Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Faith Debate"? What "Faith Debate"?

The company for which I work is currently in the midst of a small controversy over its refusal to accept advertising, which reads: "You can be good without God." This is not a comment, one way or the other, on the company's policy decision.

The United Church of Canada weighed in recently, saying the ads -- or even those from Europe, which state "There probably is no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life" -- should be allowed, and it would welcome a debate on faith.

Pardon me? What "debate" would this be? A debate is a competition of rationally constructed arguments intended to prove a particular conclusion. What "debate" is there that God exists? God defies rational thinking, so how can one build an argument that stands up to debate? Even Jesus didn't debate with Satan during His 40 days in the wilderness. Satan tried to drag him onto that worldly turf with the statement, "if Thou be the Son of God ...." For Jesus even to address that statement would be to give it credibility and allow the possibility that He wasn't the Son of God. Once you go down that road, the devil has the upper hand.

Funny how the United Church would "welcome" that.

Of course, what is welcomed is the opportunity to declare our faith. Jon Boyd at Westpointe Christian Centre gave a dynamite sermon on Feb. 8, which addressed the concept that (a) the existence of God is a source of worry and (b) God is an impediment to enjoying life. I hope other pastors have done the same. Mind you, you don't need an ad campaign to get those declarations started: that's what church is supposed to be about, isn't it?

And can you be good without God? Sure! You could be good ... not harming anybody, sitting at home with the cat on your lap, reading what The Great Gatsby called an "improving book"; and not once venturing out to minister to the homeless, visit the fatherless and widowed in their affliction and NEVER tithing to the Lord.

But is that what life is about?

What a boring, selfish existence that would be.

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