A few years ago the Humanist Association’s ‘There’s Probably No God. Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life!’ posters offended some, confirmed the views of others, and got people talking about faith and belief. The clever phrase avoided declaring ‘There Is No God!’ something one cannot prove and for which you might be sued. I happily agree with their claim that there is no ‘Kill-Joy, Big Brother Deity, Divine Policeman or Towering Tyrant God, intent on throwing thunderbolts our way’. This is ‘good news’ indeed, but it is Not ‘THE GOOD NEWS’ I, and millions of other Christians across the globe, celebrated on Easter Sunday.
I sympathise with the grim and distorted view of a God, keen to rob us of joy and pleasure. We Christians can sometimes give the impression that God’s had a humour bypass and is devoid of grace and love. I’m with the atheists here! What a relief to realise that there isn’t a God wanting to snare and ruin your life!
As NT Wright says in ‘Simply Good News’ our Western world is hung-over from 17th and 18th century ‘deistic dualism’. Due to all the things that go wrong in our world (wars, famine, earthquakes, suicide bombers, covid crises, personal tragedy, etc.) such a view concludes that there can’t be a loving God at work here. That, if a creator god exists, then ‘he/she/ it’ must be ‘up there’ somewhere, unable or unwilling to come down and change things for the better, an inept granddaddy in the sky, an untrustworthy absentee landlord. One Woody Allen character puts it, “If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. The worst you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.”
If you share such jaundiced views of God, it will be hard to join the dots between Jesus and the God shown in the New Testament (Bible). Along with many atheists and agnostics, you may respect and sing the praises of Jesus Christ as a ‘remarkable man’, but Jesus’ claim to be ‘God come in the flesh’ challenges such views. He is either a Lunatic, Liar or Lord / Mad, Bad or God, he leaves no room for anything in between.
The Good News, celebrated in our Irvine Holy Week art-attack on the Low Green & Green Bridge, is this that God is intimately interested and involved in this world and proves it by coming in person through Jesus, to identify with us in our joy and sorrow, celebration and sickness, life and death. In Christ God comes alongside to prove his loving presence. He absorbs all the hatred, bitterness and sin we humans can throw at him, buries it and returns to us with the Hope, Life and Power for a New Way and World of Love. Indeed, He wants you to stop worrying and enjoy life! To Trust In Him. He wants to overflow you with the multi-colours of Easter Hope.