Darwinism Religion Science

“Science Must Ultimately Destroy Organized Religion”

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This is the wisdom promulgated by the “new atheists” at a recent conference.

From the cnsnews.com article: “Science must ultimately destroy organized religion, according to some of the leading atheist writers and intellectuals who spoke at a recent atheist conference in Northern Virginia.”

They might as well dream of destroying humankind’s urge to eat.

Here’s the irony: Modern science is making belief in God ever more rational and reasonable, not destroying it. As a former atheist, I can say that science has made it possible for me to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian. I would be curious to know what the relative contemporary conversion rates are for atheist to theist as opposed to theist to atheist, especially on the basis of modern scientific discoveries.

In 1998 I read a book by Patrick Glynn, a Harvard Ph.D. who abandoned his atheism primarily as a result of evidence. The book is titled, “God: The Evidence — The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World.” Glynn comments: “The ‘death of God’ had been based on a fundamental misinterpretation of the nature of the universe, on a very partial and flawed picture that science had come up with by the late nineteenth century. Now that picture was being replaced by a new one, vastly more complex — and decisively more compatible with the notion that the universe had been designed by an intelligent Creator.”

Another irony is that Dawkins abandoned his faith on the basis of Darwinism, which turns out not to explain what he thinks it does. It is materialism/atheism that requires blind faith in the face of evidence, not theism.

33 Replies to ““Science Must Ultimately Destroy Organized Religion”

  1. 1
    Reed Orak says:

    “I would be curious to know what the relative contemporary conversion rates are for atheist to theist as opposed to theist to atheist, especially on the basis of modern scientific discoveries.”

    Beware of anecdotes, but for my part I can say that virtually all of the atheists I know (and I went to an overwhelmingly atheist college) cite Darwin as a major factor in their abandonment of religion. In contrast, virtually none of the Christians that I know even know who, e.g., Michael Behe is or what the scientific arguments against Darwinism are.

  2. 2
    leo says:

    It is interesting to note that the author of this piece wrote “Science must ultimately destroy organized religion” and “children must not be schooled in any faith”, and these are not direct quotes from any of the speakers.

    Seems like someone is looking for a higher profile job at CNN.

  3. 3
    ReligionProf says:

    Wasn’t it Pascal who said “Un peu de science éloigne de Dieu, mais beaucoup y ramène” [A little science distances you from God, but a lot brings you back]? I’m reminded of an atheist who wrote a letter to the editor to a local paper recently, objecting to a previous letter in which someone said Christianity is 2,000 years old. The atheist said Christianity is in fact 1,700 years old and was invented by Constantine!

    Lots of people at both extremes want to rewrite the evidence not only in science but in history to suit their presuppositions. But as we move towards the middle, there are increasing numbers of people for whom the scientific evidence itself is awe-inspiring and leads to pondering of big questions about God and the nature of reality itself. I think this is truer in cosmology than in biology, though, because it is much clearer that there are questions cosmology touches on that science cannot answer than is the case in biology.

  4. 4
    Forthekids says:

    Guess you must have been there, leo.

    Hey, did Eugenie suggest that they keep an eye out for those “preachers with the backward collars” who can help them shove Darwinism down the throats of our youth?

    No doubt she lectured at a church soon after the event and shared her belief(NOT) that “evolution” and religion are in harmony with one another.

    That woman talks out of both sides of her face….I have no idea how people can take her seriously.

  5. 5
    Michaels7 says:

    Leo, read the article again. You’re either blind or disingenuous.

    “In his speech, Dawkins portrayed a black-and-white intellectual battle between atheism and religion. He denounced the “preposterous nonsense of religious customs” and compared religion to racism. He also gave no quarter to moderate or liberal believers, asserting that “so-called moderate Christianity is simply an evasion.”

    “If you’ve been taught to believe it by moderates, what’s to stop you from taking the next step and blowing yourself up?” he said.

    By contrast, Harris’s speech was a more tempered critique of the atheist movement itself. While Harris said he believed science must ultimately destroy religion, he also discussed spirituality and mysticism and called for a greater understanding of allegedly spiritual phenomena. He also cautioned the audience against lumping all religions together.”

    How kind…. least they have “so-called” moderates too.

    Hey, is Dawkins and Harris speeches now qualified as hate speech?

