• Must Read Books on Christianity, the Bible and Homosexuality

    A few weeks ago I spoke at Orange Evangelical Church and gave two talks on Homosexuality and Christianity. I have been asked a few times to recommend books on homosexuality and Christianity or homosexuality and the Bible that I have found helpful and so here are my list of must read’s on this issue that Christians need to be both Biblically clear headed and filled with the love and grace of Jesus:

    The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics by Robert Gagnon. This is a must read for pastors, Bible college students and anyone who is in a significant place in christian leadership. Gagnon is exhaustive in his analysis of the Bible and his interaction with those who try to argue from the Bible that homosexuality is a biblically legitimate expression of sexuality. His tone is scholarly and straight to the point and he pulls no punches so this is not a book to go to if you are looking for pastoral counsel. But if you want a book that deals with the Bible and Homosexuality this is the book.This is a tough book to read that will take work but it is a vital book to read.

    Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views by Dan Via and Robert Gagnon. This is written by two scholars who present their arguments from the Bible on why the Bible is for homosexuality (Via) and why it is against it (Gagnon). It is a great book to see how the two different sides of this debate actually look at the Bible totally differently.

    Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill is a great book that I hope all Christians read. It is written by a man who calls himself gay in the sense that he is attracted to men and and yet he is a Christian who because of his faith will not act out on his desires. What this book shows is how painful it is to be caught in this situation. The book also gives us hope by dealing with this issue in a pastorally brilliant and theologically informed way.

    Sex and the Supremacy of Christ edited by Justin Taylor and John  Piper. Buy and read this book for Al Mohler’s article “Homosexual Marriage as a Challenge to the Church: Biblical and Cultural Reflections”. The article shows Mohler at his best. It is both biblically and theologically informed and culturally savvy.

    Like Me: Confessions Of A Heartland Country Singer by Chely Wright. Is an autobiographical account of American Country singer Chely Wright and her struggles with being a life long lesbian. It takes you through her battles with her identity, we read of her praying as a seven year old that God would make her straight and other emotionally gripping stories. Christians should read this book because it shows us point blank the emotional turmoil that exists when struggling with homosexual identity.

    Homosexuality is one of the flash points for Christians in our age. We need to be biblically informed and yet have compassion and love. The books on homosexuality will help you be both.

    You may also like:

    Great Books on The Holy Spirit

    Has Radical Feminism Failed Our Women?

    6 Books That Will Grow You As A Leader

     

  • Would The World Be Better Off Without Christians?

    Some people say today that if there was no religion in the world the world would be a better place. Usually this pointed remark is aimed at Christians and Christianity.

    But would the world really be better off if there were no Christians? I think not, if you have a look at all the work Christians organisations do for this world our world would be far worse off without Christians and/or Christianity.

    Country star Brad Paisley nails this point with his song Those Crazy Christians.

    Check out the lyrics here:

    Those crazy Christians, I was gonna sleep in today
    But the church bells woke me up and they’re a half a mile away

    Those crazy Christians, dressed up drivin’ down my street
    Get their weekly dose of guilt before they head to Applebee’s

     

    They pray before they eat and they pray before they snore
    They pray before a football game and every time they score
    Every untimely passing, every dear departed soul
    Is just another good excuse to bake a casserole

     

    Those crazy Christians, go and jump on some airplane
    And fly to Africa or Haiti, risk their lives in Jesus’ name
    No, they ain’t the late night party kind
    They curse the devil’s whiskey while they drink the Savior’s wine

     

    A famous TV preacher has a big affair and then
    One tearful confession and he’s born again again
    Someone yells hallelujah and they shout and clap and sing
    It’s like they can’t wait to forgive someone for just about anything

    Those crazy Christians

     

    Instead of being outside on this sunny afternoon
    They’re by the bedside of a stranger in a cold hospital room
    And every now and then they meet a poor lost soul like me
    Who’s not quite sure just who or what or how he ought to be
    They march him down the aisle and then the next thing that you know
    They dunk him in the water and here comes another one of those crazy Christians

     

    They look to heaven their whole life
    And I think what if they’re wrong but what if they’re right
    You know it’s funny, much as I’m baffled by it all
    If I ever really needed help, well you know who I’d call
    Is those crazy Christians

    Do you think Brad Paisley is right?

