On the Internet, Christianity is Losing By a Long Shot

Last month, popular Christian apologist Josh McDowell made news (at least in the atheist world) when he called the Internet a threat to Christianity:

“The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not,” said McDowell…

“Now here is the problem,” said McDowell, “going all the way back, when Al Gore invented the Internet [he said jokingly], I made the statement off and on for 10-11 years that the abundance of knowledge, the abundance of information, will not lead to certainty; it will lead to pervasive skepticism. And, folks, that’s exactly what has happened. It’s like this. How do you really know, there is so much out there… This abundance [of information] has led to skepticism. And then the Internet has leveled the playing field [giving equal access to skeptics].”

So, to paraphrase: When people have access to knowledge, they start asking questions… and that’s bad for Christianity.

At least he admits it.

Brandon Peach at RELEVANT — it’s a Christian magazine, so I assume they use ALL CAPS to fit in with their readership — has a really fascinating article in which he explores whether there’s any truth to what McDowell said.

Turns out there’s a lot of truth to it. Just looks at the numbers:

While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers. ChristianForums.com, online since 1998, boasts a quarter-million members. But with an Alexa ranking of almost 12,000 in the U.S. and only 68,000 unique page views per month, it lags behind the most popular forums for the irreligious. The web’s largest atheist forum is a subcommunity of the social media site Reddit, launched in 2005. Its Alexa traffic ranking puts it in the top 50 sites in the United States with 2 million unique visitors per month, many of those to its “Atheist” subcommunity of 154,000. The Christian “subreddit,” a devoted group comprised largely of recovering evangelicals with a zeitgeist-oriented view of Scripture, enjoys less than a tenth of the atheists’ readership.

Peach hits the target when he explains why the Internet has been so good for atheists. For so long, Christians have had a place to discuss and share their views — church. Until the Internet came along, we didn’t have our version of that . Now that we have a space where we can talk about our (lack of) religious beliefs, it’s that much easier to communicate our views.

And because there are so many of us, in so many different Internet mediums, it’s hard to ignore us. (Of course, it helps that the facts are all on our side.)

It’s not just that atheists control the Internet, though. It turns out that the Internet is full of people who are willing to question your beliefs, whatever they may be. As atheists, we’re used to that. We know how to defend ourselves. For Christians, it might be a jarring experience for someone to question what you’ve always believed to be true.

One commenter on RELEVANT‘s website makes another valid point: “Holy robes and Doctorate degrees mean little online. The facts and arguments must stand by themselves.”

As Peach writes:

It’s safe to say the majority of voices [Christians] encounter in web forums, news blogs and Facebook timelines will not echo those heard in their church foyer.

Not surprisingly, the Christian response to all this has been to shelter people from our views, not tackle them head on. Instead of engaging with us in a battle of ideas — a battle they’re always reluctant to take on — they’ve basically raised the white flag and built their own little Jesus-y enclaves online:

YouTube is too dangerous; try GodTube. Wikipedia is too liberal; use Conservapedia. Church remains the bubble in which rhetoric is exchanged; the bubble merely now extends to the web. The net result allows Christians to be “in the world but not of the world” and secularists to control the traffic flow on the largest thoroughfares of the information superhighway.

While Peach doesn’t mention this, the whole article is just a testament to the importance of atheists coming out and sharing our views, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, a blog, comment threads, forums, or — dare I say it — real life.

The more we do that, the harder it is for Christians to keep pace. All the evidence is in our favor and, unless they completely isolate fellow Christians from the real world forever, it’s inevitable that they’re going to be exposed to the truth one way or the other. It may have been possible to “protect” Christians from opposing viewpoints before the Internet but it’s hard as hell to do that now.

We’re the ones who tell Christians the emperor’s not wearing any clothes. We’re the ones that question the dogma they’ve just accepted their entire lives. We expose the religious frauds. We expose the horrific consequences of blindly following faith. We’re the faith’s worst nightmare because we shed light on all the lies pastors tell in church.

