Organizers called it “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history.” According to USA Today, those attending were “hell-bent on damning religion and mocking beliefs.” What was this event? The “Reason Rally,” held in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Richard Dawkins called on the crowd to “ridicule and show contempt” for religious people and their doctrines. “God is a myth,” claimed the president of American Atheists. “We’re godless–get used to it,” the crowd chanted at one point.
Atheists held their first mass gathering on the National Mall in 2002, with 2,000 present. They were hoping for 30,000 at Saturday’s event; 20,000 showed up, despite intermittent rain. Their increasing numbers reflect a growing pattern. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 15% of Americans claim no religion, up from 8.1% in 1990. Part of the appeal of atheists is their claim to be “reasonable,” as the name of their Rally suggests.
If I had been invited to speak, here’s what I would have told the group. First, I defend your right to gather and to express your beliefs publicly. The same constitutional provisions that allowed me to speak yesterday on the Kingdom of God allowed you to deny his existence the day before.
Second, I challenge your claim to be the party of “reason.” You state that there is no such thing as absolute truth, which is itself an absolute truth statement. You remind me of the ancient Skeptics three centuries before Christ whose philosophy could be summarized: “There’s no such thing as truth and we’re sure of it.”
And your assertion that God does not exist since his existence cannot be proven by humans is illogical. Philosophers call such reasoning a “category mistake,” like asking how much the number seven weighs or the color of a C-scale. By definition, the existence of supernatural reality cannot be proved or disproved through natural means. Faith does not fit into test tubes. All relationships require a commitment that transcends the evidence and becomes self-validating. So it is with a relationship with God.
Third, I would ask if it is wise to risk eternity on your inability to prove or disprove God’s existence. Frederick Buechner was right: “It is as impossible for man to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.” But unlike Holmes, you can meet your Maker today. If you will ask him to forgive your mistakes and become your Lord, he will answer your prayer and make you his child.
How could I prove to myself that the Queen of England exists? Eyewitness accounts could be wrong or misleading. Pictures could be Photoshopped. The only way I could know for certain would be to travel to Buckingham Palace and arrange to meet the Queen personally.
It’s even easier to meet the King of the universe–he’s as close as your next prayer.