• Larry

    Some really silly mistakes being made here by the author

    1)”Ross Douthat points out”

    Ross Douthat cannot be taken at face value for anything he asserts. His polemic fibbing is rather legendary.

    2) “Secularizing trends may weaken religious institutions, but very few are converted to atheism, or to the philosophical materialism that undergirds it.”

    Secularism is not synonymous with atheism. Secularizing trends actually strengthen religious institutions by keeping them from being entangled with government. Religious neutrality is not atheist. Simply means “not sectarianist”.

    3) “Globally, it is likely that theists’ significantly higher fertility rates will further bolster the ranks of religious believers”
    Until they reach their teens. Short of repression, the bleed-out of younger generations from religious belief makes demographic growth assumptions null

    4) Only fanatics, fools and 1iars find conflict exists between religion and science.

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  • Bernardo

    I converted many years ago. Summarizing with an updated Apostles’ now Atheists’ Creed: (noted previously)

    The Apostles’ / Atheists’ Creed 2015 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Continued below:

  • Bernardo

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    (Did not need any help from Richard Dawkins but it is great to have such a talented fellow promulgate the truth. )

  • Richard Rush

    RG,

    “. . . God made it known to us He is real through creation because the earth didn’t just create itself.”

    So, you seem to be implying that God must have just created itself.

    A classic question that people seem to prefer expending as little time as possible contemplating is, Where did God come from? A common answer is essentially that God is eternal, and thus has always been there. And then they quickly change the subject. I think all the answers to this question I’ve heard are designed to avoid any serious consideration of the question.

    If you cannot believe that life on earth could have developed via evolution, how can you possibly believe that an infinitely more intelligent, knowledgeable, skilled, and powerful God came into existence spontaneously, or by a form of evolution?

  • samuel johnston

    “Dawkins thinks religion appeals to all manner of dimwits, but his most virulent disdain is reserved for young-Earth creationists — people who read creation accounts literally and believe the universe was created in 144 hours a little over 6,000 years ago.”
    Yes, the notion that pre-scientific tribal sages “knew how the world began”, is a bit much to swallow, considering that there is no evidence to support such a theory. Today scientists constantly refine their theories, but the evidence must be accommodated, not the theology.
    And yes, Dawkins is no lovable old sweetheart. Some folks will only “believe” on the basis of likability. Reason and evidence are weak arguments for such mentalities.

  • James Grossmann

    “Deluded or not, faith will inspire people to retreat from arrogance, embrace humility, uphold dignity and work for justice.”

    Unfortunately, the truth of this claim depends on the creed in question. Creeds that consign all non-believers to Hell promote nothing if not arrogance. Creeds that demonize gay people, divorced people, and sex-positive women do not uphold dignity. Creeds that put right-wing politics into the mouth of God do not work for justice.

  • The Great God Pan

    “Deluded or not, faith will inspire people to retreat from arrogance, embrace humility, uphold dignity and work for justice.”

    A few. Others will be inspired to blow themselves up on buses, or stab parade attendees, or pour acid on “child witches,” or burn down a few Rohingya settlements for Buddha, or mutilate some female genitalia…

    And you’re worried about Richard Dawkins?

  • Dominic

    Dawkins will be yet another footnote in history, like Madelyn O’Hare. Known for their belicous tirades against religion and ultimately forgotten. A life work of no accomplishment. Hooray!

  • Derek Turnet

    “Globally, it is likely that theists’ significantly higher fertility rates will further bolster the ranks of religious believers. Demographers project that the worldwide share of nonreligious will actually decline in the coming decades.”

    How ironic that “survival of the fittest” seems to be working against atheists.

  • Re: “Dawkins thinks religion appeals to all manner of dimwits, but his most virulent disdain is reserved for young-Earth creationists — people who read creation accounts literally and believe the universe was created in 144 hours a little over 6,000 years ago.”