    You may also like:

    The Checkered Histories of Christiantiy and Atheism

    What Everybody Ought to Know About Atheism

    Why the Claim Jesus Never Existed Should be Put to Bed

  • The Trap of Materialism

    We live in a very materialistic society. We work jobs we don’t like to buy stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. Mark Driscoll in his book Who Do You Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ shows us the problem of our culture’s incipient materialism:

    Today, with television tours of the world’s wealthiest people’s homes, we no longer compare our possessions to those of the generations before us or our neighbors but rather to the elite’s. The results are coveting, overspending, and debt fueled by advertising. Some sociologists call this “competitive consumption,” which forces average people and families to work harder, spend less time with those they love, and live more miserably enslaved to debt in an ongoing effort to prop up some false sense of identity and personal value. Third, products are not simply valued for their usefulness but rather play a central role in the cultivation and maintenance of our identity. This is a powerful explanation for why consumer goods are so much more than objects we use; they are things for which we will fight and sometimes even kill. The point is that in today’s consumer culture, our goods are carriers of meaning. They define us, send social signals to others, and construct our identities. Subsequently, wearing non-designer clothes, driving an old car, and using anything but the latest technology somehow devalues us as human beings. Put bluntly, when consumerism is your religion and stuff the object of your worship, “the things you own end up owning you,” to quote Tyler Durden from the movie Fight Club(1999).

    Where can you see materialism in your own life?

    You may also like:

    Where Should Christian Generosity Come From?

    What is your attitude to the poor?

    We Live in Very Religious Times

  • What You Have To Know About Our Culture’s Preoccupation With Sex

    We live in a world where sex is everywhere. It seems every magazine has a sealed section about how to have hot sex. Sex sells everything. People pay for sex or pay to watch people get naked and have sex.

    But what does our cultures preoccupation with sex say about us and our culture? In the middle of last century C.S. Lewis said this about the culture’s preoccupation with sex:

    “You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act–that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?

     

    One critic said that if he found a country in which such strip-tease acts with food were popular, he would conclude that the people of that country were starving. He means, of course, to imply that such things as the strip-tease act resulted not from sexual corruption but from sexual starvation. I agree with him that if, in some strange land, we found that similar acts with mutton chops were popular, one of the possible explanations which would occur to me would be famine. But the next step would be to test our hypothesis by finding out whether, in fact, much or little food was being consumed in that country. If the evidence showed that a good deal was being eaten, then of course we should have to abandon the hypothesis of starvation and try to think of another one. In the same way, before accepting sexual starvation as the cause of the strip-tease, we should have to look for evidence that there is in fact more sexual abstinence in our age than in those ages when things like the strip-tease were unknown. But surely there is no such evidence. Contraceptives have made sexual indulgence far less costly within marriage and far safer outside it than ever before, and public opinion is less hostile to illicit unions and even to perversion than has been since Pagan times.”

    C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 89-90

     

    Lewis shows that our preoccupation with sex shows that our society is broken. That we are defined by sex shows that we are enslaved by it. The gospel shows us that our identity is not formed by or based on our sexuality. It is based on the fact that we are made in the image of God and he has redeemed us through his son. Only through that lens can we see our sexuality in the light that we should see it in.

    You may also like:

    What’s Wrong With Our Young Men?

    The Demise of Guys

    The Great Porn Experiment

  • Has Radical Feminism Failed Our Women?

    It seems today that radical feminism is assumed as correct. Now I do think that feminism has brought good changes to our society that I, as an Evangelical Christian Pastor, can wholeheartedly agree with and applaud. But it does seem that some secular women are arguing against radical militant feminism because it is not offering the kind of life that they want as women.

    A case in point is Rebecca Walker. She is the daughter of Alice Walker, prominent feminist and author of The Color Purple. Here is how Rebecca describes her experience of her mothers radical feminism:

    I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. But I strongly feel children need two parents and the thought of raising Tenzin without my partner, Glen, 52, would be terrifying.

    As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

    My mother’s feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.

    I love my mother very much, but I haven’t seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son  –  her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.

    Here is how she describes being a teenager under her mother’s “care”:

    A neighbour, not much older than me, was deputised to look after me. I never complained. I saw it as my job to protect my mother and never distract her from her writing. It never crossed my mind to say that I needed some time and attention from her.

    When I was beaten up at school  –  accused of being a snob because I had lighter skin than my black classmates  –  I always told my mother that everything was fine, that I had won the fight. I didn’t want to worry her.

    But the truth was I was very lonely and, with my mother’s knowledge, started having sex at 13. I guess it was a relief for my mother as it meant I was less demanding. And she felt that being sexually active was empowering for me because it meant I was in control of my body.

    Now I simply cannot understand how she could have been so permissive. I barely want my son to leave the house on a play-date, let alone start sleeping around while barely out of junior school.

    A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.

    Although I was on the Pill  –  something I had arranged at 13, visiting the doctor with my best friend  –  I fell pregnant at 14. I organised an abortion myself. Now I shudder at the memory. I was only a little girl. I don’t remember my mother being shocked or upset. She tried to be supportive, accompanying me with her boyfriend.

    It seems to me Alice Walker was raising her daughter in line with her radical feminist principles. But I think we can all agree that a sexually active girl at 13 who at 14 has a self organised abortion shows that bankruptcy of this kind of radical feminism.

    Rebecca Walker than closes this piece with a devastating critique of radical feminism:

    The ease with which people can get divorced these days doesn’t take into account the toll on children. That’s all part of the unfinished business of feminism.

    Then there is the issue of not having children. Even now, I meet women in their 30s who are ambivalent about having a family. They say things like: ‘I’d like a child. If it happens, it happens.’ I tell them: ‘Go home and get on with it because your window of opportunity is very small.’ As I know only too well.

    Then I meet women in their 40s who are devastated because they spent two decades working on a PhD or becoming a partner in a law firm, and they missed out on having a family. Thanks to the feminist movement, they discounted their biological clocks. They’ve missed the opportunity and they’re bereft.

    Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

    But far from taking responsibility for any of this, the leaders of the women’s movement close ranks against anyone who dares to question them  –  as I have learned to my cost. I don’t want to hurt my mother, but I cannot stay silent. I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations.

    I hope that my mother and I will be reconciled one day. Tenzin deserves to have a grandmother. But I am just so relieved that my viewpoint is no longer so utterly coloured by my mother’s.

    I am my own woman and I have discovered what really matters  –  a happy family.

    It seems to Rebecca Walker at least that radical feminism has failed our women.
    Make sure you read the whole article here.

    Rebecca Walker has also has written two books on feminism:

    To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism

    Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence

    You may also like:

    When Poor Preaching Destroys the Biblical View on Gender

    Something that both Evangelical Egalitarians and Complimentarians Can Agree on

    Unexpected Pastoral Ramifications from the Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry series

  • Jason Collins, Homosexuality and So Called Religious Bigotry

    Yesterday Jason Collins, a 12 year NBA veteran, came out and announced he is gay. Both the blogosphere and the twittersphere has exploded with this news. NBA stars like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Bradley Beal, among others, have tweeted their support of Collins. Collins has also received encouraging tweets from people like Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Spike Lee. The Sydney Morning Herald’s headline for this news was “‘I’m raising my hand’: basketball star reveals he’s gay after being inspired by bombings

    There are a few things to say here. Firstly this is not as big news as it seems. Contrary to the SMH Jason Collins is not a star or never has been a star. He is coming towards the end of his 12 year career (which is a very good stretch in the NBA!) and is a free agent that no one probably wouldn’t have been signed regardless of whether he is gay or straight. If Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin or Lebron James came out and announced they were gay this would have been a far greater news story. This fact is in ten years time no one will remember Jason Collins as a great basketball player only as a gay one which I think is sad for Jason Collins.

    Secondly, it has been interesting to watch how to media has reacted to people voicing their religious belief that practicing homosexuality is a sin. For example, the NBA team I support, the Golden State Warriors have a lot of Christians on the team and a lot of those guys are Christians. The coach, Mark Jackson, is a pastor and was questioned about Collins coming out: Here is the transcript:

    Q: “Did you hear about Jason Collins today coming out as the first gay athlete still in the game?”

