Tag Archives: News

What’s the best way to combat the trend toward “village atheism”

A village atheist is an atheist who is very convinced about his atheism but whose reasons for atheism are completely naive and superstitious, and who is completely unaware of the scholarly evidence for theism. Letitia wrote a post recently on her blog in which she expressed her concerns about the idea that the public may be trending towards village atheism, just because atheism is being presented as the most intelligent view in popular culture, and because Christians are not getting their scholarly arguments and evidences heard.


While reflecting on his debate with Sam Harris and the audience questions that came after, Dr. William Lane Craig wrote the following about the makeup of the audience that night:

I wonder is something culturally significant is going on here. Several years ago, I asked the Warden at Tyndale House in Cambridge why it is that British society is so secular when Britain has such a rich legacy of great Christian scholars. He replied, “Oh, Christianity is not underrepresented among the intelligentsia. It’s the working classes which are so secular.” He explained that these folks are never exposed to Christian scholarship because of their lack of education. As a result there is a sort of pervasive, uninformed, village atheism among them. I wonder if something like this could be happening in the States. I was surprised to see the number of blue collar folks from the community buying Harris’ book and thanking him for all he has done. They didn’t seem to have any inkling that his views had just been systematically exposed as logically incoherent. The intelligentsia have almost universally panned Harris’ recent book (read the reviews!). Yet it is lapped up in popular culture. Wouldn’t it be amazing if unbelief became the possession mainly of the uneducated?

This comment causes my heart to sink. Personally, I like to think that I am fairly observant of the religious cultural shifts here in the U.S. and their bearing on what Christians should do to respond to them. However, I have to admit that Dr. Craig’s note above catches me a little off guard, even alarming to a degree as I realize what his observation, if truly symptomatic of an eve of a significant change, means for Christian apologists in this day and age. An inculcation of “New Atheism” among the blue collar/working class here would be a dramatic reversal of the religious landscape of America. I cannot help but feel that such a situation might be more “dismaying” than “amazing.”

[…]I have no doubt that the inculcation is taking place. It is being impressed upon the public through books by New Atheists like Sam Harris that are aimed on the popular level, both to adults and youth (e.g. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials). In the public classroom, atheism is the default worldview in the disciplines of both the hard and social sciences. Atheism is marketed as the new neutral position in almost all of public literature, television, and many commercial media outlets. Atheists pronounce that atheism is the only viable alternative for fair-minded people once they have shed the evil “superstition” of theism and Christianity that has existed here since the Pilgrims brought their Bibles off the Mayflower. Pair the New Atheists’ media blitz of book tours and public appearances and the fruits of declining Christian influence over American culture, I suppose we should expect an eventual ‘atheism-of-the-masses’ to emerge.

She then finishes the post with three ideas on how to counter this trend: 1) Christian scholars should try to appear on television shows, 2) Christian scholars should try to submit opinion columns to newspapers, and 3) Christians who are prepared to discuss theology and apologetics should participate in public discussions. I’ll just point out that it is excellent for Christian women to be concerned about these things, and to come up with solutions to the problems they raise. We need more women like Letitia to be concerned about these things, and to come up with effective plans to do something about it. (You’ll recall that she has a conference coming up in Arizona where she will be speaking – so she has chips on the table).

She also posted her post on Facebook, and got a few interesting replies. I’ll just paste a few of them in anonymously.

Here’s one from P:

The culprit here is government-controlled education. Secular progressives control teacher certification, teacher and administrator education, curriculum construction, textbook writing and selection, and just about all curriculum selection. …Virtually everybody but the very wealthy are required to spend 12 years under this regime. The consequence is uniform inculcation of the young in America, from kindergarten to high school graduation, with the same ideas that we just heard come out of Sam Harris’ mouth.

That echoes my comments earlier about how Christians should support school choice and oppose a public school monopoly.

But there’s more from S:

[D]on’t you think we (the church) ought to be more supportive of our congregants who wish to pursue doctorate level work within their particular field of discipline? It seems that if we had a individuals …with full-on Christian worldviews who have risen to the highest levels of authority in places like the educational system, that they could make just as much impact as what is happening now.

And then I chimed in and recommended that the church bring more scholars to speak in the on issues of policy and apologetics, so that the congregants would have something to talk about with their neighbors, and so that the children would get ideas about what they could study in order to have an effective influence.

