This Pastor Acknowledges the New Atheism

Rev. Samuel Krouse, a pastor in California, wrote an interesting piece for the Colusa County Sun Herald — interesting because, instead of quickly dismissing the New Atheists, he acknowledges them and says they are a true force to be reckoned with.

… As a worldview, atheism is over-represented among the intellectual elites, and atheists have largely, though not exclusively, talked to their own.

Until now. The so-called “New Atheists” have written best-sellers that have reached far beyond the traditional audience for such books. Books by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have spent weeks and months on the best-seller list published by The New York Times. Clearly, something is happening.

The New Atheism is not just a reassertion of atheism. It is a movement that represents a far greater public challenge to Christianity than that posed by the atheistic movements of previous times. The New Atheists are, in their own way, evangelistic in intent and ambitious in hope. They see atheism as the only plausible worldview for our times, and they see belief in God as downright dangerous — an artifact of the past that we can no longer afford to tolerate, much less encourage.

… The New Atheists do, in the end, understand what they are rejecting. When Sam Harris defines true religion as that “where participants’ avowed belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought,” he understands what many mired in confusion do not. In the end, the existence of the supernatural, self-existent, and self-revealing God is the only starting point for Christian theology. God possesses all of the perfections revealed in Scripture, or there is no coherent theology presented in the Bible. The New Atheists are certainly right about one very important thing — it’s atheism or biblical theism. There is nothing in between.

BlackSun points out some very important revelations from this piece regarding what the pastor has owned up to:

  1. Atheism is far more predominant among the intellectual elite than the general population.
  2. New atheism represents a serious and ongoing challenge to Christianity that cannot be ignored.
  3. Atheists can have hope. In his words, they are “ambitious in hope.”
  4. Atheists are well aware of what they have rejected.
  5. There is no substantive philosophical position between biblical literalism and atheism.

BlackSun analyzes each of these points with some depth. Check it out.

And while Rev. Krouse is not on “our side,” you don’t see this much honesty in articles by church officials very often. He deserves some credit for that.

(via Black Sun Journal)

  • Daniel Hoffman

    A lot of that article seems to be direct quotation from Al Mohler:
    http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=1365

  • http://www.BlueNine.info EKM

    He’s not saying that atheists really, really do believe in God and are not just rebelling?

    Either miracles do happen, or this guy had a (drum roll please………) false conversion!

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    My, they’re getting pretty terrified that their previously unchallenged reign is now being put to the test. Such a pity they see everything in such black and white terms.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Uh, so why is it a near direct quotation of Al Mohler’s essay? I hope it’s not plagiarized.

    Also, I’d like to add in my obligatory dissent from the idea that there is nothing substantial between atheism and biblical literalism. Remember that theologian, Haught, who refused to confront modern atheism because he insisted that only nihilistic atheism was philosophically tenable? You guys are doing the same thing, only in the other direction.

    But otherwise, pastor Krouse gets nearly everything right. Finally, an apologist who understands his audience. I find it interesting that there are still a bunch of atheist folks who are making negative comments on his column. They don’t know what’s been handed to them.

  • Siamang

    Wow, looks like the good reverend might be plagerizing from Albert Mohler.

    The New Atheism is not just a reassertion of atheism. It is a movement that represents a far greater public challenge to Christianity than that posed by the atheistic movements of previous times. Furthermore, the New Atheism is not just another example of marketing an idea in the postmodern age. The New Atheists are, in their own way, evangelistic in intent and ambitious in hope. They see atheism as the only plausible worldview for our times, and they see belief in God as downright dangerous – an artifact of the past that we can no longer afford to tolerate, much less encourage.

    That’s just one bit of the cut-and-paste.

    Hey, here’s one that THIS atheist has over THIS christian: When I write something with my name on it, I didn’t rip it off from someone else!

    This isn’t just a misplaced byline of an article by Mohler. In Krouse’s article, he talks about having been a philosophy student at Chico state. Mohler went to Florida Atlantic University and Samford in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Plagerism.

  • Pseudonym

    Rev. Samuel Krouse wrote:

    The New Atheists are certainly right about one very important thing — it’s atheism or biblical theism.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    BlackSun rephrased it as:

    There is no substantive philosophical position between biblical literalism and atheism.

    (Again, emphasis mine. I’m undecided if this was a misunderstanding or a deliberate case of bait-and-switch.)

    BlackSun further said:

    It’s really rich to see a Baptist pastor admitting what Sam Harris said in The End of Faith.

    Hardly.

    Sam Harris believes the same thing as Christian fundamentalists do, so it’s hardly surprising when fundamentalists agree in return. Quite frankly, they deserve each other.

  • Samuel Skinner

    Lets be fair- Harris is a kook, but the point he made was valid. Once you start saying that some of the book is “metaphorical”, based on your own preferances, what is to keep you from saying that about the whole text (basically what atheists do- we don’t treat it as a depiction of real events).

    Of course, Christian fundamentalists don’t do that either, but they come closer. And isn’t trying to enforce a horrific theocracy on the population the important part?

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Pseudonym pointed out:

    Rev. Samuel Krouse wrote:

    The New Atheists are certainly right about one very important thing — it’s atheism or biblical theism.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    BlackSun rephrased it as:

    There is no substantive philosophical position between biblical literalism and atheism.

    (Again, emphasis mine. I’m undecided if this was a misunderstanding or a deliberate case of bait-and-switch.)

    I was going to make the same observation. “Biblical theism” is not synonymous with “biblical literalism”. One is a belief about the existence and nature of God, the other is a method for interpreting a book. BlackSun is either confused, or else deliberately changed the wording in order to talk about what he wanted to instead of what the pastor actually said.

  • Pseudonym

    Samuel Skinner:

    Once you start saying that some of the book is “metaphorical”, based on your own preferances, what is to keep you from saying that about the whole text (basically what atheists do- we don’t treat it as a depiction of real events).

    Why do you think that it would be “based on your own preferences”? How do you think historians decide how accurate historical records are? Whim?

    In case you’re curious, look up “historical-critical method” or “higher criticism” some time. The Wikipedia article is a pretty good introductions.


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