Christmas, Humanists and being “good”

humanist-bus2Some Humanists launched a Why believe in a god? ad campaign on Washington, D.C. buses.  The signs read:

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

Their goal is “to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.”  This assumes we haven’t done that already, of course.  Countless Christians have been asking tough questions and thinking carefully for millennia. 

Here are some reasons to believe in God and why being “good for goodness’ sake” will ultimately fail you:

  1. God is real
  2. His standard of goodness is not your standard of goodness.  Even in your best moments you can’t win over God with your good behavior.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior.  Jesus is that Savior, and Christmas celebrates his entry into his creation.
  3. Individual standards of goodness vary.  Stalin thought he was good.  Abortionists think they are good. You may think you are good.  But how would you like have the content of every thought you’ve ever had communicated publicly?  Me neither.
  4. If there is no God, then the concept of universal morality is just a fiction that our defective bags-o’-chemicals bodies created.  Good will always just be what we want it to be, or what people vote it to be. 

Also peruse the apologetics links on the right, such as this one.

Back to the article:

Best-selling books by authors such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have fueled interest in “the new atheism” — a more in-your-face argument against God’s existence.

Yet few Americans describe themselves as atheist or agnostic; a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll from earlier this year found 92 percent of Americans believe in God.

Even though 92% claim to believe in God, practically speaking many are functional Humanists themselves. 

There was no debate at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority over whether to take the ad. Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the agency accepts ads that aren’t obscene or pornographic.

To be clear, I have no objection to the Humanists using their funds to put forth their views in the marketplace of ideas.  Christians should be informed about what they believe and why they believe it and be able to engage the culture with the Good News of Jesus.  Provocative ads like this can make good discussion starters for us.

14 thoughts on “Christmas, Humanists and being “good””

  1. Wow, just look at number one. you can’t argue God exists by saying he does. That is the most illogical argument you can make. I live with no god and I do just fine. Infact I live a more moral life than alot of very devout christians i know. And the whole “everyones a sinner” thing is just hopless. If lifes a game, your saying you can’t win unless you type “jesus”. what kinda game is that? you can win, and lose, and everything inbetween. Jesus has nothing to do with it. And you are very wrong about abortionists. Where in the bible does it say that thats a sin? If you truly believe that abortionists are sinners and going to hell for that sole fact, then you are discriminating against people and your intolerance will ensure a very special place in hell for you “if hell even exists.”

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  2. Hi Brennen,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    Sorry I wasn’t more clear on item one. It was a conclusion, not a statement of the proofs, just as the Humanists put their conclusion up on a billboard. You can read any of the apologetic links to see the evidence from first cause, teleology, morality, logic, etc. if you are interested.

    You think you are doing just fine, but eternity is a mighty long time. I wouldn’t draw that conclusion just yet. You are enjoying God’s common grace, which believers and non-believers alike get to enjoy.

    I didn’t say life was a game. Jesus is God and the creator of the universe, so you ignore him at your peril. You get to face God and account for every one of your sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, as well as the good things you didn’t do, or you can trust in Jesus and have your sins transferred to his account and his perfect righteousness transferred to yours. The pardon is there, but you can accept it or reject it. Jesus really lived and died for our sins. There is more to it than that, of course, but that’s the Gospel in summary.

    Re. abortionists: The Bible is pretty clear about the do not murder thing. And unless you are anti-science you’ll should concede that abortion kills an innocent human being. Secular embryology textbooks agree with the obvious statement that life begins at conception. Many pro-legalized abortionists concede the humanity of the unborn but have moved on to the elusive and philosophical “personhood” argument, which is just as bad but clearly not scientific.

    I think we’re all sinners in need of a Savior, not just abortionists. It is just that some sins have greater temporal consequences than others. Ripping off a human being’s limbs and crushing her skull — without anesthetic — yields some rather serious and permanent consequences.

    Peace,
    Neil

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  3. “Even in your best moments you can’t win over God with your good behavior.”

    Great line – you just summed up humanity’s biggest problem in terms a 5-year-old would understand. Jesus is, quite simply, the answer to that dilemma. Subjective truth and moral relativism have no place in God’s economy.

    FWIW, I’m actually a bit surprised that this went over without an eyebrow being raised here in the US (but I’m naive like that). If it were Europe, I’d say it’s redundant, but in so heavily a “Christianized” nation I still find it mildly surprising.

    Things have been heating up and I expect they will much more as we move towards the end. Thanks for posting this.

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  4. Thanks, Marie. Yes, things seem to be heating up! Christianity has always waged a two-front war, against false teachers within and the state outside it. But now the outside forces seem to have multiplied – the re-energized New Atheists (even though the arguments haven’t changed much in 2,000 years), the postmoderns and their denial of truth, the pro-LGBTQ lobby, and more. But that’s OK – the church does better under stress, anyway. If we could just find a way to reclassify the liberal theologians as a secular group it would be a great start!

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  5. I am reading Ray Yungen’s “A Time of Departing” right now (I expect to review it on my blog by the end of the week). He cites amazing statistics – around 70% of self-proclaiming American Christians believe that other religions are or may be equally valid paths to God. Ie, faith in Jesus is not mandatory for salvation although “it works for me”. I forget the percentage of evangelical Christians who are (knowingly or unknowingly) involved in some sort of New Age practice or philosophies, but it was also very high.

    Personally, I think these types of threats from within are of greater concern than the skeptics and atheists from outside. Atheism never led Christians into apostasy.

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  6. Neil, I saw this news article yesterday and started to send you a note. Glad to see you found it and commented.

    Brennen said “you truly believe that abortionists are sinners and going to hell for that sole fact…”

    It’s not that sole fact that sends sinners to hell. Abortion is a forgivable sin. People who perform abortions can be forgiven. People go to hell because they ignore their sin or decide that they can’t give up a lifestyle of sin. I have (almost) no control over whether I go to heaven or hell, but I have turned that over the one that does have control.

    (almost no control – I do have the choice of turning it over to Him or not – that’s all the control I have)

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  7. I think life is more of an education than a game, and we are taking it pass/fail.

    As for those 92%, too many of them haven’t gotten close enough to God to hear him, but I keep pushing.

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  8. You always beat me to the good stuff Neil! True believers know this has everything to do with an obsession of pride and idolatry.

    If God doesn’t exist people are free to do as they chose, responsible for themselves and no one else..some grandiose notion they are totally responsible for all of the success in their lives while blaming everyone under the sun at failures–everyone but themselves anyway.

    They are free to concentrate on whatever pleases them from family to the internet. The world is as obsessive as it has always been.

    The mistake comes from assigning human qualities to One that is not human. “There is no God, because there would be no suffering if He existed” To that person I ask, How else do you find Him? Have you looked beyond the suffering?” God is almost never given credit for what is good. Why, because its expected of Him?

    You want proof in the existence of God? It cannot be given. It has been commanded that you seek Him yourself! If you choose not to look, share, argue or whatever then that is your choice. You claim abundance without the assistance of God, but it leaves me wondering how much more you could have.

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  9. why dont they invent a new religion that makes a virtue out of multiple personality disorder. Can you imagine a city where everybody who had one personality was shunned as being a heretic and treated like a refusenik in Russia?

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