I've been given an audio book called "I Don't Believe in Atheists." I've decided I will take it slowly and dissect the contents of each chapter in blog posts. This will be the first of many!
Chris's main point in this chapter is that atheists are fundamentalists. They seek a new utopia which they hope to gain through absolutism ideals on morality and with intolerance of others who disagree.
WOW! I have no idea where he gets this. The prominent atheist authors and YouTube personalities hate absolutism. They speak against false certainties and espouse doubt as a humble trait. Science drives away absolutism and instead views the world in relative probabilities. Nothing is 100%. I'll try and reveal this while going through his more nuanced claims.
Claim: We don't move forward morally. We are inherently sinful and do not progress. We may have societal rules in place that give the appearance that the people are morally superior, but on the individual level, a person from 500 AD has the same internal morality as someone from the 21st century.
I definitely disagree with this. I would point to the abolition of slavery and the empowerment of women as proof that we are more moral than we used to be. He would say "That's a societal morality!" But how does a society's moral law imrove without the individuals improving? If the individual morality is forever stagnant, why should we expect our institutional morality not do the same? The laws are PROOF of changes on the individual level. Morality is influenced by empathy, education, and understanding. He discounts those components when judging an individual's morality; clearly not considering them as a part of morality. He sees animal instinct and nothing more. People are damned from his perspective, and it isn't a surprising viewpoint coming from a theologian.
Claim: Science can't perfect human society. It is useless in the world of ethics and morality. People use science to justify their current opinions and agendas. In fact, slavery was a scientific racism because the scientists of the day came to the conclusion that other races were inferior and made to serve.
Science doesn't seek to perfect society, it seeks to understand the natural world. It isn't a perfect process and selfish people will cherry pick for their own agenda. One modern day example of this is the Heartland Institute. Energy sector lobbyist money as well and religious climate deniers founded the Heartland Institute to show the world how science denies climate change. Science does NOT deny climate change. 97% of climate scientists agree that human caused global warming exists. Still, we see how the Heartland Institute cherry picks the data to misrepresent the science found. They do not use the scientific method in hopes of uncovering reality. Instead, they start with their conclusion and then try to find data that fits their conclusion. Real scientists doing real science do not do that.
The scientific method we have today is actually a modern thing. In the not so distant past, most doctors, engineers, and astronomers went about science much more loosely. They often espoused things like phrenology, bloodletting, and astrology. Today, we have labelled these non-evidence based ideas as "pseudoscience."
Claim: Atheists assume Christianity is represented by fundamentalists like Pat Robertson. They dismiss modern, liberal Christians who are the vast majority.
I wish this was true. A vocal minority is a small dog with a loud bark. Unfortunately, the issues that need defending are supported often by the majority of Christians.
-65% of Americans want prayer in public schools.
-54% of Americans think creationism should be taught in science classrooms.
-40% of Americans oppose gay marriage.
I'll give Chris credit. He doesn't believe in the traditional form of Christianity. He dropped out of seminary because he couldn't take the hypocrisy. I'm interested in his book "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" and I will be reading it in the coming months. His dad was a pastor who supported gay rights. He doesn't believe in angels or demons. He does NOT represent Christianity! More than two-thirds of Americans believe in angels, demons, the devil, and hell!
If America's Christians looked like him, there wouldn't be "militant atheists" like me.