American Atheists, founded nearly half a century ago by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, is still around, and this year, they’re sending out a Christmas card, of sorts. More precisely, they’ve put up a Christmas billboard, prominently placed in North Bergen, N.J. It features a Nativity scene and a bah-humbug message for all to see:
“You KNOW it’s a Myth / This Season, Celebrate REASON!”
Understandably, some Christians are offended. But we should look at this less as a cause for offense than as an opportunity to talk about truth.
There’s a lot you can say against American Atheists, but say one thing for them: At least they’re making truth claims. They’re saying that Christianity is false. And they’re implicitly presuming that’s worth saying — publicly — because truth matters. That’s a lot more than we can say for those who hide behind slippery slogans like “You have your truth, I have my truth” or “We shouldn’t argue about what’s true; we should just respect everybody’s beliefs.”
It’d be too bad if Christians pass up any opportunity to talk about the truth of our faith. Especially if, instead, we fall back on the lowest-common-denominator critique: the notion that people shouldn’t say things that offend other people’s religious faiths, or (for that matter) lack thereof. In that misbegotten view, the problem with American Atheists’ billboard message isn’t that it’s false, but that it’s ill-mannered.
We should love to talk about the truth of Christianity, not just our feelings about it (“what Jesus means to me personally”) or how it can make others feel (“what Jesus could mean in your life”). It only matters because it’s true. If Christ is not both God and man, born of a virgin, killed and resurrected, then our faith is worthless and we’re pitiful. Just as the Apostle Paul said (1 Corinthians 15:16-20).
Because it is true, though, it matters more than anything.