God in the subway?

by Kristin on October 26, 2009

in Belief, doubt & hope

“A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?”

When I first saw the ads that are scheduled to be displayed in some New York City subway stations starting today, I bristled. I imagined the religious counterpart to the atheist ad: “Five million New Yorkers are good with God. Are you?” It felt snide and aggressive.

Then I realized that many God-believers are snide and aggressive on a regular basis—maybe they don’t advertise in subway stations, but they don’t need to. They have hundreds of other platforms available for spreading their message, plus strength in sheer numbers. I shifted from defensiveness to compassion to curiosity. What prompted the Big Apple Coalition of Reason to create and place the ads in the first place?

In the name of awareness and dialogue

According to this article and a statement from the coalition, the ads are “part of a coordinated multi-organizational advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about people who don’t believe in a god.”

That’s something I can generally get behind—raising awareness, along with encouraging conversation and thought. We all need more of that. We all need to be reminded that not everyone is like us, just like we need to be reminded that we’re not alone. These ads will do both of those things, depending of whether you read them as an atheist, a believer, or something in between.

That “in between” contingent, though, is one I can’t ignore. This is essentially what’s at the heart of my issue with these particular ads, and with many other aspects of religious and secular society: The human tendency to draw lines in the sand—to say I’m this, you’re that, and we simply don’t overlap. End of story.

What about the millions stuck somewhere in between?

I touched on this “in between category” in my recent post Telling Jesus stories at the KGB. Here’s the essence of what I concluded:

…I’ve long had a really narrow, either-or, all-or-nothing understanding about how people view faith. In my imagination, they either completely embrace belief or completely reject it. But this experience has proven to me, once and for all, that only a fairly small percentage of people fall into one of those extreme categories. The rest of us fall into a deep and wide category I’ll call “It’s Complicated.”

With that in mind, I would like to propose an entire series of subway station ads—not to replace the “good without God” ad, but to accompany it. Here are a few ideas to get the series going (disclaimer: I’m completely making up the numbers, here). I’d love to hear your ad concepts. After all, the goal is to increase awareness, dialogue and thought, right? Let’s do it as broadly as we can.

A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?

Six million New Yorkers are confused about God. Are you?

A million New Yorkers believe religious conservatism and social liberalism are not mutually exclusive. Do you?

Four million New Yorkers aren’t exactly good with God, or good without him, so they avoid him. Do you?

Two million New Yorkers have taken part of the religion they grew up with and blended it with other beliefs and traditions. Have you?

All eight million New Yorkers are love by God, even if his followers consistently fall short of doing likewise. Do you?

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  • http://margodill.com/blog/ Margo Dill

    Thanks for sharing this information. I didn’t know anything about these ads, but find them very interesting and a bit weird actually. When I first read it, I was thinking it was an ad by a church. It could be read that way–like are you sure you are okay without God? Maybe not! I love your suggestions. There is just no black and white when it comes to this subject, and that’s what makes it so interesting. Maybe you can put up your signs in the bus stations in IL! :) Thanks again for sharing, Margo

  • http://www.cleverfoodblog.com Jason

    It’s an international campaign. Here’s reference to a Chicago campaign stating “Are You Good Without God? Millions Are.” It’s caused quite a stir, and many billboards and bus ads have been vandalized by people who seem to disagree with sharing the thought that it’s valid to be a good person without God in your life.

    See photos from a Toronto bus or from Moscow, ID. British Christians have put out their own ads and felt some consequences. Of course, some people would find that the pro-religion reaction to the billboards to be somewhat hypocritical.

    I don’t consider myself an atheist, but the overwhelming culture in the US is one of Christianity. This isn’t the time or place to argue the appropriateness of that, but I would suggest that the only reason this is getting so much attention from news outlets is that atheism is still seen as an invalid or crazy belief system. Note the difference in tone from the atheist ads and religious sayings and messages that we see every day. The atheists are just suggesting that something else is out there, a questioning of the status quo, whereas the religious messages tend toward the obvious “truth” of their statements. And from that we see vandalism and news reports about how atheists are really “shaking things up”.

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com ed cyzewski

    It’s interesting to read about that, as I just received a book to review on my blog called, “Good without God.” It’s a book about humanism. I think you raise some good points here in response to the related subway ads. The most important part of the book so far in my reading of it is that Christians often overstate the consequences of not following God. There are some quotes from fellahs such as Rick Warren stating that there is no basis for morality without God, which we can argue for on some grounds, but at the same time humanists feel besmirched.

