"Do you know," the reporter asked me, "of any church groups that might take out advertising to counter this?"
That rather tiresome group, the "freethought" lobby -- a/k/a atheists -- has resurfaced, purchasing ad space on public transit, where they intend to run a series of ads either questioning or outright denying the existence of God. I've blogged about the discussion that happened almost two years ago when they tried this, and now they're trying to raise the hackles of pretty much every group that they feel doesn't use hard science to back up its claims.
I understand these adverts will use the late Carl Sagan's declaration that "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence".
I don't know if any church group will try to respond with an ad campaign of its own. My advice is that there shouldn't be one. Why pay good money to advertise something that's so doggone obvious? Most churches I know of that have that kind of bread are spending it on helping the poor, healing the sick, comforting the brokenhearted -- you know, activities that prove there is a God.
Oh, yeah ... and praying for those who don't believe. But that doesn't cost money.
I will -- as our forefathers have -- defend to the death their right to say what they feel and to advertise it; I also know that I was very much in that camp at one point: maybe not outright denying there was a God, but refusing to accept that He played any kind of role in day-to-day life or that I had any responsibility to Him. I figured science -- and my own intellect -- knew best.
And I learned the hard, painful way how wrong I was about my intellect ... and the humbling, gratifying way how wrong I was about His being "distant". And in my own free thought, of my own free will, I came to Him.
The "freethinkers" are just as lost as I was. But remember: Jesus wants us either ice-cold or red-hot -- anything else, and He'll spew us out of His mouth on Judgment Day.
So I won't argue with these people and I would encourage any other Believer to sit this one out. Remember: arguments rapidly deteriorate into exercises in "who's right" rather than "what's right", and as Bishop Noel Jones says, you could win an argument but lose a soul. Instead, we need to reach out to these folks and simply -- as James Aldrich says -- love them until they ask why.
I do pray that the "freethinkers" open their minds to the idea of God, and that if they want a "discussion", they lead the hand by providing "extraordinary evidence" that He doesn't exist -- because I guarantee, that's the most extraordinary claim of all.