    Good enuf for the liberal goose…

  6. 6
    GilDodgen says:

    It was obviously a very inspiring event, and even included an opportunity to participate in the Blasphemy Challenge!

    http://www.atheistalliance.org.....mation.pdf

    http://www.atheistalliance.org/conventions/2007/

    Eugenie Scott was a featured speaker. I wonder if she endorsed the Blasphemy Challenge.

  7. 7
    StuartHarris says:

    “I can say that science has made it possible for me to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian.”

    Gil, thank you for putting that in an article here. Like you, I was an atheist and it was science that brought me, forced me, to an acceptance of Christian principles and ultimately belief. It’s certainly reasonable since Western science was made possible only by Christianity.

    As organized religions, Christianity and Judaism believe in a Creator that made an understandable and rational universe governed by immutable laws. We are a product of a mind, in a universe we are made for and positioned to discover. This is true intellectual fulfillment.

  8. 8
    Tina says:

    It is not correct to blame Religion for the “evil” in the world – it is the human heart that perpetuates “evil”. Take Religion away and guess what is still left?

  9. 9
    Forthekids says:

    “Eugenie Scott was a featured speaker. I wonder if she endorsed the Blasphemy Challenge.”

    Oh please, oh please, let me run across a you-tube video of Eugenie endorsing the BC.

    I wonder if there are transcripts of any of the lectures from this event.

    I went to a lecture at Kansas University a couple weeks ago…the subject was methodological naturalism. Of course, it was based on anti-ID/pro-evo arguments.

    Basically we were told that ID=Christians attempting to push their religious beliefs on the world.

    But, of course, the lecturer made no mention of events such as this one where influential scientists/Darwinists are using science to support their atheism.

    In fact, he joked that those who don’t swallow Darwinism think that scientists get together on their coffee breaks to conspire about how to push atheism on the world.

    Um…they aren’t discussing it over coffee, they’re literally preaching it to the world. There have been more books and organized conferences pushing atheism lately than you can shake a stick at…and, of course, they base their godless beliefs on science.

    But, that fact certainly didn’t come out at the lecture. The only concern was in regard to those darn fundamentalist Christians.

    Funny thing was that the lecturer was a Christian….

  10. 10
    interested says:

    by what definition was the speaker a Christian? not doubting the label, just the sincerity.

    well said tina…i always laugh at the rant about religion being the cause of evil in the world, heck it is just one of many vehicles that we evil people use to do our evil. take away religion and there is still plenty of evil…..probably more because at least most religion encourages people to believe in right and wrong at some level, as well as consequences.

  11. 11
    Forthekids says:

    “by what definition was the speaker a Christian? not doubting the label, just the sincerity.”

    Who knows…he’s one of the guys the Kansas Darwinists use as their token Christian. I’m not doubting his sincerity either, and he’s written a book (Keith Miller, btw) that may provide better insight as to what his Christian beliefs entail, but I’ve just found that most theistic evolutionists aren’t terribly articulate when describing their faith beliefs. It’s hard to figure out exactly what they believe.

    I’ve asked Wesley Elsberry several times about his Christian faith, but he never replies.

  12. 12
    deric davidson says:

    Science has given us an insight into the mind of God. Science has revealed the organization and logic that pervades the natural world. This organization and logic can often be expressed by various kinds of mathematical formulation. Mathematics is the ultimate form of logic. It can only be generated by an intelligent being.
    For the atheist all this sensibleness and logicality is pure chance. That is the universe we occupy is the product of a totally improbable lottery win. The beautiful laws that govern our existence, for the atheist, are devoid of any intelligent source. For me the very logic and rationality that is manifest within science itself is proof positive of an intelligent origin for the observable universe in which we live. Advances in science bring us closer to God. Hence a growing belief rather than a disbelief in a Creator is the outcome of scientific endeavour.

  13. 13
    lars says:

    GilDodgen:

    They might as well dream of destroying humankind’s urge to eat.

    … or the urge to procreate, like the evil Administrator and alien-overlord-collaborator Wallace Breen (a character in the best-selling computer game Half-Life 2). The latter advocates submitting humans to horrific mutilation explicitly on the basis of evolutionary goals.

    It’s surprising to me how convincingly his propaganda speeches Instinct and Collaboration echo the current atheist call to “free” ourselves from “superstition”, and link evolutionary ideas directly to brutal and sadistic conclusions.
    Could the writers behind Half-Life be closet Darwin doubters? I wonder what the impact of these speeches has been on popular perception of Darwinism.

