The type never dies!
By John Dickson Updated April 18, There is a dissonance between Christ's "love your enemies" and Moses' "slay the wicked".
AAP Atheists should drop their easily dismissed scientific, philosophical or historical arguments against Christianity, and instead quiz believers about Old Testament violence and hell, writes John Dickson.
As an intellectual movement, Christianity has a head start on atheism. So it's only natural that believers would find some of the current arguments against God less than satisfying. In the interests of a more robust debate this Easter, I want to offer my tips for atheists wanting to make a dent in the Faith.
I've got some advice on arguments that should be dropped and some admissions about where Christians are vulnerable.
Dip into Christianity's intellectual tradition This is the 1,th Easter since 7 April AD 30, the widely accepted date among historians for the crucifixion of Jesus the 1,st if you find the arguments for 3 April AD 33 persuasive.
Christians have been pondering this stuff for a long time. They've faced textual, historical, and philosophical scrutiny in almost every era, and they have left a sophisticated literary trail of reasons for the Faith.
My first tip, then, is to gain some awareness of the church's vast intellectual tradition. It is not enough to quip that 'intellectual' and 'church' are oxymoronic.
Origen, Augustine, Philoponus, Aquinas, and the rest are giants of Western thought. Without some familiarity with these figures, or their modern equivalents - Pannenberg, Ward, MacIntrye, McGrath, Plantinga, Hart, Volf - popular atheists can sound like the kid in English class, "Miss, Shakespeare is stupid!
Notice how believers use the word 'faith' One of the things that becomes apparent in serious Christian literature is that no one uses 'faith' in the sense of believing things without reasons. That might be Richard Dawkins' preferred definition - except when he was publicly asked by Oxford's Professor John Lennox whether he had 'faith' in his lovely wife - but it is important to know that in theology 'faith' always means personal trust in the God whose existence one accepts on other grounds.
I think God is real for philosophical, historical, and experiential reasons. Only on the basis of my reasoned conviction can I then trust God - have faith in him - in the sense meant in theology. Appreciate the status of 6-Day Creationism Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Kraus have done a disservice to atheism by talking as though 6-Day Creationism is the default Christian conviction.
But mainstream Christianities for decades have dismissed 6-Day Creationism as a misguided if well-intentioned project. Major conservative institutions like Sydney's Moore Theological College, which produces more full time ministers than any college in the country, have taught for years that Genesis 1 was never intended to be read concretely, let alone scientifically.
This isn't Christians retreating before the troubling advances of science.
From the earliest centuries many of the greats of Judaism e. Even as thoughtful a man as Lawrence Kraus, a noted physicist, did this just last month on national radio following new evidence of the earliest moments of the Big Bang.
But the god-of-the-gaps is an invention of atheists. Serious theists have always welcomed explanations of the mechanics of the universe as further indications of the rational order of reality and therefore of the presence of a Mind behind reality.
Kraus sounds like a clever mechanic who imagines that just because he can explain how a car works he has done away with the Manufacturer.
As every trained philosopher knows, Christians are not absolute atheists with regard to other gods. They happily affirm the shared theistic logic that there must be a powerful Mind behind a rational universe.
The disagreements concern how the deity has revealed itself in the world. Atheism is not just an extension of monotheism any more than celibacy is an extension of monogamy. Claims that Christianity is social 'poison' backfire Moving from science and philosophy to sociology, I regard New Atheism's "religion poisons everything" argument as perhaps its greatest faux pas.
Not just because it is obviously untrue but because anyone who has entertained the idea and then bumped into an actual Christian community will quickly wonder what other fabrications Hitchens and Dawkins have spun.
I don't just mean that anyone who dips into Christian history will discover that the violence of Christendom is dwarfed by the bloodshed of non-religious and irreligious conflicts.
I mean that those who find themselves, or their loved ones, in genuine need in this country are very, very likely to become the beneficiaries of direct and indirect Christian compassion.
The faithful account for an inordinate amount of "volunteering hours" in Australia, they give blood at higher-than-normal rates, and 18 of the nation's 25 largest charities are Christian organisations.
This doesn't make Christians better than atheists, but it puts the lie to the claim that they're worse.Religious Themes in Liberation Theology T /HE TOPIG of this essay, 'religious themes in liberation theology', is the work of teachers and those engaged in practical ministry in an English-speaking environment.
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The Work of Theology provides a number of helpful reflections upon various themes related to this center that can prove helpful not only to academics and students of theology, but to the church at large/5(6).
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