Rob Buckingham's Blog

The Atheist Gospel – Is it Good News?

One of last year’s biggest selling books was The God Delusion by prominent British atheist Richard Dawkins. In the preface Professor Dawkins states his purpose – to convert religious people to atheism.

Well, he’s now promoting his atheist gospel again by endorsing an advertising campaign on London Buses declaring the slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” The slogan started as an aside comment from a comedian in response to a church campaign that pointed people to a website that indicated they’d be going to hell if they didn’t believe in God. The comedian suggested a response to “assure people”, which was picked up by Richard Dawkins and has ultimately generated funding from the general public for about $50,000 in donations.

Professor Dawkins says: “Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride – automatic tax breaks, unearned ‘respect’ and the right not to be ‘offended’ … even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side. This campaign – to put alternative slogans on London buses – will make people think; and thinking is anathema to religion.”

I agree with some of Professor Dawkins’ statements especially about the importance of making people think. Being a Christian doesn’t mean a compulsory lobotomy. I also like the honesty of the slogan: “There’s probably no God …” – even atheists aren’t sure if there is one!

The biggest issue is the mistake certain churches have made to run religious ads that “threaten eternal damnation”. When are they going to wake up to the message Jesus came to proclaim? The message (the gospel) is GOOD news. A person being damned is not. The first message Jesus taught was that He had come to proclaim the time of God’s favor; the season when God would accept all people just the way they are (see Luke 4:19). Jesus made it clear that salvation is for the whole world. He also stated that His purpose was not to judge or condemn people (John 3:16-17; 12:47), but to save them.

Why does the church feel it has the freedom to preach another gospel, which is not a gospel at all? If they had been smart the church would now be running a campaign on London buses with the slogan: “There’s probably a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” But we’re not that smart yet are we?

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