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About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Jim

    Hmm. Self-segregation. What lovely people.

    Not only do we point out that the emperor is wearing no clothes, we point out that there is no emperor inside the clothes that don’t exist.

    • Estevan Carlos Benson

      But isn’t that what we’re doing here as well?

  • Anonymous

    The skeptics were always there, as the lone voice in a sea of religious insanity, what the interweb has done is to empower the doubters by showing them they are not alone.

    Probably the most common story we hear is of doubters who did what was expected of them and went to church, and in many cases it still happens because to ‘come out’ would cause more problems than it would solve, but the day when even these people ‘come out’ is dawning.

    The myth that atheists are devil worshiping, baby eaters, is slowly being eroded, even among Christians, apart from the loony fundies of course, they will never admit that anything other than their brand of Christianity is acceptable, so a lack of religion can only be pure evil.

    I write this as a spectator, I live in the UK where religion isn’t seen as important, we don’t have a bible belt, and although RE was/is mandatory in state schools, religion isn’t forced upon us, and more importantly we’re not made to feel guilty about living.

    There are exceptions, some religious groups, Catholicism for instance, still try to indoctrinate the children of believers, but in an increasingly secular society those children come into contact with people like me who have never had any interest in religion. Of course they see the freedom I have and the life free of imposed guilt, the freedom to make choices that they are denied, so of course they are given space to allow their doubts to flourish.

    My late father attended a Catholic school, he was intelligent enough to see the cracks in the indoctrination process and survived it to shake off the faith, and for myself it was the weekly dose of RE that taught me that it was pure fantasy compared to the real lessons of maths, science, history, etc.

  • Anonymous

    The skeptics were always there, as the lone voice in a sea of religious insanity, what the interweb has done is to empower the doubters by showing them they are not alone.

    Probably the most common story we hear is of doubters who did what was expected of them and went to church, and in many cases it still happens because to ‘come out’ would cause more problems than it would solve, but the day when even these people ‘come out’ is dawning.

    The myth that atheists are devil worshiping, baby eaters, is slowly being eroded, even among Christians, apart from the loony fundies of course, they will never admit that anything other than their brand of Christianity is acceptable, so a lack of religion can only be pure evil.

    I write this as a spectator, I live in the UK where religion isn’t seen as important, we don’t have a bible belt, and although RE was/is mandatory in state schools, religion isn’t forced upon us, and more importantly we’re not made to feel guilty about living.

    There are exceptions, some religious groups, Catholicism for instance, still try to indoctrinate the children of believers, but in an increasingly secular society those children come into contact with people like me who have never had any interest in religion. Of course they see the freedom I have and the life free of imposed guilt, the freedom to make choices that they are denied, so of course they are given space to allow their doubts to flourish.

    My late father attended a Catholic school, he was intelligent enough to see the cracks in the indoctrination process and survived it to shake off the faith, and for myself it was the weekly dose of RE that taught me that it was pure fantasy compared to the real lessons of maths, science, history, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Good news.  Let them retreat to their dark little cave of ignorance.  The rest of the world will move on while they stay behind.  They’ll lose members who are too brave or curious to stay in the cave and their numbers will diminish year on year until they become irrelevant.  Those believers who are willing to have their beliefs challenged will no doubt see them change and maybe even grow stronger, if more reasonable. 

    Both of these are good things.  I just feel sorry for those who remain trapped in ignorance.

    • cipher

      I don’t feel sorry for them. They are the worst people in the world.

      • Ny68mu

        Have you turned this into a hate campaign Mr Rational?

    • testus

      > Let them retreat to their dark little cave

      They dont merely retreat, they take their children with them, homeschool them and trap them inside the bubble. Then they threaten to cut them off from the social circles if they dare to leave the bubble.

      > I just feel sorry for those who remain trapped in ignorance.

