The cheerless message of atheism

Whoever would have thought that atheists would try to promote disbelief in God by running an advertising campaign on buses?! In January 2009 eight hundred buses around Britain displayed the poster “There’s probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” The whole campaign caused quite a stir at the time but certainly not in the way they had expected!  It gave rise to numerous articles in the press which tended to focus on two main aspects.

First of all the word “probably” caused quite a sensation!  It revealed that since there isn’t any proof   showing that God doesn’t exist, the result is that even the most hardened atheist needs to allow for the possibility that He might exist after all!  They couldn’t say “There is no God”, but merely “There’s probably no God.”  What a lame statement! As Stuart Burgess, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Bristol University commented at the time in the Daily Mail, “As things stand atheists must have faith the size of a mountain to believe that life arose without an intelligent designer.”  Writing in the same article, Professor Sir John Polkinghorne of Cambridge University, one of the worlds most renowned particle physicists added, “There is no lack of evidence of God.  God reveals his nature in many ways ….. there are very striking things about the world that are best understood as the work of God.  The wonderful order of the world which we scientists investigate is a sign that there is a Divine mind behind that order.”  Oxford mathematics Professor John Lennox further pointed out, “this misapprehension that faith is a religious thing not involved in science is simply false.  The two belong together.”

Secondly, the conclusion to which the poster came, equally caused a sensation, “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”  This peculiar conclusion suggested that if there is no God we can then stop worrying. As many commented this phrase misses the point altogether.  The reality is that if there were no God, then it’s time to worry!  It would mean there is no purpose to life, no God to love us and care for us, no helping hand in time of trouble and no plan for the future destiny of the human race.  With the world falling apart before our eyes it would give us every reason to worry ourselves to an early grave since there is no Divine Hand upholding the planet.

The real truth is that knowing God exists actually brings comfort and peace and helps us to enjoy life.  Belief in God is not a hindrance; it is a comfort and a blessing beyond compare.

How hollow and insulting this statement must have been to those who had just lost their job or their home, or even worse, if they had just suffered a bereavement, or were terminally ill.  What a cheerless message – and quite the reverse of the truth.  Jesus stated in John Ch10 v10 that the whole reason for His coming was “so that we may have life, and that we may have it in its fullest abundance.”

 Where is real peace of mind and enjoyment found?  Not in unbelief – Voltaire the atheist wrote, “I wish I had never been born.”  Not in money – The American millionaire Jay Gould stated, “I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth.”  Not in position or celebrity status – Lord Beaconsfield wrote, “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a regret!”  And not in pleasure – Lord Byron who revelled in pleasure wrote on his last birthday, “My days are in the yellow leaf, the flowers and fruits of life are gone.  The worm, the canker and the grief are mine alone.”

No, real peace of mind and joy is to be found in acknowledging His existence, getting to know God personally and having Him at the centre of one’s life.  Jesus promised that this joy of fellowship and companionship with Him would be the greatest of all joys and one that would never fade or pass away.  It is a supernatural joy that lies deep in the heart and which is unaffected by the problems we encounter day by day.  Those bus posters should really have  read, “Yes God really does exist!  Now stop worrying about your life and enjoy friendship with Him.