I don't subscribe to Newsweek, but I do get back issues from a friend. In the January 8 issue, there's a little blurb in the "Beliefwatch" column about something called the Blasphemy Challenge. I'd never heard of it, so I went to the Rational Response website and watched a few of the videos. They basically consist of atheists (most of them seem to be religious dropouts) staring into the camera and proclaiming God does not exist, the Crucifixion did not happen, the Holy Spirit is imaginary, and they are not afraid.
Okay, that's great. Everyone knows atheists are out there. Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, exemplifying the new breed of militant atheist, have made this abundantly clear. And your point is...?
Actually, I thought some of the videos were rather funny. They no more prove the non-existence of God than my proclaiming that I have a personal relationship with my Creator proves the reverse, but hey, whatever floats your boat. If you want to stand next to a Catholic church (lit with an eerie green light that makes it resemble a set for a remake of The Blob) and yell to the skies that you're not afraid, more power to you.
Not afraid of what, may I ask? Going to hell? Personally, based on my study of the Bible, I do not believe a physical burning Hell exists, any more than I believe that humans have an immortal soul. This pretty much removes (as well it should) the crippling fear of God so-called Christians have inspired in their flocks over the centuries. It's understandable why many have turned away from Christianity (and other religions) after having something like this pounded into their heads. If you can't serve your God out of love, it's no good.
So, if you don't believe in Hell or an afterlife, what's left? This life is indeed all there is (I happen to believe a glorious physical future awaits, but that's a subject for another post), and the only thing we can do as individuals is live the best lives we can in this world now. I also believe God grants us free will, which obviously includes whether to worship Him or not, or even whether to believe in Him or not. Since God wants willing worshipers, I don't think it impresses Him one little bit for people to renounce His existence. I'm sure he is aware of it, but why on earth would the views of one (or millions, for that matter) militant atheist matter?
(As an aside, I really don't like to call God "he." As an energy being, God would be more properly an "it." But I cannot bring myself to call the highest Personage in the universe "it." Maybe s/he, hir, or zie would do better, although God doesn't actually have a gender.)
The Blasphemy Challenge certainly doesn't impress me. It's like, okay, the atheists are at it again...ho hum, let's move on to the next subject. Their faith or lack thereof doesn't alter mine. One wonders, however, if they're really as secure in their non-faith as they say they are, why they would feel compelled to proclaim it so stridently.
Oh, and (as the little article reads) someone "daring God to send him to hell?" If God doesn't exist, why are you bothering?