They reached their target by 10.06am, just 10 hours after the launch.
By the end of the day they’d raised £47,900.
Wednesday was more of the same, and the success of the campaign was in the news and the blogosphere.
On Thursday morning, when I donated, it was in the high £70,000s. By the time I clicked “submit” it was over £80k. Now on Thursday evening it’s nearer £90,000. I spent much of the day relishing the joyful good-humour of the comments in the donations thread on Just Giving. It is as if atheists have been given permission to say their piece and be heard.
What is fascinating about these events is the pent-up rationalism that it implies. We tread so carefully around religious sensibilty that we ignore the sensibilities of atheists. And now it is clear that atheists are willing to put their money where their mouths are, if doing so means that the voice of rationality is heard.
What is also fascinating is the slow start. The idea originally came from a blog post in June by Guardian Journalist Ariane Sherine. Her idea was taken up by political blogger Jon Worth who set up a PledgeBank and a Facebook Group. Four months ago Ariane had little faith (ha!) that they would raise the necessary money. The attempt on PledgeBank was earnest but unsucessful. In August it was an idea looking for an organisational sponsor. What made the difference was when the British Humanist Association undertook to administer the campaign and Richard Dawkins offered to match the first £5,500.
So warm the cockles of your heart – support the Atheist Bus.
PS – I’ve just found the graph of the giving figures from Just Giving’s very own blog right here on WordPress. They like graphs, and so do I, so here it is:
And here is the more recent version – note that both axes have been adjusted.
PPS – I have had “If god was one of us” in my head all day. “what if god was one of us … just a stranger on a bus”. And because I am an evil person, here is a link to it: