What sayeth ye? How many errors can you spot?
What sayeth ye? How many errors can you spot?
Greene, an Air Force veteran from San Antonio who has a history of activism related to atheist causes, threatened in February to file a lawsuit against Henderson County, Texas, if they did not remove a Nativity scene in front of the courthouse, Malakoff News reported.
But he was forced to drop the lawsuit after doctors told him that he had developed eye cataracts and was in danger of losing his vision, according to the Houston Chronicle. Shortly thereafter, Greene’s failing vision forced him to quit his job as a taxi driver and he was left with the challenge of supporting himself and his wife of 33 years.
That’s when Jessica Crye, a Christian woman who read about Greene’s troubles in the paper, went to members of her church and asked if they would be willing to donate money to help Greene. They ended up raising $400 in donations for Greene, which left him “flabbergasted that Christians would help atheists,” the Athens Review reported at the time.
Both Christians and atheists alike ended up donating to Greene through a fundraising account he set up on the site GoFundMe.com.
It’s that compassion that Greene says compelled him to start rethinking his religious beliefs. He told the Christian Post that after thinking deeply about Christianity and reexamining his views on evolution and animals, he decided to start practicing the religion.
I dunno. I ain’t saying nothing….
On March 24, an event billed as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history” will be happening in Washington, D.C. The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, in partnership with several other stateside atheist and humanist organizations, is sponsoring what they call the Reason Rally.
In response to the Reason Rally, several Christian apologetics organizations have established True Reason, which will, in their words, “demonstrate a humble, loving, and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally.
When I first heard about True Reason and their plan to hand out water bottles to thousands of atheists, my reaction was similar to Han Solo as he approached the Death Star and muttered to himself “I have a bad feeling about this.” Then I wondered why I was having such a strong, instinctive reaction to something that a lot of smart, reasonable, loving Christians seem to think is a good idea?
The answer turned out to be something that I should have realized in the first place—that talking exclusively about “reason” and ignoring experience, emotion, and imagination cannot hope to communicate what it really means to know Christ.
Click here to read the entire (frustratingly noncommittal) post.
His recent poll showed that a majority of Christians in Britain are illiterate of Scripture of which he took to the extreme and said that they weren’t Christian. It would seem that only a bible-idolater and a fundamentalist would go that far, but that does seem to be what Dawkins and most militant atheists are…. still fundamentalists. Anyway, Dawkins got into it on Imperial Television, God save the Queen and all that bloody rubbish, with a priest, Fr. Fraser. He forgot the title to his ‘bible.’
Giles Fraser: Richard,if I said to you what is the full title of ‘The Origin Of Species’,I’m sure you could tell me that.
Richard Dawkins:Yes I could
Giles Fraser: Go on then.
Richard Dawkins: On The Origin Of Species.. Uh. With,Oh God. On The Origin Of Species. There is a sub title with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.
Giles Fraser:You’re the high pope of Darwinism… If you asked people who believed in evolution that question and you came back and said 2% got it right,it would be terribly easy for me to go ‘they don’t believe it after all.’ It’s just not fair to ask people these questions. They self-identify as Christians and I think you should respect that.
Well, if you’re Hector Avalos and your god is Richard Dawkins, and if Jim West, the atheist denier of Dawkins, attacks your god, well…you threaten…
On a recent post, West, Jim West, attacked Dawkins to which Hector Avalos, former Pentecostal faith healer (there is a connection there, believe it or not…) to which Hector responded with a threat…
Either retract your statement, or you may find yourself featured in an essay on the hypocrisy of Jim West’s research. You criticize Dawkins for his research, but don’t have the integrity to see that you also have blatantly told an untruth, and you are not willing to give us a precise source.
Oh my…. this is what militant Dawkinianity will get you… it always leads to violence and the end of personal freedoms. Dawkinianity is a pox on humanity and one day, when we all open our eyes, we’ll see all the problems that Dawkinianity has caused.
Third, atheists do Christians a service by making us pay attention to what we believe and why. If it were not for atheists, there would not be the amazing renaissance of Christian philosophy that Alvin Plantinga rightly points to in his New York Times interview. We probably wouldn’t have the likes of Plantinga, Keith Ward, Richard Swineburne, et al.
I know, so sue me, but I thank God for the New Atheists…
Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.
He’s gone, I reckon…
But something he said, previously, will stay around:
Marilyn Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make a distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?
Christopher Hitchens: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.
Click here to read the rest of the interview.
Let me say that what Hitchens has done for Christianity is nothing short of prophetic, or maybe Ecclesiastes-ic
You remember Sam Harris, right? One of the New Atheists? Well, it seems he believes in the divine, or the spirituality, or what not… Not exactly God in the traditional sense, but maybe the progressive sense?
The answer to the question “Do you believe in God?” comes down to this: It depends on what you mean by “God.” The God Harris doesn’t believe in is, as he puts it, a “supernatural power” and “a personal deity who hears prayers and takes an interest in how people live.” This God and its subscribers he finds unreasonable. But he understands that many people—especially in progressive corners of organized religion and among the “spiritual but not religious”—often mean something else. They equate God with “love” or “justice” or “singing in church” or “that feeling I get on a walk in the woods,” or even “the awesome aspects of existence I’ll never understand.”
I don’t think Dawkins is a fool, but I do think that his refusal to debate Craig is a little odd.
It seems that Dawkins has been doing a little internet trolling. He has dug up an online debate in which William Lane Craig apparently defends the massacre of a city of heathen Canaanites ordered by God in Deuteronomy 20:13-15. “Listen to Craig,” Dawkins writes, as if imagining Craig were a demon sitting on his shoulder. “He begins by arguing that the Canaanites were debauched and sinful and therefore deserved to be slaughtered. He then notices the plight of the Canaanite children [and concludes] … ‘We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.’” Dawkins writes that he is so disgusted with Craig’s thesis that he cannot possibly agree to meet him in person. “Do not plead that I have taken these revolting words out of context,” he adds. “What context could possibly justify them?”
The reasoning behind Dawkins’ refusal is silly. It’s like not arguing Dawkins because he presents atheistic apologetics.
This is the third and final installment of my review of The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind by Alister McGrath from IVP-Academic. You can read the author info here and find an overview of the contents here. Thanks again to IVP-Academic for sending a copy.
Let’s start with the good – McGrath makes very important points about apologetics throughout the book. This is assessment comes from a person (i.e. me) who, though once enthralled by apologetics, has developed a serious disdain for the field, especially at the popular level. I’m sure others have made similar points to McGrath elsewhere, but I have simply stopped reading apologetics books, in general. I find the tone of most “debates” an utter turn off.
I think the most important point he makes is that an inability to explain one aspect, or even several aspects, of your worldview doesn’t necessarily invalidate the whole thing. Interestingly, he communicates this point most strikingly by quoting Charles Darwin as saying:
A crowd of difficulties will have occurred to the reader. Some of them are so grave that to this day I can never reflect on them without being staggered; but, to the best of my judgement, the greater number are only apparent, and those that are real are not, I think, fatal to my theory (p. 137).
That is a profoundly helpful statement. Immediately preceding this, McGrath discusses this point, namely the inability to adequately explain a particular aspect of one’s worldview, in relation to the Christian’s struggle to explain the issue of pain and suffering in the world. I like McGrath’s approach to apologetics; it gives a person room to breathe. Rather than looking for “linchpin” arguments he encourages us to look at matters more holistically. Thus, with regard to pain and suffering in the world, it is not that we may find any one particular explanation completely satisfying. However, when we take several explanations together, we might still find a theistic worldview convincing, even though we still may consider anomalies.
In addition, the book contains some very helpful articles on science and religious faith, in particular. The first part of the book contained some helpful thoughts concerning theology, in general, but I didn’t really find those chapters as stimulating as those in the second part of the book (see the post overviewing the contents). I particularly enjoyed the chapter entitled “Does Religion Poison Everything?” He ends with this bit of invective, which I do think is appropriate considering the approach to “apologetics” taken by many of the new atheists “The belief that religion poisons everything is simply childish.”
As I think I’ve made clear, I like a great deal about this book. Yet I will offer two points of critique. First, the book was not really what I expected from a book entitled The Passionate Intellect. As I hinted in the previous post, the book had more of a feel of Collected Essays of Alister McGrath: 2008-2010, or something to that effect. With that said, if you like Alister McGrath, you will like this book. I like reading about science and religion, but this is not really my intellectual passion.
Second, I thought the book was a little too dispassionate to be titled The Passionate Intellect. I guess this is not really a knock. Everyone might display passion differently. Only, I was expecting something a little more along the lines of David Ulin’s The Lost Art of Reading, where he describes reading as rebellion against all of the other things that vie for our attention. The tone of The Passionate Intellect just didn’t communicate passion to me.
With that said, I do think the book is worth reading. It’s a fairly short, easy read. And, for those who like Alister McGrath, I think you will enjoy it. For those, like me, who are unfamiliar with McGrath, it is a good introduction. Only, recognize that the title may set up expectations that do not coincide with what you experience reading the book.
This is the second part of my three part review of The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind by Alister McGrath from IVP-Academic. In the previous post, I provided background on the author, and in this post, I will provide an overview of the contents.
The breakdown of the book is fairly simple. McGrath divides the book into two parts, the first being “The Purpose, Place and Relevance of Christian Theology” and the second “Engaging with Our Culture.” In the overall scope, I had a difficult time detecting a progression of thought, rather the book feels a little more like collected essays. I don’t think this was the intention, but in the introductory chapter, McGrath does state that the book reflects material developed for a number of public lectures he gave from 2008-2010 (see pages 8-9).
The first part of the book begins by discussing theology more generally, then moves to more specific topics. Thus, the first two chapters are entitled “Mere Theology: The Landscape of Faith 1″ and “Mere Theology: The Landscape of Faith 2.” Immediately, many will notice the influence of C.S. Lewis in this book. This influence manifests itself throughout the entire first part of the book, though McGrath does include some critique of Lewis. The final four chapters of this part of the book deal with the gospel, suffering, nature and apologetics. I will state already that I find McGrath’s chapter on apologetics helpful since he critiques modern approaches taken by many religious believers.
The second part of the book, while having the general title of “Engaging with Our Culture,” deals with religious belief and science, in particular. Within this focus on religious belief and science, McGrath focuses intently on the new atheism. A more specific critique of Dawkins plays prominently. This focus on the sciences and the new atheism might not seem to make sense in a book entitled “The Passionate Intellect.” Yet when considering McGrath’s initial study in the sciences (mentioned in the previous post), one can see that this is one of his intellectual passions, whether or not it is one of the reader’s. Three chapters in this section deal with the sciences and the final two deal with the idea that religion “poisons everything” and the relationship between atheism and the enlightenment.
The book ends with requisite notes and an index. The notes contain enough for the interested reader who wants to go further to find many helpful resources. In the next post, I will include my personal reaction. You might look for that around Monday or Tuesday.
I hope everyone has a nice weekend!