Paul Cooper

NewsReal Sunday: O'Reilly's Attack on Atheists Doesn't Do Jesus Any Favors

Posted on December 6 2009 4:00 am
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.
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What is your favorite annual Christmas tradition?  I think Bill O’Reilly’s is battling it out with supposed Christmas haters in the secular battle ground of the holiday season. It’s that time of year again: War on Christmas time.

“Why believe in a god?  Just be good for goodness sake.” That is the message of the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) ad campaign on buses in some cities in America.  And those two questions really bother O’Reilly.

O’Reilly has always billed himself as a “culture warrior.” He believes he must stand up against secularists who fight against the Judeo-Christian roots of American culture. I have no problem with O’Reilly fighting that battle, but sometimes I have a problem with how he does it. His most recent skirmish with the AHA doesn’t do Christians any favor, in fact, I believe he demeans us.

“Why do they loathe the baby Jesus?  He’s just a baby…How do you sell atheism by running down a baby?  It’s just a baby.” – Bill O’Reilly

O’Reilly goes on to say that atheists attack Christmas because they are jealous of the fun Christians and Jews (with Hannukah) have this time of year. They are so jealous that they must attack a little baby Jesus.

Well, Bill, here’s a little tip for your culture war: don’t defend Christianity by calling its Savior God “just a baby”.  Let me give you a quote from a classic American comedy:

Ricky Bobby: Dear tiny infant Jesus…
Carley Bobby: Hey, um… you know sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don’t always have to call him baby. It’s a bit odd and off puttin’ to pray to a baby.

Do I think the AHA is attacking Jesus, because they are jealous of Christians during Christmas time? Of course not. The AHA wants everyone to believe you can be good without God. Do I believe the AHA is attacking Christianity with their ad? Of course. The AHA wants to remove the Judeo-Christian worldview from our society.  That’s obvious in everything from their ads, their public statements, and annual selections for Humanist of the Year. Recent winners include an anti-intelligent design activist (PZ Myers), Congressman Pete Stark (seemingly anti-Israel), and Richard Dawkins (whose career goal may just be to defeat Christian thought).  O’Reilly is right in seeing these ads as part of the culture war, but wrong and unhelpful in his response to them.

Christians do not want to convince people to our side so they can have more fun on Christmas. And we do not think of Jesus as simply some helpless, cute little baby.  During Christmas, we do remember God coming in the flesh as a baby.  But we believe so much more than that.  The Prophet Isaiah said it well:

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

We celebrate the Almighty God when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  He is the One who is ruler and creator of the world.  That is the opposite worldview of the humanist and atheist.  It deserves real discussion and not watered down antagonistic ads by AHA or silly statements by O’Reilly.

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