• New Atheism Is Old News by J. Stonestreet

New Atheism Is Old News by J. Stonestreet

Even though I’ve been in a faith crisis the last few years – I wouldn’t exactly say I’ve rejected the Christian faith in total, but I have doubts about how true or useful it is – I’m not an atheist, either.

(Online, I tend to attract some atheists who sometimes seem to think I’m one of them.)

Concerning the variety of atheism referred to as “new atheism,” which started around 15 – 18 years ago, I always found its adherents to be very condescending, arrogant, and rude.

The new atheists are no better than the fundamentalist Christians and Muslims they criticize (ie., in that being very rigid in thinking, arrogant, and unpleasant) and so are not going to convert anyone to their worldview.

I am relieved to see that this “new atheist” movement may finally be dying off, though I’m not thrilled to see it replaced by  hyper rabid partisan political stances.

(I am not in agreement with all views expressed in this piece by J. Stonestreet or in the articles linked to at The Guardian and ARC. I agree on some points, but certainly not all.)

New Atheism is Old News by J. Stonestreet

In the early 2000s, across the digital and print world of Christian apologetics, the so-called “New Atheism” was a central topic of conversation.

Authors like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens generated quite an audience by attacking religion in general, and Christianity in particular, portraying both as irrational, evil forces in society.

Books like The God Delusion,God Is Not Great, and The End of Faith argued that belief in God was unscientific, and that unbelief would make us all better people.

You may be thinking to yourself, “I haven’t really thought of those guys in quite a while.” Exactly.

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• Hillsong Christian Church Song Writer Marty Sampson Says He Has Left the Christian Faith

Hillsong Christian Church Song Writer Marty Sampson Says He Has Left the Christian Faith

Before I get to listing the links to the news story about Christian song writer Marty Sampson saying on his social media that he has now left the Christian faith, I wanted to make a few comments first.

Some of the comments from Christians regarding Sampson leaving the faith are either sad or ignorant.

This is from Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis (who I’ve actually defended on this blog in the past, in another context) said this (link is below):

Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham said Sampson’s rejection of his former beliefs reinforces the need for parents to instruct their children in doctrinal truths at an early age. “This sad situation about this person is a reminder the church & parents need to teach apologetics to counter today’s attacks on God’s Word,” he tweeted.
—–

I find that a lot of Christians who are still in the “Christian Bubble” do not grasp how and why adult Christians leave the faith, or are considering leaving.

I myself was brought up in the Christian faith and read a lot of Christian apologetics literature from my mid-teens to around my late twenties to early thirties.

And, of course, I also regularly read the Bible, and I spent a few years reading about the history of the Bible, in particular the history of English language Bible translations.

So believe you me, contrary to what Ken Ham believes, a lack of being instructed about the faith from childhood, and hearing defenses of it, and being educated about Christianity, are not at play in why some Christians leave the faith (or may leave it), at least not in my case.

I was steeped in Christianity as a kid and into my adult years, and I did a ton of reading on apologetics, and none of that has changed the fact I’ve been in a faith crisis the last several years.

Farther below, under one of the last links, I have several more comments.

Update August 13, 2019:  
Hillsong worship leader clarifies he hasn’t renounced faith, but it’s on ‘incredibly shaky ground’

Hillsong Songwriter Marty Sampson Says He’s Losing His Christian FaithHillsong worship leader Marty Sampson announces he’s ‘losing’ his faith

Hillsong writer reveals he’s no longer a Christian: ‘I’m genuinely losing my faith’

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter
August 12, 2019

Marty Sampson, a prolific worship music writer known for his work with Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Delirious and Young & Free, revealed he is losing his faith and believes Christianity is “just another religion.”

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• Deconstruction, Deconversion, Joshua Harris, and the Awful Christian Reaction

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Joshua Harris, and the Awful Christian Reaction

Josh Harris is a guy who wrote a book about sexual purity and dating in the 1990s (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) when he was in his late teens or early 20s – it’s a book that upset a lot of Christians who claim now that as teens, that book stunted their relationships and harmed them in other ways.

In the past couple of weeks, Harris announced on his social media he’s divorcing his wife and is “deconstructing” from the Christian faith.

In one of his social media posts, Harris said something or other about apologizing to women and to LGBT persons he may have wounded with some of his former teachings and beliefs.

At no time (that I recall) did Harris say he is now a flaming liberal who is a big time pro-LGBT- lifestyle- affirming SJW.

But some Christians are assuming he is now such.

Some are assuming either he is now a liberal, or else that he was seduced to (possibly) rejecting the faith because he was seduced by liberals or liberalism.

It’s not immediately clear to me if Harris rejects Christ now or is merely reevaluating the faith.

