Billboards, Atheists, and Ambassadors at Christmas Time

by Conway Wong

As we enter the Christmas season most people turn their thoughts towards family and friends.  This is quite appropriate given that this season celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth who Christians believe is God Incarnate.  We give gifts to one another because God the Father has given us the gift of His Son who lived the kind of life we should have lived and died the kind of death that we should have died.  The story doesn’t end with Jesus’ death because three days later He was seen by individuals and groups as being resurrected from the dead.

Christmas is inevitably linked to the crucifixion and to Easter.  However, a recent billboard in St. Charles, Missouri calls the Christmas story a fairy tale that only little children should believe.  As our post-Christian society continues sliding down this pole, we should expect more and more of this.

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The organization known as American Atheists is behind the billboard campaign that pictures a little girl in a Santa hat with the words:  “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church.  I’m too old for fairy tales.”These billboards have appeared in the Midwest and the South.  It is a clever advertisement for their upcoming national convention in April.  It has certainly gotten attention.  It may surprise you to hear that as a Christian, I actually welcome such attention because it serves as a natural inroad to engage your unbelieving family and friends in dialogue about important matters of faith.  You can ask your atheist friend, “Hey, what do you think of that billboard?”  Everyone has an opinion and are only too happy to share.

In our society today, religious opinions vary from the likes of someone like Stephen Hawking, the famous atheist theoretical physicist, who has said, “Heaven is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.”  Not to be outdone by this one-liner, the Oxford mathematician and Christian, John Lennox, shot back with “Atheism is a fairy tale for people afraid of the light.”  Lennox’s reply is pretty good!  Unfortunately, in a culture of sound bites and billboard argumentation, few people are well-informed enough to get beyond the one-liners…

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Billboards, Atheists, and Ambassadors at Christmas Time