Atheism

The fundamentalist delusion

 Thereligiouswrite Blog-Atheism

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser;

a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

Here's Richard Dawkins, sword flailing, mowing down his foes — all of them, Christian, Muslim, Jew, male or female, old or young. He cannot sheath his sword until the world is cleansed of religion, all of it, because it is a superstition, everywhere and always evil, blinding people to the “truth”.

more from Barney Zwartz's response to Dawkins' fundamentalist atheism. . .

AtheismRichard Dawkins

God is Dead: RIP, 1966

Timeisgoddead An interesting sideline in Alister McGrath's The Twilight of Atheism is the story of the impact of secularism on modern theology.

As a movement atheism reached its zenith around 1970. Communism was still power and Western intellectuals and some theologians were happy to join the bandwagon.

McGrath writes, “Convinced that nobody (well, nobody who really mattered, that is) could believe in a transcendent God anymore, revisionist theologians launched a makeover of their faith. Ideas such as eternal life, Resurrection, a ‘God out there’, and any sense of the mysterious were unceremoniously junked as decrepit embarrassments.”

The outcome of this retreat from the historic Christian faith in the face of modernity was the dramatic collapse of the mainline denominations from 1955 to 1995.

The mainline denominations assumed that the mood of the 1960s represented a permanent shift in Western culture. As it happened, the mood passed after a decade.

A movement that had tried to make God relevant to one social grouping ended up making the same God irrelevant to just about everyone else.

Alister McGrath

To their horror, it has been those forms of Christianity that are both anchored in the Scriptures and responsive to their culture that have since flourished.

I wonder if there are any parallels today as we face a postmodern culture?

”The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World“ (Alister Mcgrath)

God is Dead: RIP, 1966

Timeisgoddead An interesting sideline in Alister McGrath's The Twilight of Atheism is the story of the impact of secularism on modern theology.

As a movement atheism reached its zenith around 1970. Communism was still power and Western intellectuals and some theologians were happy to join the bandwagon.

McGrath writes, “Convinced that nobody (well, nobody who really mattered, that is) could believe in a transcendent God anymore, revisionist theologians launched a makeover of their faith. Ideas such as eternal life, Resurrection, a ‘God out there’, and any sense of the mysterious were unceremoniously junked as decrepit embarrassments.”

The outcome of this retreat from the historic Christian faith in the face of modernity was the dramatic collapse of the mainline denominations from 1955 to 1995.

The mainline denominations assumed that the mood of the 1960s represented a permanent shift in Western culture. As it happened, the mood passed after a decade.

A movement that had tried to make God relevant to one social grouping ended up making the same God irrelevant to just about everyone else.

Alister McGrath

To their horror, it has been those forms of Christianity that are both anchored in the Scriptures and responsive to their culture that have since flourished.

I wonder if there are any parallels today as we face a postmodern culture?

”The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World“ (Alister Mcgrath)

Why atheism failed

“Atheism invited humanity to imagine a world without God. For many in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, this was a morally compelling vision—a world in which humanity could think and do as it pleased, without having to look over its shoulder at some disapproving deity.” Alister McGrath

Yet in the last thirty years, atheism has fallen from a position of power throughout the world while Christianity continues to advance. Here are five reasons for the twilight of atheism gleaned from Alister McGrath's book on the subject:

  1. Faith in humanity. Atheism argued that belief in humanity should replace belief in God and yet belief in autonomous humanity was responsible for some of the 20th century’s, and history’s, worst atrocities.
  2. Child of modernity. Atheism claims for itself the “proofs” of rationality and science. Yet there is no inherent conflict between science and religion. Atheism has been exposed as a faith itself, devoid of conclusive proof. It is a “preference dressed in rationality”.
  3. Outdated. In a postmodern world, there are no certainties, no “meta-narratives”, or overarching worldviews that explain everything. Atheism is more of a cultural mood than a proven reality. Yet culture is not static, it continues to change and leave atheism behind.
  4. Boring. Atheism lacks imagination as a belief system and tends to define itself by what it rejects. McGrath says, “Secularism is as dull as it comes, making a pallid appeal to the reason and failing the engage the imagination and emotions.
  5. An enemy on the move. Most frustrating of all, Christianity proved to be a moving target for atheism. Christianity is not a historically fixed monochrome entity, but a diverse faith that evolves in different manners at different points in history. Atheism’s attack paradoxically helped to energize and reform Christianity. Today, in much of world Christianity continues to thrive while atheism whithers.

