It seems every year at Christmas atheist groups around the country put up billboards to encourage people to forget Christ this Christmas. Well, this year’s billboards, set up in North Carolina and Colorado, feature a jolly Santa and the words, “Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness’ sake. Happy Holidays!” The president of American Atheists, David Silverman, explained, “Last year’s billboard showed a child writing a letter to Santa, telling him that all she wanted for Christmas was to skip church . . . This year, Santa wrote back.”
Of course atheists, with their worldview of purposelessness and meaninglessness, can only proclaim a negative message and attack Christianity because ultimately they have nothing positive to offer. Imagine them proclaiming this message for Christmas: “Become an atheist—ultimately life is purposeless and meaningless and you cease to exist!” That is really their Christmas message!
Now consider the words in their billboard. First of all, we are not “good” because we go to church. In fact, there is nothing good within us without the saving grace of Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:18, 8:1–11), and Scripture is clear that there is no one who is good but God Himself (Mark 10:18; Romans 3:10). The only thing that makes us “good” is the righteousness of Christ. We are forgiven and declared justified and holy not because we go to church or do good deeds, but because we have trusted in Christ Jesus as our Savior and we stand clothed in His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Silverman confirmed the meaning of the billboard when he said that “we want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person.” So basically, he is saying that we do not need God to be “good,” but why should anyone “be good for goodness’ sake?” Who or what even defines “good”?
If, in a meaningless and purposeless universe with no absolute standards, it’s the individual who decides what’s good for himself, then no one can tell anyone else that what they’re doing is right or wrong. “Stealing and killing might be okay for me, but not for you” is the inevitable logic. And it can’t be a society that determines what is right and wrong because you run into the same problem.
Some cultural and societal practices are clearly wrong, such as the horrors of the Holocaust, ISIS terrorist actions, and so on. But if each society can decide for itself what’s right and wrong, then perhaps these things are wrong for us and right for them.
This kind of logic simply doesn’t work. Without God and His Word, there is no ultimate foundation for calling anything good or bad. So in saying “be good for goodness’ sake,” these atheists are being utterly consistent with their own worldview—and it’s a totally meaningless statement.
Also, according to Silverman, we don’t need religion at Christmas because “the things that are most important during the holiday season—spending time with loved ones, charity, and being merry—have nothing to do with religion.” What Silverman really means is that the atheists don’t want people being Christians; they want to convert them to their religion (yes, it is a religion) of atheism. Their billboards have a very religious message.
Now, in an atheistic worldview, why are these things important? In this worldview, you live, you die, and that’s it. Eventually no one will even remember you ever lived. So why is it important to spend time with our families, give to others, or be merry? It isn’t! These things have no ultimate purpose whatsoever.
And if an atheist says “charity” is important at this time of the year, who defines charity anyway? If there is no God who gives value to life, maybe the most charitable thing to do in the atheist worldview would be to put someone out of their misery, which is already happening in our culture! And without absolute standards for right and wrong, no one can say whether this is charitable or uncharitable.
And why be charitable anyway? If evolution is the process that brought us here, then it’s survival of the fittest—or as one poet put it, “nature, red [with blood] in tooth and claw.” In an evolutionary world no one looks out for others—it’s a fight for survival in which only the strongest and/or fittest make it. How is charity beneficial in this worldview? It’s inconsistent for atheists to call charity important when it certainly isn’t within their own paradigm for the history of Earth!
A spokesman from American Atheists said that the billboards aren’t intended to attack Christmas: “We’re trying to be inclusive of everyone in Christmas and saying that anyone can celebrate it. It shouldn’t be viewed strictly as a Christian holiday.”
And, yet, what are these atheists doing? By saying that people should skip church services and that they do not need God, they really are attacking the true meaning behind Christmas—Christ! They want to impose their atheistic worldview on the culture. There is no neutrality—there is no position that allows all positions. As God Word says, one is either for or against Christ.
The spokesman goes on to say, “People celebrate the birth of Christ and that’s perfectly fine. The other side of it is inherently secular: spending time with family, swapping gifts, having a meal together. That’s not inherently religious . . . You don’t need an external reason to be good. Being good is its own reward.”
By isolating certain aspects of Christmas from Christ, and even providing a rather thin and undefined rationale for being good apart from God, they make it even clearer that they are attacking Christians and the very heart of Christmas celebrations, Christ. They are clearly showing their hostility toward God.
Now, some news sources are saying these billboards are “offensive” to some. But are we offended by these billboards? No. We’re only saddened by their hostility to God and the spiritual blindness that they portray. Things like this only make us more dedicated and determined to spread the message of biblical authority and the gospel to this generation that so desperately needs to hear it. And really, these billboards shouldn’t surprise Christians. After all, those who are against God will do their best to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1).
That’s why we’re building the full-size Ark—it will certainly make more of a splash than billboards ever could! The Ark in northern Kentucky will stand as a towering testimony to the truth of God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve already seen many people come to know Christ through the Creation Museum and other AiG ministry outreaches. We believe such testimonies will increase exponentially when the life-size Ark is opened (July 7). This is why there has been such intense opposition to the Ark, including the spreading of misinformation by secularists about the Ark project.
Please partner with us in praying for the millions of people (primary research shows that 1.4 to 2.2 million people will come through the Ark in its first year!) who will walk through the door of the Ark and will be challenged with God’s Word and the gospel. Our mission through this outreach is to see hearts and minds changed for eternity in what I believe to be one of the biggest (and maybe most unique!) evangelistic outreaches of our time.
Please pray for this ministry and consider donating—right now we have a dollar-for-dollar match up to $2 million—as we spread the gospel to this generation.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.