A Response to the Friendly Atheist (Part 1)
by Robin Schumacher
It’s rare for me to get worked up anymore over statements that atheists make about Christianity. For many years now, I’ve debated and exchanged dialogs – both in person and over the Web – with many atheists and hatetheists (there is a difference) and have gotten pretty used to the primary arguments of the former group and the flawed caricatures / misrepresentations of the latter, so I am usually not bothered by what either has to say about the Christian faith.
Then I read the July 30 CNN opinion article by Hemant Mehta, “The Friendly Atheist”, which is entitled “Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism”.
Maybe it was seeing so many of the tired, false assertions in one place. Maybe it was some of the poor logic and argumentation the author employed. Whatever it was, I actually got peeved.
Mr. Mehta, likely responding to another CNN Belief Blog piece on why millennials are supposedly leaving the church, declares that atheism is playing a big role in their rumored exodus from Christianity. Let’s take a look at some of his major assertions and arguments and see if there’s support for what he claims.
The Anti-Everything Church
First up is Mr. Mehta’s endorsement of the contention that the Christian church is “anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt”. In today’s culture, to be anti-anything is bad so we see Mehta employ the typical paint-your-opponent-against-something-rather-than-for-something technique right out of the chute. But that aside, the question is, are the claims true? Let’s look at just a couple of them.
Anti-doubt? If by this he means the Church at large discourages asking hard questions about God, he couldn’t be more wrong. The entire discipline of apologetics is specifically designed for tackling difficult issues and questions about the existence of God. Christian websites such as gotquestions see
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over 3 million unique visitors a month, with special sister sites having been set up by the gotquestions team just for answering the questions children and teens have about Christianity. If millennials want to have their doubts and questions about God answered, they have many places to turn.
Anti-science? Later in the article, Mehta says: “For instance, there’s been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses. . . . Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.”
Honestly, I could write thirty pages alone on the flawed logic of his last statement, but in short, good science and good religion walk hand in hand just fine. Further, if anything, science is bolstering the arguments for God, not eliminating them.
The evidence showing that our universe most certainly had a beginning and is not eternal, the proof of intelligence and specified complexity running through life itself, and the fine tuning of our cosmos all make for excellent scientific data points favoring a Creator.
Moreover, the legion of brilliant scientists who are Christians that exist today as well as those in the past demonstrates the false dichotomy that Mr. Mehta offers millennials of either science or Christianity…
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