The Christmas season is upon us, with trees up, lights twinkling and general merriment abounding.
These things put most people in the Christmas spirit—but some will say “reason” should prevail instead.
Here are just a few examples:
- The Chicago chapter of The Satanic Temple was recently permitted to place a statue in the Illinois Capitol building alongside displays of a Nativity scene and a menorah. The sculpture, called “Knowledge Is the Greatest Gift,” depicts the forearm of a woman holding an apple with a snake coiling toward her hand.
- The Freedom From Religion Foundation posted a “free-thinking” banner in a New York park declaring “Reason’s Greetings,” as well as erected two digital billboards in Atlanta depicting a snowy scene with the phrase, “At This Season of the Winter’s Solstice May Reason Prevail.”
- FFRF also demanded that several Ohio towns cease displaying nativity scenes this Christmas season. After the mayor in Ravenna relented and announced there would be no nativity this year, townspeople protested. The town of Dover was also forced to remove its nativity and Ten Commandments display. In Streetsboro, however, the mayor says the nativity will stay up after receiving a similar threatening letter several years ago.
- Another nativity scene was removed from a park in Woodland, Washington, where it had been displayed for 40 years. The mayor decided to move the scene to a privately-owned spot after several complaints.
The atheists are ready again to try to save the U.S. from the season’s irascible burdens of “tidings of comfort and joy.” But the annual roadside “Humbug!” proclamations and community banners elicit little more than a “ho-hum.” Each December, atheists have put up strategically placed, carefully worded signs and made efforts to turn people away from Christmas. But when groups like these work to promote a worldview that denies God and undermines truth, there are repercussions in terms of human behavior—tragically negative ones. At this point, atheists will say that the greater tragedy is to believe in a “mean old man in the sky” or an “antiquated book of fairy tales.”
But the reality is this: the encouraged, and often enforced, secularism we are living with is destroying the country. As a scholar, I would argue that the atheists’ anti-Christmas efforts are vacuous from the standpoints of historical fact and logic. To get any sort of traction in the public consciousness, or the press, atheists must have something to “ride on”—usually something directly or indirectly Christian. These attempts to evangelize for unbelief represent the atheists’ annual attempt at relevancy. This season is an opportunity for the God-deniers to emerge from their ideological vacuum and enjoy some momentary news coverage. But this requires the presence of and reality of Christianity. Strangely enough, God and Jesus have to “be there” in order for the atheists to fight recognition of them—thus highlighting the schizophrenic nature of these annual campaigns and of atheism itself.
At a time when more youth are leaving their faith behind or identifying as the religious group “nones,” the culture needs God more than ever—and Christmas is a time when many find Him.
Alex McFarland is a Christian apologist and evangelist and host of the annual Truth for a New Generation apologetics conference. He has written 17 books, and also serves as Director of the Center for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University, located in South Carolina. www.alexmcfarland.com www.truthforanewgeneration.com