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

The Third Form of Atheism

In responding to a Contemporary Christian musician who came out as gay, saying that she is convinced that God accepts her just as she is, Robert George draws on Plato, who said that there are  three forms of atheism:

(1) Not believing that God or the gods exist.

(2) Believing there is a God, but he is not concerned with human affairs.

(3)  Believing that there is a God who is concerned with human affairs, but he is “soft-spirited,” making no demands.

Dr. George believes that the third form of atheism is the greatest threat to Christianity and our civilization today. [Read more...]

The political roots of atheism

Atheists are always invoking science, but notice how often their arguments and rhetoric use political language.  God allegedly “oppresses” human beings, taking away their “freedom.”  They say that God is “immoral,” that, in the words of John Lennon, if we imagine no religion, “the world would live as one.”

In fact, as Nick Spencer shows in Politico, the origins of atheism in the West had little to do with the rise of science; rather, it grew out of radical political movements.  Marxism, of course, but before that the mindset of the French revolutionaries, with their anti-clericalism and opposition to the Catholicism that was allied to the old royal order.  Many of these revolutionaries were Deists, but others took the next step of atheism.   There were, however, some countries–such as the United States–in which the church did not oppose the new “liberal” ideas, so that atheism had little traction.   After the jump, a link to Mr. Spencer’s article and an extract. [Read more...]

When atheists give the invocation

When the Supreme Court recently ruled that prayers from a distinct religion could be offered in public meetings, it allowed for Christian prayers in Jesus’ Name.  But the ruling also said that prayers from other religions would also be allowed, including the equivalent from atheists.   So now atheists are being invited to preside over the ceremonial openings.   They are invoking not God, of course, but things like the spirit of goodwill, “self-government, the human condition, intellectual openness and minority viewpoints.” [Read more...]