MUST-READ: What can atheists do to counter religious parents?

Here’s a neat post up an Uncommon Descent. (H/T ECM)


What I found most fascinating about Longman’s analysis is that he is able to explain why he thinks religion will eventually triumph over secularism in purely Darwinian terms. Having a baby is, for most couples in the modern world, a choice, which reflects their personal values. “And so,” writes Longman, “by Darwinian process, those who adhere to traditions that preserve and celebrate the ancient injunction to ‘go forth and multiply’ wind up putting more of their genes and ideas into the future than those who don’t.”

I imagine that well-read atheists are already aware of these social trends, and I’m sure they are quite worried about them. On the one hand, atheists naturally want the percentage of people espousing their secular world-view to increase; on the other hand, most of them believe that the world already has too many people for the Earth to support – which is a natural consequence of an atheistic world-view, as I pointed out in a recent post. Now put yourselves in the atheists’ shoes: how do you think they would attempt to fight these trends? The only way they can achieve the dual objectives of keeping the world’s population down and boosting the percentage of atheists worldwide is to target the fertility of highly religious people. I can think of a few fairly obvious ways in which they might attempt to do that, and because these measures are, in my opinion, politically feasible, I don’t share Longman’s certainty that religion will inevitably triumph over secularism. Some of these measures are either currently being implemented or are already well in place in many countries; other measures are a decade or two down the track. Well, here’s my list. Recognize any of these in your country of residence?

What follows is a LONG list of items that the secular humanists can use to make sure that religious parents are not able to pass on their beliefs to their own children.

Here are a few from the list:

  • Outlaw home schooling.
  • Extend the number of hours that children are required to spend at school
  • Introduce compulsory “values” classes into public schools
  • Introduce compulsory classes on “religious tolerance” into public schools
  • Enact laws guaranteeing free access to birth control (including abortion) at school as a fundamental human right for all students over the age of 12
  • Encourage the passage of laws which make the possession of a college degree essential for getting almost any kind of job.
  • Deny government funding to religious schools that teach any kind of “bigotry.”
  • Enact legislative measures disallowing childless couples from adopting a child if they intend to bring that child up in a faith which encourages any kind of “bigotry” or “intolerance”
  • At a later stage, enact laws extending the same “protection” to all children, regardless of whether they are adopted or not.
  • At a still later stage, enact laws allowing social workers to take children away by force from their parents (natural or adopted), if there is sufficient evidence that they are being raised in a household that encourages any form of “bigotry.”
  • Citing concerns about children’s welfare following a string of highly publicized cases of child neglect reported in the press, introduce laws requiring all expecting mothers to submit to a home inspection by a suitably qualified social worker, with a follow-up interview

He explains each the bullet points I listed, and there are more bullet points in the original list that I didn’t list. Some of those have already been spotted in Sweden, Germany, Ontario, Quebec, and California.

Wow. The guys on the other side really are enraged by the thought that Christian parents might pass their moral and spiritual views on to their children. They would rather that Christian guys like me just confine our contributions to the next generation to supplying sperm and tax money so that they can push their moral and spiritual views on our children instead. And so what if their views result in our children having abortions, getting STDs, paying child support, or dying of AIDS? They know they are right, and we Christian men are just a naive wage-slaves who need to shut up and work to fund their indoctrination of our children.

I am not sure that these issues are on the radar of the church at all, because churches are very much focused on providing a non-confrontational, non-judgmental “show” to entertain their members and provide emotional comfort. Not only is the church mostly devoid of apologetics, but it is especially devoid of politics and economics. Everything controversial that might offend anyone like exclusive claims, arguments, evidence, politics, economics, abortion, marriage, etc. has been removed from most churches. Saying that pre-marital sex and drunkenness are wrong, and that global warming is a false religion might make some people feel bad. And if people feel bad, then the money might stop flowing into the plates. (I am not even mentioning the churches that are basically extensions of the secular left, and who do not even believe in orthodox Christianity)

The remarkable thing about this is that there are lots of Bible-believing Christians who persist in voting for left-wing parties governed by the secular left, in order to punish “the rich” or to get “universal health care” or to fight “global warming”. I find it amazing that churches are so incredibly naive that they do not care what the secularists are planning for their marriages, families and children – they don’t even realize that the worldview of the secular left is – gasp – ANTI-CHRISTIAN. We just don’t discuss these issues seriously in church. We want church to be about feelings and entertainment. We are so incredibly non-confrontational and non-strategic in our thinking. We just want to have a good time now and not think about the fact that the marriage and family boat is sinking on an iceberg called secular humanism. Theology and apologetics would be a good start, but if it is not worked into a worldview and a life plan and a vision of society and government, what good is it?

Just to be clear, I am not advocating surrender. I am saying that when I am in church, I am surrounded by people who have no idea what is really at stake. I keep getting urged by these people to sing songs, chit-chat about feelings, marry, and to have children. It’s not going to work. There is a huge gulf between the church and I – they want to have fun and feelings and dance and sing and to keep going as if the secular left is just going to step aside and leave us alone. But I want to effectively defend the ability of authentic Christians to live out authentic Christian lives. So long as the church keeps thinking that “better worship” is the solution to the mass exodus of young Christians from church and social problems like the massive increases in out-of-wedlock births then I really have nothing in common with them.