    When I read the writings of a humanist such as Kurt Vonnegut, I encounter a lot of reasons for us to be good and decent to one another. Christians don’t have the only path to morality. What we do have to offer is a relationship with the living God and a new life under his Kingdom, and I think we lose the more potent elements of our message when we overreach and leave ourselves open to critique from those who believe they can be good without God. Can they be good without God? Yes.

    The issue resides in wholeness and the complete nature of our redemption. We can be good in part without God, but our completeness and our ability to continually act out of self-sacrificial love comes from God.

  • http://www.cleverfoodblog.com Jason

    Best response billboard I’ve read about (from Moscow, ID):

    “You are not alone — God.”

  • http://www.cleverfoodblog.com Jason

    Ed – You say, “We can be good in part without God, but our completeness and our ability to continually act out of self-sacrificial love comes from God.”

    So, people who do not have (a) God in their lives are not complete? They are not capable to acting out of self-sacrificial love? I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t believe in (a) God who are giving their all, even their lives, for others each and every day. For non-religious people (or people who don’t share a love for the Christian God), the idea that only people who believe in the God can truly be good seems smug, at best. What about polytheists? What about all the good that has been done by atheists, agnostics, humanists, et al.?

  • Ron Simkins

    Four responses:

    1 — Amen and Thanks, from your Pastor at NCF. May steal some of your ideas!
    2 — I am incredibly thankful that people choose to be good to others without God in their lives though I would not have. It makes it a much better world.
    3 — I believe humans (believers in God or not) are stamped with the image of God which includes the ability to choose to do good toward others.
    4 — Still, I wish everyone could experience and express more of God’s goodness.

  • http://www.ordinarymer.com/ Meredith

    One of the things that immediately struck me as I read the post and the comments was just how ambiguous that ad really is. Sure, once you realize who’s sponsoring it, the meaning becomes clearer, but it still leaves a lot of room for debate.

    Margo touched on this a bit, in initially thinking the ad was asking “are you sure you’re okay without God?” and Ed interpreted the ad’s “good” as morality (good vs. bad). I read the “good” in the ad as “okay,” “fine,” even “happy.” I’m not sure if the Big Apple Coalition of Reason meant to be so ambiguous with its word choice, but it actually falls nicely into your idea of increasing awareness, dialogue and thought. The confusion inherent in the ad is a good jumping off point for some of the discussion points you raised.

    3 million New Yorkers are good people with/out God. Are you?

    3 million New Yorkers are happy with/out God. Are you?

  • Trina

    We had this campaign come to Calgary too. Unfortunately the “we’re right-you’re wrong
    ‘ mentallity overwhelmed the media coverage.
    Opening up dialogue, listening to others, never means you have to compromise your position. I guess that is where my ‘go-with-the-flow’ attitude, which you commented on in an earlier post, comes from.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/ Kristin T.

    Margo, that is such a good point! When I first heard about the ads, it was through the article I linked to, which referenced the campaign as “atheist” right in the headline. I didn’t mean to leave it more ambiguous in my blog, but I’m glad I did! It just demonstrates how many different ways there are to understand and think about something, and how we’re all influenced by a variety of internal and external forces. There is no black and white, indeed! Thanks for your comment.

    Jason, your broader research and links about this campaign are really helpful. Thanks for doing some of the legwork! And I completely agree that the tone of Christian statements (bumper stickers, etc.) tends to be more along the lines of “we have the corner on Truth,” rather than “here are some different ways to think about the world and spirituality.” It’s something that bothers me, because it seems like Christians are more interested in claiming their rightness than they are than in opening dialogue and thought. Jesus was all about opening dialogue and pushing people to think in new ways, and come to their own conclusions.

    Ed, now I’ve heard about the book “Good without God” twice today! I’m going to have to check it out. Regarding you comment, I think I understand what you are saying, and I agree with it, particularly your second paragraph. I think people can live a “good life” (in both senses of the word good) without God, but I believe that to be at our best and to see the world at its best, we need to be living and seeing, thinking and acting within God’s grace. In any given day, I see the whole range of examples in my own life, from the “lost me” to the “good me,” and sometimes I even get glimpses of the “best me.”

