The Nativity Scene

The Nativity Scene

As has been the tradition for many, many years in this country, when December 1st rolls around the Christmas decorations begin to appear in front of people’s homes, in public buildings, on building fronts, and even in front of governmental buildings {albeit, local, state, federal}. For most, the Christmas decorations (especially the Nativity scene) serve as a reminder that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. However, for some who identify themselves as “atheists” (or if you will, “non-believers”), the Nativity scene – especially those on display at governmental buildings – emboldens and stirs these who want “God” removed from every facet of our society (that is, from our Pledge of Allegiance, from our currency, from our government buildings [as in the Ten Commandments]) to vociferously cry “foul”.

Of late, at the Chicago Daily Plaza, members of the “Freedom From Religion Foundation”, a group of atheists and agnostics, in protest to the Nativity scene, put up a sign with a big letter “A” honoring the Bill of Rights, as well as a banner showing their own “nativity scene” featuring “Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher who now heads up the atheist and agnostic Freedom From Religion Foundation, said it was important for atheists to see their viewpoints validated alongside everyone else’s. “It’s not that we are trying to coerce anyone; in a way our sign is a signal of protest,” Barker said. “If there can be a Nativity scene saying that we are all going to hell if we don’t bow down to Jesus, we should be at the table to share our views.” He said if anything, it’s the Nativity scene that is the intrusion. “Most people think December is for Christians and view our signs as an intrusion, when actually it’s the other way around,” he said. “People have been celebrating the winter solstice long before Christmas. We see Christianity as the intruder, trying to steal the holiday from all of us humans.” At the same time, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, has hit at least nine states in the past year with billboards that look like they’re made of stained glass but say “Beware of Dogma,” “Imagine No Religion,” or — coming soon — “Reason’s Greetings.” The group formerly advertised on the liberal radio network Air America which featured Ron Reagan, son of the former president, who signed off: “Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist. Not afraid of burning in hell.

After reading several articles dealing with the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” and as well quotes from other atheists / agnostics, I was struck by their ominous lack of concern for “burning in hell” – because of their unbelief in Jesus Christ. Though they may claim that they are not “afraid of burning in hell” – it would be prudent for them to read of one who is currently in torment in hell.

Luke 16:19-28,

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

Maybe it’s high time we all relook at the Nativity scene to be reminded of the fact that only through “belief in Jesus Christ unto salvation” will we be saved from the torments of hell.