      I’m not, I’m sorry for their children who are trapped there against their will in the name of “religious freedom” (which only their parents have, but the children actually dont.)

      • Idapimpyoudaho

        This is exactly what’s been happening to my younger siblings. I’m thankful my mom want so extreme when I was a kid, but its heartbreaking to see this happening to my younger brother and sister.

      • Anonymous

        Seeing this in my own family with my brother’s kids, who are being homeschooled. I am not trusted around his kids without “adult supervision” because I might lead them astray, by talking to them about things like evolution and critical thinking…

    • Anonymous

      The new Dark Ages.  This Internet and all its tubes (like a certain monster) are as dangerous as books, public education, and letting women out of the house.

    • Rike

      “Good news.  Let them retreat to their dark little cave of ignorance.
       The rest of the world will move on while they stay behind.”

      Uuh – whoever wrote that “Left Behind” series apparently had an inkling, only they interpreted  it (surprise!) the wrong way…

      • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

        Tell them that the rapture has already happened, but nobody got taken

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    It’s not just atheists on the internet that are dangerous to Christians, it’s also finding out there are other Christians with different beliefs. It makes it just that much harder to believe that your own church or priest has all the answers. Of course, you also run the risk of running into people of a different faith altogether.

    However, atheists are still the most dangerous. They will use arguments that no believer would use against another, because it would apply to their own religion too.

    • Anonymous

      I’m surprised this doesn’t get mentioned more often.  On the internet, the different factions of Christianity do a good job of being destructive to Christianity as a whole.  Without the internet and just going to church, it’s easy to dismiss those with very different views as a small, lunatic fringe.  It was exposure to the anti-science fundamentalists and realizing they weren’t just a few crazies which really forced me to step back and seriously consider what the bible actually says and the absurdities of Christian beliefs.

      I may have become a very liberal Christian instead if there wasn’t the Atheist community to be exposed to, but it was other Christians which provided the initial, major push to my de-conversion. i.e.  The fundamentalists can be an Atheist’s best friend.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

        Fundies pushed me towards atheism too, as I recall (although I was skeptical already)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leila-Cook/100001255112002 Leila Cook

    Kind of off topic but I find it a bit ironic that this post showed up right next to a ChristianMingle advertisement on the page.  Just FYI.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      Somebody always says this in nearly every single Friendly Atheist blog post. Yes, there are Christian ads, because Christianity is mentioned in the blog post, and the software that chooses the ad is blind to context, only seeing content.

    • The Captain

      I used to hang out on a christian chat board that used the same type of adds, and there was so many topics against homosexuals that they would get gay dating adds all the time. It sent them into rages, it was great!

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I think skepticism (and atheism) has a good future as long as society remains technologically advanced and communication mediums like the internet remain open and not monopolized.  

    I can only envision the following potential problems. 

    1.  if society melts down and returns to 19th century technology.  Then the churches could reign again.   

    2.  if technology persists but access to the communication mediums like the internet becomes controlled by 1 or 2 large corporations.   Perhaps corporation A will only give access to Christian sites.  Corporation B gives access to ALL sites.  The true-believing Christians then could be pressured to sign up for Corporation A and then never get exposed to any other ideas through their communication devices.  Then if Corporation B goes under for some reason, we have a “Brave New World”.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      This is one of the many reasons why net neutrality is crucial to maintain.

    • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

      Interesting scenarios and ones that I am covering to some degree in an upcoming post in my ongoing series on Atheist survivalism.

  • Phillipshoward67

    Actually, when people like McDowell recognize and admit the situation,  I am not sure that is good for atheism.

    I would have preferred they keep their head in the sand.

    Because the first step to dealing with what they see as a danger is admitting the danger.  There is a younger generation of these apologists, MeDowells’s son Sean is one of them, and they are getting active.

    Underestimating the enemy is a mistake.

    • The Captain

      I would love to see a pole of their readers on wether they would support a candidate for office that would censor the internet of non-christian views.