    Jason, I can’t answer for Ed, of course, but my thoughts about your questions are somewhat embedded in my response to Ed. I don’t think that it’s a matter of believing in this Christian God and being ultimately good, versus not believing and being bad. I believe it’s a spectrum, and we’re all moving back and forth along it, sometimes getting close to reaching our potential, and many times falling short. There’s plenty of room for lots of good in individuals and the world, but I personally don’t believe I can be my very best without God. (Not a specific Christian God, but God—my God.)

    Ron, I think your third point, in particular, is really important in making sense of this complicated issue. How would you explain what happens when we move from being a person “stamped” by the image of God to someone completely immersed in the image of God? And what about the many many staged in between? Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts—I know you do because you’re a fan of ideas, thought and conversation, not just because you’re my pastor and you want to support me. :) Anyway, feel free to use some ideas!

    Meredith, yes, you’re exactly right. As I mentioned in my response to Margo, my original take on the ad was really colored by the news headline I read first. And the whole “good” versus “good” issue is really important, too. I read the ad as meaning “I’m OK without God—I’m getting through life just fine, and don’t see how believing in a God would make my life better.” The ambiguity can definitely be a good jumping off point for dialogue, as long as the ambiguity is recognized and pointed out by thoughtful people like you. :)

  • http://www.ihatemymessageboard.com Tracy

    Hi Kristin, this really is an interesting topic and there is so much potential for conversation if we do not, as you say, draw lines in the sand. As an Atheist, I do feel uncomfortable when fellow Atheists take a combative stance and argue that we have some sort of monopoloy on reason, that religion is a crutch, and so on. I feel no superiority to anyone based on my beliefs and enjoy hearing about the beliefs of others and discussing the differences and similarities.

    Ed, I think you bring up a good point that when (mostly in this country) Christians say that you can’t be good without God or some variation of the same that it is very easily rebutted. I think the question I have for those that would have me change my beliefs is if I am just as good, just as happy, just as peaceful and just as fulfilled in my life as you are in yours with religion, why would you have me change?

    I do feel complete and wholly capable of acting with self sacrificial love without any relationship to any Deity. What evidence does anyone have that I am not? I suppose the good without God was intentionally meant to be a play on words, yes we can behave without God and also we’re fine without it, which is not to say that makes us in any way better, more self-directed, more reasonable than those that say they are better with God. We all come into this world with different needs, and I believe a need for faith or spirituality is present or absent in each of us in different amounts.

    I think this is why, on the whole, I support these ad campaigns, not because I want to change anyone’s personal beliefs but because perhaps it will open up some minds that there are so many ways to lead a happy, moral, fulfilled complete life.

  • Joi T.

    Something that seems to be missing from this whole conversation is one of the main understandings of Christianity, which could be summed up in Jesus’ statement when the religious authorities were appalled at the fact that Jesus would eat with “sinners”(Matthew 9:12-13). Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” The billboard’s suggestion that millions of us can be just fine without God isn’t in any way helpful to the millions of people who can’t figure out how on earth to escape who they are and what they do as a result. Jesus came to give “abundant life” to everyone who otherwise are caught in the quagmire of impossible life/personality circumstances. Faith in Jesus creates a new beginning, bringing hope to a previously hopeless life. And by the way, identifying myself as “good” is a real stretch, which any amount of real introspection will reveal. Looking around at the mess our world is in shows how good we are at being good. Even Jesus said that not he, but only God, is “good.”

  • http://www.jenx67.com jen

    great post, kt.

    it was never about being good. it was about being surrendered.

  • credis

    deep down, kristin, i am sure you and your friends support promoting wider acceptance of a more rational and realistic view of the universe.

    i encourage you to follow the coalition’s lead and post your own ads.

    one suggestion: make the slogans shorter and correct the spelling first.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/ Kristin T.

    Trina, this is one of the things I appreciate most about you: “Opening up dialogue, listening to others, never means you have to compromise your position.” You understand that you and I don’t have to agree on everything to have good dialogue and even a friendship.

    Tracy, ditto to what I just said to Trina! And along the “drawing lines in the sand” issue, I really appreciate what you said here: “…which is not to say that makes us in any way better, more self-directed, more reasonable than those that say they are better with God.” We all could stand to find ways to hold our views and beliefs firmly, without degrading others in the process. Thanks for being one of the few who’s figured that out!