    Gee, that’s funny. I know some believers who have disdain for YEC’s. The difference between Dawkins and those non-YEC believers is, Dawkins is willing to criticize the YECs; other believers, on the other hand, refuse to take them on, correct them, or otherwise do the slightest thing about them. Quite the opposite, they let the YECs prattle on all they want, giving the impression they agree. In other words, by their inaction, they tacitly support YEC.

    So please, tell me again how Dawkins is an awful cretin because he insolently dares speak out against something that non-YEC believers refuse to deal with … ?

  • Larry

    Evidently the author didn’t like my criticism of:

    1. Referencing habitual fibber Ross Douthat

    2. The frequently made, but completely false equationm of secularism with atheism.

    3. The half baked thinking that religious belief continues to expand based on purely demographic reasons. Failing to consider that most atheists were not born and raised as atheists.

    4. That the conflict between religion and science only exists to people who do not understand either. YEC depends on spurious arguments and outright dishonesty.

    5. That “materialist naturalism” is also known as rational thinking. The source of our accumulated knowledge.

    This article amounts to flinging poo at Dawson and being an ignorant cheerleader for belief.

  • Slaughter

    Dominic, don’t let your dislike of Dawkins lead you to another delusion. Dawkins’ work and writings will long outlast you and me and will keep their place in the biology canon for many, many years. He has advanced our understanding of how the world actually is, while religion will remain mired in its Dark Ages.

  • Richard Rush

    Dominic,

    I think it’s much more likely that Christianity will eventually take its rightful place alongside Greek Mythology and all the other defunct religions. Known for its tirades against gay people, women’s rights, science, atheists, etc., and also known for attempting to erase its history of persecution against Jews and many others, Christianity won’t be easily forgotten.

    Meanwhile, Richard Dawkins will be remembered and admired as a courageous pioneer who devoted a significant part of his life to helping rid the world of perhaps the greatest scourge that humanity has ever perpetrated against itself. Yes, there have been many other scourges, but none of them have had anywhere near the staying power of religions to survive for thousands of years.

  • Larry

    Because every atheist was born and raised as an atheist. Riiiight The author’s remark that you cited was one of the most ignorant of the article.

    The a great portion of non-believers were not only raised religious, but it seems many were raised in repressive conservative sects. Higher education being the point when most split from their faith.

    This is why there is an increase in efforts by fundamentalists to shield people from the rest of the world. An increase in public vilifying of atheism, deliberate misrepresentation of history, violations of the Establishment Clause, homeschooling, Evangelical colleges, “Christian” law schools and “Christian” media.

    It is the ultra-religious who are acting out of fear here. 🙂

    Rather than expect people to remain religious based on the merits and community goodwill, they are trying to hide the secular world from people. To create an impenetrable bubble around younger, less fanatical people.

  • Shawnie5

    Come back after weeks and the yapping of the trolls sounds more yappy than ever.

    “Referencing habitual fibber Ross Douthat” You offered your usual non-point that Douthat need not be “taken seriously.” Of course, there is even less reason to take YOU seriously, so it would be more effective to rebut his actual point, if you can, than to “fling poo,” as you awkwardly put it.

    “The frequently made, but completely false equation of secularism with atheism.” Re-read. The author claimed the exact opposite.

  • Shawnie5

    “The half baked thinking that religious belief continues to expand based on purely demographic reasons. Failing to consider that most atheists were not born and raised as atheists.” Irrelevant. While many atheists do indeed come from religious origins, most atheists of whatever origin belong to the least fertile. This is a not “half-baked” notion but a finding of an extensive global study that Cathy Grossman reported on earlier this year.

    “That the conflict between religion and science only exists to people who do not understand either.” You fit quite neatly into that category, so why again should one “take you seriously” on this?

  • Shawnie5

    “…least fertile demographic.”

  • Fran

    Yes, “false Christianity” will go down swiftly at the hands of God, whom it has misrepresented for ages, but the truth will prevail in the end! ?

  • CarrotCakeMan

    This evidence refutes your claim:

    “[T]he major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.”

    http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

  • CarrotCakeMan

    The evidence I posted above refutes that claim also.

