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As atheists roll out London ads, believers unruffled

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"The campaign will be a good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life," says the Rev. Jenny Ellis, Spirituality and Discipleship Officer of Britain's Methodist church.

"Many people simply never think about God or religion as a serious question, and if this prods them a little bit, then that's great," says the Rev. Stephen Wang, of the Westminster diocese of the Roman Catholic church.

Moreover, in a secular post-cold-war world, where godless communism is said to be replaced by godless consumerism, a declaration of atheism is hardly a renegade position, some theologians say.

"The bus ads simply echo the secular premises of society," says Gabriel Fackre, professor emeritus of the Andover-Newton Theological School in Boston. "There's no longer a protestant orthodoxy in Great Britain or America. The churches are in a counterculture position whether they realize it or not. That puts us much closer to 1st-century Christianity, and that is an opportunity for the church."

Much of the campaign's initial buzz centered on the assertion that God "probably" doesn't exist. Does this suggest a hedging of bets – a move past atheist dogma? Only partly.

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