By now you’ve probably heard of the latest in an organized campaign sponsored by atheists around the world: Advertisements plastered onto buses in the UK sported the words, “There probably is no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.” And the campaign has now hit Canada’s shores. Most Canadian cities have rejected the banners, not permitting them, but Toronto and Calgary (my home-town) have given the ads the thumbs up. So here they come.
Reaction from Christians and other people of faith (Muslims, Jews, etc) has been predictable: Outrage and opposition. Want my take on this? It’ll work out for the best. My heart isn’t alarmed in the least.
I’m serious! For one thing, atheism is the belief that “THERE IS NO GOD,” not “THERE PROBABLY IS NO GOD.” The word “probably” undermines the whole atheist proposition behind it. The banners promote agnosticism, sure, but for most irreligious people, I think it will do one of several things.
1. Make them chuckle. And they’ll forget it. Unless we keep bringing it up.
2. Confirm what they already believe. In which case, no harm, no foul. Right?
3. Make them think about God and life. Thinking is good, because we can engage them in real conversation about the stuff that matters.
Especially the word “Probably.” That’s a powerful word. I look at it this way: Would I dangle over a four hundred foot cliff from a rope that was “probably” thick enough to support my weight? Not on your life, and especially not on mine. You find a fantastic looking stereo at a garage sale. “Does it work?” you ask. “Probably,” is the reply. Do you risk the $20?
“Probably,” people, is a great reason to consider faith. If they wouldn’t dangle from a cliff on a probably, would they risk their eternity on one? There probably isn’t a God, but what if He’s real and they’re totally wrong? Then what? Are people willing to risk their own eternity, their kids’ eternity on that? Some, I’m sure, but it’s a starting point. And allowing this campaign paves the way for ours, if we so choose: “There might be a God. If there is, it matters. Think about it.”