  • Tom

    The only people who care about a dialog between science and faith are churchmen and some other believers. Scientists know it’s fruitless. Why would Hawkins waste time and verbiage on it?

  • Cheryl

    Fran, I think you’ll also be very impressed of crystals like I am. Have you tried Amethyst or Dark Quartz? They can make you feel and bring better aura. Post your email or phone and I’ll contact you to get you started.

  • Thecla

    Let’s get real: it’s all about class. Class, class, class, that C word no one wants to mention and prestige.

    There are certainly educated Evangelicals but if you look at the figures, they are on the average in the bottom third of the socio-economic distribution in the US. And, more generally, elites are more likely to be secular. Religion is declasse. In high prestige groups, among upper-middle-class urban-coastal ‘knowledge workers’ religious affiliation is an embarrassment.

    To reverse secularization, that has to be changed–if, indeed, it can be changed. Evangelicals are an embarrassment. Educated, high-status people don’t want to be associated with them–and with good reason.

  • Dominic

    Nor do I seek one. Poor Dawkins will be remembered as an obsessed dreamer, a boorish dilettante who tried to refute truth. Poor guy.

  • Ed

    No, you’d love to be as smart as Dawkins and be remembered a tenth as well as he will be. Stop fibbing.

  • Dominic

    God has always been…no beginning, no end. It is a known mystery, incapable of being understood by the human mind. Revealed by God, Who cannot lie or decieve.

  • Doc Anthony

    That’s not a refutation at all, CCM.

    RNS has already run an Oct. 7 article, showing that over 40 percent of the so-called “Nones” (belonging to no organized religion) still agree with organized religionists on questions like “Since the universe has organization, I think there is a creator who designed it” and “The face we exist means someone created us.”

    So Dawkins’ sales-pitching — all those years of no-good atheism and evolutionism — are indeed noteworthy, but alas! Didn’t work out, and no time for do-overs.

  • larry

    That article had no credibility in the first place. It was put out by the SBC and the questions skewed to make creationism look better and more acceptable than reality permitted. Plus even that answer is not the equivalent of saying, “I believe in the Christian God”.

  • Doc Anthony

    Sour grapes, Larry? The Oct. 7 poll, from Lifeway Research, was indeed quite credible and of more than sufficient sample size.

    The questions were clear — and nope, there are NO statistical or journalistic prohibitions against framing poll questions based on classical arguments from apologetics. Moreover, each question permitted a clear and volitional “Agree” or “Disagree” response from each person.

    You simply got surprised — and I admit I was somewhat surprised too — that over 40 percent of the Nones simply do NOT share your atheistic stridency.

    You expected them to be YOUR kind of atheist — totally and sharply opposed to any notion of God (or God-as-Creator) — and your expectation simply turned out to be heavily untrue.

    Besides, it only takes one deity of ANY religion (or in the case of “Nones”, no religion), to refute atheism anyway.

    Hence rationally and realistically, atheism is just no good for rational people. Finito. Period.

  • Shawnie5

    “The frequently made, but completely false equation of secularism with atheism.”

    Re-read the article. The author is making exactly the opposite claim.

    “The half baked thinking that religious belief continues to expand based on purely demographic reasons. Failing to consider that most atheists were not born and raised as atheists.” Irrelevant. Many atheists do indeed begin as theists, but most atheists, no matter their origins, fall into the lowest-fertility demographic. This is not “half-baked thinking” but the conclusion of an extensive global study that Cathy Grossman reported on earlier this year.

  • Ed

    You claim certain knowledge of what you also claim can’t be understood. Uh huh.

  • Ed

    Yeah but larry’s nearly right overall. The author really is mainly just flinging poo at Dawkins (not Dawson). Just got the name slightly wrong, and it might have been a typo.

    But pick your nits as your time permits.

  • Larry

    Autocorrect on my smart phone is my kryptonite! 🙂

    From the article:
    “Secularizing trends may weaken religious institutions, but very few are converted to atheism, or to the philosophical materialism that undergirds it.”

