Today we continue with Chapter Ten in the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. (Hear an interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Ten, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact! Index page here.
[Audio Intro] – Jonathan Morrow introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 10 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.
Chapter Ten: Is Religion Dangerous?
Chapter 10 is the first chapter in the section Responding to Moral and Biblical Challenges. Here the authors unpack the idea that religion is dangerous, in that it causes conflict, wars, and unrest. However, they argue that the real problem is not religion, but people. Furthermore, they point out errors in ascribing terrible things simply to religion, while ignoring the historical impact of atheistic regimes. The authors counter the idea that atheism is merely the “absence of belief.” Finally, the chapter concludes with a case for civility in discourse.
Philosopher Douglas Groothuis contributes a short essay describing his own spiritual journey. He outlines his experiences investigating the religions of the world and critically examining Christianity. He finds that, his years of study, teaching, and writing have convinced him that Christianity is objectively true, rational, wise, and pertinent to all of life.
If someone wants to criticize Christianity, he or she must make an honest and careful examination of the life and teachings of Jesus because he is the founder of Christianity. Is there anything he taught that necessarily leads to violence? (p. 136-137)
A careful reading of the New Atheists reveals that their worldviews stem from naturalism and secular humanism. Everyone has a worldview-including Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. For good or ill, worldviews contain ideas and ideas have consequences. (p. 141)
From the Christian perspective, the goal isn’t a sacred public square where only the ideas rooted in Christianity are preferred (or any single religion for that matter). Nor is the goal a naked public square where no ideas from various religious traditions are even entertained. The goal, as Os Guinness describes it, is a civil public square. (p. 144)
Faith isn’t going anywhere and neither is disagreement. We must learn to debate the ideas and the implications of those ideas without affirming that everyone’s view is equally valid on the one hand or demonizing those with whom we disagree on the other-this is what is truly dangerous for society. (pp. 144-145)
- What are some of the reasons people say religion is dangerous?
- What has been the historical impact of atheism as a worldview?
- What does civility look like?
- The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It by Os Guinness
- Is Religion Dangerous? by Keith Ward