With Christians Like These, Who Needs Atheists?
|March 10, 2011||Posted by Clive Hayden under Atheism, Christian Darwinism|
Michael Dowd, the guiding light behind evolutionarychristianity.com, praises the new atheists:
“Religion is about right relationship with reality, not the supernatural.”
“The wisdom of antiquity—in all its forms and drawn from all regions of the world—could not possibly be up to the task of serving us now. Ancient, unchanged scriptural stories and doctrinal declarations are inadequate for meeting modern challenges.”
“In a way, the New Atheists have come to our rescue. They are shouting at us to collectively awaken to the dangers of revering texts and doctrines on no sounder basis than tradition an authority. Because the New Atheists put their confidence (not faith) in an evidentially formed and continuously tested view of the world, these critics of religion are well positioned to see what’s real and what’s important today. It is thus time for religious people to listen to the New Atheists—and to listen as if they were speaking with God’s voice, because in my view they are!”
“God is not a person; God is a personification of one or more deeply significant dimensions of reality. For the theologically liberally minded, this should be neither difficult to grasp nor disagreeable. But until religious people themselves speak it fully and unabashedly into existence, the New Atheists will be all too happy to continue mocking biblical and other mythic portrayals of God.”
“Darwin didn’t kill God. To the contrary, he and Alfred Russel Wallace offered the first glimpse of the real creator behind and beyond the world’s myriad mythic portrayals of the divine. Evidence from a wide range of disciplines—from cognitive neuroscience to anthropology to cross-cultural study of the world’s myths and religions—all support the claim that God is a personification, not a person, and that we instinctually forget this. Moreover, there is no counter-evidence! This fact alone makes sense of the hundreds of competing stories around the world as to what God supposedly said or did. ‘God’ is a mythic name for reality in all its sublime fullness. Any so-called God that is imagined as less than this is unworthy of our devotion and deserves to be mocked, as the New Atheists so readily do.”
“The bottom line is this: whenever we Christians slip into interpreting scripture literally, we belittle the Bible and dishonor God.”
“’Getting right with God,’ means coming into right relationship with our planet and all its gloriously diverse species and cultures.”
“The New Atheists, by speaking boldly on behalf of our best collective intelligence about the nature of reality, and in condemning superstitious, otherworldly religiosity, are, paradoxically, fulfilling the traditional role of prophets.”
“Few things are more important than for religious peoples of all backgrounds and orientations to heed what the New Atheists are saying. … I am grateful because of how they are prodding religion and humanity to mature and because of how they are encouraging religious people (like me!) to come out of the closet as naturalists.”
“I foresee a time when religious leaders get their guidance and inspiration from humanity’s common creation story and teach and preach the discoveries of science as God’s word. When that day comes, our faith traditions will thrive and many of us will look back and exclaim, ‘Thank God for the New Atheists.’”
All quotes from: Michael Dowd, “Thank God for the New Atheists: A Sermon by Michael Dowd,” Skeptic Magazine, Vol. 16 (2):28-30 (2011).