    • Jack

      Christian apology was HOW I became an atheist.  I read books on it and attended classes.  It’s completely retarded, illogical, and misinformed.  I did not hear/read a single logical statement made  by any of them. 

      They are not a threat nor are they an enemy.  Because Apologist admit the need for facts and logic to back up their beliefs (unlike fundies) they are MUCH MUCH easier to turn.  Now, it’s the guys that have no interest in logic or facts that are a threat; but only to themselves.

  • Jake

    “Knowledge leads to skepticism”.

    It’s odd how two different groups of people can believe the exact same thing, but have such different reactions to it.

    • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

      Absolutely, Jake. As I’ve so often stated, it’s not so much what theists believe or don’t believe, it’s how they choose to react to reality that is disturbing. This is where they differ from us.

  • Sven

    If this were that Civilization game, it would read “You’ve invented Internet. Internet cancels effects of Religion.”

    • BrianCardinalPick

      Almost as good – in Civilization V, you can pursue different policies. “Faith” is one of them, but enacting “Rationality” cancels all “Faith” benefits.

      Did I mention I love that game?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

        I hate that game. I can’t stop playing it.

        But I notice that Piety and Communism will help you “win” a whole lot faster than going the secular route.  You can really control the whole planet very quickly by playing the evil dictator. The game’s a lot harder if you go by Freedom, Liberty and Science policies.

        • Anonymous

          I haven’t found that to be the case. For a culture victory, sure, nothing compares to the Piety tree, and obviously Rationality is necessary for a science win, so that leaves the other two victory conditions. Diplomatic doesn’t directly benefit from either, but a domination victory absolutely benefits from science and the rationality tree. If you have Rationality’s finisher and especially if you manage to win the race for the Porcelain Tower (since the patch), science and research agreements can keep you paced well ahead of competition.

          So both the domination and science victories benefit from the secular route. Cultural victory benefits from Piety, and diplomatic victory (which is really just an economic victory in Civ V) doesn’t really give an edge to either, preferring Patronage and Commerce.

  • Smoking Glacier

    As the faithful start to diminish in numbers we will see a concentration of more and more extreme aspects of the theist community. While this would be fine normally (because they would become more and more isolated and eventually dissapear), in the case of the US (srsly guys, you have my British sysmpathies) you have these extreme elements in actual government posts!

    I hope that their powerbase bottoms out before they do any real harm to the world in their desperation.

    • Rich Wilson

      I’m not so sure we’ll see a decline.  At least looking worldwide, there’s a strong correlation between birth rate and religiosity.  I think it will come around eventually, but it’s going to be a long haul.  Longer than my lifetime.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    I’m not at all sure that the size  and popularity of atheist websites compared to Christian ones is  good metric in this context. As the article points out (and you quote) atheists before the internet didn’t have places to gather in the same way. If so, the success of atheists on the internet could be more because of the pre-existing atheists than anything that has to do with atheism succeeding (in terms of getting more people to pay attention).

    That said, it is important to note that some reactionary religions other Christianity have also responded very poorly to the internet. Some charedi (ultra-orthodox) Jewish groups have totally outlawed internet use, although this seems to be more out of a fear of pornography than a fear of ideas (although that is probably there too).

    • Anonymous

      Re: The Jewish ban on the internet. That’s an interesting topic actually. I was in Jerusalem some years ago and I picked up a local newsletter for the Jewish (almost entirely Orthodox) community within the old city. It turns out that it’s a bit of a controversy. On the one hand the internet was seen as a good potential resource but on the other as a potential source of corruption. In the end the article didn’t prescribe anything other than choosing carefully, talking to your rabbi and, if you did choose to have a net connexion, monitoring it. Since Judaism doesn’t have a “central command” like Catholicism, your results will vary depending on the rabbi on almost any subject, including the internet. In fact, the difference between the Judaism as advised by a Reform rabbi and an Ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi rabbi are so vast as to constitute completely different religions, in practice.

