NON-believers have tried to place controversial adverts on East Lancashire buses questioning the existence of God.

Campaigners from the Lancashire Secular Humanists (LSH) group had approached Lancashire United, the firm behind Spot On buses in Blackburn and Transdev routes in Burnley, asking to place a series of banners on single and double deckers.

The adverts would have read: “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life.”

But the humanists were told that the company does not allow any advertising on its routes and declined the request.

Church and civic leaders across the county are divided on the merits of the adverts, designed to promote the group’s first ever meeting at Blackburn’s central library later this month.

LSH chairman Ian Abbott said: “I suppose you could say we’ve missed the bus. But we are going ahead with our May 20 meeting in Blackburn anyway.

“We think many more people in Blackburn and Burnley would be interested to learn about who we are.

“We just want to make contact with people in other parts of Lancashire ––– people who are already humanists, or think they may be, or are just curious about what humanism is.”

Similar adverts provoked controversy when another humanist group attempted to place them on London buses.

The reaction from all sides of the religious divide in East Lancashire has been mixed though.

Canon Chris Chivers, who is responsible for interfaith relations at Blackburn Cathedral, said he would welcome the chance to ‘begin a dialogue’ with the humanists group.

He added: “I would think that the Dean and I would be happy to engage in a debate about religion in our society and hopefully we can come to some sort of respectful accommodation.”

“There are people who do believe in God there are people who do not, and it is central to their lives also.”

Salim Mulla, vice-chairman of Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: “A message like this will not be helpful to the work going on between the Christian and Muslim communities in East Lancashire.”

A spokesman for Lancashired United said: “We do not allow any form of external advertising on our services.”