A recent worldwide ad campaign by atheists touted “No God..No Problem! Be Good for Goodness Sake.” To me, this seems to be a message to other non-believers that they don’t have to feel alone this holiday season and that it is okay to be a good person, just for the sake of being good. Unfortunately, many religious people see it as an attack on their beliefs.
I am not sure how billboards put up by the religious right, like this one, are not considered offensive to non-believers. This is the ultimate hypocrisy.
Regardless of whose billboards are more offensive, I would like to address the message that has some Christians up in arms.
The religious right seem to think that it is not possible for people to stay out of trouble and be good without the help of God. So I thought I would take a look at my Godless track record as compared to a few religious folk who have God on their side.
1. Billy James Hargis
Radio evangelist and founder and president of the American Christian College. I chose Hargis for this list, because I taught College English for seven years. Hargis was caught having sex with both male and female students. I never had a sexual relationship with any of my students while teaching college.
Atheist 1 God 0
2. Jimmy Swaggert
Famous televangelist. Swaggert was caught having sex with prostitutes. He made a tearful confession to his tv followers asking for forgiveness, yet was caught and arrested with a prostitute just three years later. I have never paid a prostitute (male or female) for sexual favors.
Atheist 2 God 0
3. Jim Bakker
Famous televangelist. Bakker was caught cheating on his wife Tammy Faye. Subsequent revelations of accounting fraud in his ministry led to charges and jail time for Bakker. I have never committed adultery and I have never committed accounting fraud. I am giving myself 2 points for this one.
Atheist 4 God 0
4. Ted Haggard
Haggard was the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. His position gave him access to President George W. Bush. Haggard was caught having sex and doing methamphetamines with male prostitutes. I’m only going to count the illegal drugs here, since I already counted a previous prostitution and I personally do not have a problem with homosexuality although for the sake of this argument I will admit I have never had a homosexual relationship. More importantly I have never taken methamphetamines.
Atheist 5 God 0
5. Tony Alamo
Founder Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Alamo was convicted on 10 counts of transporting minors across state lines for sexual purposes, sexual assault and other crimes and was sentenced to the maximum punishment of 175 years in prison. I do not sexually abuse children.
Atheist 6 God 0
I could go on, and I’m sure there are those that would say, “Yeah, but there are plenty of atheists who have committed crimes and many religious people who have not.” But that does not address my point. My point is that in each of the 5 cases I’ve mentioned here, God was supposedly present in the person’s life and guiding them. These men still did evil.
Yet, I do not believe in God. My reason for behaving the way that I do is that I have empathy for my fellow man and I believe that certain rules of conduct are necessary in order to function as a society. I am good, not because I fear an invisible man that might punish me after death. But because it is the right way to treat people. I am accountable to myself, therefore I cannot claim, “I will just repent and everything will be all right.”
I demand that I try my best to do it right the first time. Because this life isn’t a practice run for me. It’s the only one that counts.