    • cipher

      Yeah, but Josh, you know that no one (or almost no one) actually observes the ban.

      They should try banning not raping young boys; maybe they’d do the opposite there as well.

      • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

        Ok. I have to be honest. That comment made me laugh. Yes, the charedim do have an amazing number who don’t obey this sort of thing. I actually talked to a rabbi a while ago who said something to the affect of “we should stop banning stuff that people will do anyways because it just makes them take the important rules less seriously.” In that context I didn’t ask him what the important rules were. In retrospect I should have asked. I do have to wonder if the first one listed would have been no mixed dancing. 

        • cipher

          I do have to wonder if the first one listed would have been no mixed dancing.

          Heh! Yeah.

  • Hexahelicene

    There is also an age demographic at play too. The net has more usage by lower age brackets. Here in Canada, church attendance skews the other way. Attrition is also at play.

  • Brad Beer

    I have never been quoted before, and I am honored it was by one of my favorite bloggers!

  • The Captain

    “Wikipedia is too liberal; use Conservapedia” More proof that REALITY is too liberal for these people.

    • http://bramboniusinenglish.wordpress.com Brambonius

      American conservatives are way too (neo)liberal for this european Christian…

  • Anonymous

    Ah, yes, “be in the world but not of the world”. Of COURSE that means “sequester yourselves in a protective cultural bubble that makes money hand over fist by cheaply imitating everything good in the world”. When I was growing up, that meant reading Christian books, listening to Christian music (Relient K, you were a dark period in my ignorance), and participating in Christian activities. ONLY. EVER. Everything else my “cause me to sin”, so secular activities were approached with a ridiculous degree of caution.

    http://youtu.be/sMPKNM7NRn4

    If THAT doesn’t make you facepalm, nothing will.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know if I should thank you or curse you for that link. So terrible it’s good. Doing such violence to a Queen song should be illegal though…

      • http://twitter.com/kariedgerton Kari Edgerton

        Right?!  I usually welcome parodies of any kind, but that made me want punch people…

  • usclat

    If Net neutrality remains the norm, not just Christianity will fall under the inevitable landslide of knowledge, reason and fact. So will all other religious dogmas. Let’s face it, there’s a lot more ignorance being promulgated out there than just the Christian kind. It’s  all bunk. 

  • Anonymous

    We’ve come a long way from the time when atheists had to meet in private, like at the Baron d’Holbach’s mansion in Paris, and they had to publish their works under false names and sell them clandestinely like illegal drugs. Holbach’s friend Diderot lamented that the Radical Enlightenment stopped at Paris’s suburbs; but its modern equivalent can reach into every child’s bedroom with internet access. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.staal Brad Staal

    I remember back when I went to church being told not to associate with Atheists and non-believers because it would be so much easier for them to drag me down than me to “bring them in”…. turned out all it took was me reading the bible cover to cover.

  • Daniel

    Deem beat me to what I was going to add – that it isn’t just atheists on the web that are a threat to Christians but other Christians in different sects. I’ll add people of other religions are a threat to Christians and believers of all kinds.

    The Internet allows Christians to be questioned by atheists, Muslims, Naitive Americans, Hindus, etc. The Internet allows Muslims to be questioned by atheists, Jews, Christians, etc.

    But I do wonder what the article meant by “knowledge” being bad for Christianity. To be fair, could they really have meant “information” instead of “knowledge”? I mean maybe they are under the assumption that non-Chrostian information is INCORRECT information. So their argument is not that any information is a threat, but that the information from non-Christians is a threat because they believe it’s WRONG information. And wrong information they believe can up the risk of putting their children in hell.

  • Gabrielbrawlel

    I still remember a sermon preached at a Church of Crhist in Texas. This would have bee aroun 1988. I was getting ready to be graduated from high school and was getting excited about college. The preacher’s entire sermon was about the evil of college. How if the children received an education they would question god and leave the church. He wasn’t even sure if kids should finish high school. Freaked me out. Never forgot it.

