Saturday, November 15, 2008

thank you for asking

This past week, the American Humanist Association launched an ad campaign in a few cities including Washington, DC. The headline reads:

Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake.

"Our reason for doing it during the holidays,” a spokesman states, “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.”

Why believe in a god?

I think this is a great ad for a simple reason: it opens the door for conversations. Do you believe in God? Let me tell you why I do.

For some (like me) it can be difficult to interject my faith into day to day conversation. Somehow when you are going over marketing sales reports or the results of the Jets-Patriots game it can be hard to jump in with a Jesus story. But give me even the slightest opening, and I can do just fine. To me, this ad campaign provides a great opening to start a dialogue with someone about their faith, and to tell my story.

Not all Christians agree. In fact, from all the reports I see online, Christian leaders are speaking out against this campaign. Some see the campaign as a sign that the cultural war to separate Christ from Christmas is intensifying. “It’s a stupid ad; the Bible tells us what’s good and bad.” And, “this is insulting”. One organization plans to mobilize its 2.5 million supporters to contact city officials and Congress to stop the "un-Godly campaign."

Folks – let them run the ads – this is a golden opportunity for us to spread the good news!

I first came across this ad on dailykos, which is a political, left-leaning blog (with, apparently, no shortage of atheists and agnostics). I look for opportunities to inject my faith on this blog, and when the conversation turned to this ad it made it easy. Not everyone was convinced (and some come across as a bit hostile) but at least we got to talking about Christ! What a great opportunity!

My favorite post on this topic was written by houndog, who commented:

Good question, Why not believe. As a Christian, very strong in my faith, that is exactly the question I would love for someone to ask. It opens the door to share Gods grace. I was once an atheist and one day someone shared with me their story. It's because I asked the above question. Why believe in God? So, ask away. I know a lot of people who would like to answer.
So, ask anyway. I, for one, would certainly like to answer.

Have any thoughts about this ad campaign? Please share. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

i had not seen the ad at all before this post.
i like your view on it.
that it is not something to be afraid of and use our own way of battling it. but, to use it as an opening for God to speak to others is the way of using the power of God instead of the power of evil.

thanks for a very good and uplifting post.

Anonymous said...

it is always amazing to me how God can use everything for His good... especially if we put our trust in Him.

Kansas Bob said...

I read the dailyKos thread and I think you did a great job there Ed. I agree with your thinkings on this.. this is a great opportunity for people of faith.

So called "intellectuals" do not have the high ground on this one for sure.. agnosticism just means I don't know and atheism means I think I know.. nothing intellectual about it.. it is all a matter of what you have faith in.

Steve F. said...

One of the first thing my ministry professor told us was, "Stop trying to protect God's righteousness! Stop trying to save God! He doesn't need saving! Instead, try reaching out to those who need to meet Him - rather than clubbing them over the head with Him!"

I agree exactly with your view on this - it's a great opening, IF we can do so in a welcoming, open way.

And for that matter, I wish I could preach to my fellow Christians something as simple as the Hippocratic oath - "first, do no harm."

Anonymous said...


paul del signore said...

great point. What a great opportunity to talk about faith in God.

We need more of 'God talk' in ads, editorials, news items, etc... the point is to make talking about God comfortable and common.