Monday, January 12, 2009

"There's probably no God." Really?



Recently a column ran about a new ad campaign by some atheists in England responding to an ad campaign by some churches. According to the article:

These ads displayed the URL of a website which stated that non-Christians “will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell … Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire prepared for the devil.” Our rational slogan will hopefully reassure anyone who has been scared by this kind of evangelism.
The atheists’ response was:
There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.
This reminds me of the scene from the Wizard of Oz where the wizard says “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” with the atheists in the position of the wizard. They are trying to make their voices sound big and powerful when in reality they are simply weak humans who deny their Creator. They are worshiping at the altar of rationality. Rationality in and of itself is not bad as long as we remember it is simply a tool. Furthermore, as with any tool, it has limitations. The problem arises when we think the tool is good for all situations. To a man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Some of the problem apparently comes from the impression of the Christian's ads that they focused exclusively on the “hell” aspect of Jesus return. Those reading them felt bullied and threatened. However, they were only looking at half the equation.[1] The message of the kingdom has two parts; there is a carrot in addition to a stick. As Jesus says, there is a pipe and there is a dirge. There is light-hearted music calling us to dance and there is heavy music calling us to mourn.[2] We must allow our soul to respond to one or the other. We need to allow ourselves to move to God's message. If the dirge puts you off, for the sake of your soul, listen to the pipe. There is good news. This world is not going to stay in its messed up state forever. God's kingdom is coming and he will put things right. Nevertheless, part of putting things right involves removing those who rebel against His authority.

1. I have not seen the ads, but the web site is nothing at all as portrayed by the article. The quote about hell was one very small part of the overall message, buried deep in the web page. I had to really search to find it. In context, the majority of JesusSaid’s message is that God loves you and has paid the price so you do not have to suffer the consequences of your sin. This is really great news! The writer of the article appears to willingly ignore this. From what I've seen reading the article and the web page, the article is pretty disingenuous, misrepresenting the overall tone of the web site.
2. Matthew 11:16-30; Luke 7:31-35