Saturday, February 07, 2009


One of the most important applications of ‘communication’, is for people with opposing viewpoints to have discussions, negotiate and ultimately come to some kind of resolution. The Iron Curtain falling, the reduction in nuclear weapons, Britney Spears appearing on X-Factor - all came about by phone calls, face to face talks and a collection of other mediums.

But two groups of people that have always struggled to communicate in an effective way are Christians and Atheists. I have seen debates in front of audiences; though these usually descend into one side using the example of the complexity of the eye as an argument and the other using the example of the complexity of the eye as an argument. At least though this is face to face conversation, and I’m sure there were phone calls made to set up these head to heads. It is clear though that in general, these meetings and discussions have not really resolved anything and the two sides are still deeply entrenched in their viewpoints

Recently it appears that relations between these two groups seem to have now hit an all time low, with not a single word exchanged until just recently. To be fair, it was the atheists who broke the ice.

“There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” they said.

“There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life," the Christians have since replied.

It’s nice to see these two chatting again, don’t get me wrong, and the overall tone of the conversation does appear to be friendly. I’m just a little concerned that maybe, the medium of the bus isn’t the most efficient available to them. I can only assume that face to face discussions, letters, phone-calls, emails, carrier pigeons, smoke signals and mime, all must have been dismissed as not impersonal enough by an obviously hurt group of atheists. But the sheer impracticality of using a bus for chat is hard to underestimate. You have to make sure that your message goes on enough buses so that your target is likely to see it. I would have thought it would have at least been worth each group researching where at least one member of the other waited for a bus every morning, so they could target one bus and thus cut costs.

Then again, maybe I’m just behind the times. I was quite late in getting a mobile phone. I’m sure that like mobile phones, chatting to each other using the side of buses will come down in price and become common place. The technology will improve with bus companies able to predict where the recipient of your message is likely to be. I'm sure BT are rolling out their own network of single-deckers as we speak.

As far as the atheist/Christian argument is concerned, it was quite rightly pointed out on Radio Five Live that the argument could be irrefutably settled, if rather than putting messages on buses, one of them just stood in front of one.

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