New strategy for the new atheism

The iMonk puts forward a little insight into how the goalposts are moving when it comes to discourse with atheists. I tend to agree with his diagnosis of the problem.

Some great insights.

“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?”

“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.”

“Keller is still great. C.S.Lewis is still helpful. [William Lane] Craig is still impressive. But I’m not sure their arguments are on the right channel. Vast numbers of people aren’t asking for philosophy. They are asking what will let them live a life uncomplicated by lies, manipulation and constant calls to prefer ignorance to what seems obvious.

What we’ve said and written is fine. What we’ve lived in our homes, private lives, churches, workplaces and friendships has spoken louder.

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.”


Kutz says:

The problem with this analysis is, who is the we?

Nathan says:

I think it’s a fair charge to level at the church generally rather than specific individuals.

I get the impression that he’s suggesting the solution is not to water down the gospel but to actually live it. It’s nothing new or profound – but it’s a point that needs making over and over again. We can fight the intellectual fight all we like – but it’s not generally an intellectual argument that wins converts to atheism. It’s either the attractive lifestyle that not believing in God presents or the disconnect between what Christians say and what they do.

The Friendly Atheist has linked to the iMonk story and basically suggested that appealing to believers on the basis of lifestyle is the way to deconvert them.