    Secularizing trends don’t weak religious institutions unless they are entangled with the apparatus of political power. Nor do they convert people to atheism. The author got it wrong on all accounts.

    Wrong, secularism is not atheism. Secularism prevents sectarian discrimination, hence does not weaken religious institutions of many who would fear such acts against them.

    “Many atheists do indeed begin as theists, but most atheists, no matter their origins, fall into the lowest-fertility demographic.”

    Shawnie, you repeat the same error. Religious belief is not something one is born into and never changes in one’s life. Making more or less babies does not change that.

  • PaulS

    I’m looking forward to the time when that 1st-century trouble maker called Jesus is a footnote in history.

  • Bernardo

    No it won’t. To continue my Atheists’ Creed previously deleted by the zealous moderators:

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

  • Ben in oakland

    Gawshamighty, another comment of mine has disappeared, one that violates no known terms of service, was the only one made, didn’t disparage anyone.

    One Would almost think RNS wants to drive away regular contributors. Or perhaps that dissenting voices are considered dangerous. Or something.

  • Wolfen

    I dont even know where to begin. Was an autobiography intended to convert people? Horrible does not even describe this ill thought out diatribe to nowhere. I question the blogger’s intelligence.

  • “… but very few are converted to atheism, or to the philosophical materialism that undergirds it.”

    Dear Jacob Lupfer,
    Please provide any reason to believe in a god. I’ll take whatever evidence or demonstration whatsoever.
    In the meantime, I do not believe god is anything more
    than a traditional delusion passed along for fearful reasons.

    Atheism is only lack of belief in a god. I don’t understand why you are so afraid of such a thing.

    “Philosophical Materialism” ?
    Why ‘philosophical’?
    If you have no material evidence you have nothing. There is no other sort of evidence. That isn’t a philosophy, it is a fact.
    And if you think there is something more than material – prove it.

  • Terry L Miller

    “Besides, it only takes one deity of ANY religion (or in the case of “Nones”, no religion), to refute atheism anyway.” That is correct, and we are still waiting for that evidence of that. As even Dawkins says, evidence – testable, verifiable, duplicatable evidence – as we ask of all things, will change our minds. The greatest minds of thousands of years have found none. So we wait.

  • Ben in oakland

    Like any thoughtful atheist, and even quite a few anti-theists– and these are not the same thing at all– I would give worlds to see evidence of a god, any God. I would prefer one that fills me with awe and holiness, so that there is not possibility of mistake.

    But my entire life experience says that once we have one of those gods under a microscope, their goddiness will disappear. Because one of the things that makes them gods is their distance from us. We can’t have them too close. They can live in an unimaginably remote heaven, perhaps as far as Kobol, or they can live in our hearts, speaking with a still, small voice. But in neither case are they living where they can be seen for what they are.

    Meanwhile, we have the following reliable evidence about the Great God X: according to all non-X religions, X is a false god, his story just made up. It does no good to claim all gods are one. That just shows they’ve been lying all these years.

  • Steve

    Why is it that most of the commenters on RELIGIOUS News Service seem to be atheists? Just curious. Atheism isn’t lack of belief in God it is absolute certainty that He does not exist. There is and can be no rational basis for that belief. God cannot be disproved. If you disagree, tell me how. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or hadn’t you heard that one? Lifelong atheist philosopher, Anthony Flew, late in life became convinced solely through reason that God (of some type) is likely to exist.

  • Nullifidian

    Presumably, noting the number of atheists here, you intended this for them. But telling atheists what they think doesn’t do anything to change their views; it just makes us dismiss what you have to say. And who says that absence of evidence cannot be evidence of absence? How else do you decide the non-existence of anything else in the world? Of course, if there were strong theoretical arguments for why a god must exist, just as there were for the existence of the neutrino prior to its discovery, then theism might be at least plausible. But there aren’t any of them either. You can consult J. L. Mackie’s “The Miracle of Theism” or any other atheist work in philosophy of religion on that point. Finally, Anthony Flew was not intellectually convinced of anything, but induced to convert by theistic vultures preying on his declining faculties. By the time of his ‘conversion’, his dementia had progressed to the point where he even forgot friends he’d known for 25 years, like Gary…

  • Nullifidian

    For some reason, despite the fact that it said I had enough characters remaining, the last message got cut off. Flew’s friend of a quarter century that he failed to remember was Gary Habermas.

