• Atheism •
May 1, 2006
Robert Jensen is absolutely transparent in his atheism. “I don’t believe in God,” he asserts. That statement is simple enough, indicating a categorical denial in any belief in God. Lest anyone mistake his atheism for mere theological confusion, Jensen went on to explain: “I don’t believe Jesus Christ was the son of a God that I don’t believe in, nor do I believe Jesus rose from the dead to ascend to a heaven that I don’t believe exists.” What makes these statements all the more significant is that they appear in an article entitled, “Why I am a Christian (Sort Of),” in which Jensen, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, explains why he joined St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Austin.
April 21, 2006
February 22, 2006
Daniel C. Dennett is at it again. In his new book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Dennett applies his radical vision of Darwinism to belief in God, and the entire question of faith and belief. As you might expect, Dennett doesn't think much of belief in God.
January 3, 2006
Daniel C. Dennett is one of the world’s most influential evolutionary scientists, and unlike many of his colleagues, Dennett doesn’t run away from Darwinism’s logical conclusions. Instead, he describes Darwin’s theory of evolution as a “universal acid” that completely reshapes reality, destroying those truths previously held to be enduring and unchanging. The basic incompatibility of Darwin’s theory is the one facet of Dennett’s thought we can truly appreciate.
December 16, 2005
October 14, 2005
Ronald Aronson offers an interesting review essay in the current issue of BookForum. The topic is atheism and Aronson thinks that “it is irreligion, and not religion, that is on the defensive today.” Nearly forty years after TIME‘s famous cover that asked, “Is God Dead?,” a majority of Americans claim to believe in God.
October 3, 2005
Last week I looked at the false argument behind Ruth Gledhill’s article in The Times [London] purporting to show that nations with a higher commitment to Christianity also experienced higher rates of various social pathologies. As I argued then, Gledhill’s article lacks credibility, since she never established any causal link between Christian belief and these pathologies. Furthermore, her article does not appear to be a fully accurate representation of the research study upon which it was claimed to have been based.
September 30, 2005
William Murchison takes a good look at the tragic collapse of Christian belief in Europe, describing Europe’s vanishing faith in poetic terms: “Centuries of Christian belief swept away in a great cosmic sorting-out; history stood on its head.”
The evidence is irrefutable, and the future of European civilization is very much in doubt. After all, the population growth in Europe is not coming among secularists, but among Europe’s fast-growing Muslim population. These are not secularists looking to build a post-Christian Europe.
Nevertheless, Murchison’s gaze also falls upon the United States, where Christian belief often appears more substantial that it really is. Consider these words of analysis:
Meantime, it seems necessary to advise against Americans’ giving themselves pious airs. Ours is a culture that puts more trust in supernatural religion than does Europe’s–but not that much more. On the way to church, my wife and I sometimes joke about the comings and goings on the road: joggers, bicyclists, the lounging crowds at Starbucks. Guess they’re getting a quick refill for the ride to First Methodist, we might say with a wink, well knowing the patrons to be occupied with latte and laptops rather than Bibles.
The legacy of the Enlightenment weighs upon us, as upon our European co-religionists: religion as claptrap and show, churches and cathedrals as places you repair not for physical and spiritual connection to Reality itself but for the satisfaction of habits or social needs or goodness knows what else. Anyway, how to present Christian realities in the context of a culture wedded to choice, change, and the satisfaction of personal wants? The immediate satisfaction, I should add: not deferred to some Better Time. Now. And preferably with as little pain and inconvenience as possible.
Christianity–we should admit it–is un-modern. Or, rather, it is modern in the sense that it encompasses all eras: past, present, and future. What we might call the “modern spirit” is in fact detached from the Christian spirit.
See “Vanishing Sea of Faith” in the October 2005 issue of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity.
September 9, 2005
Richard Dawkins is one of the world’s most recognizable and influential intellectual figures. His books on evolutionary theory and modern science have sold millions of copies, and he is one of the most quotable thinkers in modern science. Of course, he is also one of the most aggressive secularists of the age–and that’s what makes him an important focus of Christian interest.
July 27, 2005
“It takes one to know one,” quipped historian Eugene Genovese, then an atheist and Marxist. He was referring to liberal Protestant theologians, whom he believed to be closet atheists. As Genovese observed, “When I read much Protestant theology and religious history today, I have the warm feeling that I am in the company of fellow nonbelievers.”
July 6, 2005
The New York Times reports on Camp Quest, a summer camp for atheist and agnostic youth. The camp is located in Boone County, Kentucky, and caters to kids from secular homes. One 12-year-old boy expressed his satisfaction with the experience: “It’s good to know there are other people out there who don’t believe in God,” he said.
Here’s more from the newspaper’s report: Providing a haven for the children of nonbelievers is what Camp Quest is all about. As the camp’s official T-shirt announces, it’s a place that’s “beyond belief.” More precisely, it claims to be the first summer sleep-away camp in the country for atheist, agnostic and secular humanist children.
At Camp Quest, children age 8 to 17 take part in all the usual summer camp activities. But in addition to horseback riding, organized water balloon fights and outdoor survival lessons, the camp’s volunteer staff aims to promote a healthy respect for science and rational inquiry, while assuring campers that there is nothing wrong with not believing in the Bible and not putting stock in a supreme creator.
All that sounds pretty much like what kids are likely to hear out in the public, and even in some public schools. Nevertheless, parents pay $650 for each kid to attend this camp. I’m guessing that a Bible is not on the packing list for this camp.