We were amazed a couple of weeks ago when billboards started showing up with messages celebrating godlessness. My initial reaction questioned why anyone would celebrate godlessness. After all, what do they have to celebrate? Being lost? Alone and without hope? Anger? Agitation?
They actually did get together in what organizers called “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history.” Twenty thousand met for the “Reason Rally.” Richard Dawkins, according to several reports, called on the crowd to”ridicule and show contempt” for religious people and their beliefs.
How should we respond?
First, definitely do not respond with ridicule and contempt. Those attitudes may fit some religions (or those without any), but they do not fit those who follow Jesus. Actually, Jesus showed us exactly how to respond. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). “Do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
Second, don’t give up on friends who do not ( yet) believe. God does exist, and the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin and rebellion. Remember, a man named Saul was well established in the ridicule and contempt camp! He turned out well.
While this kind of talk bothers us, remember we all were dead in trespasses and sins and followed the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:1-2). That same spirit is “now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Those of us who were far off, separated from God, and without God and without hope in the world have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22, this is a magnificent passage that proclaims the power of God).
How ironic or amazing that this godless event occurred just two weeks before Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday–a foretaste of the victory that is Christ’s!
At the conclusion of Paul’s magnificent exposition of the resurrection–both Christ’s and ours–he exhorted us to keep on: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).