  • Ben in janken

    “Atheism isn’t lack of belief in God it is absolute certainty that He does not exist.”

    No That’s your definition, not that of any atheist I know. But of course, it is the view of anti-theists.

    Atheists says this: we haven’t seen any evidence of any god, much less the three in one Christian God. As I say below, I’d give worlds to see incontrovertible proof of a god, any God.

    The only evidence regarding God is all negative evidence. We have the holy books, but everyone has one of those. We have the gods of past civilizations that ruled the world, but no one believes in their gods any more. And then we have The evidence of every extant religion that all of the rest are wrong, and tell us nothing of the nature of God and his message to the world. Evidence provided by believers is the best quality evidence of all, because they KNOW.

    Some type of God is likely to exist is a statement you could drive a very large cathedral though.

  • Nullifidian

    This is an incredibly unfocused essay. I think the author spent only one brief paragraph talking about the book that is the ostensible prompt for this article, and most of that paragraph didn’t reflect anything about the book, but was rather—like the rest of the article—an attack on Dawkins’ character.

    Why should someone who regards creationism as such a present threat to science that he’s spent nearly three decades writing against it (since the publication of “The Blind Watchmaker” in 1986) not have a different approach to someone who says profoundly ignorant things about evolution like Ben Carson compared to a scientist who understands and defends evolution like Francis Collins?

    And why on earth do you think the second volume of an autobiography, of all things, is supposed to convince anyone of atheism. I read Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua, but I didn’t realize it was supposed to convert me to Catholicism. Was Walton’s Lives meant to convert me to Anglicanism?

  • Thecla

    Another rehearsal of the meme that mainline Christians are Fundamentalists’ ‘enablers’, tacitly supporting YEC, our of some residual loyalty to fellow Christians.

    This is plain false. I’ve heard Creationism and other Fundamentalist doctrines condemned—and ridiculed—in sermons. My church also actively supports gay rights, marries same-sex couples, kicks out congregations whose members disagree, sues them and takes their property.

    As far as refusing to ‘take them on or correct them’ how do you imagine this would work? They don’t even regard us as fellow Christians are not going to be ‘corrected’. And we have no special responsibility try to set them straight any more than they we have a responsibility to deal with anti-vaxxers, gluten-phobics, or any of the other idiots running around. There religion is not our religion and we are, of course, far more sympathetic to atheists, who by and large share our ethical and political views, they to these hateful and hating, ignorant…

  • Richard Rush

    Doc,

    You probably don’t want to contemplate the high probability that, due to historic persecution by Christians, many atheists are deeply closeted, just like most gay people were at one time. I think it’s much easier for most atheists to remain closeted than it is for gay people because atheism doesn’t involve a strong innate drive that is nearly as fundamental to their lives as sexuality. It’s much easier for atheists to quietly “go along to get along.”

    But the internet is surely changing all of that. For the first time in history it is easy for atheists/skeptics to find each other, communicate with them, and access large amounts of rational thinking in favor of non-belief, all without necessarily revealing themselves to people in their neighborhoods. Not too long ago, a skeptic would probably have been afraid to be seen purchasing a book from his local bookstore containing such thinking. With the internet, atheism has everything to gain, and religion has everything to…

  • @Ben,

    ” I would give worlds to see evidence of a god, any God….”

    Not me. I’m open to evidence but wouldn’t pay for it.
    I’m mostly interested in evidence of Eros, Aphrodite, or one of the Nymphs. I certainly celebrate the things which they are claimed to celebrate: Love, beauty, affection, integrity.

    Fortunately, there appear to be no virtues which depend on a god’s existence.

