Atheist Bus Campaign in… Sweden! June 11, 2009

Atheist Bus Campaign in… Sweden!

Even though fewer than 20% of Swedes are religious, the Swedish Humanist Association has placed the following ad in subway stations and beyond:


“Gud finns nog inte” means “God probably doesn’t exist.”

“It’s not that we want to stop the religious community, but we want to level the playing field,” said [Humanist Association chair Christer] Sturmark.

“Religious groups get huge sums from the state every year. We’re dependent on our members.”

Sturmark explained that the campaign was paid for by donations from some the association’s roughly 5,000 members, each of which pay an annual membership fee of 3,000 kronor ($390).

It’s still amazing to me that in a country where only a relatively small fraction of the population is religious, there is still state-sponsored religion. But the numbers just show how ineffective that route is. In America, where there is (theoretically, anyway) a separation of church and state, we’re overwhelmingly religious.

Also, I’ll agree with Ariane here: the ad looks like it came right out of an Ikea catalogue.

Maybe they only have one font in Sweden…

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • llewelly

    hm… I don’t think the religious symbols should have been made so much larger than the words.

  • Fredrik

    It’s a play on the Swedish flag (the one farthest to the right). The gist of the ad is that even though 7 million (out of 8 or so) Swedes claim to be non-religious most live as if they were. They are members of the Church of Sweden, pay church tax, etc. Which means that religion plays a big part in their lives weather they believe or not. The group wants to raise awareness of the close ties religion has to society and hopes that non-believing Swedes start thinking about what that means and act accordingly, like say by leaving he church.

    BTW the sub-title of the ad (the small text right below “inte”) says “And yet he influences you”

  • That really surprises me, I always imagined that with Sweden’s fantastically low levels of religiosity they’d have abandoned state handouts to churches. You have to wonder how long religion would last at all if that tax-payer money was suddenly re-routed to more deserving causes and the fantasists were left to fend for themselves. With such low levels to provide for them I wager it wouldn’t be long…

  • Wim

    For those of you who are interested and understand Swedish, the atheist campaign in Sweden also comes with an online test to see how religious you are. You can find the test here:

    I also put up a video that gives a bit more background information (subtitled in English), which you can see here:

    Atheist Campaign in Sweden

    Have a good one,

  • “God is not probable” from the country next door to the country that bought us “probably the best lager in the world”.

    I come from a nation (England) that is only about half religious, some call us half mad, and we have state sponsored Protestantism (C of E). It is my sincere belief that there is no better path to atheism that ubiquitous religious education.

    Separating the church from the state protects the church from state influence. Keeping them together treats the church like a branch of the civil service with its attendance inefficiencies and bureaucracy. It fails to influence precisely because it is managed by doddery old farts secure in their government jobs while it succeeds in America because the people running churches are hungry and dynamic and protected from state interference.

    Tear down the wall.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    A Jewish Star of David, a Muslim crescent, and a cross – something is missing here. Why are the Swedish Humanists afraid to take on Thor’s hammer?

  • Shouldn’t the word be possible? Somebody should probably tell them they’re agnostics. (grin)

  • GB

    It looks like Ikea because ikea looks so Swedish 🙂
    I think people here in Europe are basically very pragmatic about their religion. Most consider themselves to belong to a denomination out of family tradition, not because they accept the teachings. They use the big rituals like weddings and funerals, but something like 10% of the people attend church more or less regularly. Most people are just too lazy to go through the red tape to get out of the church they’ve been baptised into.

  • It’s 300 corwns, not 3000! We’re not that greedy.


  • Per Hultqvist

    Eric is correct, the member fee is 300 SEK (crowns)…not 3000, or $39…

  • There is also a book that goes with the campaing. It has the same title and goes through all the arguments for and against the existance of God. I wrote the book, and donated the book’s web-site to the campaign.
    There is a Swedish web-site for the book here: and a web-site in English for the book here:

  • Jassim

    One font in Sweden thats very funny and awesome.
    I haven’t notice this but good catch.

error: Content is protected !!