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Evangelicals are driving people to atheism

Postby Kookle » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:37 am

I just browsed this article and plan to read it more thoroughly. I’m interested in your thoughts.
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Right-wing evangelicals are driving Americans to atheism using these 8 simple techniques

Re: Evangelicals are driving people to atheism

Postby jimwalton » Fri May 24, 2019 2:34 am

Thanks for the article. In my perspective, there are a few parts of the article that are accurate, but most of it is false, or at least a misdirection. I’ll go through it a piece at a time.

First, the title made it seem like he was going to talk about political and political involvement. It was a misdirection. Only one of the 8 “techniques” had anything to do with politics. Why did he choose “right-wing” evangelicals? Did he mean conservatives? Did he mean fundamentalists? Republicans? No sooner did I get into the article and I felt a little misled.

At the end of the first paragraph he seemed to align Catholic Bishops, Evangelical Protestants, and Right-wing fundamentalists. Possibly he doesn’t realize these groups have nothing in common and are quite often at odds with each other. Nor do we see his 8 “techniques” the same. Another misleading piece, and here it is in the introduction to set the stage for his whole article. He’s off on a bad foot (well, two bad feet already: the misleading title and the misdirection of the opening paragraph. Not a good sign.)

On a site like ExChristian, there are so many reasons people are leaving the faith. It is true they are often put-off by misunderstandings about science, clergy sex abuse, what they perceive to be mythological in the Bible, and also perceived hypocrisy in the church (which, by the way, has strong competition in the secular world to which they flee). For some reason they aren’t put off by the hypocrisy of atheism, but that’s another discussion.

GAY BAITING. The vocal Christian gay-haters are a very small minority of the Christian position and the public Christian voice. They are loud, and the media make sure they are prominent. But this article’s representation is most unfair and biased. About 60-65% of Christians are now pro-LGBTQ+, and another large segment are “Accepting though not approving”—love the sinner, hate the sin kind of stuff. He makes it seem like any disagreement with full acceptance of LGBTQ is tantamount to “emotional battering.” He makes it seem like every time they encounter a Christian there are “mean-spirited attitudes” and “slurs.” It’s just not true. Many Christian circles I’m in are very loving and non-judgmental, though they do agree that the Bible does not approve of homosexual sex. That doesn’t mean we’re “gay-hating churches.” It’s terribly unfair.

PROOFTEXTING. Now he seems to indulge in ridiculing any Christian who takes the Bible as the “perfect word of God.” But he interprets that to mean “anti-gay or anti-woman.” Seriously? First of all, that’s not what prooftexting is; second of all, taking the Bible as authoritative doesn’t mean I’m a hater. I resent the suggestion. And THEN he says, “the Bible writers so obviously got these issues wrong.” I couldn’t disagree more strongly. He casually tosses out a few texts that he apparently quite seriously misunderstands, but he moves off as if the Bible endorses sexual slavery, bias against handicapped people, or misogyny. He is creating more misunderstanding than the Church does.

MISOGYNY. He accuses the Church of sexism, which, granted, some are, but most are not. I spend my days refuting these distortions coming from atheists. Simply put, the Bible is not misogynistic.

HYPOCRISY. Yep, there’s far too much of it. The problem is, his article doesn’t talk about where the true hypocrisy is in the church, but instead says it’s because God set the bar too high. That’s not it. It’s rather, as he said later, somewhat about backbiting and social shunning, but it’s primarily about people just not doing a good job of not loving the world. So he’s right about hypocrisy, but wrong about just about everything he said about it.

DISGUSTING AND IMMORAL BEHAVIOR. Yep, the priest sexual-abuse scandal has been horrific.

SCIENCE DENIAL. From what I’ve read, his stats are old. Right now only about 30% of Christians are science-deniers, not “almost half.” Denial of science is, however, a huge reason people leave the church.

But then he goes to a cheap-shot on the Catholic Church and Galileo. From his sentence, he hasn’t really studied the issues around Galileo but is instead going with a caricature of history.

He also doesn’t seem to realize that about 35% of Christians believe fully in evolution.

POLITICAL MEDDLING. The Church has every right and responsibility to be politically involved and active, but we are generally too prone to schmoozing, posing, and getting power hungry to be as effective as we should be.

Interesting, though, he focuses in on the abortion issue, which the Church has and should have a strong voice in.

His "The Religious Right, and now the Catholic Bishops, have brought religion into politics in the ugliest possible way short of holy war, and people who care about the greater good have taken notice. Lists of ugly Bible verses, articles about the psychology of religion, investigative exposes about Christian machinations in D.C. or rampant proselytizing in the military and public schools –all of these are popular among political progressives because it is impossible to drive progressive change without confronting religious fundamentalism” just seems to be a chip on his shoulder, biased tirade on a soap box. Horrible biased journalism.

INTRUSION. He wants us to “live and let live,” which he implies meaning to allow abortions and euthanasia, if I am reading between his lines accurately. He derides us for “Authoritarianism, insularity, and strict interpretation of Iron Age texts.” This author has clearly had some bad experiences with Christianity, and now he’s caricaturizing and stereotyping us all into the same boat. It’s both unfair and irresponsible writing.

He has a problem with us thinking Christianity is an all or nothing proposition” (which it is).

So, as you are discovering, I think his article is biased, distorted, misleading, and inaccurate, for the most part. He has a chip on his shoulder, and he paints us in cartoonish strokes. To me this article is similar to the drivel I read every day.

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