guest blog by Stephen McAndrew
There are increasing indications that atheism is becoming more than just a bare denial of the existence of God. Alain de Botton, the noted writer and atheist, recently claimed that atheists needed their own temples. On March 24, 2012, in Washington, D.C., the Reason Rally, billed as the largest ever gathering of secularists is scheduled to take place. Whatever atheism or secularism is, it is more than a personal denial of the existence of God; there appears to be a need to meet together with other atheists to corporately affirm their lack of belief.
Reason is at a premium in our "on-demand" society today.
We live in a society where sound bites are the normal discourse… The sound-bite culture has infiltrated our belief systems also. We want to have a one-sentence reduction of all facts and beliefs that is easy to assimilate without too much mental strain on our part… We have gone down the same track regarding philosophical and religious beliefs. We do not want to have to read and agonize over obscure and difficult texts; we do not want to have to reconcile difficult and conflicting concepts; we want a smattering of beliefs written on the side of our disposable coffee cups. We can gently and quickly evaluate the belief presented in twenty words or less or the side of the mostly-recyclable container in sixty seconds or less, without breaking out of our early morning fog. If we like it, we may think about it for a couple of minutes or so until the next enticing sound bite comes our way––whether it be on television, radio, or the internet.
The result of the acceptance of the sound bite is the poverty of effort directed towards understanding ideas we encounter. On the surface, many ideas seem appealing and plausible, but may not hold up to a rigorous examination of their underlying assumptions. Rarely are ideas subject to an examination of their foundations. Why It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe If It’s Not True P.74-75.
I don’t think many will disagree with me that we need more reasoned debate in our society today, and so I welcome any event that encourages people to come together to reason. In this spirit, I assume that secularists and atheists will be open to all ideas presented to them so long as such ideas are presented in a reasoned and polite manner. As a Christian, it is also my duty to listen to reasoned arguments with humility and grace. With this in mind, here is a link to some Christian perspectives on the Reason Rally, from Christians who plan to attend the event in D.C. to present their ideas in a calm, loving and open manner.