As Christmas 2014 nears, American Atheists are at it again. Their annual mocking of Christ’s birth has become all too predictable, but this year’s billboard campaign is the most pedantic yet. Depicting a young girl penning a letter to Santa, the billboard reads, “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I’m too old for fairy tales.”
The use of sarcasm in lieu of facts is a tactic more akin to the defiance of a rebellious middle schooler than to the thoughtful argument of an adult. Indeed, having nothing to serve up to the public but juvenile vitriol shows the atheists’ movement is running out of gas.
With the passing of arguably the only real intellectual from among the ranks—Christopher Hitchens, who died in 2012 and whom I had the privilege of interviewing on two occasions—the atheists have found no leader who comes close to matching Hitchens’ intellect, platform or even personality.
Not that Hitchens’ diatribes against God had any real substance; they didn’t. But in a mere two years, we’ve gone from atheist-related headlines led by Hitchens, a respectable scholar, to atheists’ making news with a billboard mocking church-going. Yawn.
American Atheists can dish out all the vitriol they want about God, church and the life of Christ (which, incidentally, ranks among the most historically documented facts of the ancient world). But smirks and blasphemes, however well-marketed, an argument do not make.
We get your point: You don’t like the idea of answering to the Almighty. But let’s be honest, if an atheist doesn’t want to acknowledge his Creator, he doesn’t have to. No one is going to force him to believe in God.
But, my atheist friends, at least be willing to shoulder some burden of proof for your world. What is the origin of matter? How, in the absence of God, do you account for the nature of morality or the first principles of logic? How do you account for the objective nature of mathematics in a nontheistic universe?
I’m still waiting for any atheist—whose default explanation for everything is Darwinian evolution—to tell me when we have ever observed mutations add new information to the genome. Despite the deafening silence on this request, atheists enjoy the liberties, prosperity and safety of a culture that, at least to a degree, still operates according to its Christian beginnings.
It’s baffling why groups like American Atheists would work so hard to demolish the philosophical framework of America as this is the very worldview that gave us the culture of freedom and plenty we enjoy today. Such a developed, orderly, safe, democratic and prosperous society like ours offers the opportunity of self-determination and the chance to engage in what the Founders called “the pursuit of happiness.”
Certainly, not all who enjoy the fruits of freedom embrace or even understand the wellspring of conviction that guided our Founders. But surely they should appreciate the dangers of dismantling the philosophical underpinnings of this God-blessed nation that has been so good to us all.
It’s also puzzling that the atheists I meet talk more about God than most preachers I know. Why devote so much conversation, and even copious amounts of one’s life, to a nonexistent Being? Whenever I respond to emails from an atheist, my answers invariably result in pages-long replies. If there is no God, why devote so much bandwidth to fighting him?
Then again, rationality has never been atheism’s strong suit. And this year’s billboard campaign is a case in point.
Perhaps the snarky, anti-Christmas billboards aren’t about the pursuit of truth at all. Maybe our atheist friends are just lifelong contrarians who need something to oppose. Or perhaps they enjoy seeing their name in print. After all, there is some self-validation in that.
But even better is the value one feels from having his self-worth derived from something higher—something like a God, Who so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. Atheists don’t have to believe this. But for those who do and who know firsthand the love of that Child from Bethlehem, God is a reality no secularist bluster can ever shake.
Atheists should be thankful that the calendar is measured by God’s entry into human history. After all, a worldwide holiday like Christmas gives them something at which to aim and an opportunity for some headlines.
We’ll have to wait and see what they come up with for next year. In the meantime, Christmas joy, peace and love to all. And especially to my atheist friends.
Alex McFarland is a Christian apologist and evangelist. He has written 17 books, and also serves as Director of the Center for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University, located in South Carolina. www.alexmcfarland.com; www.truthforanewgeneration.com