  14. 14
    lars says:

    Forthekids:

    Leo, read the article again. You’re either blind or disingenuous.

    Why do you say that? leo’s right, neither of those provocative statements is a direct quote, though one of them was supported by direct quotes.

  15. 15
    lars says:

    Oops, sorry, that was a response to Michaels7, not Forthekids.

  16. 16
    Robo says:

    Yup, and I too was an atheist 🙂

    Perhaps these guys should concentrate on atheistic Europe where the population is shrinking and religious believers are filling the vacuum. Islamic believers, that is.

  17. 17
    XtremeCamera says:

    StuartHarris said: “I was an atheist and it was science that brought me, forced me, to an acceptance of Christian principles and ultimately belief”

    Of all the religions in the world, of all the strange (to me) traditions in the world, from tribes in Africa to Australia, and you and many others here think the “Christian” religion is the “right one”. Man, its this type of thinking that makes reading this otherwise insightful site an uneasy experience. I find it almost incomprehensible that seemingly way-above-average-intelligent-science-types would basically ignore so much of the real world in order to buy into the divinity of someone named Jesus and the Christian ways.

    As for all these atheists calling for the end of religion (which seems like a good idea to me, an honest to goodness seeker of proof of design) is their down-to-the-bone fear of Muslims. Dawkins, Hitchins, and the rest must have experienced a life changing event on 9/11/2001 and have since realized that fundamental, radical Muslim religion can, and probably will, destroy western civilization. I believe, whole-heartedly, that THIS is the main motivator of these people who are so afraid of religion. And perhaps we should all fear religion. After all, organized killing, murder of the innocent is carried out by fundamentalists of every kind, but most fundamentalists are radical religious people, from crazy terrorist types to people who truly believe they are doing God’s work by killing abortion doctors.

    Give me one example of a non-religion based hate group that murders innocent strangers, and I don’t mean governments like WWII Germany (that’s about POWER), I mean groups of people whose aim is to convert people or kill them.

    Perhaps its time to devote some research into finding out the gene responsible for fundamentalist behavior so we can figure out why so many people are driven to force others to believe what they believe. It sickens me to think about these nutjobs who live to wipe the planet of people who think differently than they do. And that includes many Christians that are becoming more radical every year.

  18. 18
    rswood says:

    Killing to convert, in Islam, is about power–after all, bringing Europe into Dar Al-Islam means that Shari’a Law becomes Law of the Land. It is as much about changing power structures as Nazism ever was.

    Atheists, since they are not a group of like-minded individuals under a uniting ethic, only individuals who agree on one thing, do not self organize into groups to commit so-called “hate crimes.” Instead, they destroy culture on an individual basis, like the recent school shootings, or by assuming power and producing the ruins of the 20th c. Seen this way, even bringing up Abortion doctor killings is laughable–a single one of these atheistic, nihilistic youths outdid the entire history of abortion center attacks.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    XtremeCamera stated:

    Give me one example of a non-religion based group that strangers.

    Just one? easy!..Planned Parenthood!

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Sorry baby sitter filter ate mu^rder:

    Should read

    XtremeCamera stated:

    Give me one example of a non-religion based h^ate group that mu^rders in^nocent strangers.

    Just one? easy!..Planned Parenthood!

    Of course they don’t overtly the unborn, they just have no inherent respect for life whatsoever, and truly only those who call a spade a spade and put them on the spot by saying an totally in^nocent helpless unborn is wrong on moral principles that go beyond materialism.

  21. 21
    gpuccio says:

    XtremeCamera:

    Although I don’t agree on all that you say, I appreciate your very honest expression of your point of view.

    As you are not a religious person, I fully understand your unease for some of the things you can read on this blog, where most (but not all) of the participants are admittedly religious. But I would like to encourage you to accept serenely the fact that this is a blog, after all, and while its main purpose is and must remain to discuss the scientific aspects of ID, it is perfectly natural that those who spend their time here can express their personal views in their personal ways, as far as that is done with respect.

    I am religious, but I have tried many time on this blof to reaffirm the complete indipendence of ID, as a scientific theory, from religious belief. I am very strict on this point. I can share some of your unease, because although I am religious, I can just as well be disturbed by some religious, or political, attitudes which sometimes are expressed here. But I am really happy to accept them in a spirit of reciprocal tolerance.

