What is the advantage of Atheism?

August 28, 2006

Randy writes in an earlier thread:

I took you up on your offer to drop by. I don’t know if you had a chance to look through my practical reason to be an atheist or practical reasons to be Christian on http:www.ideaplace.blogspot.com?

After arguing with a personal friend about atheism (He claims “no possibility of God,” for 20+ years, I finally shut him up with the question, “What are the practical advantages of being an atheist.” This question was then put to the readership of Skeptic magazine, and I received over 100 replies, primarily from atheists. The answers fell into about 10 specific groups which I then address on my blog.

I have also engaged in extensive debates on a huge forum which might be of interest to both of you. http://www.blogcritics.com. These debates and others on the subject that I haven’t participated in are in the archives.

For the most part, intellectual atheists say the practical advantage is not being constrained by a particular set of dogma. They want the freedom to be able to explore all possible answers. Ironically, most atheists are willing to explore any answer except Chrisitianity.

Almost all atheists that I have debated have had a bad experience with Christian churches or people. One exception would be the president of Skeptic, Michael Shermer, who slowly gave up an adult decision for Christ as he studied college level science. He became skeptical of anything he couldn’t see. Even today, he describes himself more as an agnositc.

The most compelling argument for atheists and agnostics in my opinion, is that given there is a God, which one?


Bible Contradictions and Christian Fundamentalism

August 19, 2006

Question: what would it mean to Christian Fundamentalism if it were to admit that the Bible contained contradictions?

I am singling out Fundamentalism here because biblical scholars, both secular and Christian (with the notable exception of the Fundamentalist minority), basically agree on who wrote the bible and how the various biblical canons were formed. The majority of Christians in the world do not hold that the bible is the inerrant word of God. They believe it is the Word of God in the sense that its writers documented oral traditions about God and His hand in history; the oral tradition originating from divinely inspired people.

My guess is that the Fundamentalist beliefs wouldn’t actually change much if they were to concede that the Bible contains contradictions. What would change is that Christian leaders would not be able to exert the same level of authority over their church members. Fundamentalists in general would feel more empowered to think for themselves rather than blindly follow their preacher’s dogma.

If this is true, then is the excessive rhetoric about inerrancy actually about power and control, and not about the faith?

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