The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalms 14:1
It’s Christmas time, which means once again time to wage national ‘Manger-scene Wars.’ This week, an atheist group set up an anti-religious display in the capital city of Washington state right next to a Holiday Tree and a manger scene. Members from an organization called Freedom from Religion Foundation funded the display. The sign reads (in part), “Religion is but myths and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” In response to this, some ‘Christians’ apparently stole the sign and threw it into a ditch. One wonders if they were of the persuasion that, “Thou shalt not steal,” no longer applies to the church today.
Also this month in our nation’s capital, Christmas has turned into a war of ideologies waged on the side of buses. First, an atheist ad campaign launched by The American Humanist Association at a cost of over $40,000, has plastered many area Metro buses with advertising which read, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake.” A reference, of course, to the secular Christmas song, “Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town.” Not wanting to be left behind, the Center for Family Development, a Catholic-based nonprofit in Maryland , is trying to raise $14,000 to run a bus ad campaign with this dreadfully unoriginal message: “Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake.” I’m not exactly sure what this means, but being that is from a Catholic group, perhaps it means that God loves people on account of their goodness? Most recently, a group called Pennsylvania Friends of Christ plans to buy ads for 10 Metro buses saying: “Believe in God. Christ is Christmas … followed by, you guessed it … for goodness’ sake.” Now as to the meaning of this one, I cannot even venture a guess. One wonders what kind of minds came up with such banal responses – it’s like the kid, who having no better reply, says, “Oh yeah!”
In a game of ‘anything you can do I can do better,’ American Muslims in Florida have started a bus ad campaign of their own. Late last month, 120 public transit buses in Dade and Broward counties started carrying this message: Islam: The Message of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. What? No, ‘for goodness sake?’ tacked on to the end; come on, why would they not go all the way with their innovative idea?
These confrontational ad campaigns beg us to address the question: Can anyone be good, ‘for goodness sake?’ Psalm 14 answers this question with a resounding and unequivocal, “NO!” Instead the Psalmist’s indictment is that: They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. (Ps 14:1-3). This provides an accurate report of the condition of man. He is radically corrupted and depraved. The very concept of goodness, can only is only defined by God, and as such, He is the basis of all human goodness. Therefore, the absence of God is the necessary absence of good. This is a great offense to atheists who consider himself good. The real issue here of course is what they mean by “good.” Generally they use a rather subjective sliding scale to measure goodness – it is whatever they deem goodness to be. But ‘goodness’ is objective; it is based upon timeless standards of truth and nature of God. Psalms 25:8 says, Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He teaches sinners in the way. God’s goodness is not even ‘for goodness’ sake,’ but for His name’s sake. In Exodus 34:6, God reveals His name to Moses: “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth …” There is only good because there is God, and man may only at best, reflect the brightness of that goodness off of the black darkness of his own soul, in much the same way the vacant, dull, lifeless surface of the moon only reflects the brightness of the sun … for goodness sake!
Listen to this message here: