Is this REALLY Necessary?
While putting together this week’s Ministry Briefing (oh by the way, we release them every Friday now!) I came across a story from the CNN Belief Blog about an advertising campaign recently launched by Answers in Genesis. The campaign consists of a series of billboards in New York, San Francisco, and LosAngeles much like those seen in the picture. The text of the message sends a pretty blatant message:
To all of our atheist friends: Thank God you’re wrong.
Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, credits a similar campaign by American Atheists as the genesis for his billboards. When asked why he was launching the campaign, he told interviewers:
The Bible says to contend for the faith. We thought we should come up with something that would make a statement in the culture, a bold statement, and direct them to our website. We’re not against them personally. We’re not trying to attack them personally, but we do believe they’re wrong.
From an atheist’s perspective, they believe when they die, they cease to exist. And we say ‘no, you’re not going to cease to exist; you’re going to spend eternity with God or without God. And if you’re an atheist, you’re going to be spending it without God.’
Reading this, I am reminded of a group of young boys after an act of mischief, giggling and carrying on, saying things like “we showed them!” I understand that we are encouraged to contend for our faith, but scripture also teaches that we will be known as disciples of Christ by our love, and that the way we go about correcting those with false beliefs matters a great deal.
To me, this messaging smacks of a smug arrogance, not love.
There may be those who say that this billboard is the ultimate act of love, speaking truth to a wayward culture… but that is the same line that Westboro Baptist Church uses to justify their actions.
What if we called a truce on the billboard wars, and instead of developing pithy statements and clever billboards, we took the time to get to know our atheist neighbors and love them?
Seems to me that is what Jesus has called us to do.
What am I missing here? Am I wrong on this one?