    Jackson: “I will say this. We live in a country allows you to be whoever you want to be. As a Christian man, I serve a God that gives you free will to be who you want to be. As a Christian man, I have beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong. That being said, I know Jason Collins, I know his family, and am certainly praying for them at this time.”

    Q: Is there a stigma attached to him now? Will he be able to get on another team?

    Jackson: “That’s not for me to answer.”

    Q: “Would he be welcome as a Warrior?”

    Jackson: “If he had game.” (Jackson laughs, as do several members of the media.) “If he can help this basketball team. Today he can’t help this basketball team.”

    Q: “You said you knew Jason. How well do you know him and were you surprised to hear the news, knowing him a little bit?”

    Jackson: “I called Nets games for three years and he was a member of the Nets team. Also, living in LA, his parents, his mom, I don’t know if she does but works for one of the private schools. We had interactions in terms of attempting to get one of my kids into school and she was instrumental in it. Comes from a great family, and he’s a great guy.”

    Q: “Knowing the locker room atmosphere as you do, Would any player in general have trouble gaining acceptance around the league not just this team or not just with Jason, but in general? Would that be difficult?” Jackson: “It’s something that obviously being around Jason, and I played with John Amaechi in Utah, that there’s a reason why in these situations these players are at the end or done. So obviously that answers itself. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is something that’s new to people.”

    Q: “Are you shocked?”

    Jackson: “Shocked? That there’s a gay man?”

    Q: “That he came out.”

    Jackson: “It’s like asking me if I was shocked that he came out and said that he liked women. It is what it is. To each his own. And like I said, I know him as an individual, he’s a good guy, and I’m certainly praying for him. I’m not shocked at anything these days.”

    After these words were reported the Twittersphere exploded. Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe), the Warriors beat writer for the Bay Area News Group and a Christian, went on twitter defending the rights of Mark Jackson to say what he thought. But the guy who has really copped it was ESPN NBA writer and Christian Chris Broussard. Broussard was asked whether Collins could be Gay and a Christian because Collins has said he is both. This was Broussard’s reply:

    Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.

    This was a very bold statement! But did you notice how Broussard carefully says that all sex outside of the confines of marriage is sin. He is therefore not saying that homosexuality is worse than any other sin but he is standing on his own convictions and saying it is a sin. Ironically, many people have spoken out and called what Broussard said wrong. It seems you can’t call things a sin today because that would be, well, sinful right?!? Whether or not you agree with Broussard’s thoughts about homosexuality I am sure you can agree with what he said in the same show about name calling and bigotry:

    In talking to some people around the league, there’s a lot Christians in the NBA and just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant and things like that. That’s what LZ was getting at. Just like I may tolerate someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, he can tolerate my beliefs. He disagrees with my beliefs and my lifestyle but true tolerance and acceptance is being able to handle that as mature adults and not criticize each other and call each other names.

    We need to be truly tolerant about this issue and many others today. To call each other names like “bigot” or “intolerant” is, in the end, not tolerant at all. If we are to be mature adults about this we listen respectfully to each other and we can all agree that even though I may disagree with your moral choices or your sense of morality and you me disagree with mine we need to hear each other out on the issue of sexuality as well as many others.

    Maybe you are reading this and you aren’t a Christian, I would add one more thing. The Bible doesn’t say that  homosexuality as the worst sin, nor does it permit abuse or vilification of homosexuals. If any Christians vilify Gay people they are in deep sin and God hates all sin, especially the ones religious people commit. But the Bible does hold to a high standard of sexual morality that we all fall short of (e.g., Matt. 5:28). That means we are all  sinners and that all of us are in desperate need of a savior. The good news is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), no matter their sexual orientation. Because he loves us he died on the cross and took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved. Then God raised Him from the dead three days later. This is what Easter is all about.  Now anyone can receive forgiveness and eternal life when they trust Jesus as their lord and saviour and repent of their sin. God loves you and has done everything you need to be right with him. The choice is yours as to whether you come into relationship with him or not.

