Tag Archives: atheist
It’s been observed that “there’s no atheists in foxholes.” This refers to the horrors of war and the men and women that bravely defend our country. When in the midst of life-threatening war, no atheists can be found as soldiers pray to God for safety. I think we could aptly apply this wisdom to hurricanes as well: “there’s no atheists in hurricane shelters.”
These two devastating forces of nature remind me of two immutable facts:
When I was about 9 years old my elementary school announced that our class, a group of fourth graders, would be taking part in a sex-education course. They sent a letter home to all parents and let them know the dates of the course. This allowed parents to decide whether they wanted their kids to be in the class or not.
My parents decided that they did not want me in the course and signed a form requesting that I be excused from the class during that period.
So, every day during the sex-education class – which only lasted a week or so – I went to another room and did other work while my peers and friends took part in the course.
Church plants are on the rise, so are the “nones” and the “dones.” The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is getting smaller. Not only do I think these trends will continue, I think they are a good thing for Christians, the Gospel, and America.
I’ll confess that I am highly interested in church cultural trends. I’m not just a theology geek, but a geek in general that is fascinated by trends that I can see happening around me. When I read a statistic that matches up with the reality in my community I am curious. The trend of shrinking denominationalism coupled with more churches being planted is both fascinating and obvious. These trends, in conjunction with the rise of the “dones” is also interesting and obvious.
Christianity Today recently reported several statistics that are worth noting relating to the Southern Baptist Convention:
Richard Dawkins recently made one of the most ironic statements I’ve heard this week. During an interview for The Irish Times Dawkins, speaking about children, said:
“Children do need to be protected so that they can have a proper education and not be indoctrinated in whatever religion their parents happen to have been brought up in.”
The irony of the statement is found in the fact that Dawkins is one of the world’s foremost atheists, which is just another “religious” ideology.
I suppose people don’t often consider atheism a religion, but rather than absence of or rejection of religion. But that is a misnomer. Religion, at its core, is a framework of convictions and beliefs that are intended to guide ones thinking and give direction to one’s life. It’s a sort of roadmap for living each day. Considering this simple but fundamental definition of religion it is easy to conclude that atheism is just another religion.
If I were to ask Dawkins if he thought children should be brought up Christian, or Jewish, or Mormon, he would probably say no. Dawkins would tell me that they should be allowed to make their own decision and that parents should not force their religion on their kids. However, if I asked Dawkins if he would encourage atheism via scientific exploration, philosophy, and thinking critically and logically with his own kids, he would almost certainly say yes.
I’m fascinated by atheists. How can I not be fascinated by someone who spends a great deal of effort and energy refuting someone they don’t believe exists?
It would be as if I said “this chair I’m sitting in does not exist,” and then spent the next 2 hours lecturing you about why doesn’t exist, the silliness of believing it does exist, and all the whole pointing to the chair that I don’t believe exists. And yet this is, in my opinion, what many – if not all – atheists do.
Some of the world’s most brilliants atheists are also some of the most educated theologians. Though they seek to discredit the Bible and theology and prove that God doesn’t exist, they certainly know a lot. I can think of no other person that proves more clearly that knowledge does not equal wisdom or relationship than atheists.
Pastors can breathe a sigh of relief today as the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision to strike down the minister’s housing allowance as unconstitutional.
Previously, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had argue that the housing allowance given to pastors was unconstitutional because it provided an unfair tax benefit to pastors, creating preferential treatment for religious messages. It was argued that the housing allowance violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lower court, with Judge Barbara Crabb ruling, agreed with the FFRF and ruled the housing allowance unconstitutional.
Though the ruling only affected pastors in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, pastors across the country watched the case with serious interest knowing if the ruling was upheld it would soon spread.
The 7th Circuit determined that since the FFRF was never denied tax-exemption under the housing allowance tax code they had no standing concerning the issue:
But what I wonder is just how inclusive and accepting the atheist church is. They claim to be a center for inclusivity, but would they accept me, an evangelical Christian? Would they be open to changing the way they conduct their services so as not to offend me? Would they adopt a “doctrinal statement” that acknowledged God to include me?
While many atheists attack Christians for their beliefs, calling them exclusive, bigoted, hateful, discriminatory, etc., the reality is that every group, including atheists has beliefs that are offensive to someone else. The fact that atheists deny the existence of God is offensive to me, should I sue? If they don’t let me join their church should I sue? If they require members to sign their support for their humanist tenets should I sue? Should I seek to have them removed from college campuses, high school events, and other public arenas?
The following article from the Christian Post should serve as a very sobering warning to every church regarding youth ministry. I would also suggest that it applies to kids ministry as well. Churches that are quick to entertain and lack the ability to challenge their kids and students could be setting them up to reject faith entirely during their college years.
As parents it should be our most sincere desire to be in a church that will intentionally challenge our kids and students in their faith. We should be looking for leaders that are not just convicted in their beliefs, but know the Bible and how to communicate it. At the end of the day the fun and games must take a back seat to imparting solid doctrine and teaching biblical values to the impressionable people in our care.
I encourage you to take a few moments and read this article if you are a parent or church leader. Let us be reminded of the eternal nature of our charge to share our faith and disciple our kids and students.
Learning From Young Atheists: What Turned Them Off Christianity
It’s something most Christian parents worry about: You send your kids off to college and when they come back, you find they’ve lost their faith. The prospect of this happening is why many parents nudge their kids towards Christian colleges, or at least schools with a strong Christian presence on campus.
But in many ways, the damage has been done long before our children set foot on campus. That’s the message from a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly.
Already this landmark decision is being called controversial by both opponents of public prayer and advocates. That might sound strange, but some are wondering if the fact that the court ruled on public prayer at all is a sign that our religious freedoms are being viewed as government granted rather than God-given, as our Founders believed. It is a valid thought to consider as increasing government intrusion on individual liberty and religious freedom has reached historic proportions.
But, for the moment we do need to celebrate what is potentially one of the most critical victories regarding religious freedom in our country in quite a while. Under one of the most religiously oppressive administrations in recent history we should celebrate every victory and be thankful for the freedoms that continue to shape America. Here’s a few of the articles commenting on the recent decision by the Supreme Court.
If you were somehow disappointed by the Ken Ham v. Bill Nye debate, you absolutely must watch an upcoming debate between prominent atheist Sean Carroll and brilliant philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig. A recent article shares some details of the debate scheduled for this Friday at 7 PM:
“The debate, titled ‘God and Cosmology: The Existence of God in Light of Modern Cosmology,’ will be a two-day symposium, featuring numerous speakers. While the first day of the event will be led by Carroll and Craig, a separate debate and discussion on the second day of the conference will feature four additional presenters who will also address complex philosophical and theological issues, according to a press release. Philosophers Tim Maudlin and Alex Rosenberg will argue in favor of Carroll’s side of the debate and Craig’s case will be touted by philosopher Robin Collins and physicist James Sinclair.”
Anyone who knows anything about William Lane Craig knows that he is revered as one of, if not the most brilliant debater regarding apologetics alive today. (With a very respectful hat tip to Ravi Zacharias.) It has been reported more than once that Craig has never lost a debate and some even refuse to debate him – whether out of fear, respect, or both, is anyone’s guess.
This promises to be an epic debate in which Sean Carroll is already saying he has no plans to win the debate, he just wants to share some thoughts. Uh…does he not understand the premise of a debate? Perhaps he is hedging in light of William Lane Craig’s reputation. Either way, you don’t want to miss this debate.
The debate will take place on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. It will be streamed live online here.