    In essence, ID is not a religious theory. But it is true that it can can be considered as “a scientific theory in harmony with a religious point of view”, while tyhe same cannot reasonably be said of darwinian evolution (I know, many darwinists are religious, but that’s why I said “reasonably”…)

    I have great respect for all religions (yes, for all), for all sincere philosophical attitudes, for atheists (in the sense of people who are sure God does not exist), for agnostics (those who are sure that God’s existence cannot be decided), and for those who simply are personally not sure of anything. Respect is a beautiful attitude, because it allows one to appreciate what is good in others, while not necessarily agreeing with them.

    But I have much less respect for destructive, intolerant and irrespectful positions. I have less respect for fundamentalists, of all kinds, religious, political, moral, scientistic, and so on. I have less respect for personal arrogance, especially if applied to superficiality and stupidity. I have, and I apologize for my intolerance, no respect for lies and for hypocrisy.

    As I have already said, I really appreciate the tone of your post: you are sincere, and open to discussion. In the same spirit, I invite you to reconsider some of your affirmations. There is no doubt that religious fundamentalism exists, that it is not rare (in any religion) and that it has been and is cause of great suffering. No doubt. But I think you are wrong when you think that religion is responsible for that. Intolerance and fundamentalism are a very bad and common aspect of human nature, and ther expression in history is constantly present, in association with “any” kind of ideology, religious or not. You say: “Give me one example of a non-religion based hate group that murders innocent strangers”. One example? Have you never heard of political hate, of interminable wars and killings between different clans, of racial hate, of social intolerance, oppression and hate between different social groups? Have you never heard of hate and persecutions “against” religious groups, not for religious, but for political, social, national, cultural reasons? You say: “and I don’t mean governments like WWII Germany (that’s about POWER)”. But, you see, everything we are talking about here is about power. All fundamentalisms are about power. What is the desire to, as you say, “convert or kill”, if not a desire for power?

    I invite you to consider, also, that for many, many religious people, religion is not that. The religion I know, and which has changed my life, has nothing to do with power. It has to do with truth, with love, with tolerance, with joy. And I am sure that many friends here have the same experience. Organized religion may have, and certainly has, great faults. But religion, in centuries and perhaps millennia, has been the main source of hope and reciprocal help, of social solidarity, of true compassion, of personal peace and consolation.

    We live in an imperfect world, and good and evil, truth and lies, are often very much mixed up. But that does not mean that they are the same thing. As I said, I deeply respect sincere atheists who believe in what they say “and” are sincerely trying to put to test their beliefs against reality. But I can only be sad for intolerant and arrogant atheists (or religious people, it’s the same) who stick to their irrational and intolerant beliefs “without” having the courage to objectively verify their correspondence with reality and with truth, and trying at the same time to force those beliefs to others by power.

    That’s what, in my opinion, a few religionists have done and are doing, but not what religion is about. And that’s what most darwinists have been doing for the last few decades, with a definite acceleration in the last few months (our, IDists’, merit, I believe).

    A simple proof? Just read Wikipedia’s “featured article” of yesterday about ID, and you will find there an old concept often exhibited by our kind “enemies”, even on this blog: that IDists are bad and hypocritical people (false), because they say that ID is not a religious theory (true) while most of them are religious people (true again). I think there may be no better example of a wrong, arrogant, intolerant way of thinking. This is hating one “because” of one’s religious belief. This is affirming that I cannot express my scientific ideas sincerely and objectively “because” I have religious beliefs. That’s, in my opinion, personal persecution. I really feel it as a personal persecution against me, and I don’t like it, and I will do anything I can to fight it.

  22. 22
    JPSmith says:

    Tarring “fundamentalist Christians” with the same brush as radical Islamists because of a couple of abortion doctor killings is ludicrous. Not just because the raw numbers of killings are completely incomparable as rswrood points out, but more importantly because the crazies that kill abortion doctors are roundly and immediately condemmed by every orthodox Christian group and spokesperson. Contrast this with the open support or at best total silence of most mainstream, Orthodox Islamic clerics regarding the killing being done DAILY in the name of Islam. As pointed out by Robert Spencer and others, the legitimacy of the Koranic interpretation that permits (indeed commands) commit violent jihad has never been seriously challenged by any recognized Islamic clerical authority.

  23. 23
    leo says:

    JPSmith,

    I agree with you completely. And so does Sam Harris. Indeed if you can find the text of his speech, you will see that he talked about just that very topic.

    Here is a link:
    http://richarddawkins.net/arti.....Sam-Harris

  24. 24

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  25. 25
    Michaels7 says:

    oops, Leo,

    Think I misunderstood your post. I thought you were attacking Gil.