    It is so odd to hear our arguments used by christians but as negatives. “Knowledge leads to skepticism.” We say the same thing but we think it is good and it terrifys the religous.

    • Anonymous

      nothing suprises me that comes out of texas. they seem to be the most spiritually backwards state. that story is scary, but i can certainly believe it. no doubt, though, that the man that preached that to you finished high school and probably went to some sort of bible college. 

    • Wolfgang

      Interesting how CofCs and JWs hate each other, but agree completely on that point.

  • Menfield

    I’m intrigued with all these posts.  I am a Christian who likes to question and doubt and feel very free to within my religion.  I enjoy talking with people about different beliefs and feel like I can learn from many of them.  The challenge is not to be so judgemental one way or the other… rather be accepting of all  — I know some Christians and some atheists have problems in this area. 

  • Daniel Lafave

    When I was growing up in the 80s, the only readily-available information about atheism was one or two books by Russell and Ingersoll at the local library.  If you somehow knew about it, you could order books from Prometheus or hope your library got Free Inquiry.  That was it.  So, yes, the Web has had a significant impact.  The fact that the New Atheist’s books (and many other books) have been best-sellers is also something that would not have happened then.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leia

    There is definitely a level of truth to this. I wouldn’t be the atheist I am today without the internet.  This is where I found others who doubted openly.  Others who helped me question my old beliefs and find scientific evidence as to why some of my beliefs were incorrect.

    Skeptics are winning; you guys won me over. I know we have won others. Knowledge should always win, as it’s made of pure awesome.

  • Rich Wilson

    Fantastic comment on CP: “truth doesn’t fear the free market of ideas”

  • Rich Wilson

    Fantastic comment on CP: “truth doesn’t fear the free market of ideas”

  • christthetao

    I think the Internet does encourage atheism, but probably more by explanding the pool of cocky ignorance, than of knowledge:

    http://christthetao.blogspot.com/2011/04/does-google-make-atheists-richard.html

    • TheBlackCat

      When you first visit a new site, are the first words you type usuall baseless insults that contribute nothing to the discussion?  If so, that might explain why people haven’t been so friendly to you in the past.  People usually aren’t very friendly to trolls.  

      • Anonymous

        His name is David Marshall, and yes, that is exactly what he does.  He insults atheists, spouts a lot of nonsense, brags about how he thinks he’s thrashed famous atheists in debates, then plays the victim card when people respond with well-deserved hostility.  He’s a douchebag and incapable of logic or reasoning.

        • christthetao

          “Evil” is one of the habitual soar losers in these discussions; usually I try to ignore his / her posts. I never “spout nonsense,” and can almost always back up my claims with evidence — as above.  There’s a difference between critiquing arguments and / or behavior, and tossing out random and stupid insults. 

          • ACN

            I never “spout nonsense,” and can almost always back up my claims with evidence — as above. 

            Ray Comfort has explained to me that you go to hell if you lie.

          • Anonymous

            Now now David Marshall, let’s try no to lie.  You do in fact toss out random and stupid insults on every atheist blog I’ve seen you visit, just as you did on this one.  But I guess you really are unable to admit as much to yourself, aren’t you?

      • christthetao

        Black Cat: I didn’t “insult” anyone, any more than the OP did: I generalized about the effect of the Internet.  And far from being “baseless,” I gave four specific examples, backed up with scholarly facts. 

        Is that the rule, here?  The local guru can make generalizations like the following:

        “As atheists, we’re used to that. We know how to defend ourselves. For Christians, it might be a jarring experience for someone to question what you’ve always believed to be true.”

        But when a Christian comes on site to question those very claims, atheists like yourself, ACN, and Evil, rather than answering his arguments, wring your hands, toss out a bunch of stupid and irrelevant personal insults, and complain that a substantive and to-the-point refutation of generalizations in the OP is mere “insult?” 

