‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’ So reads an advertisement on a number of buses in London and elsewhere. Sponsored by the British Humanist Association, the advertisement is designed to counter the claims of Christians (and, no doubt, others) in the name of enlightenment and intellectual freedom. If Richard Dawkins is to be believed (and there probably is a Richard Dawkins), humanists and other assorted unbelievers are an embattled and even persecuted minority in Britain who need to have the courage of their lack of convictions to stand up to the tide of Christian propaganda which threatens to plunge us into another dark age. Children in particular need to be protected from such threats.
Perhaps we are to imagine a poor benighted believer in God catching a glimpse of a passing bus, reading the Good News ‘There’s probably no God’, receiving a blinding flash of illumination, falling prostrate on the Edgeware Road, and entering into the joy of atheism in a 21st century conversion experience.
Perhaps members of the British Humanist Association do enjoy life. Perhaps the conviction that this life is all they have and that the grave is really the end does add a special dimension to living. Certainly, you need to enjoy it while you can, and if you are not finally accountable to anyone, maybe there are avenues of enjoyment that others dare not travel. Perhaps if you think there’s probably no God, you can stop worrying and enjoy your life.
Such a life, however, can have no ultimate significance. What is the point of life if all you will be in a few years is a handful of dust? Lasting influence on succeeding generations, perhaps? But not many are remembered for long even by the next generation. The truth is that a life lived without God the giver of life and meaning is, in the end, empty and futile. It is, in a profound sense, a complete waste.
How ironical to listen to the unbeliever use the Creator’s gift of speech to deny God’s existence. How foolish to construct rational arguments to deny that there is a God (probably) when the only secure foundation for the use of reason is the fact that God made an ordered rational world that can be understood by minds that he has created to reflect something of his rationality. The unbeliever will take another breath to proclaim that there’s probably no God only if God permits it. If anyone ever sawed off the branch he is sitting on, it is the believer in the (probable) non-existence of God.
Many Christians have protested against the BHA advertising campaign and several groups and individuals have sponsored advertisements proclaiming the existence of God. Ron Heather, a Christian bus driver in Southampton, refused to drive a bus carrying the advert, and has had numerous opportunities to bear witness to his faith. We can only applaud their efforts.
And yet… perhaps it is no bad thing to let people see the best that unbelief can do. ‘There’s probably no God’ – stirring stuff, isn’t it? The kind of belief you would die for? Probably not! It’s not too impressive, after all. There won’t be a rush of converts banging on the doors of the BHA. When the sponsors of the advertisement are handfuls of dust, the Lord will still be there and his people will still be serving him.
‘There’s probably no God’ – but what if there is? A life spent in rebellion against the Creator will end in an eternity of woe.