    JPS,

    There is some good news on the terrorist front. Due to Al Qaeda attrocities against innocent Muslims in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, religious fatwas are being issued against such violence and denounced as Hirabah – apostate actions for us. Though, I have not seen specific denunciations of Osama himself. Still, it is telling that Sheiks and Imams are coming out now condeming these attacks.

    But you’re right. The comparison is over the top.

  26. 26
    mynym says:

    I find it almost incomprehensible that seemingly way-above-average-intelligent-science-types would basically ignore so much of the real world in order to buy into the divinity of someone named Jesus and the Christian ways.

    It shouldn’t really be that surprising on your own terms. For example, your reasoning is based on some law by which we are supposed to know good and evil and judge types of religious “cult”ures. Without this notion of transcendence your arguments about good and evil collapse into immanent relativism and so on. Most people are like you, weaving their notions of good and evil into what they believe is true and Christians simply believe that Jesus was the greatest moral teacher to ever live and expositor of deep forms of Law because he was, as he claimed, a manifestation of the Logos and Law that man is a corrupted pattern/image of. Atheists always borrow elements of the law so someone like Dawkins will say that he has a general morality that has nothing to do with Christianity, then borrow Christ’s summary of the law in: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” But it was actually Christ who taught us that, not Dawkins. And if Dawkins is right to write yet another mythological narrative of naturalism to explain how human notions of morality emerged from matter then his notion of the law is really just a contingent illusion which may change when some other law “emerges” from evolution.

    I would also point out that Dawkins and other atheists cut out the first part of the summary that they cite which is: “Love God/Good…and love your neighbor as thyself.” Without transcendence your form of love might be utterly selfish and in fact such love only extends as far as your own selfishness or “selfish genes.” You could love others as much as you love yourself in perverted ways. For example if you want to kill yourself, then you may as well kill others as well. If you are a sado-masochist then you may as well do unto others. Etc.

    At any rate, given your own logocentric philosophy you seem to have more in common with Christians and the notion of Logos/the Christ than you know.

  27. 27
    mullerpr says:

    This position of the atheists makes me think of one of my favorite movies – “Enemy at the Gate”. Not going into the detail of the story too much. It is about Communist Russia fighting Nazis in Stalingrad. The heroes of the story are a sniper and a propaganda officer.

    At the end of the story the propaganda officer admit that his dream of a Communist Utopia is shattered because he realized that if there is no class difference people will still have something to be envious about, even to the point that you will try to destroy your best friend. In this case it was because of the love of a lady.

    Where would this position of the atheists lead?

  28. 28
    Borne says:

    atheism is a form of insanity

    why? because atheism is a system of denials of reality

    people who deny reality are considered mentally ill to some extent

    atheism renders one immune to logic – real logic that is

    atheism denies that all effects must have causes – i.e. the universe began and the power that began it had to be infinite, ordered and organized

    atheism denies that the universe began at a single point

    atheism is an inane postulation as it contradicts itself on all sides

    it says, “can’t prove a negative” (ie non-existence of God), then goes about desperately trying to prove that negative

    and then it claims to have true knowledge that there is no God in all contradiction to that self-proclaimed unprovable negative! thus they claim on the one hand what they claim on the other hand is not provable! go figure

    it says there are “no ultimate foundations for ethics” then uses ethics to attempt to undo belief in a supreme being by condemning that supreme being for all the unethical ‘evil’ in the universe

    yet atheism has no foundation for declaring anything whatsoever to be ‘evil’ or ‘good’ nor for any ethics at all

    so relativism is it’s only recourse – but relativism must also be relative to itself making it pure illogical nonsense – a logical absurdity

    they claim the moral sense is “an evolutionary illusion fostered upon us to get us to cooperate with each” for survival sake

    but they have no real reason to survive without giving a true an ultimate reason to existence which they, of their own admission, deny exists!

    and they have no answer whatsoever as to why nature would or even could foster a baseless moral sense upon us since morals are metaphysical and something blind, mindless, purely physical nature could not have created

    atheism leads one to emptiness, pointlessness and a futile world-view that no one can actually live by without being in contradiction to oneself – like Dawkins – the man is the ultimate self-contradiction

    neither Dawkins nor Harris nor Hitchens nor any other atheist could really believe in their own doctrine if it were not for perpetual denial

    they want morals without foundations, a universe without cause, survival for survival’s sake, ethics they can change on demand, meaning without real meaning, purpose without real purpose, reason without ultimate basis in logical absolutes (whose existence they cannot explain) and a world fashioned in their own image

    but their own distorted image, being pointless, is hideous and leads to a world such as that Stalin gave Russia, Mao gave China and Hitler gave Europe

    after all, “we are mere animals and share a common heritage with earthworms” so why is it wrong to kill?