  • Jon

    I had to google “mamzer”.

    Interesting side note – every single person on earth is a mamzer. Me, you , everyone. The definition says that it includes “anyone who has a mamzer parent”. Hence, you’ll be a mamzer if you have any mamzer Ancestors, since a mamzer great grandparent would mean a mamzer grandparent, then parent, then you. Since we all have 4 grandparents, 64 great great g g grandparents, over a thousand 8th Great grandparents, and so on, the odds are 100% that at least one of those people, and likely many more than one, will be a mamzer. All the hubbub over mamzer status dividing communities and such is thus completely silly, unless both parents are space aliens.

  • Buzz Spartan

    Jacob, let us know when you get a chance to read the book and tell us why it “won’t win him any converts.”

  • Larry

    Except the few times “Progressive Christians” ever make their presence known is in these kind of defensive posts. When someone takes all Christians to task over fundamentalist foolery. The whole NALT (Not All Like That) statements.

    They never seem to chime in with their own opinion on the subjects that fundies and others talk about. Just try to chastise atheists and others for mischaracterizing their faith. Such declarations are less than useless.

    So you are not like the fundamentalists, so what? Its not like anyone hears what you have to say except, “its not us”. So why should anyone care?

  • Jack

    The trouble with Dawkins is that he has made no breakthroughs of any kind in the running battle between theists and atheists. He may have a patented sneer, but I’ll bet we can train a chimpanzee or orangutan to sneer with equal vim and vigor.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, at least the Apostles Creed is based on a bevy of historical evidence. Your rewrite is based on your own wishful thinking.

  • Jack

    Slaughter, the rise of modern science was made possible by the presence of western religion and its concepts of an orderly universe created by a God of order and purpose, belief in a human soul that transcends matter and hence is capable of analyzing it objectively, etc.

  • Jack

    The only problem, James, is that any idea of objective, universal standards of truth, morality, justice, or human rights depend on the validity of a belief in some sort of deity or ultimate intellect from whence such standards come.

    Otherwise, who are you to impose your own private, subjective views on women’s rights, gay rights, or anything else? Once you assert an objective, universal standard to be applied to every culture or society in the world, you’re smuggling in belief in an ultimate source or decider.

  • Jack

    The vast majority of people even in the developed world have never heard of Dawkins, so there is little collective memory to begin with.

    And for those who have heard of him, most people know the difference between a genuine insight or refutation and a tired old British sneer.

  • Jack

    Max is apparently enveloped in a mid-life crisis, but that’s old news.

  • Jack

    PaulS, people have been waiting for 20 centuries for that to happen.

  • Jack

    It’s really the other way around — atheism seems to thrive the most in controlled, cloistered environments of extreme political correctness, where ideological diversity is driven out or deeply discouraged and students are told what and how to think.

    It also thrives in societies that, thanks to largely theistic capitalists, there is an abundance of everything…..meaning no felt need for a deity. But bring in socialism and its communist political organization, and pretty soon, there are shortages of necessities everywhere, some atheist goon (Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro….) at the top of the pyramid herding off dissenters to gulags, and there’s a predictable upsurge in theism.

  • Jack

    Larry, there are still “progressive” Christians — languishing in mainline Protestant denominations and communions and listening to sermons by school marms, screaming mimis, and old ex-hippies stuck in a 1960s time warp, or sometimes all three wrapped into one ministerial package.

  • Jack

    Hawkins…or Dawkins?

  • Jack

    Thecla, that might have been true a half-century ago, but evangelicalism is clearly a middle-class phenomenon today, whereas the unchurched (not just atheist) are increasingly the “de classe” to which you referred….millions of whom are single-parent blue-collar whites from former industrial hubs across the country, and single men of similar backgrounds.

    Go to the fastest growing churches in the country over the past generation and you will see a sea of middle-class people with polo shirts and khakis — the business-casual uniform of middle-class America.

  • Jack

    Larry, if you’re going to create new names for yourself, you need to change your writing style a wee bit….or, failing that, employ a small army of writers, each limited to one name.

