Vehicles of New Atheism: The Atheist Bus Campaign, Non-religious Representations and Material Culture
What unites New Atheist contributions in a single culture is their shared radical secularist critique of religion, made on philosophical or moral grounds. Discussion of New Atheism typically focuses on these intellectual aspects, attending to their coherence and impact. This chapter shifts attention from the ideal to the physical, demonstrating how New Atheism and related atheist cultural movements have impacted upon and worked through material environments. I argue that detailed analysis of the media via which New Atheist ideas are communicated reveals impacts and legacies that might otherwise be ignored. The Atheist Bus Campaign is used as a case study. This campaign has attracted much attention, focusing again on its intellectual and activist elements: the intentions behind it, the ideas expressed in it. In addition to this, however, the materiality of the campaign has shaped its impact and set its course in sometimes unexpected directions. The case of the bus campaign illustrates a broader argument that an investigation of the impact and legacy of New Atheism must look not only to its intellectual content but also to the social and cultural vehicles of that content and to their movement through time and space.
KeywordsNew atheism Non-religion Secularity Material culture Atheism Postsecularity Outdoor advertising Urban studies Media
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