no roman sources within the first 100 years after the supposed life and death of Jesus and finally the records that do show up are 79+ years after when some believe Jesus died. What evidence is there that he is anything like the Christians and other religions believe he is?

Based on Christian sources outside of the New Testament gospels, the apostle Paul mentions eight things about Jesus, the earliest letter is from 50 C.E. What Paul has said was that he was a Jew and born of a woman (Gal 4:4), that he ministered among Jews (Rom 15:7), had brothers (1Cor 9:5), last supper (1 Cor 11:23-25), possible betrayal (1 Cor 11:23 “handed over”), was crucified (1 Cor 2:2), and also had 12 disciples (1Cor 15:5). On top of that Paul hardly provides any information about Jesus teachings and in fact only mentions three things Jesus said. What Paul mentioned were the words of the last supper, that Jesus was against divorce, and a cryptic message that might mean people should pay their preacher. The rest is left to interpretation.

There are the New Testament non-Pauline letters of the four gospels but they cannot be used literally and they do not provide historians with an accurate synopsis of the life of Jesus. The New Testament gospels were written 35-75 years after Jesus and were not written by Jesus earliest followers. All four gospels are anonymous as well… meaning that no body actually knows who wrote them, also meaning that a Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John weren’t actually written by a Mathew, Mark, Luke, or John despite what most common-day church goers probably believe.  The four gospels are also inconsistent with each other and it is agreed among scholars that perspectives of each book have been affected and influenced by the writers own bias. Since written there have also been some additions added to the books that were not by the original authors.

The book of Mathew was most likely written between 85-95 C.E, contains a unique birth narriative, adds to Mark’s passion narrative, and portrays Jesus as the new Moses. Mark was written between 70-75 C.E. and doesn’t contain any birth narrative nor any resurrection stories, he is portrayed in full human nature (has human emotions such as fear, anger, etc). Luke was approximately written around 85-95C.E. with a unique birth narrative, Jesus is portrayed as showing little or no emotions (remember book of Mark says he is more emotional), does not suffer during ‘the passion’. The gospel according to John was written aprox. 90-120 C.E., Jesus is portrayed as being in complete control, gives long speeches throughout (how could anyone remember the exact words ppl said so long after?) and the book of John also adds unique material that none of the other gospels share.

These sources provide almost no historical information about Jesus because the authors have interpreted Jesus’ life rather than reported it. There are also contradictions which make it very hard to determine anything conclusive when evidence is not in agreement. Contradictions include Mark claiming Jesus attempted to keep his identity a secret but John mentions Jesus making his identity very public, Mark says Jesus told parables so people would not understand while Matthew says it was so they would understand, Matthew, Mark, and Luke have Jesus empty the Temple at the end of his ministry while John has him do so to begin his ministry.

There is virtually no actual evidence of miracles, dying and rising again, and all of the fairy tale superstition that many Christians and other religious folk believe. There is only theological interpretation and that cannot be used to reconstruct a biography of Jesus.

There is also alleged events that are shared between Jesus and another Egyptian mythological character named Horus. Such events include same ages of baptism, same fate of baptizers, same activities such as walking on water, cast out demons, healed sick, also died and resurrected. For a full range of comparisons click here.

Last year there was also an ancient tablet discovered that further adds fuel to fire the debate that the Jesus story was actually Jewish tradition. The tablet discovered speaks of a messiah called Simon who will rise from the dead after three days. Full story here.

So in sum, was there a Jesus? Maybe. Was he anything like modern mainstream Christian religions presuppose him to be? Definitely not, and most scholars will agree to that.

Happy Easter everybody.


– Bronner, Ethan. “The New York Times Log In.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 6 July 2008. 11 Apr. 2009 <>.

– Michael, Tony. “Life of Jesus.” Christianity in Context – Life of Jesus Lecture. York University, Toronto. 22 Sept. 2008.

-Robinson, B.A. “Jesus’ and Horus’ life events, etc.” by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 25 Apr. 2004. 11 Apr. 2009 <>.

– Weaver, Mary Jo, and David Brakke. Introduction to Christianity. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2008.

Creationist Conservative MP Laughed at by Scientists

To date 2009 has proven to be a bitter-sweet year. It was and is to be a year of ‘change’ as proclaimed President Obama, the first black President of the United States. It is the International Year of Astronomy to celebrate 400 years of science since Galileo and also the 200th birthday of Darwin. This year is also supposed to be a year of reform, a year where we shed our old ways of faulty banking methods that have led to a global economic recession, invest our future in environmentally friendly and sustainable industries, and learn, grow, and reform from our mistakes in the past.

But without even touching the global economic troubles, some people around the world have managed to screw things up even more than they already are. The United Nations has further damaged freedom of speech and human rights by passing anti-blasphemy resolutions (this will surely cause/continue the numerous deaths and lifetime jail sentences within Islamic states for anyone speaking/acting against Islam as interpreted by the state), Afghanistan has legalized marital rape after Canadians, Americans, Britons, and other countries around the world have invested billions into restoring and creating a democratic and free Afghanistan and have taken on hundreds of casualties, a few weeks ago Gary Goodyear, MP and Minster of Science and Technology has shown Canada that he doesn’t understand evolution, doesn’t know how it works, is probably a creationist, and doesn’t even support science. And now ‘Dr.’ James Lunney, Conservative MP has embarrassed Canadians in defence of creationism.