        I hope not.  I trust there are people here who can better model the virtues Mehta claims for atheists in the OP. 

    • Ny68mu

      Well said. Reading through these posts, i totally agree with you. Ignorance has monopolised this forum.

      • TheBlackCat

        Uh, you do realize this comment thread died about 2 months ago, right?  How did you even end up here?

      • Anonymous

        The good thing about ignorance is that it is easily dispelled through education.  Care to educate us?

  • christthetao

    BTW, since this is the first time I’ve posted here, and my name didn’t come up above, I should introduce myself.  My name’s David.  I wrote a book rebutting Dawkins et al several years ago, and since then, I’ve spent quite a bit of time arguing with atheists on-line. Not so many could be called “friendly,” so I’m a little curious about this website. 

    • Anonymous

      Curiosity is good.  I hope that you learn something valuable, or at least interesting.

      • ACN

        David doesn’t do much in the way of learning.

        He does a lot of asserting. And a lot of avoiding direct discussion. And a lot of trolling.

        • Sinfanti

          Now now, let’s be nice.  We welcome all points of view so long as they’re backed with a good argument and an open mind.

          • Anonymous

            The problem with David Marshall is that he doesn’t have good arguments or an open mind.  He’s a frequent poster at other atheist sites, and it’s all drivel.

        • christthetao

          I don’t know who ACN is.  But note that in this, my first post here, I linked to a post in which I gave rich evidence to back up my assertion.  That post, for the fair-minded, gave some evidence of learning: which in fact I have, by any normal metric — my books have been recommended by (pardon the rebuttal), among others, by a physics professor and an historian of science at Oxford, a professor who teaches Buddhism at Marquette, a professor of Catholic studies at Duke, and a leading sociologist at Baylor. 

          Sorry for the personal stuff.   But the first time around, someone like ACN or Evil should probably be answered.   

          As for “avoiding direct discussion,” I don’t, when I respect the opponent, and know the subject.  I’ve been arguing with one atheist for more than a decade on-line: our arguments would probably fill three or four volumes, by now: but we’re also friends.  Those who post on my site, I always treat courteously, provided they act courteously themselves. 

          As for “trolling,” ACN seems to mean he’s seen me on a few different sites.   Which can only mean he’s been there himself. 

          End response to ad hominem.  Here’s hopes the next critique will be more substantive. 

  • ORAXX

    In my view, truth is that which stands up to any degree of questioning.  That Josh McDowell would frankly admit his religion doesn’t stand up well to questioning speaks volumes.

  • Anonymous

    In a way, christianity’s current predicament reminds me of that TV series a few years ago where the Masked Magician shows how the standard stage illusions work. When you can see the real mechanisms behind the magic tricks, then they don’t spooky any more.

  • Anonymous

    with regards to the cartoon. why do xtians believe they wont recognize anyone they knew on earth, in heaven? if they really think this is true, why to they go around at funerals saying “you’ll see him/her again in heaven.” or “so and so is watching us from heaven now”. my mom believes this, but then i’ve heard her say she cant wait to get to heaven to see my dad. also, where in the bible does it even say this? in my believer days i never saw any verse that said anything to this effect. but then, xtians are always twisting things around to suit themselves, so i guess i shouldnt wonder.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Shadist Eric Terrell

    Wow, I just visited Conservapedia. . . I couldn’t stay long as I think my brain would implode.

    I think what finally did it was the section detailing all the ways we can tell that Obama is secretly a Muslim.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer
  • Manager49221

    So the argument made in the article is as follows:  Nanny, nanny, boo, boo.  I have more followers than you do.  Well truth be damned, if you’re the biggest I’m IN.

