Ken Ham spreads the good news (just kidding)

billboard-1

No. No, no, no, no, no.

This is not how we “reach out” to atheists, people.

For the record, I am well aware of the billboards that groups like the American Atheists and the Freedom from Religion Foundation have put up in the past.  I am not a fan.  The messages are often obnoxious, alienating, smug.  The problem is not that those billboards attack my most deeply cherished convictions, it’s that billboards are no place to attack anyone’s deeply cherished convictions.  Period.  This seems painfully obvious to me, but I guess it wasn’t painfully obvious to American Atheists, or the FRF.

I guess it’s not so obvious to Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, either

So what do Ken and the other folks at Answers in Genesis do?  They mimic the most off putting behavior of their ideological opponents and call it a “cordial and engaging message”.  Puh-leaze.  When you have a four word message and two of the words are “you’re wrong”, I think you may need to rethink how cordial and engaging you really are; also, whose example you’re following.  Some of the comments on Ken Ham’s Facebook page compare this approach to Jesus calling the Pharisees “children of the devil” or “a brood of vipers”.  But isn’t that apples and oranges?  Jesus saved his strongest rhetoric for the religious leaders of his day, not the pagans.  Who is more like a Pharisee?  An atheist (even a billboarding one), or a man who has no problem assassinating the characters of Christians who disagree with him on young earth creationism?

I commented on Ken Ham’s Facebook page, telling him that I think this campaign is a bad idea.  It’s not “reaching out” but “hitting back”, I said.  One of the replies to my comment defended the billboards with a mention of 1 Peter 3:15-16.  It happens that I’m currently teaching a class on 1 Peter and have read these verses very recently.  It seems an odd passage to quote, under the circumstances.  Rather than an argument in favor of patronizing billboards, it seems an excellent antidote to such misguided evangelism:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

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About Sharon Autenrieth

Wife, mom to 5, homeschooler, Christian Education Director, idealist, malcontent, follower of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Christianity, news, religion, spirituality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ken Ham spreads the good news (just kidding)

  1. Tina Horth says:

    As usual you have an uncanny way of putting into words exactly what I am feeling! I have been getting stuff like this on my fb feed over the past week and even had an athiest friend close their account because of these kinds of posts… thanks to all of the people like Ken Hamm for giving them fuel to feed the anger and hurt that keeps them from turning to God…

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  2. jubilare says:

    “The problem is not that those billboards attack my most deeply cherished convictions, it’s that billboards are no place to attack anyone’s deeply cherished convictions. Period.” Oh, you made my day by saying this. It’s like some organizations lack basic social skills or something.

    There are times I regret the format of blogs. There are a couple of times I wanted to should “Preach it!” while reading this. “But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” Yes, yes, yes!

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  3. I think in this day and time, with many of the religious and faith based issues becoming social and political issues to the mass public, it is unfortunate that often Christians miss the point of Jesus’ love. We are so quick to punch back when we have been stung. In America we have no idea what it is like to be persecuted for our faith, because we do not suffer alongside those that fully accept the responsibility of it. We see an attack on our faith as an attack on us personally and we immediately fight back. Jesus never fought back. He absorbed the pain both emotional and physical and proceeded to continue in love for those that produced it. And He still does this today. It is amazing how all these generations later so many of us still can’t grasp the biggest concept of who Jesus was and is. He is LOVE. Simply put, simply stated. Love.

    Like

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