Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why I Love Editorials

Yeah, I know I said that I loathe editorials earlier. Did I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes.) Walt Whitman ftw.

That said, there's been a bunch of good ones recently:

Atheists should teach Bible Class

In Texas, it looks like they're getting ready to offer Bible classes in high schools. And well, there's been some suspicion that the underlying motivation behind move is more along the lines of proselytizing than education. Thus, one clever writer offered this wrecking amendment: have atheists teach it. Hilarity ensues.

The Religious Right should start their own Party

Sick of religious conservatives interfering in political affairs (like a priest calling voting for Obama sinful), this Modesto citizen offers them helpful advice: start the Theocratic Religiosity Party. Hey, it works in the Middle East.

And finally, I'm going to applaud a group of Christians for trying to meet us halfway on doubt.

A St. Louis Church is responding to the New Atheist movement by offering courses on doubt:

Rather than return fire at atheists or get defensive and caustic, The Journey’s senior pastor, the Rev. Darrin Patrick, decided to explore the nature of doubt with his congregation.

He’s asking the church’s 2,300 members to be honest about their own skepticism and doubts about Christianity and is encouraging them to meet atheists halfway.

Certainly, it's a welcome change of pace.

On a recent Sunday, Patrick encouraged his congregation to go see Religulous and assured them he would, too. Church officials play a short video of atheists and skeptics they’ve interviewed making thoughtful points about unbelief, or questioning the nature of a certain Christian theology or doctrine.

Patrick then tackles that topic in a 45-minute sermon that dives deeper into the questions brought up by skeptics. Some of Patrick’s sermons are titled "There can’t possibly be only one 'true’ religion, can there?"; "Doesn’t belief in religion only breed prejudice, violence, and injustice?"; and "Why would I pattern my life after a book of old stories that have been proven by science to be mere myth?"

Now, we all know where this is going - the church website says the program is designed to get religious doubters to "doubt your doubts", but it beats other churches takes on doubt - demonizing it as sinful and treating atheism is if it were a "belief in nothing". Hopefully, this more realistic approach might at the very least educate Christians about skepticism and atheism and provide them with a better understanding of where atheists are coming from.

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