From at least 1994 when I remember writing my first column on the subject, despisers of the Almighty and liberals of the most spineless of stripes have conspired to undermine Christmas as a national celebration in the attempt to downplay and ultimately eliminate public recognition of God in general and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ in specific. These efforts have been so widespread that I was able to compile columns written about them over the years into a book titled "Yuletide Terror & Other Holiday Horrors".
Though the American people have been manipulated and their resistance worn down on a number of fronts to the point that they now let slide any number of outrages that would have caused considerable uproar in the past, for the most part citizens have been quite vocal about attempts by secular leftists to ban acknowledgement of the Christmas season. However, now that traditionalists have asserted the right to publicly affirm their god-given heritage, secularists are responding with alternative displays of their own promoting their own particular worldview.
Foremost among these is an ad campaign targeted at Washington, DC’s public transportation system. The posters sponsored by the American Humanist Association read, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake..” This simple question and accompanying reply are in need of a complex response.
For starters, whether we like it or not, if an atheist front group wants to pony up the cash, they have the same right to buy public advertising space like any other organization with too much money on its hands. Responses such as the one presented in a 11/17/08 USA Today article titled “Atheism: A Positive Pillar” where an Illinois state legislator told an atheist activist, “It’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!...You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying.”
Such an attitude may itself be of a greater danger than the outright atheism. For it is wrong on a number of philosophical and apologetic grounds.
For starters, it is not really all that dangerous for children to know atheism exists. Granted, one might not want to, as in the example used by D. James Kennedy in a classic sermon, hand one’s child over to a thoroughgoing secularist who on the first day of kindergarten proceeds to indoctrinate the hapless pupil as to the alleged reasons why God does not exist and why Jesus Christ is not His Son.
However, part of protecting children is to warn them of the dangers out there bent on destroying them in body and soul. Thus, just as parents eventually one day have to have that discussion with their young ones about the existence of pedophiles and where to aim the kick should some sicko every try to rob the young ones of their innocence, parents also have the obligation to warn to warn that there are those out there that hate God so much that they’d like nothing more than to persuade you to give up your belief in Him as well.
The cause of Christ is not served by hiding these things from young minds and then finally exposing them to such apostasies upon adulthood. It’s challenging enough when you are taught about these things and then find your self surrounded by the products of an education system advocating such a viewpoint reeking of what you always heard pot smelled like and another hooligan wearing a t-shirt with decals of copulating skeletons as I remember the first day of college.
Secondly, lack of a belief in something is a belief about it. For too long, Christians and allied theists have played into the hands of atheists and agnostics by going along with the notion that those professing unbelief are objective and unfettered by preconceived epistemological commitments and that the believers are the ones holding onto bedrock dogmatic foundations. Many atheists are just as rabid in their assumptions as the most zealous of pulpit-pounding evangelists.
The anti-God Christmas placards intone the reader to "Just be good for goodness sake." But without God, can good truly exist? For if He does not, mankind is left with the alternatives of either nihilistic anarchy or regimented totalitarianism.
For example, if God does not exist, who is to say whatever the individual thinks or does is right or wrong? As has been said, in some cultures they are suppose to love their neighbors and in others they eat them. To the cannibal the adage is not so much finger licking good but rather good to lick fingers.
Furthermore, if God does not exist, on what grounds do the institutions of society such as the government have the right to tell you to do anything whatsoever? Without God and His revelation, the "IS" automatically becomes the "OUGHT" with rules and laws merely being those promulgations which keep the strongest in power.
But what about the individual, the timid may ask unsettled by the door that has been opened but too prideful to grasp Christ's outstretched hand. What about the individual?
If the individual is no better than all the other animals who are themselves just products of random chance, his welfare means nothing in comparison to the welfare and even the convenience of the larger group. Though it is a somewhat different philosophy, according to a Caryl Matrisciana column titled “An Enlightened Race?” New Agers who believe similarly to atheists that there are no absolutes rooted in the character of an eternal personal God don’t even want to say Hitler did anything wrong but rather merely things that were misguided at worst.
The New Atheists claim that the suspicions their worldview elicits are unfounded because as humanists they only have the betterment of the species in mind and that traditional religions are the ones responsible for the atrocities of history.
Margaret Downey of the Atheist Alliance International is quoted in the USA Today article as saying, "We atheists simply add an 'o' to our belief system --- we believe in good." However, that is in spite of rather than because of their unbelief.
If anything, what atheists exhibit when they manifest goodness is remaining Judeo-Christian moral capital. These individuals professing godlessness remain largely good because they have been acculturated in a milieu largely Biblical in its underlying ethical orientation.
However, as time marches on and these foundations are eroded as succeeding generations will become less familiar with this heritage. Future atheists will not be as eager to embrace the balanced approach to life we in the West have come to categorize as good.
Incidents where traditional forms of religion have been invoked to justify abridgements of individual liberty are horrifically tragic but because they betray the values espoused by the founders of these systems of belief. However, by default, that does not make those claiming to lack a religious faith are not necessarily more laid back in their approach to life and less prone to violence.
If anything, lack of divine restraints seems to send man's compulsion to prey (not pray) upon his fellow man into overdrive. One only need to look at the histories of regimes with an explicit antipathy towards the God of the Bible such as Soviet Russia, Red China, and Nazi Germany. And even in the United States where human dignity is for the most parts respected, numbers are appallingly high in terms of the millions slaughtered in the names of abortion and so-called “reproductive rights”, a charge led primarily by the godless along with the wishy-washy easily whipped up into a frenzied enthusiasm over the joys of baby-killing.
As commuters putter about this Christmas season and viewers watch the battle of the broadsides, there is more at stake than an esoteric debate as to the nature and origins of goodness. Both our very lives and our eternal destines could very well be on the line.
by Frederick Meekins