Before I continue discussing Harris and the Christian reaction to Harris’ comments, I will point you to a few off-site articles or editorials, so that you may gain any additional background information you may be wondering about (I’m not interested in covering all the nitty gritty in my own post here):

Author Joshua Harris Kisses His Faith Goodbye: ‘I Am Not a Christian’ – via CBN News (Christian site)

Joshua Harris falling away from faith: ‘I am not a Christian’ – via The Christian Post

‘Purity’ advocate dumps Christianity, apologises to gays
– Via Patheos, non-religious blog

Regardless of where Harris is faith-wise, I am disturbed, angry, and horrified to see how 98% of professing Christians are reacting to Harris and dealing with the subject of leaving the faith.

I have not seen many Christians demonstrate kindness or understanding.

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• Soteriology – Are Some Types of People “UnSavable?”

Soteriology – Are Some Types of People “UnSavable?”

I was just asking this on another blog. I will copy and paste most of my comment from there to here.

I’ve been wondering about this for months now.

There are some Christians, who, unfortunately, make holding “correct doctrine” a necessary component of receiving salvation, though I do not recall the Bible anywhere teaching this.

At most, the Bible says belief of Jesus as the Christ and acceptance of Jesus as Savior is the barometer of saving faith, and not whether or not one agrees with or believes in things such as Gender Complementarianism, Transubstantiation, the Pre-Trib Rapture, a literal Hell, an allegorical Hell, Old Age of the Earth, Young Earth Creationism, and so on.

There is the OSAS (once saved always saved) Vs. Conditional Security debate: some Christians believe once a person accepts Christ as Savior, she can never have her salvation taken away or revoked, while other Christians believe it is possible for someone who accepted Christ to have her salvation nullifed or cancelled because of personal sin.

I’ve done a lot of reading about Sociopaths and Psychopaths, and I’ve watched documentaries about them. Continue reading

• America Godless? Number of People with No Religion Soars (2019)

America Godless? Number of People with No Religion Soars (2019)

There are now as many Americans who claim no religion as there are evangelicals and Catholics, a survey finds

April 2019

“Religious nones,” as they are called by researchers, are a diverse group made up of atheists, agnostics, the spiritual, and those who are no specific organized religion in particular. A rejection of organized religion is the common thread they share.

…The meteoric rise of religious nones began in the early 1990s and has grown 266% since 1991, he [Burge] said.

Burge estimates that ‘No Religion’ will be the largest group outright in four to six years.

Experts still debate the factors behind this wave of Americans declaring no religion.

America Godless? Number of People with No Religion Soars

The number of Americans who identify as having no religion has risen 266 percent since 1991, to now tie statistically with the number of Catholics and Evangelicals, according to a new survey.

People with no religion – known as ‘nones’ among statisticians – account for 23.1 percent of the U.S. population, while Catholics make up 23 percent and Evangelicals account for 22.5 percent, according to the General Social Survey.

Those three groups now represent the largest the religious groups in America. 

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• Why So Many Americans Are Turning to Buddhism by Olga Khazan

Why So Many Americans Are Turning to Buddhism by Olga Khazan

I find the timing of this article by Khazan in The Atlantic (linked to much farther below in this post) so interesting.

I just came across this article a few days ago, and for the last few months, I’ve been thinking about researching Buddhism more, and maybe taking up some of its practices.

(I do not intend on becoming a full-blown Buddhist, or identifying as a Buddhist, even if I may adopt some of its practices. I’m still at the research phase right now. Perhaps I will decide to have nothing to do with Buddhism after I look into things more. I don’t know.)

I once saw a documentary about singer Tina Turner a couple of years ago (yes, that Tina Turner).

According to this documentary, Turner was raised in Christianity but later converted to Buddhism in adulthood, when she was facing a lot of struggles, if I recall correctly. Her Wiki page says she practices Nichiren Buddhism.

I am interested in any practical teachings Buddhism may have, such as meditation, in dealing with things like anxiety.

I found no help in the Christian faith for anxiety and other problems I’ve had over the course of my life, which I wrote about in more detail in this post.

I was a very conservative, devout, run of the mill Christian from my childhood up to my 40s, and not only did Christianity not alleviate my problems, but it exacerbated some of them.

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• Christianity Did Not Help Me, It Did Not Work For Me

I was a very devout Christian from childhood up to my early, maybe mid, forties.

These days, I don’t know what I am (religiously speaking).

As I look back over my life, I can see that not only did the Christian faith not help me much, but as some of its teachings were taught to me, it created obstacles in my life, and kept me stuck in harmful patterns or ways of thinking.

Supposing there is an afterlife with a Heaven and a Hell, and acceptance of Christ means a ticket into Heaven upon death, that works out just fine. I can sure see how that is beneficial later on.

Christianity, though, did not really help me with very much in the present life.

Any pain, problems, or stress I’ve had so far were not relieved by the Christian faith.

Prayer, Bible reading, believing in Jesus, volunteering at charities, attending church – none of that alleviated my problems.

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