Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.This sort of talk is anathema to many atheists. (And I'm sure the usual suspects will accuse him of neo-colonialism.) Why should we substitute a new set of superstitions instead of relying on reason? From a purely philosophical standpoint I agree. But as a practical matter, I understand where the author is coming from. Many atheists focus on the negative aspects of Christianity and ignore its many positive features -- including the ability to transform people's lives for the better. That doesn't mean the Christian God is real, or that its doctrines are true, but the utility of the religion and its positive works in certain areas are undeniable. The article is well worth reading, especially for atheists.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Atheist Supports Christian Missionaries in Africa
Matthew Parris has an interesting article in the Times Online called, "As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God." He argues that Christianity has a transforming and liberating effect that enhances the everday life of people who are held back by tribal customs and superstition. In his words