A selection of news relevant to EKD and of press releases of EKD's partner churches and church bodies. News used with permission from Ecumenical News International and other agencies.
Atheist Campaign: Christians "Jump on the Bus"
Evangelicals Accompany Atheists on Round Trip Through Germany
June 18, 2009
Berlin, June 18 (idea) - Busses with atheistic slogans are nothing new. They have been touring the streets of London and other European cities with the message "There is probably no God".
But this is news indeed: Christians in Germany have accompanied atheists on a 20-day nationwide bus tour. The red "atheist" double-decker and a white "Christian" coach were often parked side by side or opposite one another.
Both vehicles made stops in 25 cities, where local Christians joined the bus crew and spread the Gospel message with songs, leaflets and personal testimonies. Television, radio and the press covered the unusual event.
The round trip started in Berlin, May 30, went anticlockwise through Luther's home country and ended in the German capital, June 18. The atheist bus carried the slogan "There is - with a probability bordering on certainty - no God". The Christian bus posed the question "And if he really does exist ."
The Christian initiative under the auspices of "Campus Crusade for Christ" made it clear from the start that hostile confrontation was not their intention. They talked to the organizers of the atheist campaign before the tour began.
Both sides welcomed the opportunity for an exchange of ideas. Despite the opposing messages atheists and Christians often helped one another. Christians took pizza and cake to the atheists. And when their bus was covered in dirt, Christians helped wash the vehicle.
They welcomed the chance to spread the Christian message. Thousands of tracts - as well as flowers - were handed out. Approximately two thirds of Germany's 82 million inhabitants are at least nominal church members. No more than six percent worship regularly. Evangelicals number about 1.3 million.
Originally several organizations wanted to display "No-God"-slogans on local busses. But local authorities in 16 cities refused. Their reason: The slogans would upset customers, and the transport companies could not afford to lose business.
The round trip through Germany was an alternative option. With the help of sponsors evangelical Christians were quick to "jump on the bus".