A billboard message reading “I can be good without God” was booted off church land in Columbus, Ohio. This from The Columbus Dispatch. The campaign is by The Freedom from Religion Foundation who contracted with Clear Channel advertising. It featured “the smiling image of Dylan Galos” and, to be quite honest, I don’t know who Dylan Galos is? I tried to Google him but I’m not confident in the search results. I believe he may have been picked simply because he was representative of Columbus students who happen to be atheists. That takes some guts to blow your face up onto a billboard with the word atheist beside it. It shows how far atheists have come and that slowly the stigma is starting to wear off.
Regardless, Christ Cathedral Church headed by Rev. Waymon Malone ordered the billboard to be taken down. His mother-in-law was available for comment and said, “It said we don’t need God, and we’re at church, so we do need God.” A brilliant piece of logic.
Clear Channel called the incident an “unfortunate oversight” and The Freedom of Religion Foundation had no idea it was church land. They were simply looking to have the billboard be seen by traffic. Galos, who was featured in the ad, said it was the church’s right to request the ad removal but was disappointed that they did. I’m wondering what the contractual obligations are between the church and Clear Channel? Is there a morality clause in their contract as billboard ads can range from alchohol to gambling to cigarettes (which are banned from advertising on TV and radio). It seem to me if you’re taking money from billboard advertising you’re getting in bed with vices of all sorts. Possibly they only take cell phone ads and obnoxious radio show DJs pitching their morning shows. Of course we all know churches are “nonprofit” tax exempt institutions–that can own real estate, sell advertising space, run publishing houses and own a multitude of businesses in a bad economy where for-profit small business have the thumb of the IRS on them. What a racket.
The good reverend should take a longer look at that ad. You can be good without God! The evidence is clear on that. It doesn’t say we are perfect though. I’m still pushing this point because many Christians now realize the morality argument is flawed and are emphasizing that atheists, while they can be good without God, are still going to hell because they haven’t accepted the substitutionary death of Christ to make them sinless. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you’re not good enough for God. This has to do with a perfect sacrifice, not whether a person can realize helping a blind person cross the street is the right thing to do.
On the atheist side “good without God” emphasizes how flawed Christianity is in that it is a permanent punishment (eternal hell) for a limited offense (mortality). This is why liberal theology, one where hell has to do with a state of mind or an earthly hell, will become more dominant. Or at least that’s my prediction. It is becoming harder and harder to accept a literal hell with torture or pointless isolation which makes an all powerful god seem petty.
SIDENOTE: The Freedom from Religion Foundation is doing a good job on their ad campaigns. Instead of waiting for people to discover the truth, they’re taking their message to the streets and competing with Christians and, in particular, Mormons with their marketing.