Didn't get round to talking about this when I saw it on Tuesday, but nevertheless …
After the initial shock of bile in the original Guardian article, I've been realising that (for us panoramic trinitarians, at least) this might just be the best thing that has happened for years and years. And now I'm wondering if I can explain why 🙂
Obviously, this has been done by people who are frustrated when those with an opposing view publicise themselves (which I presume means the Alpha Course, but others too). The problem for the atheists is that, with adverts (and surrounding hoo-har) like this, they are actually doing the Christians' job for them – saving Nicky Gumbel money. Why? Because the whole reason that Alpha exists is that, for decades, the Church has been absolutely powerless to instigate a national conversation on the existence of God, and now, that conversation is happening.
For example: At school a few weeks ago, I overheard two 13 year olds on their way to an RE lesson.
Boy 1: 'I like RE cos it gives me lots of things to say to Christians.'
Boy 2: 'Ah, but did the Big Bang create the world or did God create the Big Bang?'
When I was thirteen, we did not talk about God/belief/Aquinas' first cause theory at school – you probably didn't either. But these wee lads know it already, and not because the content of the curriculum has changed. I think that's quite mind-bending. My friend Paul was saying yesterday that 20 years ago, you couldn't force someone to have a conversation about whether or not God might exist, and now it's the non-believers who are initiating.
So, what I'm saying (I think), is that all this stuff is fascinating. I hate partisanship – having enemies for the sake of it – so I'm not 'against' atheists of any sort (I have quite a soft spot for them actually). But I do think that it's ironic that they are now unknowingly contributing to the work of the Church, even to the point of emulating poorly worded and designed Christian posters!