O Me of Little Faith

Watch out, America. The stiff-necked, unbelieving buses of England are coming to the streets of our nation’s Capitol. Like its marketing-savvy counterparts in the British Humanist Association, the American Humanist Association debuted its own there-is-no-god ad campaign this week. Also like the British campaign (“There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”), this one delivers a fairly happy, optimistic message:

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

And also like the British campaign, they’re meeting with some opposition from Christians, like American Family Association president Tim Wildmon:

“It’s a stupid ad,” he said. “How do we define ‘good’ if we don’t believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what’s good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what’s good, it’s going to be a crazy world.”

I don’t know. It’s kind of a crazy world already, isn’t it? What with original sin being what it is? It’s not like everything was all cupcakes and butterflies until these ads showed up. Besides I’m pretty sure there are at least a few ways to be good that aren’t expressly mentioned in the Bible. Like the time when I helped my grandmother install her new flatscreen TV. I don’t see much harm in telling people to be good, even if they’re just being good for goodness’ sake and not for God’s sake.

But, then again, the humanist group has motives other than goodwill toward men. Their spokesman, Fred Edwords, told the Associated Press that they’re not exactly trying to change people’s minds about the existence of God, but “we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.” Hang on. Rational thought? Critical thinking? I’m not sure those are bad, either. At least not in themselves.

This is getting complicated.

So, the conclusions I draw are as follows:

1) If Christians can campaign to keep “Christ” in Christmas, then atheists can campaign to leave him out of it. It’s only fair, and I don’t think God is too threatened by it.

2) God is always on the side of people doing good regardless of the reason — or even for no reason at all — even if the American Family Association isn’t.

3) I think God is also on the side of “rational thought and critical thinking,” since he created our brains. Is he therefore on the side of the American Humanist Association? A straight-up logical syllogism would say “yes,” but I’m not smart enough to parse that one all the way through.

4) When did buses become the leading edge of the war between atheists and Christians?

The ad campaign directs people to this website, if you want to go there. Just don’t pay attention to anything happening there because it will inevitably lead to a crazy world. You’ve been warned.

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