    You may also like:

    Your Sexuality is an adjective not a noun

    An apology from a Pastor to the gay community

    Lies the church tells about sex: Gay people choose to be Gay

     

  • How to Create a Positive Church Environment

    Having a positive culture in any organisation is a key to growth. This cannot be more true of church. Mark Driscoll has written a great piece about about the three types of people Positives, Neutrals and Negatives. Here is what Driscoll says about keeping your church culture positive:

    For a ministry to remain positive, three things need to occur. First, the senior leader and the other official and unofficial leaders who wield the most influence must be positives. Further, they must be continually exhorted to remain positives. This means that even when they deal with negative things, they do so in a positive way for the glory of God and the good of his people. Second, the negatives must not be allowed into leadership. If they are in leadership, official or unofficial, they must be rebuked. Titus 3:10–11 describes this rebuke: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Too often negatives are tolerated for too long; the longer their sin is tolerated, the more toxic the ministry culture becomes. Therefore, unrepentant negatives need to be brought through formal church discipline after their negativity has been documented and addressed; this process may end with their removal from the ministry, if needed. Ministry leaders are often reticent to deal so forthrightly with negatives; however, the longer they are tolerated, the more neutrals they infect with their gangrene. Third, the neutrals need to be lovingly and patiently informed that they are in fact neutrals and that they need to take responsibility to not give in to negatives. Additionally, neutrals cannot be allowed into ministry leadership because they are prone to be influenced rather than be influencers. Sadly, neutrals are often nominated for and voted in to ministry leadership because they tend to be nice people who are likeable because they are amiable and easily influenced. But they are prone to work toward consensus rather than lead and are therefore not helpful for moving a ministry forward into innovation and growth. Change is controversial and requires someone who is a strong positive to build consensus for change and who is also able to neutralize the negatives rather than being influenced by them.

    What do you have to do to either get a positive culture at your church or maintain the positive culture you now have?

    You may also like:

    How to Talk About Change in Your Church

    Who Is Leading Your Church?

    Church culture is more important than strategy or vision.

  • Your Church may be Repelling People Before the Service Starts

    Our church environments speak to visitors a long time before the pastor gets a chance to preach to them. Think about your church environment for a second. What is it saying to your visitors? Does it say what you want it to say? Does it say: We love you come in? Does it say: Go away we are weird?

    Andy Stanley in his great book Deep and Wide has a section in the book where he talks about church environments and what they say. He tells the following story to illustrate his point about the importance of thinking about the vibe our church environments give off:

    We arrived about twenty minutes before the service was scheduled to begin. Andrew was with us. He had just turned three. We had to ask twice where to find the children’s area. Signage was almost nonexistent. Someone finally pointed us to a door. We peeked in and the only person in the room was a man who looked to be in his late twenties. When he saw us, he came to the door with a big smile on his face. A little too big for me. We told him this was our first visit. He assured us that we were at the right place, and he invited Andrew into the room. That’s when I noticed a back door standing open that led to what looked like an outdoor playground. But it was hard to tell exactly where it led. Sandra asked if we needed to fill out any paperwork. He looked a bit confused and said we didn’t and that he hoped we enjoyed the service. Then he turned and went over and began talking to Andrew. We just stood there—both thinking the same thing, but neither of us wanting to say it aloud. Ignoring our raging parental instincts, we headed off to big church. During the second song, Sandra turned to me and asked, “Do you feel okay about Andrew’s situation?” I assured her that I did not and that it was all I had been thinking about since we left his classroom. She immediately slid out of our row and headed back to the children’s wing. It took every ounce of self-control I had to not follow. A few minutes later she came back and informed me that there was, in fact, another adult in the room along with a dozen or more children. If you have children, I bet you aren’t surprised to know that we never visited that church again. Worse, that’s the only thing I remember about our visit. Every time someone mentions the name of that church, I think about that incident. I will be the first to admit that our experience couldn’t possibly be the norm. But I still wouldn’t go back. That was seventeen years ago. Similar to my previous story, this church taught several lessons they didn’t intend to teach. Lesson #1: We don’t expect new families. We have the same kids every week. Lesson #2: If there is an emergency, we don’t plan to notify you. Lesson #3: Your child’s security is not our primary concern. Lesson #4: Our volunteers don’t understand the way parents think (i.e., our volunteers are untrained).

