Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 29, 2010

Thank You, Atheists

With Christmas just around the corner, atheists have launched their most aggressive campaign to date to counter the message and meaning of Christmas. Last year, the American Humanist Association tried to build awareness about the humanist movement through their Be Good for Goodness Sake initiative. This year, the AHA’s campaign features selected texts from the Bible used out of context and juxtaposed with selected compassionate quotes from well-known humanists. This initiative is a bit intellectually lazy. Whether you take Bible passages or Bertrand Russell quotes out of context, a basic principle of hermeneutics is that a text taken out of context is a pretext. But, in spite of the sloppy hermeneutics, this campaign offers good opportunities to those willing to think deeply and to investigate honestly. So, thank you atheists for providing fodder for discussion about the existence of God. That’s not a bad thing.

This year, the American Atheists organization has placed a billboard near the Lincoln Tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City. The billboard features a familiar nativity scene with these words prominently displayed — “You know it’s a Myth. This Season Celebrate Reason.” As in real estate, location-location-location is important in the world of advertising. So, kudos to American Atheists for selecting a great location to display their message. Untold numbers of commuters will see their provocative message every day. And, while the message will undoubtedly be offensive to many, I see it as another opportunity for non-believers and believers alike to think deeply and to dialogue openly about the meaning of Christmas and the Person of Christ. I hope that this billboard campaign provokes lots of dialogue around office water-coolers. So, thank you, atheists, for giving folks another good opportunity to talk about Christmas.

But, that’s not all. The United Coalition of Reason will feature their message on busses in Washington, DC — “Don’t Believe in God? Join the Club.” And, the Freedom from Religion Foundation will feature personal testimonies of atheists on billboards in about a dozen cities along with their “Reason’s Greetings” holiday greeting. Once again, while these campaigns will anger many, the reality is that the First Amendment gives atheists the right to publicize their messages. And, don’t let anybody tell you that atheism is not a religion. This year’s campaigns, along with the featured personal testimonies of non-believers, have an undeniable evangelistic flavor. The various atheist organizations clearly intend to recruit non-believers and the religiously unaffiliated (also called “Nones”) to their ranks.

So, again I must say thank you to these various atheist organizations for posting their provocative messages. As a Christ-follower I can get angry about what atheists are doing at Christmas, but that won’t change anything or do much good. However, I choose instead to see these messages as a good opportunity to dialogue with others about the existence of God and the meaning of Christmas. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to honor Christ the Lord in our hearts as holy and to always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Once again, atheists have given us opportunities or perhaps provoked us into speaking with others about the hope that we have in Christ. Let’s not miss any opportunity to do so this Christmas and throughout the coming year.


Responses

  1. Good post. I hope Christians don’t take an ‘us vs them’ mentality by freaking out in the media about how Christian values are under attack. The fact is the world will always have a message contrary to scripture. Jesus said the “gates of Hades will not overcome” the church. So I agree Omar, let’s not rush to debates to win arguments and impose our freedoms while denying those we disagree with. Rather let us dialogue in love and live out the gospel of love so atheists will see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven! Thanks for the post and your heart!

  2. I realize the need for debate! I will still pray for them! I felt Jesus pain though I felt they were crucifying him over and over again! Will man never learn that he shows them love in the most painful situations. That our Father is slow to anger for he gives mankind a chance to help each other over and over again. I know that each one of them could have a chance every moment of their life for forgiveness if they would just ask him! Somehow I know it greives the Father that man never learns! So I will pray for intercession for their soul that they come to know the Father and that those signs will see his power! I also think the Father would say Believers where is my sign!

  3. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. Knowing I have to be ready to give an answer everyday just gives me the motivation to memorize the real TRUTH. We must always be ready at any moment here or around the world to tell the truth to the nations.


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