Atheism: rich, white, elitist, racist and aging

Atheism: rich, white, elitist, racist and aging

Atheists have been predicting the demise of organized religion for more than 40 years – and they have been embarrassingly wrong. On the contrary, for example, Christianity is exploding numerically worldwide, especially in the global south: in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. The 21st century, the sociologists tell us, promises to be a century of faith. It is simply a matter of which faith will win the day – resurgent Islamism or Christianity – not whether traditional faith will yield to atheistic secularism.

Atheists condescendingly dismiss these developments, and claim that only enlightened people will agree with them. But such sneering mostly is heard from rich, white men, and it comes across as elitist at best, or racist at worst.

It may, in fact, be jealously [sic]. I recently heard Oxford-trained biochemist-turned-theologian Alister McGrath describe accepting an invitation to speak at a prominent society of British atheists. McGrath described the “youngsters” in the group to be well into their seventies.

Talk about overplaying your hand! This from a stupefyingly clumsy broadside against atheism by Gregory Alan Thornbury, Dean of the School of Christian Studies at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

Perhaps what is most bothersome about the writings of pundits like Hitchens, Dawkins and company is just how much of their worldview is simply assumed. They take potshots at the arguments of theists, but blithely pass over just how many of their beliefs are taken for granted. They claim to be materialists (i.e., the view that the universe arose from the chance interactions of nothing but physical matter), and yet claim to believe in reason. Now, the last time I checked, reason was not material in nature (nor are laws of science for that matter).

No, the atheists simply assume that reason, law, love, morality and conscience simply exist in a cold and indifferent material universe. “Take it on faith!” seems to be what they are asking their readers to do. Faith? Hmmmm. Now there’s an interesting subject!

What I want to know is, how do you get to be dean of anything without understanding philosophy 101? How do you feel no shame in publicly (in a newspaper column!) making the kinds of weak arguments incoming freshmen could take apart?

Oh right, it’s a School of Christian Studies. Never mind.

Comments (2 comments)

Cristy / September 17th, 2007, 7:14 am / #1

The argument that all atheist are old isn’t true either. I’m eighteen and, in addition to being and atheist myself, I know several people my age that are also atheists. I will admit that most of them are white, but none of them that I know are rascist. I think that the reason that more white people are atheists in the west is because more white people have better access to higher education and therefore are more easily able to tear apart utterly ridiculous arguments, like those you gave examples of above. Minorities in the US are not likely to ever make it to philosophy 101 because society sabotages them.

Charmika / November 20th, 2007, 10:05 pm / #2

As is perhaps obvious from my name, I’m relatively young and nonwhite. I’m a 21-year-old black female. Admittedly, I’m the only atheist that I know who fits those qualifications, but many of my atheistic friends are similarly nonwhite. Not one of us is rich by any stretch of the imagination (except maybe in comparison to third-world nation citizens) and are most assuredly not racists. But, of course, these were aspects that did not need stating. Any half-wit can see the flaws in that man’s argument. What troubles me is the fact that these claims were able to be made without censure from his peers.

In what kind of world do we live in which strawman attacks are not relegated to the poorly educated among us? In what kind of world do we live in which reason is attacked, sensibility admonished, and honest intellectualism feared? What kind of future can we expect for coming generations when those in charge are still carrying age-old myths and poor attempts at protecting them? These are the people that can (and possible will) bring about the end of humanity itself, while the reasonable among us sit impotently.

Something there is that doesn’t love faith.

There need to be more of those “somethings.”

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