    He then goes on to talk about the effect the shabby children’s environment had on him:

    Every ministry environment communicates something. There are no neutral environments. Environments are the messages before the message. The messages your environments communicate have the potential to trump your primary message. I do not remember a single thing about the message preached at the church referenced in the illustration on page 153. Not a thing. I was too distracted by the four-point message of the children’s environment. As I am constantly reminding our leaders, the sermon begins in the parking lot. By the time I stand up to deliver what is traditionally considered the message, everybody in our audience has already received a dozen or more messages. Many have already made up their minds as to whether they will come back the following week.

    We want to do everything to welcome new people to our churches. Is your church environment repelling people or welcoming?

    What can you do to make it more welcoming?

    You may also like:

    How to Talk About Change in Your Church

    How to Grow as a Christian

    Adultery, Homosexuality and the quest for grace and truth

     

  • What do Atheistic Philosophy Professors Really Think of Richard Dawkins?

    Richard Dawkins, Hitchens and the other New Atheists still get quite a big run for their money nowadays. People still say they are atheists and talk about Dawkins or use his arguments to back up their claims of there being no God. But what do academics think of Dawkins? Better yet, what do atheistic academics think of Dawkins and the rest of the new atheists?

    In 2009 atheistic philosopher Michael Ruse )who currently teaches at Florida State University.) Wrote a piece called Dawkins et al bring us into disrepute. The article is about squabbling among atheists.In it he says the following:

    Second, unlike the new atheists, I take scholarship seriously. I have written that The God Delusion made me ashamed to be an atheist and I meant it. Trying to understand how God could need no cause, Christians claim that God exists necessarily. I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means. Dawkins and company are ignorant of such claims and positively contemptuous of those who even try to understand them, let alone believe them. Thus, like a first-year undergraduate, he can happily go around asking loudly, “What caused God?” as though he had made some momentous philosophical discovery. Dawkins was indignant when, on the grounds that inanimate objects cannot have emotions, philosophers like Mary Midgley criticised his metaphorical notion of a selfish gene. Sauce for the biological goose is sauce for the atheist gander. There are a lot of very bright and well informed Christian theologians. We atheists should demand no less.

     

    Third, how dare we be so condescending? I don’t have faith. I really don’t. Rowan Williams does as do many of my fellow philosophers like Alvin Plantinga (a Protestant) and Ernan McMullin (a Catholic). I think they are wrong; they think I am wrong. But they are not stupid or bad or whatever. If I needed advice about everyday matters, I would turn without hesitation to these men. We are caught in opposing Kuhnian paradigms. I can explain their faith claims in terms of psychology; they can explain my lack of faith claims also probably partly through psychology and probably theology also. (Plantinga, a Calvinist, would refer to original sin.) I just keep hearing Cromwell to the Scots. “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” I don’t think I am wrong, but the worth and integrity of so many believers makes me modest in my unbelief.

    To Michael Ruse Richard Dawkins is an arrogant embarassment to atheists the world over.

    If you are an atheists I would love to hear what you think.

    You may also like:

    Are all religions just culturally conditioned?

    What Everybody Ought to Know About Atheism

    Why You Should Listen to a Historian and Not a Hack on The Existence of Jesus

  • What Everybody Ought to Know About Atheism

    A lot of atheists think all religious people would be better off if we ditched our religious beliefs and became atheists. Not only would we be using our brains for once but we would see freedom from religion as ultimately freeing.

    But there is an ugly side to atheism that many new atheists don’t really talk about. Whether or not it is true, atheism is an extremely bleak outlook on life, humanity and the world. Damon Linker wrote a piece called Where are the Honest Atheists? in which he sums up the bleakness of atheism perfectly:

    If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we’re alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.

    Atheism therefore may free us from the constrains of religion but this freedom it gives is not really freedom at all. Because it is freedom to despair whereas the freedom that Christianity gives is the freedom to be joyful! Not only does reason and evidence favour Christianity over atheism but Christianity also gives the greater life.

    You may also like:

    An Argument for the Existence of God from Beauty

    Are all religions just culturally conditioned?

    Why the Claim Jesus Never Existed Should be Put to Bed