After Long Battle to Form High School Atheist Group, Student Bows Out After ‘Numerous Threats’ and ‘Verbal Attacks’

Over the last month, I wrote a few posts about how administrators at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina were refusing to allow the formation of an atheist club run by 15-year-old Kalei Wilson (pronounced KAY-lee). They caved in days later, presumably from all the bad publicity:

It took letters from both the Secular Student Alliance and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (along with the ACLU of North Carolina) to convince school officials to change their minds.

The last time I spoke to Kalei, she told me she would be meeting with her principal to discuss the process of forming the group. Nearly a dozen students had expressed interest in joining the club and a couple of faculty members told her they would be glad to sponsor it.

But that all came to a halt yesterday.

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Albert Mohler Warns Brigham Young University About the Dangers of Secularism

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave a speech yesterday at Brigham Young University. Why would Chief Baptist speak to a group of Mormons?

Because, he explained, there’s a danger that affects all of them: Secularism!

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Bob Jones University Allows GRACE to Continue Investigation of On-Campus Sexual Abuse

Bob Jones University, recently in the news for firing the Christian sex-abuse investigators tasked with investigating the college’s abuse-permissive culture, has gone back on that decision — “after much discussion and prayer,” naturally.

Executive Vice President of Operations Marshall Franklin appeared on video to announce BJU’s intention to reinstate GRACE [Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment]. Not much was said about the reasons for either decision, though he indicated that the school’s “primary concern was for former students,” presumably the ones who elected to contribute to the GRACE investigation in the first place:

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Is Anyone Really Surprised by Elevation Church’s ‘Spontaneous Baptisms’?

Not that we need another reason to think less of Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in North Carolina, but this one’s too entertaining to ignore.

His church, like many evangelical churches, loves to tally up how many people get baptized there — one mark of how many converts the church has created. In fact, Furtick’s team put together an entire resource guide to help other churches put together “spontaneous baptisms” that would allow church attendees to get baptized right then and there without having to think about it. (Because thinking gets in the way of blindly following.)

What’s the benefit to the church? Well, it’s kind of like carving notches in a bedpost — it’s an unofficial way to claim superiority over your competitors. Plus, if you’re baptizing more people, you must be doing something right (at least in places where people take baptisms seriously), so attendees may be inclined to donate even more money to you(r church).

Furtick even provides a template script that other pastors can use:

It is my great privilege today to be able, after months of planning and a whole lot of prayer, to offer thousands of you at our church and even in sites all over the world, one of the greatest opportunities I think you’ll ever have in your life. It may be something you’re not expecting at all. We’ve been planning on doing baptisms at the church this weekend for a long time, but what you may not have known is that you’re going to be the one getting baptized.

I can feel the confusion in the air. You’re saying to me, But I didn’t sign up for baptism. Do you mean you’re going to give me a chance to sign up for baptism today? No not to sign up for baptism today; to be baptized today. I’m going to give every single person in this church today, who has never been biblically baptized as a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ, the opportunity to be baptized today. Not in a month, not after you’ve gone through training for three years, I’m talking about you came dry, you’re leaving wet, dripping wet, baptized in Jesus’ name today.

This is a new beginning! This is a new day! I’ve decided to follow Jesus! May hundreds come now. Do it, God! One (this is it!), two, three! Move right now! Right now! Right now! Don’t let the Devil talk you out of it. Right now! Right now! Get off the fence! Right now, Uptown! Right now, Matthews! Right now, Blakeney! Right now, Providence! Come on, you feel a little hesitation? Let God push you in the deep end today. It’s all about Jesus! It’s all about His grace!

This is how peer pressure works, kids.

But I guess it’s not enough. What if no one wants to get baptized? What if no one wants to take the lead?

Furtick’s answer: Plant a few “volunteers” in the crowd to respond to the baptism calls first, and others will surely follow.

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How Should Atheists Respond to Those Who Think We’ll Convert on Our Deathbed?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, responds to the idea that atheists will convert on their deathbeds:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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