In our last humble rambling we looked at a hard hitting bus advertising campaign in the United Kingdom that boldly proclaimed there “probably” is no God. The humanists in the good ole US of A are ratcheting up the anti-faith advertising campaigns with a new series of ads in Washington D.C. This story ran on Foxnews.com (just lost some readers right there) recently.
Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December.
The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday. In lifting lyrics from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the Washington-based group is wading into what has become a perennial debate over commercialism, religion in the public square and the meaning of Christmas.
"We are trying to reach our audience, and sometimes in order to reach an audience, everybody has to hear you," said Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group. "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion."
I feel your pain. In the middle of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Clause, Frosty The Snowman, The Grinch, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer and scores of politically correct holiday sales it is certainly hard to find a secular refuge. Nonetheless, I do not deny your absolute right to bring together like minded folks. One thing you can count on is somewhere in the article there will be the proclamation that people who believe in God are stupid.
Edwords said the purpose isn't to argue that God doesn't exist or change minds about a deity, although "we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds."
Implication? If you have faith you are not thinking rationally and critically. A look at the cultural landscape in the past couple of years reveals that tons of “seeds” have been planted to discount the idea of God. Several best-selling books have declared not only that there is no God but implied that religion is the source of many or even most of the world’s problems. Yet a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll from earlier this year found 92 percent of Americans believe in God. That must drive the rational eight percent absolutely crazy.
I am sure that many Christians will be offended and make a ruckus about the campaign. I would suggest that you proceed cautiously and with grace. Angry Christians only confirm the perception of people of faith. I have long felt that billboards and road signs make little difference in people’s faith decisions. In my neighborhood a local restaurant has this message on the marquee.
I am sure their intentions are good but I don’t think that many people are being influenced toward faith by this sign. I can report the chicken special was excellent so that does give them some credibility. Nonetheless, I think most people’s decisions on such matters go a little deeper than a restaurant marquee or bus ad. So protesting this campaign is a battle not worth fighting in my view. I would rather mature in the grace of Christ Jesus and see if that will influence more people than even the chicken special sign.
It will not help to attack those who deny Jesus and God. I cannot persuade the folks behind this campaign that I am right. I would like to tell them that I don’t hate them for their views. I don’t fear their questions. If I am wrong about God then this campaign is harmless and perhaps helpful. If I am right about God then a few busboards can not damage or thwart His plan for mankind. God does not need me to defend Him from attack. If I believe in the Creator of the universe I suspect He is quite capable of dealing with negative advertising. What I believe God does expect and desire from me is that I reflect His love. I am sorry for those who have had a bad experience with people of faith. That experience does not negate the potential truth of the message.
I have called myself a Christian for well over 30 years. I have wrestled with doubt as I defined my faith. I did not come from Christian “indoctrination” so I came to my own conclusions. I have read the views of all sides. I have absorbed the arguments of the best thinkers on every side. I have decided that Jesus is the Son of God. That is my decision. His presence and reality in my life have only been amplified in our recent trials. I guess I don’t have the energy to spend on indignation over this ad campaign. There is so much more to be accomplished by reflecting the love and grace of Jesus. That is the way we will make a difference to a suspicious and skeptical world.
So I extend good cheer to my humanist friends during this season. I hope you will find enough “good for goodness sake” to allow me to say Merry Christmas. I will extend Christian grace to allow you to wish me a happy “good” season and receive that with a smile. I just hope you don’t sneeze during our greetings because then I really wouldn’t know what to say.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.