What I find interesting in the increasingly vocal debates centering around atheism, the spurious church-n-state thing, and the apparently “growing” influence of a cabal of Christian “Dominionists” over all things secular in this country (?!?!) is the continued distinction the atheist set seeks to make between “rational thinkers” or “free thinkers,” and those who believe in God; as though the two must by definition be mutually exclusive.
The clear implication is that if you had half a brain, you wouldn’t be so easily duped by this whole “God” concept. That those with a devout religious faith are some how drooling mental defectives, or possessed of so little discernment that they are too easily fooled by charlatans, or by their own willful self-delusions. That they rely solely on a blind-faith in what was force-fed them by their parents, sunday school teachers, etc., to determine their worldview rather than thinking for themselves.
Yeah, thanks for that.
Flip over most atheists, and underneath you will usually find someone who was either hurt by a church or group of church members, grew disillusioned with what they were being taught because it didn’t provide answers, or rebelled against a faith that was force-fed to them by people long on rhetoric and short on real answers.
Which leads me to wonder, how many atheists has the Church created simply because those within it don’t know their own scriptures? How many people have been turned away from the Church and God, simply because the people they met were too ill-equipped to answer the questions of a seeker?
“BECAUSE I SAID SO!” doesn’t help much in winning hearts and minds.
The fact is that a great many of the traits ascribed to many of today’s churches by atheists are far too accurate. We give them far too much cause to doubt. Too often people within the Church are content to sit in a Sunday sermon and have 45 minutes of theology spooned their way, blissfully wandering back to their “other” life after a cup of coffee and a few vanilla cream cookies.
Many are even threatened by an active, questioning examination of the Bible, as though an eagerness to learn, or a willingness to admit confusion on an issue, must somehow equate to doubting one’s faith.
To know the Bible, you must know what it says, NOT just what people have TOLD YOU it says. And this takes work. And study. And being willing to wrestle with the difficult issues. A blind faith is just that…blind. Unseeing, undiscerning, unable to explain and teach. You HAVE to question and dig, or your faith will be shallow, and your witness and testimony to the world sallow, weak and ineffective.
From what I’ve read and heard of late, many atheists seem to be characterized not just by an apathy towards religion, or a passive disbelief in a creator God, but by an active distaste or opposition to all things religious.
Why is this? What is it about religious faith that inspires some to almost open hostility? Despite all the evidence that we are quite clearly living in a “post-Christian” era, what is maintaining this perception that there is a “rise of religion’s influence on politics and policies,” when so much of religious thought and expression (specifically the Christian religion) are being steadily expunged from the public eye?
I don’t know. Somebody help me out here.
What is it that makes atheists and other ardent activists feel that we are on the cusp of some theocratic takeover which must be actively opposed lest the “free thinkers” be rounded up and burned at the stake as heretics?