How to fight atheism


We don’t very often have good things to say about churches here, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. And for once, we’ve got a church that, as the San Antonio Express-News reports, finally gets it right.

Call it the battle of the billboards.

In Lexington, a church has decided to lease billboard space to respond to a recent message from an atheists’ group.

Pastor Jared Henry of Lafayette Church of the Nazarene told the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/PUE72k) that the church has gotten “almost exclusively positive feedback” after posting its message, which says: “We believe in God. Join the right club. John 3:16.”

It came on the heels of a billboard message in September and October that said: “Don’t believe in God? Join the club.”

No death threats? No vandalism? Wow.

Not everyone is happy about the billboard.

Clay Maney, a member of the Humanist Forum of Central Kentucky, said the Bluegrass Coalition of Reason put up the original billboard to let non-believers know that they are not alone…

“The new billboard comes across as judgment when ours did not,” Maney said. “We’re trying to be welcoming, while they’re trying to be judgmental.”

Nonsense, they’re just claiming that their religion is better than unbelief, as is the prerogative of any publicity campaign. That’s totally legit, plus it gives atheists a perfect precedent for billboards saying that atheism is better. So kudos to Pastor Jared Henry of Lafayette Church of the Nazarene.

Comments

  1. steve84 says

    It’s not nonsense. The atheist billboard was targeted at people who are already atheists. The Christians just want to convert people as usual. In addition they call everyone who doesn’t believe in their god “wrong” and of course there is the ever present implicit threat of eternal damnation. Hardly the same thing.

  2. John Morales says

    Deacon Duncan :

    … but I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

    Indeed.

    So — what is this credit that you give?

    No death threats? No vandalism? Wow.

    Mmm-hmm.

    (Faint praise, eh?)

    So kudos to Pastor Jared Henry of Lafayette Church of the Nazarene.

    ;)

  3. grumpyoldfart says

    And next Sunday they’ll be telling the children that Jesus walked on water and if anyone disagrees they will burn in hell for ever!

    • says

      I can’t drive around my town without seeing church signs all over the place, including pro-religion billboards along the highway sometimes. So my response to a story about a church putting up a sign is a big eyeroll. You sure showed dem atheists, Pastor Henry. The pro-God side has finally spoken up!

  4. says

    the church has gotten “almost exclusively positive feedback” after posting its message

    Golly. Members of the privileged majority got largely positive feedback from the rest of the privileged majority after endorsing the majority view? What a surprise.

    Also, John 3:16? That’s so cliche. This billboard could have just as easily been inspired by someone wearing a rainbow wig at a football game. C’mon, put some effort into it.

  5. gshelley says

    Well, it is a little judgemental, but that’s hardly the point. The correct response from the atheist group is surely along the lines of “They are entirely within their rights to put out their message, just as we are within our rights to put out ours”. Complaining about the tone, especially for something so mild, and even a little amusing (as it is clearly a play on the atheist message), comes across as petty and too similar to the Christians who object to the atheist billboards in the first place.

  6. wholething says

    The reporter probably wanted to do a story that showed the atheists were put out by the church’s response and prodded the atheist for some sort of negative answer to put in the story. If they don’t get that answer at the beginning, they will ask it another way like “what did you like least about their billboard?” That answer ends up as the quote they print.

    I have seen TV news reporters ask the same question until the interviewee hesitates or answers with a look of exasperation from responding to the same question. That’s the take you see on the 11 o’clock news.

    A friend took his grandkids to Cozumel but had to be evacuated because of a hurricane. The travel agency put them in a better hotel further south and it was one of their best vacations ever. A TV news reporter met them at the airport when they returned but cut how much they enjoyed the trip to focus on the fact they weren’t getting a refund because they didn’t purchase travel insurance.

    TheWayOfThePasta posted a video on Youtube today about an FRFF billboard that showed a picture of an actual atheist captioned “What a real atheist looks like.” It was vandalized when someone drew horns on the guy.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      The reporter probably wanted to do a story that showed the atheists were put out by the church’s response and prodded the atheist for some sort of negative answer to put in the story. If they don’t get that answer at the beginning, they will ask it another way like “what did you like least about their billboard?” That answer ends up as the quote they print.

      You’re right, I should have thought of that.

  7. says

    Nonsense, they’re just claiming that their religion is better than unbelief, as is the prerogative of any publicity campaign.

    Sure, that last part is fine and all, but the atheist billboard did not claim that unbelief is better than belief. So it’s not complete nonsense, though I would agree that the Humanist Forum of Central Kentucky using the term “judgmental” is over-the-top.

  8. ericblair says

    “Protestant Christian church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, tracing its roots to 1908, and it is an offshoot of British Methodism.”

    It’s just one denomination among hundreds (or thousands), so how can anybody be sure that some other sect isn’t actually the “right” club?

  9. Kristina D says

    Could it be possible that a church just advocates acceptance? Even if it is a little snarky?

    I mean, if they truly practice living in the image of Christ, isn’t that what Jesus would do? Accept the nonbelievers?

    Sure, it’s idealistic. But not improbable.

    It reminds me of this video I recently came across– it’s a cute little song about how Jesus and his followers actually Occupy Jerusalem.

    Anyways, here it is: http://youtu.be/a6akkb_afqs

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