    this they cannot answer

    they claim values are cultural conventions for survival (everything in darwinism is survival-centered – how boring!) yet when asked if the rape and murder of children is just culturally wrong and may thus sometimes be right, if the culture says so, or merely amoral they have no answer – just hand waving and politician-like double talk

    in fact atheism answers nothing and makes a universe born of nothing for nothing and by nothing

    so atheism is the ultimate intellectual suicide

  29. 29
    Borne says:

    XtremeCamera:

    like your web site – very nicely done and great photos

    but to answer something implied in your comments I quote from a man who answered this type of thinking in a newspaper column (cant remember which one – a fair answer imo

    Your article entitled, “God Truly Must Wonder About a World Of Murderous Religion
    ” that appeared on 03/24/2002, opened with the statement: The late Sydney J. Harris, the columnist and philosopher, wrote, “There can be no ‘right religion’ _ only right people.”

    If, as you imply, it is narrow to claim that there is a “right religion,” then what are we to make of this idea of “right people.” Clearly, this means people who behave rightly, that is, behave morally. Your own article, by condemning violence and the taking of human life, contains the implicit assumption of a right morality. But such is entirely inconsistent with the relativist paradigm that you otherwise promote. If their are “right people” who obey a “right morality,” and if violence is truly wrong, and if certain “Holy Books” are praiseworthy for their “high principles,” then it is necessary that an objective morality exists. Such a morality must come from a trans-human source, else it is only a matter of one man’s opinion against another. As prescriptive statements can come only from minds, it follows that the trans-human source of this morality, is God.

    If God is so “narrow” as to set forth a right morality, then it is legitimate to suppose that He might set forth a right religion, that is, specific requirements that must be met by those who would seek Him. An author is known by his style. Observe the physical universe: Within the universe, things are either true or false. Physics, chemistry and mathematics do not work “just any old way.” There is a right way, a right answer, a true answer for each question. These things are independent of any culture, opinion or time period. Every truth carries with it, the negation of an infinite number of other answers. For every right answer, there are an infinite number of answers that are, necessarily, wrong. It is logical to assume that God’s morality works in a similarly exclusive manner. Suppose that all of mankind were guilty of violating God’s perfect morality. In that event, His justice would require that we all feel His punishment, and if He were to make even one way for us to avoid said punishment, that would be purely an act of compassion on His part. We could hardly complain that He was being too narrow.

    Stephen W. Jackson

  30. 30
    GilDodgen says:

    I spent most of my day today at the Calvary Chapel Men’s Conference, held every year at the Anaheim, California Convention Center near Disneyland. It is a highlight of my Christian experience. The conference always has a theme, and this year’s theme was “As for me and my house” taken from Joshua 24 (“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”). The theme was: behave honorably, honestly, and with integrity, even when those around you do the opposite and put pressure on you to do what you know is not right.

    Christian men from all over Southern California filled the 7,000-seat Anaheim Convention Center. They all came of their own free will to hear poignant, and even convicting, messages about being better husbands and fathers, about honesty, integrity, faithfulness to their wives, and, yes, about such antiquated notions like holiness and Godliness.

    But here was the main thing that struck me: During the lunch hour I looked out over the convention center hall. Chairs were covered with bibles, backpacks, clothing, and all kinds of personal belongings. They were all unattended and anyone could have easily stolen anything with virtually no chance of being caught.

    But there was no concern by those attending the Calvary Chapel Men’s Conference that such a thing would occur. And it didn’t. And it never has.

    Is this what the “new atheists” fear?

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    A thought or two:

    Pardon my filling up the mod pile overnight. But, a couple of points on atheism, “religion,” and “fundamentalism” [NB: smear-word] are IMHCO, in order.

    1] Atheism and intellectual and moral incoherence

    Long-term readers will recall the exchanges on these themes in July-August-Sept. After literally hundreds of posts, it was clear that [1] evolutionary materialism is hopelessly logically incoherent — it cannot account for the arising of a credible mind relative to RV + NS etc (the same mind it must use to arrive at Evo mat as a conclusion; and [2] that it has no GROUNDS for morality as an objectively binding obligation beyond some species or other of relativism — the very antithesis of objectively binding principles.