I would like to see churches turn to questions like 1) is Christianity true? 2) how do we know it’s true from science, philosophy and history? 3) which economic policies are the best for Christians to support? 4) how do you use evidence and arguments to convince other people to be pro-life and pro-traditional marriage? 5) why do Christians have so many rules about sex and relationships? 6) how do you respond to the arguments made by non-Christians? 7) what is the best way to prevent wars – disarmament or deterrence? 8) what should Christians think about secular fads like global warming and feminism? And so on.

When the church starts to become interesting again, by actually having lectures, debates and disagreements about what’s true, then people in the culture will take it seriously. Right now, I think we are too focused on not have debates, not pursuing truth, not making exclusive theological claims, not making moral judgments, and just putting on a show that will make people have happy feelings and a sense of community. Eventually, when people in church notice that there are no men in the church, and consequently no children in the church, then we may decide to try something else.

Mark Steyn asks whether Fox News is more biased than CBC or BBC

Story from Maclean’s magazine.

You all remember that I had written about how a Quebec news media billionaire was contemplating the launch of a center-right news network in Canada, modeled off of Fox News? Well, guess what? The government-run CBC and the government-run university leftist professors are not pleased.

Mark Steyn explains:

Meanwhile, back at the CBC, Don Newman explains it for us: “Fox News has been hugely polarizing. It specializes in drive-by attacks and misrepresentations, and is positively Orwellian at times, claiming to be ‘fair and balanced’ while implying that its competitors aren’t.
“The reality is that it mainly spews out propaganda that is dangerously misleading and often factually wrong.”

Again: example? Just one?

Now I’m not a responsible, objective, neutral journalist like Mr. Newman. But even we hyperventilating schoolyard bullies spewing to the converted and debasing all others know enough about passing ourselves off as journalists to be aware that you can’t just declare things to be so without producing some evidence thereof. And yet Messrs. Dornan and Newman spend, between them, 2,000 words doing just that. Surely with so many “drive-by attacks” and so much Orwellian bombast to choose from, it would be the work of moments to produce some devastating sound bite by this or that right-wing blowhard. Otherwise, it risks looking a bit like—how would one put it?—a “positively Orwellian” “drive-by attack” by someone “claiming to be fair and balanced” while insisting his competitors aren’t.

And what about the BBC?

A couple of weeks ago, the BBC’s so-called “Ethical Man” Justin Rowlatt presented an analysis of professor James Lovelock’s assertion that “climate change” is so serious a crisis that it “may be necessary to put democracy on hold.” As a BBC host, Mr. Rowlatt is scrupulous not to have any views of his own; he merely presents those of others—and, as he put it, “there is a growing view that mitigating climate change means we have to change our view of democracy.”

Really? That view is “growing”? Certainly in the BBC green room. Six of the seven experts interviewed by Justin Rowlatt were in favour of suspending democracy—i.e., fascism. But don’t worry: it’s to save the environment, so it’s eco-fascism, which has a nicer ring, doesn’t it? The show concluded with Mayer Hillman of the Policy Studies Institute insisting that “the condition of the planet for future generations is more important than the retention of democratic principles.” The BBC, paid for by the citizenry, has just broadcast a lavishly produced advertorial for totalitarianism.

It’s worth a read. Fox News dominates the cable news ratings race – no other network comes close.

MUST-READ: The definitive catalog of left-wing media bias

This American Spectator essay is required reading. (H/T ECM)

It is basically a list of the most egregious examples of media bias in recent memory. I am not old enough to remember some of these, especially the JFK ones. So this was a real eye-opener to me.

Here’s a summary of the points raised:

What’s particularly interesting is that the stories not reported about JFK were in the early 1960s, the effort to not report the story about President Clinton was in 1998, the story on John Edwards was hushed through the time it counted most, in the election cycle of 2008 when he was a serious presidential candidate, and the decision not to report on Van Jones was — well — two weeks ago, and ACORN but last week. Which is to say, September of 2009.

In other words, across five decades of American journalistic history, the instinct of many Old Media institutions — specifically including NBC and the New York Times — has been to deliberately withhold the truth. To quite deliberately use their journalism skills and tools to misrepresent those whose politics they do not favor.

Were this, say, the field of medicine, practitioners of this kind of thing would lose their license to practice, sued for and surely convicted of malpractice. As it is, the examples listed here are what might be termed “media malpractice,” evidencing a clear and convincing pattern of deceit.

The mainstream media is totally untrustworthy.