Related: God is Dead: RIP, 1966

”The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World“ (Alister Mcgrath)

Why atheism failed

“Atheism invited humanity to imagine a world without God. For many in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, this was a morally compelling vision—a world in which humanity could think and do as it pleased, without having to look over its shoulder at some disapproving deity.” Alister McGrath

Yet in the last thirty years, atheism has fallen from a position of power throughout the world while Christianity continues to advance. Here are five reasons for the twilight of atheism gleaned from Alister McGrath's book on the subject:

  1. Faith in humanity. Atheism argued that belief in humanity should replace belief in God and yet belief in autonomous humanity was responsible for some of the 20th century’s, and history’s, worst atrocities.
  2. Child of modernity. Atheism claims for itself the “proofs” of rationality and science. Yet there is no inherent conflict between science and religion. Atheism has been exposed as a faith itself, devoid of conclusive proof. It is a “preference dressed in rationality”.
  3. Outdated. In a postmodern world, there are no certainties, no “meta-narratives”, or overarching worldviews that explain everything. Atheism is more of a cultural mood than a proven reality. Yet culture is not static, it continues to change and leave atheism behind.
  4. Boring. Atheism lacks imagination as a belief system and tends to define itself by what it rejects. McGrath says, “Secularism is as dull as it comes, making a pallid appeal to the reason and failing the engage the imagination and emotions.
  5. An enemy on the move. Most frustrating of all, Christianity proved to be a moving target for atheism. Christianity is not a historically fixed monochrome entity, but a diverse faith that evolves in different manners at different points in history. Atheism’s attack paradoxically helped to energize and reform Christianity. Today, in much of world Christianity continues to thrive while atheism whithers.

Related: God is Dead: RIP, 1966

”The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World“ (Alister Mcgrath)

The rise and fall of disbelief

Nietzsche

The madman sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances. “Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him—you and I. We are his murderers.

Friedrich Nietzsche

I’ve just finished working my way through ”The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World“ (Alister Mcgrath). It’s a fascinating account of the rise and fall of atheism as a movement, not just a belief system.

McGrath writes with understanding as a former Marxist and atheist.

The story begins with the ancient Greeks but it is not until the 18th century and the birth of the modern world that atheism comes into its own.

McGrath contends that atheism thrives when the church is seen to be privileged, out of touch with the people. When religion starts getting ideas about power, atheism soars in appeal. Atheism presented itself as a liberator, destroying the myth of the gods and thus enabling humanity to step outside the limits placed upon it by religion.

How did atheism use its freedom from God? As Dostoyevsky foresaw, the elimination of God let to new heights of moral brutality and political violence in Communism and Nazism. Those who believed that religion caused intolerance and violence became the greatest murderers and oppressors in history.

But why did atheism fall from power?

AtheismMovements

The rise and fall of disbelief

Nietzsche

The madman sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances. “Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him—you and I. We are his murderers.

Friedrich Nietzsche

I’ve just finished working my way through ”The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World“ (Alister Mcgrath). It’s a fascinating account of the rise and fall of atheism as a movement, not just a belief system.

McGrath writes with understanding as a former Marxist and atheist.

The story begins with the ancient Greeks but it is not until the 18th century and the birth of the modern world that atheism comes into its own.

McGrath contends that atheism thrives when the church is seen to be privileged, out of touch with the people. When religion starts getting ideas about power, atheism soars in appeal. Atheism presented itself as a liberator, destroying the myth of the gods and thus enabling humanity to step outside the limits placed upon it by religion.

How did atheism use its freedom from God? As Dostoyevsky foresaw, the elimination of God let to new heights of moral brutality and political violence in Communism and Nazism. Those who believed that religion caused intolerance and violence became the greatest murderers and oppressors in history.

But why did atheism fall from power?

AtheismMovements