Was Christopher Hitchens reconsidering his atheism?

Christopher Hitchens was one of the most prominent of the “new atheists,” but a book by evangelical author Larry Alex Taunton who travelled with him says that after his diagnosis of terminal cancer, which killed him in 2011, he was reconsidering his atheism and may have come close to converting to Christianity.  And that there is the unlikely possibility that, on his deathbed, he did.

Taunton studied the Bible with Hitchens, who talked about his “divided self.”

A sympathetic review in the New York Times after the jump, which also cites deathbed conversions that I didn’t know about (Wallace Stevens, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wayne, et al.).

[Read more…]

The case of the atheist pastor

Mainline Protestants have been casting away traditional Christian teachings with great abandon.  Pastors can now be female, gay, rejecters of Christ’s deity, atonement, and resurrection, etc., etc.  One wonders if, in liberal Protestantism, there is any minimum religious belief that is necessary in a pastor.  Or in a Christian or a member of the church.  For example, does a pastor (or Christian, or church member),  have to believe in God?

The United Church of Canada is having to make a decision about this, as it reviews the case of one of its ministers, Greta Vosper, who is an atheist and who teaches atheism from her pulpit.

PREDICTION:  Pastors in the United Church will not be required to believe in God.  Nor will church members.  Christians may be atheists.  And atheists will be considered Christians.  To their great annoyance. [Read more…]

Christian atheists

The BBC website has pages on the different kinds of religion, including “Christian atheism.”  Read the characteristics after the jump, and then I raise a question. [Read more…]

Christian, Christian-influenced, and anti-Christian

Ross Douthat, a Catholic columnist for the New York Times, has written about the difference between some of the various strains of orthodox Christianity and the various heresies that are still in the Christian orbit (including what he calls “Americanized Christianity”).  Then there is Christian influence, which can even be seen in people who reject Christianity.  But at some point, as we are starting to see, there is a mindset and a culture that are utterly devoid of anything Christian.  Please read his whole essay, but I quote how he finishes after the jump. [Read more…]

Liberal and Illiberal Atheists

The London Guardian has published a fascinating in-depth article about atheism, its history and its different varieties.  The author, John Gray, is himself an atheist, but he subjects what he calls today’s “evangelical atheists” to a withering critique.  He especially criticizes the notion assumed  by so many “new atheists” that if we just get rid of religion, the rise of science will bring “liberal” values–freedom, equality, human dignity, universal benevolence, etc.   Gray shows that there is no way to get from science alone to moral values of any kind, and certainly not liberal values.

In fact, atheists, historically, have often held “illiberal” values.  For example, mainstream atheists before World War II tended to be social darwinists, with a strong strain of eugenics and racist biology.  Then there is Soviet atheism, which rejected individual freedom, and the atheism of Friedrich Nietzsche, who critiqued liberal values as deriving from Christianity, hating them both.  I would add that prominent strain today beloved by many conservatives, the atheism of Ayn Rand, with her “virtue of selfishness.”  Gray does say that of course he and his fellow atheists can be moral, but the question is, what morality are they to follow?  And science, he says, won’t give an answer.  Read an excerpt and follow the link after the jump. [Read more…]

How a French atheist became a Christian

Guillaume Bignon


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