New York City has a controversial new billboard up in Times Square paid for by American Atheists (AA). Apparently, Jesus is a myth. Their motivation can be summed up with the following bites attributed to AA’s leadership:
- “Keep the Merry! Dump the Myth!”
- “The holiday season is about family, friends, and love and its beauty has nothing to do with the gods of yesteryear.”
- “Indeed, the season is far more enjoyable without the religious baggage of guilt and judgmentalism.”
- “If you know God is a myth, you do not have to lie and call yourself Christian in order to have a festive holiday season.”
Imagine you’re a believer in God (for those who might be secular) and someone comes to your door and asks for a donation. The donation will help pay for an airplane to pull a banner over the Rose Bowl parade. The banner will read, “Atheists Are Idiots.” Now, most of us would first ask if the solicitation request was serious, but really? You’re collecting funds for that?
Hmm. Then you’d reach in your pocket and show the solicitor your to-do list of 47 million higher priority action items than bashing a segment of society just for the hell of it.
So atheism, a belief system, rejects God––He’s false. Christianity, a belief system, embraces the Triune God––He’s true. Okay, a difference of opinion. Let’s talk about it.
Nope, let’s not says the atheist. I’d rather insult, denigrate, patronize and ridicule if you don’t mind. Or mind, whatever.
Well, perhaps something else is going on in the minds of our atheist friends. Maybe they’re not so interested in rescuing Christians from their myths. Possibly, altruism is not at play.
In the spirit of generalization put forth by our atheist comrades, I’ll reciprocate in kind. You see, I know what they’re thinking. I’ve been there.
On some mornings they wake up in despair. Despair, a sin against hope, muddles their stomach. They want to roll up into a ball and scream profanities. A blue-sky gorgeous day is seen through a grey gauze filter and they can’t recall what it was like to be even remotely happy.
Evenings will find them with a drink in hand succumbing to Saint Ignatius’ definition of spiritual desolation––a “darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to things low and earthly, the unquiet of different agitations and temptations, moving to want of confidence, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself all lazy, tepid, sad, as if separated from his Creator and Lord.”
Seemingly anxious for no good reason, they channel surf late at night occasionally stopping to watch disingenuous televangelists play loose with reality. So they say.
In anger, they scream. “You think you can con me? Do you lie to me because you are so caught up in your faith that you say things you think I want to hear? On the other hand, are you delusional, people who should be forgiven for their heavenly exuberance? You know who you are, the so-called chosen ones. From coast to coast, you preach from a pulpit shrouded in self-righteousness, your theology branded by your fallacious agenda.”
Continuing the tirade. “You populate the television channels like abscesses on healthy tissue; saviors to the masses, you are. You lasso people with ropes of deceit. You subtly iconize money as a gateway to heaven; people give, you take, their ticket is punched. What may anger me the most is the betrayal of trust. Unconscionable!”
Sunday morning at Starbucks, they smirk at the nicely dressed people who just wasted precious hours worshiping folly. They equate God with His foolish adherents and judge Him accordingly. They assume that these flawed bozos are a joke and so is their God. Holy crap, look at the leadership of these outfits!
And if I were sitting down next to them with my triple shot cappuccino, I might offer this.
“I would hope that God’s followers would be wonderful examples of faith, but I know that isn’t the case. As human beings we’re basically good but sin, hatred and destruction are hands we play quite well. However, within our nature, hope, goodness, mercy and forgiveness also reign. Obviously, we’re not the most reliable beacons of righteousness but we have our moments. That’s why it’s critical to go to the source, the wellspring of truth. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and His teachings should be the criteria for choosing to believe in Him or not.”
Would this fall on deaf ears? Unfortunately, yes.
So here’s my question. I know what saved me from the atheist mind-set. I’ve previously written about it at length. However, I’m interested in the opinions of those reading this post. Do we just give up on atheists? Do we engage them? Do we fight back? What has to happen for them to be open to the gift of faith?