Probably many of you have noticed that a very different kind of “ad” campaign has been launched in the Indianapolis area using billboards on the I-465 loop to tell motorists that they “don’t need God” to live fulfilling lives. The campaign is the effort of a secular humanist group called The Center for Inquiry. They have purchased space on four billboards around I-465. The Amherst NY-based group has said it selected Indianapolis because it’s located in the nation’s heartland. One of the messages reads: “You don’t need God – to hope, to care, to love, to live.” The CFI says they want to reach out to non-religious people in a positive way. “We’re not trying to get other people to give up their religion. We’re just saying that there’s a misunderstanding that some people think if you’re not religious, you can’t even be a good person,” says the center’s Indiana director, Reba Wooden.
I will agree with CFI on one thing:you don’t need God to be a good person. But according to the Bible, good is not good enough when it comes to your eternal destiny. No matter how hard you try, your goodness and all of your good works, on their own, will never be enough to overcome the reality of the sin that separates you from God. That’s why Jesus came into the world and died on the cross. You can hope, you can care, you can love, and you can live without God, but none of those things, individually or collectively, can create a right relationship with God. Romans 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (NIV). And simply being good can’t create the fulfilling life that we all long for, either. It’s not possible. The Bible teaches us that we were made to live in fellowship with God. Sin separates us from that fellowship. And no amount of hoping, caring, loving, and living can change that. When you don’t live the life you were created to live, you know — no matter how hard you may try to deny it — you know deep down inside that something’s not right. That’s why the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-22, with all of his goodness (vs.17-20), came up to Jesus one day, desperate to know what he needed to do to get eternal life.
Unfortunately these are signs of the times in which we are living. My encouragement is to simply use this kind of misguided effort to embolden you to be that “light of the world” and “salt of the earth” Jesus talks about in Matthew 5, because the hope and care and love and life that comes from a someone who knows Christ is unmistakable.