"Helping the Next Generation Think Christianly About All of life"
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Of Course God Doesn't Exist...Now What? Introducing Atheism 2.0
A friend of mine recommended this TED video on Atheism 2.0 and I found it to be fascinating (wrongheaded...but fascinating nonetheless). Atheism 1.0 is about the angry atheists - he singles out Richard Dawkins - who think religion is dangerous and the intellectual equivalent of believing in the tooth fairy. I have written a book responding to this brand of atheism and am convinced that Christianity is not only true, but there are good reasons to believe its true. But I will let the reader decide if that was successful. I mention that because in Atheism 2.0, Botton starts by asserting (not arguing) "of course God doesn't exist. But let's not throw out religion, let's learn from it." There are things we can pick and choose and assemble. We can have mystery and spiritual experiences without the existence of anything spiritual. Romanticism meets atheism. There is no purpose so we must create our own. Culture must replace Scripture. Why? Because no one is teaching us how to live. Secularism simply gives us information and data. But what people long for is human flourishing and community (BTW - the Christian worldview really sparkles here). So Botton suggests there is much to learn from religion even if we don't believe any of it.
There is much that can be said, but I want to suggest the main reason the project of Atheism 2.0 will fail: It's not aiming at truth. Transcendence without truth will lead to despair in the end. Truth is not an "open source" kind of thing. It's not a wiki project.
In response to this video, I want to recommend two resources. First the book I wrote with Sean McDowell Is God Just a Human Invention? which largely deals with Atheism 1.0. If you would like a thoughtful response to the themes of Atheism 2.0, I would recommend Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey.
The teachable moment from a video like this is that people are hungry for meaning, purpose, and a vision for human flourishing. But that must be grounded in an objective answer to the question - what is a human being for? And Christianity of course has much to offer here. Humans are created by God for an everlasting relationship with Him and each other.
Jonathan Morrow is the founder of Think Christianly (www.thinkChristianly.org). He is the author of Welcome to College: A Christ-follower's Guide for the Journey, Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture, and Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists (with Sean McDowell), and contributed the chapter "Introducing Spiritual Formation" to Foundations of Spiritual Formation: A Community Approach to Becoming Like Christ. Jonathan also contributed several articles to the Apologetics Study Bible for Students. He graduated with an M.Div. and an M.A. in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot School of Theology and is currently the equipping pastor at Fellowship Bible Church. His books have been featured on shows like Family Life Today, Stand to Reason, Breakpoint, Frank Pastore, The Janet Mefferd Show, and Apologetics 315. **This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not necessarily those of my employer.**