  • Jack

    Ben, it’s obvious that half of RNS doesn’t want commenters, period….for starters, lots of writers don’t even allow comments.

  • Bernardo

    And if you go back far enough, you will find that we all have common law marriage ancestors and chimp DNA.

    And keep the following in mind when next doing genealogy: from National Geographic:

    ” DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago began a remarkable journey. Follow the journey from them to you as written in your genes”.

    “Adam” is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time.

    Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive.

    It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity.”

  • Bernardo

    Bevy of historical evidence? Might want to list such evidence. And note the updated Creed included the following note: : (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    A listing of some of these studies can be found at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html and http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htm

  • @Jack,

    Mid-life crisis? Where on earth do you come up with such things? There is no evidence for any god of any kind. In what way is this entirely rational assessment a ‘mid-life’ crisis indicator ?

  • larry

    You don’t even acknowledge their existence. So obviously you can’t be relied upon to say much about progressive Christians. Frankly I am tired if sticking up for them I’d they won’t do it for themselves.

  • Richard Rush

    Jack, you should be thankful for ” “progressive” Christians — languishing in mainline Protestant denominations and communions . . .” because their existence helps to enable your brand of Christianity to maintain an illusion of relevance. By their human decency and loyalty to the foundational beliefs that define Christianity, the progressives are providing at least a modicum of credibility and respectability for the religion.

    When a religion is seen as largely doing good works to reduce human suffering and improve the world, it’s easy to overlook the ancient mythical beliefs that originally inspired it, and are still revered to some extent.

    I think the TrueChristian brand is accelerating the overall religion’s decline. When decent people witness the relentless ugliness and cruelty that has increasingly become the public face of Christianity, it makes them 1) look more critically at the religion in general, and 2) makes them embarrassed to associated with it.

  • Shawnie5

    These lefties are so funny sometimes! There was one particularly hate-filled one that used to follow me around HuffPo all the time (who also did “insurance in some capacity” in NY — perhaps she and Larry need to hook up) who was evidently in some limited circumstances and bitterly resentful of other people’s money, and was absolutely convinced that rich people were all Christians.

    Nothing soothes resentment more, I guess, than sitting around assigning various and sundry thoughts and motivations to people you know nothing about.

  • larry

    Get a room already you two. Work off that tension between you guys once and for all. 🙂

  • larry

    That stopped being true when the scientific method was developed and first applied. Religion has no relation to science whatsoever.

    One believes in Religion based on faith. The absence of evidence. Any method used to get to the end point of validating one’s faith is used. Lying, apologia, assumptions and spurious reasoning is common methods employed.

    Science is believed through presentation of evidence and vetting its methodologies to ensure reliability.

    Anyone who claims they have evidence of the existence of God is either ignorant or a 1iar Someone who either deliberately pretends they do not require faith to believe or doesn’t realize faith’s necessity.

    Science and religion are only in conflict to religious folks who are too childish to accept the limitations of faith.

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  • Dain

    Unfortunately your “universal standard” falls apart due to the nonexistence of the deity that you are postulating. That is the case for all the popular set of “gods”, including those of Islam, Christianity, and so many more.

    So you are left with, gasp, moral standards that we within societies have to reach some form of agreement on, and yes, those are relative moral standards, at least in the case of democracies and certain other cases.

    Oh, the horror, for the weak-minded at least. Morality that we have to develop and consider. It’s reality. Get used to it.

  • Dain

    Max, based on the above, Jack’s reasoning abilities are suspect, at best.

  • Dain

    You’re sneering, Jack, pathetically so. Wipe it off.

    Dawkins could sneer at you all the way to the bank with his book royalties, but you aren’t significant enough to be noticed by him. Like it or not, his books are best sellers. See e.g.
    patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/10/05/richard-dawkins-hits-11-on-new-york-times-best-sellers-list/

    So how’s your book doing? Thought so.