Recently he addressed parliament and said:

Jesus Rides a Raptor

Mr. Speaker, recently we saw an attempt to ridicule the presumed beliefs of a member of this House and the belief of millions of Canadians in a creator. Certain individuals in the media and the scientific community have exposed their own arrogance and intolerance of beliefs contrary to their own. Any scientist who declares that the theory of evolution is a fact has already abandoned the foundations of science. For science establishes fact through the study of things observable and reproducible. Since origins can neither be reproduced nor observed, they remain the realm of hypothesis.

In science, it is perfectly acceptable to make assumptions when we do not have all the facts, but it is never acceptable to forget our assumptions. Given the modern evidence unavailable to Darwin, advanced models of plate techtonics, polonium radiohalos, polystratic fossils, I am prepared to believe that Darwin would be willing to re-examine his assumptions.

The evolutionists may disagree, but neither can produce Darwin as a witness to prove his point. The evolutionists may genuinely see his ancestor in a monkey, but many modern scientists interpret the same evidence in favour of creation and a creator.

If it wasn’t bad enough that Canada became the laughing stalk of the world after Prime Minister Harper missed the G20 photo shoot with world leaders, all saying he was in the washroom and missed it (this made world news headlines I might add), now the scientific world is laughing at us. PZ Meyers, a biologist and associate Professor at University of Minnesota wrote on his blog “Of course, none of those other countries are entirely exempt from having dumbasses pontificating on science, so we can still occasionally take a cheap, desperate shot at some furrin’ loon.”

Larry Moran, Professor at the Department of Biochemistry at University of Toronto has responded by calling Lunney “a genuine kook” who has “made a fool of himself”. And rightfully so because clearly Lunney hasn’t a clue about evolution.

Thanks to PZ Meyers for posting resources to respond to some of Lunney’s errors about plate tectonics, polonium radiohalos, and polystratic fossils.

I’d like to add that even if Darwin rose from the grave and told us all that he no longer supported evolution and wanted to scrap his books, it wouldn’t matter because the overwhelming evidence that supports evolution continues to grow daily. Darwin’s idea gave way for future evolutionary research and understanding but had he not thought of it, we would have discovered evolutionary process without him.. he was merely the first one to hypothesize it. It’s no different then Sir Isaac Newton discovering gravity, had he not ever lived then someone else eventually would have discovered it. So the creationist argument that we need Darwin is faulty.

I also want to add that we did not evolve from monkeys, monkeys and humans both share a common ancestor.

Finally, I prepared this little clip to show why creationism (called intelligent design in this clip) keeps failing. Please watch and enjoy. :) P.S. Lunney, political suicide?


More readings about this topic here:

Darwin would think again, Lunney tells House of Commons –
James Lunney v. Evolution –
Not so smug now, are you, Canada? –
James Lunney: Creationist, Chiropractor, Conservative – Sandwalk Blog
I’m a Believer – Ottawa Citizen


If you want to discuss evolution and creationism please take it to our forums at We have a special category just for evolution. Thanks.

God Heals Amputee, First Ever to be Recorded by Doctors

Little Angie O'Plasty walks again for the first time in years after God heals her amputated legs.

April 1st: Well folks, it looks like we were wrong. There really is a God after all, or at least some ‘thing’ up there that heals and answers prayers. Young Angie O’Plasty was a documented amputee after a freak airplane accident that left her two legs less. Keyword being ‘was’ an amputee because yesterday morning she woke up to a very pleasant surprise, an itchy toe. Angie had miraculously discovered she had two full legs again.

“The night before we held a prayer service at our church and we all laid hands on Angie, we asked that God would show mercy on our child and heal her to finally prove that he really is a merciful and loving God” said Angie’s mother.

Young Angie lost her legs back in 2004 after a very bizarre incident that took place aboard a Boeing 747 heading from New York to Calgary. “She went to the on-board washroom during the flight and saw a bug crawling across the floor. Out of fright Angie jumped onto the toilet seat… and unfortunately slipped with both legs plunging into the toilet bowl. When she tried to pull her legs out, she couldn’t and by the time we landed it was too late, the circulation in both legs had been cut off for too long- both legs had to be amputated below her knee caps” explains Angie’s father.

Parody of campaign after recent miracle.

We’ve tried contacting the owner of to get his response but thus far have been unsuccessful. There have been unconfirmed sightings that the website owner has finally left his mothers basement and is spending the day in a synagogue.

We’ve also noticed YouTube parodies popping up that seem to mock our atheist bus campaign now that scientists have confirmed Ms. O’Plasty’s miraculous healing. A parody has been created based on the widely used “Der Untergang” movie which in the past has been used to parody other events such as the Grand Theft Auto 4 Release on PC. See video to the right for clip about our campaign.

It is not known what will be the next move of the bus campaign now that young Angie O’Plasty’s legs have been healed by God but we are exploring our options. It was proposed that we use the money to spread the news about this incident but no decisions have been made on what do with the remaining donations.

Little Angie wanted to send a message to all our website viewers and we agreed to pass it along, she said “Happy April 1st everybody… don’t be fooled!”