Sunday, October 22, 2006

WIRED article: The New Atheism

I read an article this morning in WIRED magazine..... it's chilling to realize that our society is nearing that point where Christians are pushed to the side, marginalized, and even tortured/abused for their faith. Although past times have seen these same extremes (early church, Rome) of Christian-hating, it seems we're nearing that time prophesied in the Bible.

My first encounter with this "no religion" idea came when I lived in New York back in '99. A co-worker and I were discussing faith and eventually, I saw a poster he had in his apartment. This diagram showed all the world faith symbols in a circle. In the middle of this circle was some type of symbol which stood for no religion. This guy was big into Joseph Campbell et al.

From what I've experienced and re-examined after this article, intelligence is the new atheism's god. Indeed, they DO have a faith: in humanity, intellectualism, science and logic. It's funny, because to me, if you look at things logically, there MUST be a God because we are finite. There must be something bigger than ourselves. I think it's so tempting in our day and time to reject God because of all the advances we've seen and are still seeing in technology, science, etc. However, to do so is arrogant and short-sighted. We will all die and our lives will end at some point. We can't go on forever; we can't control our destinies past the time we're given.

All of this reminds me to stay humble and dependent on God. Humanism's rise is creepy, but when I realize how big and all-powerful the God of the universe is, all these somewhat frightening "figures of the new atheism" seem silly. I pity their spiritual blindness and realize they are the ones the Bible speaks of when it says "their minds were darkened."

Another interesting note is how, in the article, they say you can pick apart Christian theology and scripture easily. When you get into details of wording and picking apart how this word might mean this or that, you easily take your eye off the WORD and get your focus onto microscopic linguistic subtlties. It must always be kept in mind that as a believer in Christ, the Bible is inspired by the Spirit of God - it is a living, breathing text. The Spirit illuminates your spirit as you read. Jesus IS the Word. You can't break apart a Person into meanings.

It's all much bigger than rules, fund-raising, and "religion." It's living life with God, in relationship, day to day.
__________________

3 comments:

seantk said...

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/boards/showthread.php?t=8324

Continued discussion and debate regarding this article.

Glenn Beetschen said...

Well kinda funny to be jumping in here with such a comment, but I guess one of the many things that makes us such awesome friends is that we can talk about pretty deep issues at the drop of a hat, and that we both enjoy doing so. I just saw Joseph Campbell mentioned briefly in your post, and I just wanted to throw my few cents in towards what you had to say about him. Or rather, what you had to say about someone who was into Mr. Myth. If you were to ask Joseph Campbell about what he had to say about the idea of there being no god, he would think that you were crazy! The man has spent his whole life talking about how important it is for us to believe in things bigger than ourselves, and to realize that we are finite, and that there is a whole infinity out there for us to look at, yes, but more importantly for us to realize that we are a part of that. The divine is something that he holds very dearly, and that myths are a tool to help describe the indescribable. The last thing Mr. Campbell would ever want is to live in is a cold world that was godless, in fact I would venture to say that the article very much described his (Campbell's) personal hell. He believes very much in the importance of myths, stories, and teachings from all faiths and creeds...that our society would fall apart without them.

"But my notion of the real horror today is what you see in Beirut. There you have the three great Western religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--and because the three of them have three different names for the same biblical god, they can't get on together. They are stuck with their metaphor and don't realize its reference. They haven't allowed the circle that surrounds them to open. It is a closed circle. Each group says, "we are the chosen group, and we have god."

..."Each needs its own myth, all the way. Love thine enemy. Open up. Don't judge. It is there in the myth. It is already there."


If atheism could be judged, Joseph Campbell would probably be last on the list. The man believes very much in what the stories and gospels of all the religions are trying to teach us. It is interesting that you would mention him though seeing how he is very much worried about the same things you are. The older he gets, and the more time that goes by, the more he seems to worry and dwell on the possibilities of our society not creating new myths, myths that it needs to sustain itself. He is worried about a time when people stop caring, learning, and believing in what came before as well. He is worried about that cold dead mechanical future.

But anyway, to get back to the truth of it, Sean, as long as there are good people in this world, people who dream, love, create, teach, and believe, people like you and me, I don't think that the world will ever end up in such a hell. At the same time, I think that there is definitely a task at hand.

Glenn Beetschen said...

Well kinda funny to be jumping in here with such a comment, but I guess one of the many things that makes us such awesome friends is that we can talk about pretty deep issues at the drop of a hat, and that we both enjoy doing so. I just saw Joseph Campbell mentioned briefly in your post, and I just wanted to throw my few cents in towards what you had to say about him. Or rather, what you had to say about someone who was into Mr. Myth. If you were to ask Joseph Campbell about what he had to say about the idea of there being no god, he would think that you were crazy! The man has spent his whole life talking about how important it is for us to believe in things bigger than ourselves, and to realize that we are finite, and that there is a whole infinity out there for us to look at, yes, but more importantly for us to realize that we are a part of that. The divine is something that he holds very dearly, and that myths are a tool to help describe the indescribable. The last thing Mr. Campbell would ever want is to live in is a cold world that was godless, in fact I would venture to say that the article very much described his (Campbell's) personal hell. He believes very much in the importance of myths, stories, and teachings from all faiths and creeds...that our society would fall apart without them.

"But my notion of the real horror today is what you see in Beirut. There you have the three great Western religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--and because the three of them have three different names for the same biblical god, they can't get on together. They are stuck with their metaphor and don't realize its reference. They haven't allowed the circle that surrounds them to open. It is a closed circle. Each group says, "we are the chosen group, and we have god."

..."Each needs its own myth, all the way. Love thine enemy. Open up. Don't judge. It is there in the myth. It is already there."


If atheism could be judged, Joseph Campbell would probably be last on the list. The man believes very much in what the stories and gospels of all the religions are trying to teach us. It is interesting that you would mention him though seeing how he is very much worried about the same things you are. The older he gets, and the more time that goes by, the more he seems to worry and dwell on the possibilities of our society not creating new myths, myths that it needs to sustain itself. He is worried about a time when people stop caring, learning, and believing in what came before as well. He is worried about that cold dead mechanical future.

But anyway, to get back to the truth of it, Sean, as long as there are good people in this world, people who dream, love, create, teach, and believe, people like you and me, I don't think that the world will ever end up in such a hell. At the same time, I think that there is definitely a task at hand.