I recently came across this article in Newsweek (January 8, 2007, Jerry Adler) – here’s an excerpt,
‘Hi my name is Lindy and I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit and you should too.’
With that five-second submission to YouTube, a 24-year-old who uses the name “menotsimple” has either condemned herself to an eternity of punishment in the afterlife or struck a courageous blow against superstition. She’s one of more than 400 mostly young people who have joined a campaign by the Web site BlasphemyChallenge.com to stake their souls against the existence of God. That, of course, is the ultimate no-win wager, as the 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal calculated?it can’t be settled until you’re dead, and if you lose, you go to hell.
I went and visited the site and discovered that the “blasphemy challenge” offers an incentive for those who would do what Lindy did. Guess what the incentive is? People who take up the challenge and follow the instructions (which include the requirement to explicitly say, “I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit” in their video) will receive a free copy of “The God Who Wasn’t There”.
Here’s what I don’t understand. First, there are actually people willing to risk an eternity in hell for a video that basically promotes there is no God and mocks Christianity? C’mon there’s gotta be a bigger payoff than that! But then I get thinking of the Lindy’s and the Michael Lawson’s who are meeting the challenge for their free video. What has happened in their lives to give them such a bad taste for God and such a willingness to rush into the opportunity to “blaspheme”?
Second, this viral vitriol against Christianity and God is getting ridiculous (getting? it’s beyond that)! Does belief in Jesus Christ really pose that much of a threat to those who choose not to believe? Ah, but perhaps it does…perhaps its the fear that one’s “freedom” might be infringed or trodded upon if this religious monstrosity is allowed to flourish. Forget the fact that most significant historic accomplishments were done by believers, forget the fact that almost every school of higher learning was founded by believers, forget the fact that nearly every major hospital, orphanage, or some sort of social care organization was begun by believers. Oh but faith must be stopped because our “freedoms” and “intelligence” and “progress” will suffer… hogwash!
Jesus spoke of himself when he said,
…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36, NIV)
Freedom from what? Freedom from sin, from slavery to sin – that propensity to place self above everything else (even God) and constant dissatisfaction in life. What the proponents of blasphemychallenge.com don’t seem to realize is that the very subject of good vs. evil predicates some universal absolute standard of measure from which conscience is formed. The very presence of our present day imperfect (because of sin) civil law and order, government, and “justice” finds it’s roots in the perfect justice and order of God.
Now am I saying the unbeliever is incapable of good, or is incapable of placing others before themselves? No. The corollary is also true – Christians and believers aren’t perfect either and sadly we too do things contrary to the teaching of the one we follow. However – the very fact that the good is recognized in the non-believer and the bad is recognized in the believer is significant in any discussion on the existence of God. Truly, if God really didn’t exist then why are atheists so concerned? Why the battle? Does it really matter then if there is good or evil? If the Christian is hypocritical or the non-believer a saint?
And finally, the question that keeps my head shaking through the whole thought process is the question I’d ask those posting their “blasphemy” on YouTube. “What if you are wrong?” Let’s reverse things for a moment. I’m a Christian. I believe that I have been saved from death (hell) and saved to life (here and later in heaven) by my faith in the work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the grave – a work that dealt with my sin (which separated me from God). I believe that Christ now works in and through my life and He has a unique purpose for me in this world. My life is richer because of my faith in Him. My love is fuller because of Him. My joy is more complete because of my faith in Him. My hope is more sure because of my faith in Him. With that said, if you were to ask me, “What if you are wrong?” My reply would be simply, “then I haven’t lost anything…” Can the “YouTube blasphemers” say that with the same degree of certainty?