Mark from Proud Atheists (who I’ve bashed in a few recent posts; boy, I need some new reading material!) has just made an argument against the use of billboards to advertise for Christianity. He posts this picture of an atheist billboard contrasted by this video highlighting the use of billboards for Christianity. Then, he asks two questions to close the post:
* We already know about Christianity. Will the Christian billboards prove the divinity of Jesus?
* Will a billboard depicting “The Flintstones” make the show any more valid or real? We know the Geico cavemen on billboards weren’t really cavemen.
My head is reeling from the stupidity. When you argue against something a certain way, you have to first make sure that your own position is immune from the same criticisms. Atheists in many countries have posted billboards. The purpose is to bring more atheists into the fold, to let the unbelieving community know that they are there, and to foster community among unbelievers. And, perhaps, to instill some doubt into the heads of the believers.
Pretty much the purpose of theistic billboards in reverse.
Therefore, the same questions apply in reverse:
- We already know about atheism. Will the atheist billboards prove there is no God?
- Will a billboard depicting atheistic arguments make atheism any more valid or real?
Of course, I’m the theist, I’m making the positive claim, the burden of proof is on me, yada, yada, yada. But I always point the atheist who says that to Romans 1, because it neatly predicts and answers this type of argument:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
In their sin and rebellion, atheists are effectively supressing the truth. God is plain in the things that are made, but atheists seem to want more than that. They want to see the hand of God in something. The problem is that they’re not looking for it precisely because of the rebellion against God in the first place! Paul drives that point home in the next part of the passage:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
As punishment for their rebellion, God has given them over to their lusts and allows them to continue suppressing the truth. The more times you sin, the easier it gets. The quieter your conscience becomes. Eventually, it seems that God hardens your heart and you become completely immune to further evangelism (2 The 2:11).
But, when someone dares to counter your claims about God with the truth that Jesus is risen, as these billboards are attempting to do, it becomes necessary to attack this campaign. When a Christian does something like this in faith, God will reach out to the hearers of the message and reveal himself. The pangs of conscience that result in unbelievers like Mark are necessary to quiet. Thus, the attack and belittlement of the effort.
Seems like it’s more effort than it’s worth to be an atheist. Let’s pray that they submit to the Lord before it’s too late.