Dialogue with Atheism

What is the conversation between Atheism and Christianity really all about? I think many, on both sides, assume that it is primarily about “scoring points” in a debate and the winning side is the side that can score the most points.

The Internet Monk has a very interesting, and I think accurate, assesment of what is really going on right now in the dialogue between Atheism and Christianity.

The gist of his argument is that many young people (under, say, age 30) are not leaving Christianity because they have been won over by Atheism’s brilliant arguments. They are leaving because Atheism offers a simpler and happier life than the legalistic, workaholic, and often bizarre world of the American, evangelical, Christian sub-culture.

Here are a few quotes from his blog post to whet your appetite:

Atheism is just….easier. Occam’s Razor. Theism is too much trouble. It starts to sound like someone is trying to sell you something sight unseen. Isn’t your best move just to hang up the phone and ignore the call?

One of my letters this week stated that a 17 year old raised in an evangelical family was now an avid atheist, with many of the hijinks of evangelicalism as evidence of manipulation and control. He couldn’t mean take off your shoes and spin your socks over your head while singing “Jesus mess me up?” Why would that bother anyone?

Write this down: When the coming evangelical collapse happens, and especially when thousands of our young people bolt for non-believer status, a lot of it will be COMPLETELY DESERVED.

We never stopped to notice that if you are a 17 year old with serious questions about evil, miracles, prayer and the Bible you’ve got small chances of getting any help from most of evangelicalism. We’re having too much fun squalling at the President and feeling good about ourselves.

You see, evangelicals have made such outrageous assumptions and promises about happiness, healing, everything working out, knowing God, answered prayer, loving one another and so on that proving us to be liars isn’t even a real job. It’s just a matter of tuning in to an increasing number of voices who say “It’s OK to not believe. Give yourself a break. Stop tormenting yourself trying to believe. Stop propping up your belief with more and more complex arguments. Just let go of God.”

We are the ones who appear to not believe in the God we say is real. We are the ones who seem to be forcing ourselves to believe with bigger shows, bigger celebrities and bigger methods of manipulation.

If you are at all interested in outreach, evangelism, or dialogues with non-believers, I strongly urge you to read the whole post over at the Internet Monk.

~ Jonathan Stepp

2 comments so far

  1. Boyd Merriman on

    I did read it, and though he is a bit wordy and threw in a few sentences that I had to read three times to make sense, I agree with him.

    I like one of the comments someone wrote:
    “I have found it is much easier to forgive others their faults when accepting them as flawed human beings, not obsessed with thier potential as future converts.”

    Reminds me of Jesus who pointed out that we comb the earth looking for converts and making them twice the child of the devil than what they were.

    We are trying too hard to make them understand what they should become rather than showing concern for who they are now in Christ. Letting Christ work with them where they are at now. Let Jesus see them for who they will be. “Calling things which are not as though they are” implies we are not there yet either.

    I appreciate the new look at debating atheists and Christians and anyone else that don’t agree with us (really meaning “me”) and start listening to people where they are at.

    Except for the grace of God, go I.


  2. Pastor Jonathan on

    Good points, Boyd – thanks for adding your thoughts. I also really liked his comment about obsessing over people as future converts, and I also agree that he could use some editing (but then again I guess we all need some!)

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