Re: “The Impoverished Bus Campaign”

I’m going to repost a response I added to a Christian blog post I came across from my stats reference page. I’m doing this for three reasons. One, I’m going to forget all about it if I don’t make a post. I would consider it rude to do a drive-by response, as it were. Two, comments are held in moderation over there (In A Spacious Place) so I don’t know if my post will ever see the light of day. Disallowing dissent is a big thing with Christians (look at Ken Ham or any of the other lying Christians who don’t mention by name those they criticize). I’m not saying the person who runs that blog, Christopher Page, is going to deny my post – I’ve never encountered him. I’m just hedging my bets. Third, I want to highlight what a surprising number of people consider to be evidence. Most Christians, at least when it comes to religious matters, are willing to count just about anything as evidence. It’s unfortunate, and it’s one of the reasons we constantly have these struggles with creationists dishonest fundamentalists trying to smuggle creationism intelligent design into schools.

Here is the bulk of the original post. The author is talking about a recent atheist bus campaign.

Apart from wondering who has so much spare time and energy that they choose to spend it on such an enterprise and who has an extra $50,000 lying around to finance the campaign, I would be curious to know what the luminaries behind this campaign understand by their use of the word “Christ.”

I presume they mean to refer to the historical person of Jesus. If this is the case, the real question is who they understand Jesus to have been. If Jesus was, as Christians believe, the embodiment of love, light, hope, goodness, truth, beauty, and light, it is sad to think that there are intelligent people who can find no more evidence for this reality than they do for the existence of Bigfoot.

In the world I inhabit I am surrounded by “Extraordinary Evidence,” of the power of love. Everywhere I look I see abundant evidence of hope, goodness, truth, beauty, and the indestructible power of life. It is a sad impoverished life indeed that is unable to find any evidence of beauty or any reason for hope in the world.

The list of “Extarordinary Evidence” for the Claims of Christ are abundant. I see the presence of Christ in:

At this point Page lists out a number of things he personally sees as positive. A few of them are:

the profound ability of tragically broken human relationships to find reconciliation and healing in spite of desperate hurt and pain

the extraordinary tenacity of human hope in the face of what often seems to be almost insurmountable suffering

the unstinting graciousness, kindness and generosity extended toward others by countless people in so many situations of desperate need

the endless determination of people divided by deep differences to find ways to live together in peace

the persistent determination of people to find ways to fuller, more meaningful, lives

Page finishes with the usual stab at atheists, saying we cannot see all the beauty he sees. He’s trying to argue a polemic. I’m not falling for it.

It is tragic to think atheists might be unable to perceive or to appreciate these wondrous mysteries of life. What could possibly provide more “Extraordinary Evidence” of the reality of the transcendent quality of love than the faces of parents holding their newborn?

What an impoverished existence if none of the realities of life tug at a deeper part of our being and cause our hearts to open to a profound mystery than can ever be contained by our intellectual formulations or our rational analysis. How sad to live in such a truncated universe that the beauty of creation moves nothing deeper in us than a parched acknowledgment that evolution seems to work efficiently.

It is not an absence of “Extraordinary Evidence” for the reality of love and life embodied in Christ that is the problem. The problem lies in the hearts of those who are unable, or unwilling to see.

The fact that Page is being dismissive of “intellectual formulations” and “rational analysis” is a good indication that there really isn’t much, if any, good evidence for Christ.

I responded:

First, who has that much money just hanging around, waiting to be spent on bus ads? Christians, of course! And – fortunately – now some atheist groups. This whole campaign is a response to those awful ads that spam buses and billboards, telling everyone a loving god is going to send them to hell for eternity based upon particular transgressions over a roughly 80 year period.

Second, nothing you listed constitutes a shred of evidence for Jesus, whether as a man or as a divine being. You can’t get away with proclaiming all the things you personally think are good as being evidence for Jesus because you’ve defined Jesus as good and loving and all those other things.

I do rather like the header image on his blog, though.