As some of you may know, the first atheist monument on Government property was recently erected. Sye Ten Bruggencate of Proof That God Exists was at the unveiling and, as a way of “exposing the inconsistency and folly of atheism”, he brought a toilet seat along with him. According to an article on The Alligator he placed the toilet seat on the new monument, declaring it complete.
When I first heard about this story, I was more than a little perturbed. I understand the desire to point out the inherent contradiction between what the atheist says about religious belief, and the way in which he acts when his own beliefs are contradicted. However, I’m not sure that such antics are helpful. In fact, I’m certain they are not. The act of placing a toilet seat on an atheist monument contributes nothing to the rational discourse surrounding the subject of the existence of God. It doesn’t present an alternative consistent view that refutes, by the impossibility of the contrary, the worldview of unbelief. It is simply offense for the sake of offense. It is in my opinion that this was a needlessly offensive and childish act that communicated nothing about the Christian faith, except that some of its adherents are rude, and don’t respect others. A friend of mine in the Alpha & Omega Ministries chat channel summed it up nicely when he said “That would be like if the artist who put together “Piss Christ” was asked why they put it together, and they’re like, well, I’m really bothered by the overreaching claims of the medieval papacy, much like Erasmus. Really? Because it looks like you peed in a glass and put a crucifix in there.”
Jesus told his disciples that the world would hate them because it hated him first. Paul tells us that the Gospel is a stumbling-block, and foolishness to those who are perishing. I am not denying the offensive nature of the gospel message. To tell mankind that they are dead in trespasses and sins, deserving of the holy wrath of a righteous God, and that this very God whom they hate has offered salvation to all who repent of their sins and believe in his name, is an offensive message, but it is a true message.
I stand in support of my brothers who do the work of apologetics, defending the Christian faith and the gospel message against the irrational claims of unbelief. However, it is also my desire that no Christian apologist would ever add to the offense of the cross by acting in such a way that brings reproach upon the name of Christ.
Scripture tells us, answer not a fool… lest you become like him yourself. I fear that Sye has fallen into this trap. By acting in the same foolish and unhelpful way that many atheists treat Christianity (see the “Piss Christ” referenced previously) he has become just like them.