    (Oddly, the major phil argument to atheism then trades on the problem of evil . . . and manages to overlook Plantinga’s now longstandingly successful Free Will defense.)

    2] A Puzzle

    Until a few days ago, I found it a bit puzzling that many Evo Mat advocates seems to want to tilt at the strawman argument that we are saying that atheists are necessarily imbecilically irrational and immoral.

    But the threads on Dawkins’ recent escapades reveals all. It is plain that the agenda on the part of too many atheists is to try to saddle “religion” with being irrational and a — indeed, often, “the” — major source of evils and troubles int he world. As even Sam Harris tried to point out, such rhetoric unfairly pushes say the Christian faith into the same boat as the violent extremists the Algerian moderates termed Is^lamo^fas^cists.

    But more directly, a simple read of Rom 1 – 3 will show that the Christian faith has always taught in its foundational sources that effective reason, the ability to make accurate observations of the world and our own inner lives, and associated moral intuitions are all innate and God-given. Indeed, that is why those who reject the truth they know or should know, are self-seeking and follow evil face God’s wrath. But those who penitently persist in the way of the good, the right and the true, God welcomes and blesses with eternal life. [Cf Rom 2:6 – 8.]

    That is why men are “without excuse,” and it is why men who habitually and insistently turn their backs on the truth and right that they know or should know and practice are en-darkened in heart and mind.

    BTW, this last is a point emphasised by Locke in Section 5 of his “candle” comment in the introduction to his Essay on Human Understanding, complete with several Biblical citations and allusions, including one in the original Greek:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2, Ac 17, etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

    So, we see that we have effective minds and moral intuitions, both of which we too often fail to live up to. In that context, it is a telling test to see people — in this case, sadly, especially the recent conference’s atheism advocates, cf. the above and Mr Dawkins’ recent Guardian interview! — protesting too much: claiming to be “moral” and “decent” (and that without recourse to God!), while at best struggling to live up to the reasonable standards we expect of others, especially when we quarrel.

    But in fact, if we draw out the implications of what Mr Dawkins and his ilk are declaring in their recent Crystal Clear Atheism conference, it is shocking, saddening and telling.

    3] On “Fundamentalism”

    It is now so commonplace for this term to be used as a broad-brush dismissal of those so-labelled as irrational, potentially or actually violent would-be theo^crats, that I have come to view the very use of the term as highly suspect. Too often it is little more than a smear word.

    I think a balancing corrective is in order. Even Sam Harris, in his [unfortunately poorly received] speech at the Crystal Clear conference, recognises this:

    By contrast [with Mr Dawkins], Harris’s speech was a more tempered critique of the atheist movement itself. While Harris said he believed science must ultimately destroy religion, he also discussed spirituality and mysticism and called for a greater understanding of allegedly spiritual phenomena. He also cautioned the audience against lumping all religions together . . . . Specifically, he [Harris] noted that radical Islam was far more threatening than any radical Christian sect, adding that Christians had a right to be outraged when the media treated the two religions similarly . . . .

    While the audience gave Dawkins a standing ovation, Harris received only polite applause.

    That contrast is all too sadly telling.

    GEM of TKI

  32. 32
    Larry Fafarman says:

    From the cnsnews.com article: “Science must ultimately destroy organized religion, according to some of the leading atheist writers and intellectuals who spoke at a recent atheist conference in Northern Virginia.”

    According to Judge Jones, science has already destroyed organized religion. He said in a commencement speech at Dickinson College,

    . . . .this much is very clear. The Founders believed that “true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry.”

    And, of course, everything that the Founders believed is right.

    Whether or not Intelligent Design is religion, Jones’ above statement showed prejudice against the Dover defendants and he therefore should have recused himself.

  33. 33
    Nochange says:

    I think it’s pretty clear that it’s time to start requiring a Hippocritic Oath for scientists, like they have for doctors. Why don’t we propose something here, and Dembski and Dave Scot can share this with the scientists that they know. Something like:

    1) Scientists won’t do any harm.

    2) Scientists will practice their craft as good Christians do – mindful of their place in God’s Creation.

    3) Scientists will focus their work on diseases that kill moral folk (like cancer and heart disease).

    Anyone else have any suggestions?

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