  • Shawnie5

    Larry, if you’re going to create new names for yourself, you need to change your writing style a wee bit….or, failing that, employ a small army of writers, each limited to one name.

  • Shawnie5

    Larry, if you’re going to create new names for yourself, you need to change your writing style a wee bit….or, failing that, employ a small army of writers, each limited to one name.​

  • Joseph

    It would be interesting to hear, as a testimony, how the Church of Atheism founded by Richard Dawkins has improved your life. More often than not the Atheists stand against the God of Christianity, which I find curious because Christianity, Judaism, and Islamism are all “Abrahamic religions”, which trace their history to Abraham in the Hebrew Bible. Sounds like inequality to me. As far as I can tell, Atheism is backed by the “if it feels good then do it”, “I lack self control”, and/or “Coexist” bumper sticker crowd. They remind me of the pagans of Roman times that worshiped false idols and gods, which by today’s standards would be the idolatry of celebrities, iphones, political false prophets, money, drugs, Facebook, etc. These idols enslave people and like an addiction, people give up their free will to them. Hell is a life without God and if Hell is what you wish for then Atheism is the answer. Choose free will and keep an open mind. Read Ecclesiastes and I will…

  • Jack

    You dodged the issue, Dain. Let me bring you back to it:

    If you’re a human rights activist and you tell the government of a foreign nation to start cracking down on that country’s abusive treatment of women, and they ask you on what basis do you presume to impose your own values on someone else’s culture, what are you going to say?

    You will have absolutely nothing to say. You’ll just be standing there, impotent, while the dictator laughs you to scorn.

    But if you adopted the view of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, that there is a Creator who endowed everyone with certain human rights which no culture or government dare take away, then you’d have something coherent and authoritative to say.

  • Fran

    I’m looking forward to the time when Jesus, the Prince of Peace and King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government soon begins his peaceful, loving and just millennial rule over all nations on earth (Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 11:1-9).

  • Shawnie5

    And hence the concept of “inalienability” of fundamental rights. Rights granted by man alone are not inalienable in any sense but are always up for debate. Rights granted by the Creator, however, are in cement.

    Is it any wonder that atheism is the least trusted of all faiths?

  • Re: “Another rehearsal of the meme that mainline Christians are Fundamentalists’ ‘enablers’, tacitly supporting YEC, our of some residual loyalty to fellow Christians.”

    Yes, because it’s true. Take a look at Congress, which has a higher-than-the-general-population proportion of such folks. That quite literally cannot have happened, if more reasonable Christians hadn’t voted for them.

    Re: “As far as refusing to ‘take them on or correct them’ how do you imagine this would work?”

    Walk up to them, tell them they’re wrong, and explain they can’t lie about science in order to make themselves feel better.

    Re: “They don’t even regard us as fellow Christians are not going to be ‘corrected’.”

    I assume it goes both ways. Even so, it’s your religion. (And yes, Christianity IS your religion.) Its integrity is up to you to police. Either do so, or not. Complaining at me about it isn’t going to help you get that done.

  • Re: “Except the few times ‘Progressive Christians’ ever make their presence known is in these kind of defensive posts.”

    True enough. I often compare these folk to the Wizard of Oz, who famously (and absurdly) boomed, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” It didn’t help in the (admittedly fictional) movie, and it works even less so in the real world.

    If the YEC folks are misrepresenting Christianity, the only way for other types of Christians to deal with it is to shout them down, marginalize them, ridicule them, harangue them until they finally shut up and go away. It CAN be done, but only if they WANT to. Unfortunately they don’t have the courage … so instead they run around telling the rest of the world not to pay attention to them.

    Sorry but no, I have no intention of doing that for them. Nor should anyone else have to do it.

  • Dain

    Jack, I didn’t “dodge the issue”. I was replying directly to your gross errors in your stated position. That could hardly be more obvious. Get over yourself already and get off your high horse.

    Shawnie5, again, if you can’t prove the existence of your “Creator”, and clearly you can’t, then your “cement” morals have you in deep water sinking fast with cement shoes on. Your position is insupportable.