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Atheist fundraiser trashes Christmas. Again

It’s that time of year.

American Atheists Federation President, David Silverman, is making the talk-show rounds with his message of “who needs Christ during Christmas?” presumably to raise money before the new year for his non-profit company.

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His press release points to the Federation’s new Times Square billboard, put up on December 3, which states in part,  “American Atheists launched a major billboard display on Tuesday that declares Christmas is better without the Christ. The 40′x40′ digital billboard shouts, ‘Who needs Christ during Christmas?’”

About a third of the world’s population, over 2 billion Christians, including me, would answer the question, “We do! We all need Christ!”

The billboard’s answer to the contrary is  “NOBODY,” and it follows the headlines with “this year, start a new tradition: Don’t go to church. You hate it, it’s boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated. Instead, spend more time with your family and friends—or volunteer. There are better uses of your time and money.”

Silverman’s statement doesn’t sound like much of a rallying cry, and it brought to mind a particularly lively Christian outing I attended at Rick Warren’s Saddleback church a few summers ago.

This is a partial report

“Three thousand wildly cheering believers, most of them recovering addicts, many of them tattooed and some with pierced ears, noses, and tongues, jump to their feet.

“It’s a glorious morning, and this is the opening salvo of the annual Christ-centered Celebrate Recovery (CR) Summit meeting at pastor Rick Warren’s twenty-thousand-member church in the heart of Orange County, California.

“Founded more than twenty years ago at Saddleback by Warren and staff member John Baker, Celebrate Recovery has become an international program well worth the attention of those suffering from addictions.

“They will share box lunches and gallons of coffee at umbrella-shaded tables or stretched out on the grass. And later, they will attend an evening concert featuring New Zealand’s electrifying Parachute Band.”

This glimpse of Celebrate Recovery reveals a fervent and hip addition to the Christian list of resources which includes 350,000 Christian churches in this country alone and vast numbers of Christ-centered organizations like the Salvation Army, Union Rescue Mission, Teen Challenge and thousands of others.

American Atheists, Inc is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, educational organization dedicated to the complete and absolute separation of state and church. It is organized, it says, to stimulate and promote freedom of thought and inquiry concerning religious beliefs, creeds, dogmas, tenets, rituals, and practices.

Okay, I can live with that but not with the following American Atheistic Federation specifics:

Atheism it defines as “ the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.

Materialism, which is also a fundamental belief of the Atheists declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed by its own inherent, immutable, and impersonal laws; that there is no supernatural interference in human life; that humankind — finding their resources within themselves — can and must create their own destiny.

This brings me to the book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L Geisler and Frank Turek.

Paul Chapman, a pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock and a former business executive, gave me a copy of Geisler’s book from a stash of a dozen or more copies on his bookshelf. Paul, who had his conversion to strong Christian faith while on a business trip to Dubai a few years back, has the tidy and inquiring mind of a successful executive.

Paul said, “you have got to read this book.” I did and he was right.

Not to get too melodramatic about it, but the book reminds me a little of the last scene in Shane, the 1953 movie, where Alan Ladd, in the title role of Shane a mythic figure representing good, confronts gunfighter Jack Wilson  (Jack Palance) representing evil in the equally evil Riker brothers’ saloon.

Shane goads Jack Wilson into a final confrontation by calling him a “low down yankee liar” and Wilson, with a wicked smile, says, “Prove it.”

Shane proves it. He beats Wilson to the draw and then dispatches the Riker brothers with two more shots.

This is the kind of authority the Geisler, Turek book packs.

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