9 thoughts on “MUST-READ: What can atheists do to counter religious parents?”

    1. I am sad. Maybe you are sad, too. If you are sad, then I hope this cheers you up that you are not alone in being sad. Times like this I really start to think about law school and doing a PhD in order to be able to support the kids on campus.

      1. WK —
        If you have such a great disagreement with your church and its congregation, why are you still a part of it? My sister and I both grew up in one of the mainline denominations and we both claim to be much more conservative than that denomination. I have caused my family to join a church that takes scripture and reformed theology seriously and that is affiliated with a more orthodox denomination. My sister has stayed with the mainline denomination saying that she wants to work within it to make a change there. There doesn’t appear to be much progress on that point. Meanwhile her children appear to wander aimlessly in a theological desert while subsisting on feel-good platitudes when they have anything to express about the Almighty at all.

        Are you hoping to change your church? Is that why you stay? If so, do you feel that you are making progress? Would it be a greater encouragement to your soul and to other believers if you were to worship and fellowship with those on the same page as you, as it were?

  1. It’s very sad to see people and churches not caring about what is going on in society enough to talk about it openly. These issues (abortion, feminism, post-modernism, etc.) have to talked about to educate and make people think about what they believe. Oh the horror of actually THINKING about why you believe something to be true.

    With that being said, I actually hope that you find a place that does all of these things or help spark a change in thought with the believers in the church assembly you’re attending. It’s amazing what happens when you don’t make church a Christian club.

  2. My family has spent the last couple months trying to find a new church after 7 years at our current church, but not with any results. There are so many bad preachers out there or I will like some part of a church and another family member will hate it or visa versa. People at my current church think of me as a “radical” (my daughter said that is what she has heard me referred to) because of my views (they have read online and efforts to share them online). I try not to talk about anything “controversial” at church so not to make it hard for my daughter, but I absolutely stink at social small talk. When something comes up in group discussion and I raise a “controversial” point they all stare at me and silence ensues. I try to say things in an open, inquiring tone but… Frankly, it’s very depressing. I just don’t know where God wants me and my family. I can’t bare to go back to our old church where I feel like a mutant and my daughter is unhappy as well, but I can’t teach her it’s ok not to go. Perhaps my views are crazy. Crazy people are always the last to know…ugh…

    1. “I try not to talk about anything “controversial” at church so not to make it hard for my daughter, but I absolutely stink at social small talk. When something comes up in group discussion and I raise a “controversial” point they all stare at me and silence ensues.”

      I hear this from a ton of women in the church… the good ones don’t feel comfortable taking a position on any issue because they sense that they are all supposed to avoid disagreement somehow because church is about dumbing things down and everyone feeling happy. I know how you feel.

  3. The tinges of secularism is starting to appear where I live, although somewhat not as “hardcore” or “blatant” as other places like California. Unfortunately, the fact that the churches here in Hawaii don’t do a lot of apologetics is disconcerting for the simple facts mentioned in your posts WK. In my church, there OCCASIONALLY will be a very watered-down sermon based on apologetics (not to say they are giving into atheism or fideism, but it’s just so…underdeveloped and malnourished).

    It’s just so tragic that the more science and archaeology progress, the more evidence Christianity accumulates and is verified time and time again. Even philosophy is getting a good dose of Christian theists back in the academia again, but in terms of the Church…*sigh*. Why must you suffer Church?! Why must you buckle at the knees when the God of Truth has given us evidence, reason, and rationality to warrant good epistemic, testable, falsifiable belief?!

    Sometimes I see more hope in other countries such as China where a lot of academics are apparently throwing away Marxism and wanting a new indigenous religion to supplant the old one (and they’re looking at Christianity as an incredibly viable candidate).

    Perhaps this situation calls for weakness AND strength. We as the body of Christ can find strength in defending our faith and shaping the culture to be more open to the gospel. At the same time, if it comes about that Christianity will be devoured by secularism here, then in weakness, it inevitably is the time where God’s power can be perfected. I don’t want to go down the road that leads to a complete crippling of the Church here in America, but if that’s the way things turn out, we can at least see that in other countries where Christianity is “weak”, the Christians are “strong”.

    Personally, the more I hear about stories like these, the more it drives me like some burning flame to get my Ph.D in theology (and utterly ditch computer science, my current major) and start my own apologetics ministry in Hawaii and speak at several churches and perhaps even at some of the colleges.

    But seriously, thanks WK. You’re unknowingly fanning the spiritual flames of this little kid out here in the middle of the Pacific. God bless you!

    1. “Sometimes I see more hope in other countries such as China where a lot of academics are apparently throwing away Marxism and wanting a new indigenous religion to supplant the old one (and they’re looking at Christianity as an incredibly viable candidate).”

      And in Russia, too.

      I have been dreaming about doing my PhD all day… and/or a JD. I’ve got the money for either or both, it’s just a question of whether I am willing to sacrifice my financial independence to make a difference…

      God bless you, too! We are all in this together.

  4. Great post Wintery, I shared it on my Facebook site. I’m with you all: no self respecting man can refuse this fight.

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