Atheist Foundation returns to advertising with Woody Allen quote: ‘If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse’

The Atheist Foundation of Australia has returned to advertising with a bus-side campaign that is running in Melbourne.

The non-believing group has quoted Woody Allen in the ad, which reads ‘If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse’.

The campaign has been timed for the run up to the 2012 Global Atheist Convention, which is being marketed as “A celebration of reason”.

Atheist Foundation of Australia bus-side ad

Commenting on the campaign, the president of the Atheist Foundation, David Nicholls, said: “Woody Allen’s words encapsulate the thoughts of the freethinking community and the sneaking suspicions of a growing number of religious people as well. Considering the immensity of the unnecessary death, pain and suffering on the planet, an alleged all-powerful and all-loving god certainly has a lot to answer for.”

Nicholls said that while Woody Allen may have been born into the Jewish faith, he was a “dead set atheist”.

TAtheist Foundation of Australia adhe Atheist Foundation was blocked from running ads on APN Outdoor’s billboards in 2009. Its campaign slogan read: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.

Nicholls said APN’s ban “did wonders for us in extra publicity”.

The latest campaign, devised by Melbourne agency Loud and Clear, is running on street posters, postcards and in print ads in New Scientist.

Nicholls wouldn’t reveal the campaign budget, but said “A lot of money” is being spent on it.

The 2012 Global Atheist Convention is being held in Melbourne from 13 to 15 April.


  1. Leon
    16 Mar 12
    12:50 pm

  2. is atheist foundation a non-prophet organisation?

  3. Media
    16 Mar 12
    12:50 pm

  4. It’s not offensive. Here’s one that might be:

    “we drew a picture of Allah to put on here, but we couldn’t show it, for obvious* reasons.”

    *he doesn’t exist

    Brave bloke that drives the bus, though.

  5. Ben
    16 Mar 12
    1:50 pm

  6. Ah, what’s the point of the group? I’m an atheist but can’t see the need?

  7. wannaknow
    16 Mar 12
    2:14 pm

  8. Celebration of atheism or woody allen?

  9. Sir Dashwood
    16 Mar 12
    2:21 pm

  10. @Leon, you just earned yourself a LOL

  11. Craig Ashley Russell
    16 Mar 12
    2:34 pm

  12. @Sir Dashwood & @Leon, But no OMG for either of you.

  13. M
    16 Mar 12
    3:35 pm

  14. Anyone think this might be borderline discrimination?

  15. Ray
    16 Mar 12
    4:08 pm

  16. @M No. Nobody thinks that.

  17. MattP
    16 Mar 12
    4:10 pm

  18. So they are blaming God for anything bad in the world but not giving Him credit for all the good stuff?

    It is so much more reasonable to think that a massive gas explosion millions of years ago and random evolution somehow created all the order, beauty and structure we now enjoy. BTW, if evolution is the answer where have all the partially evolved creatures and pre-humans gone?

    But it is one of the latest trends to not believe in anything, it seems.

  19. Alison_F
    16 Mar 12
    4:29 pm

  20. It’s very easy for Jews like Woody Allen to say they are atheist since deep, deep down inside they know they really are the Chosen Ones. Nicely hedged bet, methinks!

    Still, ya gotta love anything with a quote from Woody Allen on it!

    @M… where is the discrimination?

  21. TD
    16 Mar 12
    4:43 pm

  22. No, M, this is not discrimination. This is a group of logical people who acknowledge the glaring holes in religion’s reasoning. It’s time that society took a good look at what religion preaches and starts to distance itself from the backwards, ignorant message that religion is putting out there.

    If you want to see the damage that religion can do to a society, take a look at the US, where fundamentalists have hijacked political discourse. Education and women’s rights suffer whenever religion gets a hold. Do we really want to head down that path?

  23. Dan
    16 Mar 12
    4:51 pm

  24. MattP: you just oversimplified the Big Bang theory and theory of Evolution. If you don’t understand them, fine – but you have no place to critique them because they don’t line up with the beliefs of your religion.

    Please read up on what constitutes a scientific theory and compare that to the common usage you’re thinking of.

  25. TGIF
    16 Mar 12
    4:58 pm

  26. Why do athiests need a foundation? To discuss and promote what you believe, which is nothing. I’m a little confused by the concept.

  27. MattP
    16 Mar 12
    5:14 pm

  28. @TD many broad and inaccurate statements there. You are grouping all religions together and that is inaccurate. But I respect your opinion but it differs dramatically from my own experience. There are many positive examples where religion has done good and uplifted society. That is a path worth heading down.

  29. JH
    16 Mar 12
    5:27 pm

  30. MattP…So you are giving god the credit for all the good stuff but not blaming him for all the bad stuff? It works both ways.

  31. JH
    16 Mar 12
    5:39 pm

  32. Further to MattP….I think you misunderstand natural selection. It is :selective”, that is, non-random. Read “The Blind Watchmaker” by Richard Dawkins or any other good book on evolution for an explanation As for pre-human creatures, they are extinct. Although Homo Erectus and Homo Neanderthalensis populations may have survived as recently as 50 and 30 thousand years ago. The fossils are there for all to see. It’s really very cool. Take a look.