    Joi, this is beautifully put, and very much what I personally believe and have experienced in my own life: “The billboard’s suggestion that millions of us can be just fine without God isn’t in any way helpful to the millions of people who can’t figure out how on earth to escape who they are and what they do as a result. Jesus came to give “abundant life” to everyone who otherwise are caught in the quagmire of impossible life/personality circumstances. Faith in Jesus creates a new beginning, bringing hope to a previously hopeless life.” Thank you for your expression of it.

    Jen, yes, if it was about being “good,” we’d all be in trouble! The idea of “The Good Christian” is a farce that not only really bothers me, it also gets in the way of everything we’re about and all we’re trying to do.

    credis, thanks for your comment and suggestions. Your choice of words “you and your friends” made me think of one of the things I love most about this blog community: The group I call “my friends” is a very broad collection of people that is not dependent on shared individual beliefs. There are many categories of opinions expressed here, and many subcategories and variations within those. I would never assume I was speaking for “my friends” on an issue like this—only for myself.

  • credis

    what a nice wrap up!

    i’m a little bit confused what “shared individual beliefs” are, but i’m sure you understand.

    and that’s what is important.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/ Kristin T.

    credis, actually the fact that I understand something I’m writing about is *not* what’s important, as you suggest. If I was writing in a journal, that would certainly be the case, but since I’ve chosen to write a blog, it’s important that others understand, too. What I meant by “shared individual beliefs” is this: We each have beliefs that we hold individually, for our own reasons, but there are certainly others around us who share those beliefs. For instance, I suspect the Big Apple Coalition of Reason is made up of people who have decided individually to believe there is no God, then have reached out to join with others who share that belief.

  • credis

    some believe in a god or gods.

    others do not.

    it lies with believers to prove the existence supernatural beings.

    until then, they exist only in the form of electronic impulses bouncing around in your head.

    it’s not that complicated.

    thanks for explaining what you meant by “shared individual beliefs.”

    i had thought blogs were on-line journals.

  • http://geek.susanpotter.net Susan Potter

    @credis it is very interesting that you think that only believers have to prove the existence of supernatural beings, when scientific evidence has merely only proved that there is no scientific evidence for supernatural beings SO FAR. It has yet to definitively disprove the existence of supernatural beings. There is a lot of physical and scientific evidence to support the non-existence of supernatural beings, but not enough to be able to definitively disprove it. Until there is a definitive theory of everything from the scientific world, the atheist community also has a task to disprove it definitively. This is a more rigorous analysis of the evidence on the table than your absolutist “belief” of no supernatural beings. Where is the definitive proof?

    As a mathematician by training, I can only subscribe to an agnostic stance in good conscience, at least until either side proves their point definitively, which honestly doesn’t look like it will happen in my lifetime with the disagreement within the scientific community regarding new theoretical divides. For my purposes, I assume there are no supernatural beings, because that has very little to do with how or why I believe I should behave to others in the world around me. As Richard Dawkins says many times in the God Delusion (and I quite agree), a person does not need to be a person of faith to be a moral or ethical person. My motivation for treating others in a certain way has nothing whatsoever to do with “getting into heaven” and I suspect even for people of faith having a moral code of any kind has little or nothing to do with that reasoning.

    This does not mean people aren’t allowed to believe there are no supernatural beings, but it also means ridiculing people of faith is rather meaningless also. Neither has the definitive higher ground in absolute physical proof.

    I personally think that Jesus’ teachings from the gospel are ideals I would like to incorporate in my life, but it does not mean I believe in any type of supernatural being. It just so happens I like what the gospels say. I am not a big fan of the rest of the bible with all its violence, although I wouldn’t be opposed to learning more about it from a theological perspective because I do not have a problem with putting my individual belief system “under test”.

    That does not mean I think people who believe in supernatural beings are below me, however, because I have worked with some amazing engineers in my career so far who have been believers and also have an amazing capacity for rational thought at work. Without their professional work products or academic research the world would be a lesser place than it is today.

    One last note: if you thought “blogs were on-line journals” then does that make you an online journal voyeur? Or did you actually consciously fully comprehend that blogs were public, therefore if others were reading it (including yourself) then it’s purpose would have been to share thoughts and ideas with others?

  • credis

    i agree with you that people are allowed to do whatever they want.

    i also do not believe that people who believe in supernatural beings are “below me.”

