The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
“It is fashionable to attack religion”, thinks Rodney Holder. New atheists are “not well informed about many aspects of Christianity”, adds Conway-Morris. Alister McGrath: “Atheism is noisy, has not good answers.”
The Wall Street Journal has published an interview with British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins where he states that “America is the leading scientific nation despite having this incubus around its neck of an uncultured ignorant almost majority."
Dawkins thinks that if the “religious fundamentalists” were not hindering America, “science might have advanced further.”
The biologist argued that he does not “interact with Christians when in America”, but it is in the Deep South of America where he gets the best reception. According to Dawkins, this is because “the people that come are the beleaguered minority and they show rather touching gratitude when people like me go to them," he said.
When asked about his interaction with Christians, he responded: "I get a lot of hostile mail, but they don't come to my lectures, I wish they would. They stand outside handing out leaflets, they don't actually come in."
“IT IS FASHIONABLE TO ATTACK RELIGION”
Talking about the New Atheism in an interview with Evangelical Focus, Christian Scientist and Math professor of Trinity College in Oxford Rodney Holder said that “it is fashionable to attack religion. Richard Dawkins has always done that.”
“Richard Dawkins places all believers in the same category: roman catholic nuns and Bin Landen”, he added.
“The story of conflict between science and religion is largely an invention of some late nineteenth century historians, particularly Draper and White that wrote books about it, but today the historians do not give any credit to that.”
ATHEISTS “NOT WELL INFORMED”
Simon Conway-Morris, a Christian palaeontologist and a professor of evolutionary paleobiology at the University of Cambridge, told Evangelical Focus that new atheists like Dawkins “are not well informed about many aspects of Christianity, and there are many philosophical arguments which they might wish to become better acquainted with.”
According to Conway-Morris, they sometimes “sound very angry, which is a little bit surprising because, after all, if you are right, there is not reason to get angry.”
Alister McGrath is one of the most prominent Christian apologists nowadays. After leaving Atheism, he publicly debated Richard Dawkins. In an interview he admitted that “atheism has gained a very high profile recently through Richard Dawkins and others.”
But “people have looked very closely at Atheism, perhaps more closely than ever before, and they are realizing its very empty, very shallow, and very aggressive, and they feel this is not something they really like very much.”
“THIS ENTHUSIASM FOR ATHEISM IS VERY RELIGIOUS”
Conway-Morris believed that “this enthusiasm for atheism is, in a funny way, very religious. They have enormous enthusiasm, they have conviction, they feel deeply that these things matter.”
“So, in an odd way, they are closer to the religious instinct than they sometimes are willing to acknowledge”, the palaeontologist argued.
Talking about the future of the New Atheism, Alister McGrath concluded: “I see a movement away of Atheism, and it may have had Media attention for a short period, but now people have realized it has got nothing very much to say.”