  33. MattP
    16 Mar 12
    5:50 pm

  34. @JH my point exactly, if such an argument (blaming God for mens/womens actions) is to be put forward (which I do not subscribe to) then both ways must be considered.

    Using TD’s logic, I know people who have been killed in cars, therefore all cars should be banned because they’re all killers. Do we really want to head down that path.

    My observation is that people who do not believe in God often create extreme, emotional generalisations, like the adverts shown above. My personal experience is that true science and true religion are the same.

    Just wanted a balanced perspective as we share opinions.

  35. John Frum
    16 Mar 12
    6:31 pm

  36. I have to say I’m rather agnostic when it comes to atheists.

    “Global Atheist Convention” … must mark that one in my diary. Oh no, hang on, it’s at the same time as the Coober Pedy Colonic Irrigation Festival. Shame …

  37. Paul
    16 Mar 12
    6:51 pm

  38. EitHer way its a 50/50 bet…no one will know until the end

  39. Hoin
    16 Mar 12
    8:33 pm

  40. A TV campaign by Christian Media in the 1980s featured a cartoon character saying “You can’t sell God on television”. Perhaps we should update that to say “You can’t sell atheism on buses”.

  41. Chris
    17 Mar 12
    11:55 pm

  42. @MattP 9. You need to understand the concepts you are attempting to discredit – you are just making yourself look foolish.
    @MattP 17. No one mentioned banning religion except you. What groups such as this want is for religion to be a private matter that plays no role in public life. They also want to challenge people and their thinking. I also had to LOL at your “extreme emotional generalisations” – these advertisments couldn’t be more benign and understated…
    @Paul 19. If you do the calculations, it’s closer to 99.9% – 0.1%

  43. MattP
    19 Mar 12
    7:39 am

  44. @Chris I summarised the concept in as few a words as possible for the purpose of this comments section. No doubt you can be more scientifically accurate in less than 35 words. I was attempting to make a point, not an epistle.

    My analogy was in response to TD. Your conclusion as to “what groups such as this want” is not featured in the adverts shown. But how is it possible that any person’s private belief system does not influence their public contribution? Even if their belief is that they believe nothing. Most people would rather follow a leader who believed in something.

    Oh, and Woody Allen . . . if that’s the best spokesperson they can quote . . . now who’s looking foolish?

  45. Dabug
    19 Mar 12
    11:45 am

  46. This is a hot button topic. People don’t change their minds on this willy-nilly because it discredits their previous behaviour.
    Perhaps a better approach would be for the athiest society to create a film about creating a religion and having it signed off by Government. Then enjoying a tax benefit. Add some snippets of Derryn Brown’s ‘Miracles for Sale’ and presto – powerful stuff.

    Don’t question people’s religion – question the motives behind people who benefit from religion.

  47. Chris
    19 Mar 12
    7:29 pm

  48. @MattP 22. Your summary was wrong – so yes I could have been more scientifically accurate in 35 words.
    Private beliefs will play a role, this is undisputed, but if I really need to spell out separation of church and state for you, then you probably need to do some reading. This separation is set up to protect the individual from government interference in their private beliefs and also to protect the people from religious interference in public matters. Private beliefs such as creationism, for instance should not enter our public education. The same goes for all of the issues currently being “debated” in the US presidential election – abortion and gay rights (equal marriage rights) to name 2.
    As for Woody Allen – the quality of the quote does not rely on the speaker, although the cult of personality that is apparent in most religions makes your comment understandable.

  49. Bob
    20 Mar 12
    10:51 pm

  50. 50/50 bet each way? I think not. If there is no God then athiest and believer both end up as nothing more than maggot meat. If there is a God according to one of the mainstream traditions, then atheist and other religions lose out big time. I am convinced there is a God. The big bang theory has huge fundamental flaws as pointed out by over 200 scientists who have signed an open letter criticizing the ‘article of faith attitude that so many scientists hold today in big bang theory ( likely because they have no other viable alternative explanation that does not involve a highly intelligent and capable first cause-God) see To the objective reader of these posts I urge you, do the logical thing. consider both sides of the scientific argument. Consider the arguments of athiest scientists and consider the arguments of equally qualified scientists who consider special creation and intelligent design theories to be more valid then big bang/evolution theories.

  51. Chris
    21 Mar 12
    1:45 pm

  52. @Bob 25.

    200 scientists! Wow!

    In other news, 200 “scientists” believe the earth is flat, 200 “scientists” believe the earth is the centre of the universe, 200 “scientists” believe the earth is 6,000 years old.

    Your attempt at an argument from popularity falls short when you stack those 200 scientists up against the rest of the scientific community. However, this is unnecessary since scientific evidence doesn’t require popularity.

    You also throw in an argument from ignorance “we aren’t 100% sure what happened, therefore it was god”, while failing to address the fundamental flaws with the god hypothesis.