The Christian Post recently reported that the Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason won a court case to post atheist messages on the sides of Little Rock’s city buses.
But wait a minute. Why did they need to win a court case to do it?
Apparently there was significant opposition. Some of the reluctance came from the transit company’s concern for vandalism.
But wait another minute. Why would there be worries of vandalism? Who would vandalize an atheist bus ad? Surely Christians wouldn’t deface advertisements on public transit. They’re too busy with their church potlucks. And Mormons are too busy riding bicycles and having picnics with their families to get into such business. Needless to say there are not enough radical Muslims in Little Rock to pose a serious threat. So who is it we have to worry about? The deists? I doubt that. They may believe God exists, but they also don’t think it is anything to get excited about.
As I was puzzling about this somebody came up and matched my incredulity pound for pound. “I challenge your first statement sir.” he hollered. “Christians certainly would do such a thing!”
I calmly replied to this aggressive interlocutor: “Sir, I demur. If anything Christians would welcome atheist bus signs.”
At that my new conversation partner turned purple. “Welcome them?!” he screamed. “Bullocks! Poppycock!! Man, are you crazy?!” Spittle flecks dotted my lapel.
“What do you mean?” the man snapped suspiciously.
“You probably see something trite and forgettable, like this ad for Gap clothing.”
The man squinted at the picture. “Khakis with attitude?” He then looked at me incredulously. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Exactly what I was going to ask you. I suppose it doesn’t really mean anything. At least it doesn’t mean anything important. It is essentially vacuous. Just one more excuse to clutter up space with empty advertising.”
“Ridiculous.” the man muttered.
“Yes it is. What’s even worse is that the average person living in North America sees more than 10,000 commercial images every day. Our world is absolutely full of them. And the vast majority of them invite us only to think of trivial matters, like whether the color of our pants has “attitude” according to the ever-shifting tastes of the fashionistas.”
“That’s outrageous.” the man muttered as he began cracking his knuckles.
“It certainly is. And Christians should be among those most indignant to this pervasive invitation to mediocrity and triviality. Questions like “what color are your pants?” and “What bacteria is in your yogurt?” and “What does that new perfume smell like?” and “How much horsepower is in that new car?” and “What flavor is that new heartburn medicine?” don’t matter. Or they don’t matter much. What really matters are questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” and “What is the good life?” and “Is there a god? And thus you can bet that a Christian who finds any bus sign that shakes us out of our fatal preoccupation with the trivial long enough to raise some important issues will be embraced as an invitation to important conversation. We’re not human because of our khaki pants and peach flavored yogurt. We’re human because we dare to ask why.”
The man’s face had brightened considerably. “Yes, I see what you mean. Christians would never vandalize an atheist bus ad. It comes as a bearer of important gifts in a never-ending cascade of meaninglessness.”
I smiled with satisfaction. “You got it.”
Suddenly the man’s visage darkened again. “I suppose then, that it must have been the Mormons after all.”