Why believe in a god?

whybelieveDuring my recent DC trip I came across an interesting ad campaign.  There were posters on the Metro train that asked the question, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake.”  I couldn’t wait to find out more about what was going on here.  I’ve blogged a bit before about the idea of atheists starting to “evangelize,” for lack of a better term.

After I got home I looked up their website (whybelieveinagod.org).  Turns out this is an ad campaign put out by Free Thought Action and the DC Area Secular Humanists.

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Both of these  organizations cast themselves more as humanists than atheists or agnostics.  Not that they shy from those terms, they just seem to avoid those labels, which is probably a good idea and more accurate.  Regardless of their level of disbelief, it’s fair to say they put human logic and knowledge above faith in their “belief system.”

What I found most interesting is the focus on logic as a defining characteristic.  Free Thought Action chose their name with reason when they say, “We hope you’ll join us to promote eyes-wide-open facts, not blind faith, as the foundation of our society.”

The implication here is that humanism uses reason, facts, and science to come to its conclusions, while religion is more naive and close-minded.

On the one hand this characterization bugs me.  I can’t speak for the other religions they speak of , but I think Christianity is miscast too much as a foolish, non-thinking system of belief.  Faith is not the absence of all doubt; it’s not just “believing in what you can’t see.” It’s belief based on what we do know, and being willing to take the next step into we can not be sure of.  In that way I think it is actually more intellectually honest than humanism in many ways.

But I can’t help but wonder if we (christians) have painted ourselves into this corner.  By fighting against culture and society and refusing to engage, we come off bull-headed, foolish, and weak.  When we are too quick to lash out and defend, it makes us look afraid.

I think we may have asked for people to assume we don’t know what we’re talking about.

If  God is so defenseless, if culture is so scary, if our religion is on the verge of disaster at every turn . . . why believe in a god?

I know I don’t want to believe in that God.

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