There is an utterly ludicrous evangelical ‘course’ which has been advertising in England by slapping big ol’ polls on the wall. Like this one:
As is, those boxes are blank…but man, they’re just begging to be filled in, and a lot of people can’t resist walking up to them and marking the right answer. Unfortunately, the transit police are then arresting them.
There’s a metaphor there. Looking at this Alpha Course, what I see is a narrow evangelical game that pretends to be an open arena for skeptical inquiry, but is actually nothing of the kind. Their ads are full of questions that by their very nature reveal that they expect certain kinds of answers, answers that only verify the dogma of Christianity. Look what they go on about:
Who is Jesus?
Why did Jesus die?
How can we have faith?
Why and how do I pray?
Why and how should I read the Bible?
How does God guide us?
How can I resist evil?
Why & how should we tell others?
Does God heal today?
What about the Church?
Who is the Holy Spirit?
What does the Holy Spirit do?
How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
How can I make the most of the rest of my life?
But it seems to me that if your answer to the basic question of whether there is a god is “no”, it’s silly to go on to make assumptions about the divinity of Jesus, or babble about prayer, or talk about mysterious magical entities like the Holy Spirit.
You know what they’re doing. Answer any question with reason, or an expectation of evidence, anything but blind affirmation, and they will lock you up. It’s how religion works.