They go by different labels, atheists, humanists or agnostics. Whatever title they use, they share a common disbelief; there is no God. Moving out of the shadows of anonymity and into the light of the public arena, they advertise on billboards, hold rallies, are becoming more organized, and even do outreach. Once content to let others believe whatever, they have become more outspoken, emboldened to share and spread their disbelief. They seem ironically possessed by an evangelistic zeal to proclaim the nonexistent and make converts.
Dan Nerren was once a Southern Baptist, but not anymore. He is one of the founders of the Humanist Association of Tulsa in Oklahoma. The Humanist Association of Tulsa has been in a protracted battle “for years” with the Tulsa City Council in an effort to prevent “sectarian prayers” before council meetings. Recently, the Tulsa City Council placated Nerren by allowing him to give the invocation at one of their meetings.
There are two things about this concession that are blatantly absurd. First, Nerren delivered what surely was a very sectarian prayer because he believes there should be no sectarian prayers. How ridiculous is that for a group that supposedly esteems reason above faith? Second, the Humanist Association of Tulsa also avows “We deplore efforts to…look outside of nature for salvation.” Since the word prayer means to supplicate or request divine assistance, who did Nerren pray to?
Nerren was supported by Bill Dusenberry who represented the Northeast Oklahoma chapter of that bastion of reason, Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Dusenberry said he appreciated the Tulsa City Council’s “willingness to accommodate diversity.” But I am always leery of any organization whose title contains an oxymoron like “United for Separation.”
Back in July an atheist in Pennsylvania, John Wolff, filed a complaint against the Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen of Columbia restaurant with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. The restaurant was offering a ten percent discount to those patrons on Sundays who had a church bulletin. Wolff considered that discriminatory because he does not attend church. I wonder how many will file a complaint because they go to a church that does not have bulletins, or runs out of them?
Anyway, it seems as silly as a vegetarian filing a complaint against a grocery store because it is offering a discount on hamburger meat (I hope I didn’t give any vegetarians any ideas). Any atheist who would like to stop by church after services on Sunday, I’ll give a bulletin, and anyone who will attend worship services with me I’ll buy your lunch. That’s a 100% discount. Hopefully none of my fellow believers will file a complaint against me for discriminating against them.
Then there is the Clergy Project promoted by atheist Richard Dawkins. According to him the Clergy Project “exists to provide a safe haven, a forum where clergy who have lost their faith can meet each other, exchange views, swap problems, counsel each other.” The project likes to showcase people like Teresa MacBain.
While serving a Methodist church MacBain claimed in a magazine article “I am currently an active pastor and I’m also an atheist. I live a double life.” Though she eventually resigned her pastorate, she admittedly continued for some time to draw her salary while lying to her church in her sermons about beliefs she did not embrace. Evidently MacBain lost much more than her faith, if she ever had any.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News. The Scriptures offer us comfort and guidance for the present, and hope for the future. Every believer is like the excellent wife described in Proverbs 31:10-31. Because of our faith we can “smile at the future (v.25).”
As I have already showed unbelievers are no more rational, wise, or moral in what they say and do than anyone else. They wholly reject the idea of divine intervention and say we must rely completely on each other to solve our problems. Read any newspaper on any given day and you will see that mankind is not doing a very good job of saving itself. Any way you look at it, that’s bad news.