Archive for ‘religion’

December 2, 2013

How a Christian sees atheism

by Neil Rickert

There’s probably a wide range of views about atheism among Christians.  This post is about the view that Frank Schaeffer has, as described in a video that he has posted on his blog.

Schaeffer is a former fundamentalist evangelical Christian, who has broken with that extreme view.  But he remains Christian.  I follow Shaeffer’s blog, because he has some good analysis of the role of evangelical Christianity in conservative politics.  His most recent post is:

where he describes an online course that he is offering.  The first video in the course is free, and is part of that post.  It is a little over 5 minutes in length, and worth watching to get a picture of what Schaeffer, and perhaps many other Christians think of atheism.

Almost entirely wrong

Schaeffer’s view does not even come close to resembling my understanding of atheism.  However, if his view is widespread, it does help us understand why Christians say some of the things they do about atheism.

Schaeffer begins by asking whether atheism is:

  • doubt about meaning in life;
  • a theological position cast in secular terms.

He seems to believe that both of those are true, while I think that neither is true.

It quickly becomes apparent that Schaeffer has a less critical take on agnosticism.  What he sees as agnosticism is closer to what I see as atheism.

Schaeffer goes on to mention music and the arts as things that atheists cannot explain.

It’s weird.  As far as I know, atheists make no special claims about music and art, and many of them have the same sort of enjoyment of music and art that Christians have.

I’m inclined to think that Schaeffer has confused atheism with the philosophy of reductive materialism, though even then I suspect that many reductive materialists would disagree with the picture that Schaeffer has painted.

Now go watch that short video, and see for yourself.

October 20, 2013

Politics and religion don’t mix

by Neil Rickert

This post is mainly to suggest a few links worth reading.

The shutdown

Frank Schaeffer has some ideas on what was behind the shutdown.  Whether or not he is correct, they are worth reading or listening to.

I’ll note that Schaeffer is also pushing his recent book.  I don’t have much to say about that.  I did buy the book (the inexpensive kindle edition), but I have not finished reading it.  I’m still half-way through the opening paragraph.  Evidently, reading that book is not one of my high priorities.

Here are the two Schaeffer posts that I recommend:

On abortion

Samantha, at her blog Defeating the Dragons, has a multi-part series on how her views on abortion evolved.  She has a summary post, “Ordeal of the Bitter Waters” which summarizes the six parts and provides links to them.  The summary post is an excellent place to start.

If you are familiar with the biblical reference alluded to in the title, you can probably guess where her posts are going.  Early on, she was persuaded by the “pro-life” arguments.  But then real life happened to her, and she began to understand that the issue was far more complex than the pro-life folk would have you believe.  She is now pro-choice.

As part of her journey, she discovered that the Christian Bible does not condemn abortion.  Quite the contrary, in some circumstances it commands abortion.

September 22, 2013

Perversion of religion

by Neil Rickert

This is good.

Even a religion based on a socialist hippie God preaching for everyone to basically live in communes and love, feed, and heal one another, gets perverted by the usual suspects to justify just about any grotesque act of greed, cruelty, and self indulgence imaginable.

That’s pretty much my view of Christianity — particularly the conservative kind of Christianity.

From Sunday school for atheists: James 5


May 5, 2013

Is science a religion?

by Neil Rickert

The answer, of course, is no.  However, others often claim that it is.  Take, for example, this quote, which I am copying from a recent post at the Don Hartness blog:

Another reason that scientists are so prone to throw the baby out with the bath water is that science itself, as I have suggested, is a religion.

Those words are not from Don Hartness himself.  He quotes them for a book, and is not completely clear on whether he agrees with them.

To be fair, the author apparently uses “religion” to refer to a world view.  That makes it hard to know what he means.  I don’t much like this talk of “world view.”  As best I can tell, the “world view” language is something that theists use to delude themselves that their rejection of a lot of evidence is okay because others do it too.

November 15, 2012

Intelligent raining; two different conceptions of God

by Neil Rickert

Over at Uncommon Descent, the ID  blog, there are often posts and comments about theistic evolution and theist evolutionists (TE for short).  Many, but not all of the ID proponents are usually quite critical of TE, as I was reminded by a recent post.  For reference, that post is:

While reading and commenting on that post, it occurred to me that TEs and ID proponents have very different conceptions of God.  And that is what I mainly want to discuss here.

Intelligent Raining

I’ll begin  with some quotes from Barry Arrington in that recent post:

November 14, 2012

Willful murder by the Catholic church

by Neil Rickert

I don’t often write condemning religion.  There are many decent people who are religious.  But this headline reports an incident that demands condemnation:

The medical condition of the woman was clear.  But religious demagogues, with their utterly stupid ideas about abortion, condemned the woman to death by refusing her the treatment that could have saved her life.

November 1, 2012

Notes on abortion

by Neil Rickert

There has been a lot of online discussion since CNN Belief blogs posted an item by Jonathan Dudley “My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice.”  Here, I shall add my two cents.

My immediate reaction is to disagree with Dudley.  I do not remember that evangelicals were ever pro-choice, and it would seem out of character for them to have  been pro-choice.

October 5, 2012

On the religion front

by Neil Rickert

A few comments and links on families, atheism and abortion.

August 5, 2012

Why I am not anti-theist

by Neil Rickert

It is almost 50 years since I dumped religion.  Yet, somehow, I don’t have any urge to be anti-theist.  Take this statement from a recent blog post:

My faith is important to me. My faith is beautiful and meaningful to me. Christian community is important to me.

How can I object to that?  It is the sincere view of “Former Conservative”, the moniker used by the blogger.  I support freedom of speech, and I support freedom of people to make their own choices for their lives.  There is nothing there for me to be “anti”.

July 26, 2012

Answering some questions posed to athiests

by Neil Rickert

Yesterday, I responded to a series of questions for theists, answering as I would have back when I was a theist with growing doubt.  This post responds to some recent questions that matt (over at the Well Spent Journey blog) has posed for atheists: “Twelve Questions to Ask an Atheist.”  Some of these questions are actually relevant to the kind of issue that I often discuss here.  As before, I will quote the question or perhaps an abridged version, before answering.  I suggest that you also visit matt’s original post where he poses the questions.


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