  • Charles Black

    I’m not surprised by this news, McDowell at least is cogzignant of the fact that the lie of religion must perish in a market of ideas.
    If religion is a cancer of the human race then the market of ideas (The internet) is the cure.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IOBOGXMSNGF23JTWVPFKN6MSJQ Steve

    Ah yes, the ever reliable arrogance of the Atheist. So consumed by their quest to disprove everything remotely spiritual, they don’t even attempt to investigate whether or not there might be other paths to spiritual awareness other than Christianity or the Majority Faiths. Perhaps if you spent more time on introspection, and less on patronizing others for their beliefs, you might actually get over yourselves and find that there’s more to life than atoms under a microscope.

    • Anonymous

      “I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous – if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.” –  Robert G Ingersoll, The Ghosts

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      The important thing is that you get to feel superior without actually presenting a position you might have to defend, eh, coward?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    I’m not exactly an Atheist — apathetic agnostic with some Pagan leanings — but I’ve come to appreciate Atheist and freethinker blogs and spaces precisely because I won’t be bombarded with Jesus this, God that, and blah blah blah. Oh, and the quality of conversation is superb!

  • Boydtom86

    You’re just ignorant to the fact and I pray that God will shed some light in your dark world before you die and awake at heaven’s gate, only to be turned away and put in to the lake of fire to be destroyed. Talk all the garbage you want. It’s God you have to deal with and not me or any other Christian. Ignorance breeds stupidity and this article is full of it.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Nobody is going to destroyed in a lake of fire.  We’re going to suffer for eternity.   At least understand the craziness you believe in.

  • christislie

    Okay, then why when I web search something christian bull honky always blows up my screen? You christians lie about e-ver-y-thing. Stop your crusade on innocent people you quaks. Stop murdering women and children! Tear out the new testament then you have the truth. That is your only salvation. Not living a life of sin then on your death bed being all oh jesus thank you for allowing me to lie, deceive, murder and get a pass to heaven. BS. When I was in the marine corps 99 percent of the recruits headed for the christian Sunday service. Those are the boys urinating on corpses. Those are the boys waltzing, machine guns blazing slaying Gods true blessed. Continue your death worship and the Earth will vomit you out… Isaiah 44 6 ” This is what the Lord says- Israel’s King and Redeemer; The Lord Almighty: I am the **first**and** I **am** the** ****last****; apart from me their IS NO GOD.”

  • Ricki

    Oh my goodness, so many of these responces seem to come from people who sound very self-assured, as if they are experts in this field. I have a PhD in religious studies and have traveled much of the world, furthering my studies by actually experiencing various religions, churches, temples etc.

    Christianity is rapidly decreasing in ‘popularity’ for a number of reasons.

    Mostly, Christianity is losing followers because of the amount of control, judgment and hatred that comes from many outspoken Christian leaders. The general public is getting smarter, more educated and overall kinder. So they step away from Christianity. Christianity was not always so fiercely controlling and hurtful to people who did not claim to be Christian.

    A major study recently revealed that non-christians (and ex-christians) stayed away from Christians due to the dogmatic, “our way is the only way” messages. Plus, the hypocrisy (anti gay because “the bible says so”, but not following things like the bible’s support of slavery, womanizing, incest etc.) Then people who defend Christianity, but do not have sincere educated rebuttals, those who have not read the entire bible and compared the various versions etc., they discredit Christianity as well.

    The bible itself has been reinterpreted SO – MANY – TIMES that we are now reading verses and lessons that have nothing to do with the original scripture. –And people have NO IDEA about what they are fiercely/aggressively defending! You cannot take one verse exactly literally, if the original verse had a totally different meaning in the first place, and then decide to ignore other verses.. and THEN decide to judge others, with a fiery venom for not being Christian.

    …So, why is Christianity losing popularity? Because too many Christians are mean and judgmental, controlling and uneducated. –To be blunt, those are the factual reasons. Christians are not inviting to outsiders. They are not nice or compassionate toward people outside of their own dogmatic circles. …Sad.


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