    “shared individual beliefs” puzzled me the other day. that’s my idiosyncrasy about journals/blogs. when i studied english a diary was the name for what native english speakers call blogs. i write a blog on a cms called “live journal,” so sorry for confusing you and kristin. i enjoy sharing thoughts and ideas with others, but usually not about faith and in a different language and culture.

    oh, and as a mathematician by training and some one who has read dawkins (i haven’t read god delusion but am interested in memetics), you probably would agree with the teapot example he cites from russel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

    the onus is on the believer to prove something exists or not. until then, god is just in their heads.

  • Ron Simkins

    I am interested in what definitions we are using in the discussion. What is the meaning of “prove” and of “disprove” and in what linguistic spheres is it meaningful? Does it apply to proving or disproving I love my children or only in the areas that are measurable and repeatable designed tests designed for controlling and predicting? What is the meaning of “there is a lot of physical and scientific ‘evidence’ to support the non-existence of supernatural beings?” What is the standard by which we are defining the meaning of “good” or “moral?” Not trying to be nitpicking or obtuse, just wondering if we are talking past one another a lot of the time.

  • credis

    there will be no coherent answers, i expect, to your questions.

    just rhetoric.

    one of the great reasons to believe in god is that you no longer have to make sense.

  • xmartinj

    “one of the great reasons to believe in god is that you no longer have to make sense.”

    Holy ugly troll, Batman.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/ Kristin T.

    Susan, I really appreciate both the honesty and rational thought behind your beliefs and your comment. Thank you for taking the time to fully share where you’re coming from, and to further enlighten all of us. Your comment is a great example of how lines drawn in the sand get us nowhere, and how we can all learn from each other if we’re willing to listen. I’m sure you’re open to answering some of Ron’s questions, below, so that we can learn even more.

    Ron, those are great, very important questions for all of us to be thinking about as we have this dialogue. So often we don’t even stop to consider how we might be talking past one another. What you’re asking, of course, is not that we all define these things in exactly the same way, but that we at least try to work with the same set of definitions as we converse. If we can’t start with an agreed upon glossary of terms, at least we can each be more clear about how we define these terms that we use.

    credis, I am not going to continue responding to your comments, from this point on. This is not a reflection of your beliefs, but rather a result of how you choose to share those beliefs, your apparent lack of interest in true dialogue, and your lack of genuine respect for the beliefs of others. If other members of this blog community have the energy and time to engage you, they are more than welcome to.

    xmartinj, that’s one way to put it! :) I probably don’t need to tell you that I think this statement “one of the great reasons to believe in god is that you no longer have to make sense” couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • xmartinj

    “Religious condescension is the opiate of the self-absorbed.” – Mark Karls

  • http://www.orangeshirtguy.com Dave Thurston

    This is quite a quandary for me. I am able to realize great gifts, love, appreciation, and lots-of-just-good-stuff directly from the interaction and friendship and conversations of others. And when I can see and appreciate that, it is a triple victory.

    But this ad (is to me) an advertisement to the masses. And the day that I (personally) feel the need to advertise my belief to the masses seems to me like the day that I begin to think “I’d sure like to get a lot of people over to my side so that I’m a little more confident that my beliefs are correct.”

    That then is my quandary, one’s beliefs should be from personal, singular thoughts and not so much from the ebb and flow of the masses.

    Oh, but now for the best part of this advertisement: Ironically it (a) has caused personal singular thoughts and (b) has caused personal interactions of discussions. And at the cost of a few days of the masses heated score-taking, it might (reflectively) not just be worth it, but brilliant on a sublime-now-surfacing level.

  • credis

    “we want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world — its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. the whole conception of god is a conception derived from the ancient oriental despotisms. it is a conception quite unworthy of free men. when you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. we ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. we ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. a good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. it needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. it needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.” – betrand russell http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html (for susan and her engineers)

  • Ron Simkins

    Response to Credis:
    You probably are pretty intelligent and I am as well; however there are people all over the 21st century world with higher intelligence than either you or I reflect, and some of them are convinced that there is an active and involved personal God as the Judeo-Christian scriptures claim, and some of them are convinced that there is nothing in the universe other than the human mind that gives any content to any form of the word “god.” I resent it when Christians make comments about those who do not agree with them indicating a lack of intelligence, and it doesn’t work any better when it comes from those who do not share my experience or trust in ‘the God and Father of Jesus the Messiah.” I try to make sure that at least half of my serious reading involves reading smart people who disagree with my deepest paradigms and experiences of reality. You might try reading Pulkinghorne the English Royal Physist who speaks to your comments on “hope” in his recent book, or the sociologist Rodney Stark who provides reams of data to indicate that your reconstruction of the history of faith as primitive and unintelligent is out of touch with a lot of reality, etc. You may not find them convincing, but any honest reading will not find them lacking in intelligence, nor will it find them fearful, nor will it find them unwilling to look at other points of view.

