Dec 022014 29 Responses

A Christian Response to an Atheist Billboard

What is an appropriate response from a Christian when an atheist group purchases a billboard? There isn’t one, because no response is necessary.

Targeting several Bible-belt communities across the United States, an atheist group is erecting billboards proclaiming the foolishness of believing in God and going to church. The local billboard is of a little girl writing to Santa and her letter says, “All I want for Christmas is to skip church. I’m too old to believe in fairy tales.” (See: Three Lies Christians Tell Themselves)

Obviously I disagree with the message, but the billboard itself is cute. It’s a well crafted message targeting a specific group of people.

Someone asked me my thought and my response was “Who cares?”

But apparently many people care.

Some towns are fighting to prevent the billboards from being used. Others are purchasing nearby billboards to put up their own messages. Some see it as evidence of a continual decline in our moral fiber. Others want to boycott the companies taking the money from the atheists.

What I can’t understand is why this is an issue?

1. Don’t most billboards communicate a message contrary to the gospel? Life is not found in a new car, the right jeans, or better hair. While there is nothing wrong with those things, many billboards attempt to communicate that those items could radically transform our lives. They can’t. The billboards lie. What is so different about an atheist billboard proclaiming life apart from God compared to a materialistic billboard proclaiming life apart from God?

2. Shouldn’t we expect and even welcome others to state their beliefs? Thankfully we have the ability to freely communicate what we believe. Churches regularly take advantage of these rights to communicate the truth. Why are we surprised that someone who disagrees with the church would proclaim a different message? Christians should welcome the discussion with atheists. Some look at the world and see the evidence of a Creator while others look at the same evidence and believe there is not a Creator. It is useful to talk to one another about what one believes. (See: What I Mean When I Say ‘You Are a Sinner’)

3. Have we understood the danger of preventing free speech? If anyone should fight for the right of an atheist to state their opinion, it should be Christians. As soon as someone of another belief system is prevented from stating their beliefs, Christians will begin to experience the same the restrictions.

4. What are Christians afraid of? By reacting in a negative way to the billboard, Christians are communicating that we are afraid of honest debate and dissenting opinions. Why? Are our beliefs so flimsy that we fear our faith will wilt if someone argues against Christianity? A negative response to a billboard makes God look weak and Christianity mindless. Neither are true.

5. Do we not realize by reacting we are drawing attention to their advertising? Ironically, the negative response to the billboard has given the atheist group far more free advertising than they ever would have received for paid advertising. This is the response an atheist wants because it communicates their message. In the same way, I would never mind if an atheist group or false-church group protested in front of a church because it would give me a free platform to proclaim my message.

As a pastor, it is frustrating that local news stations run stories about a billboard. Of all the interesting stories in our local communities and of all the major issues taking place on a national and global level, why waste time on one meaningless billboard? Yet they do, and many Christians react. (See: Don’t Tell Me Every Religion Is the Same)

Yet there is no need to do so. Someone buying a billboard proclaiming their beliefs is neither a story nor an issue. It’s a group of Americans exercising their free speech. Let them do so and leave them alone.

29 Responses to A Christian Response to an Atheist Billboard
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