  • credis

    ron, thanks for the reading tips. i have not read pulkinghorne or stark. but i will now be on the look out for them. i have enjoyed francis eagleton’s critique of compatriots dawkins and hitchins.

    intelligence is not the issue. reason is. coherent explanations i find much more compelling that spiritual rants. just my preference.

  • Ron Simkins

    To credis – and thank you for the Eagleton reference; I will be on the lookout for it as well. Reason is my favorite playground and probably my best ability, but it is limited too. It is only as good as the unprovable deep assumptions of reality that underlie and inform it, and it hits its limits before the reality we are attempting to analyze is exhausted. One quick example, I am fortunate enough to have a wife who loves me. Do I have evidence that gives me reasons for believing that I just made a true statement about reality? Yes. Could I “prove” she loves me with scientific conclusiveness? No. Could I give other rational scenarios with varying degrees of possibility or probabilty for why she does what she does and acts like she does? Yes. Do I entertain these rational possibilities as having anything to do with reality — no, I do not. Does my lack of scientically conclusive proof cause me to doubt her love? No, it just assures me that science and reason both have hit their limits. Because I “know” (with all the human limitations that implies) that her loving me is real. I don’t think that intuitive experiential knowledge is a rant, and it is not irrational, it is just more than reason. — Ron S

  • credis

    does intuition lead to – or imply – faith (in anything, not just a god or many gods) in a belief.

    or are we talking about an assumption?

    deductive reasoning, real-life experience and observation have led you to conclude reasonably that your wife loves you. but this is something difficult to ‘prove’ conclusively. more easily demonstrated : – )

    a better example, or a more reasonable conclusion, would be the love children have for their parents.

    from reason to intuition, from belief to faith . . . (more later) i find this very interesting, especially the LEAPING part.

  • Ron Simkins

    To Credis: You have also “leaped” haven ‘t you? You have concluded that millions of human beings past and present who say that they have experienced God’s presence in their daily lives are, in fact, presenting you with data that you can justifiably re-interpret into your “Big Picture” of reality. And, since you are unable to scientifically “test” most of this data, you are choosing to make a big leap of faith based on your “deep beliefs” about reality.

    Everybody “leaps” based on what they consider to be the most valid evidence when it comes to the most fundamental deep beliefs about reality. Sometimes the evidence is fairly good evidence — coherent, possible, maybe even probable — but, it is never rationally conclusive when it comes to the most basic working beliefs about the Master Story of reality. The deepest beliefs are always part of a working paradigm or master story that makes all other thinking and evaluating possible. We can test, doubt, struggle with, and re-test these fundamental beliefs, but they are never really based on the conclusive and indubitable reasoning we like to think they are. Thomas Kuhn illustrated this pretty vividly where basic scientific paradigms are concerned in his “Anatomy of a Scientific Revolution.” Since then, the issue of “Master Story” or “big paradigm” has become important in all testing of our reason and reasoning. — Ron S

  • Bella James

    While i do believe there are some people in the middle, i don’t agree with the ads that have been displayed. It is extremely dangerous in my opinion for New Yorkers, of all people( 9/11) to be saying they don’t need God. What they don’t realize is how much darker, more evil, and more chaotic this world would be without God. People should not be testing him. I think people do need to figure out what they believe though and stick to it. I’ve heard so many atheists use God’s name in vain, yet they don’t believe he exist. They also go out of their way to make sure Christians can’t have freedom of their belief even though we don’t spend all our energy making sure we infringe on their beliefs. The government is crushing the first amendment which states Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.

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  • http://newbreedofadvertisers.blogspot.com/ Sam Van Eman

    I like this list, Kristin, and I’m guessing all of your suggestions would have elicited a media response.