The Dalhousie University campus newspaper recently ran a piece reporting on the activities of our Dalhousie Atheist Community, and in particular featuring an interview with Derek Rodgers, one of the key leaders of the group. The end of the piece come across so beautifully it’s worth quoting in its entirely:
He [Rodgers] maintains that humanist values “emphasize the inherent moral worth of people” And argues that traditional monotheistic religions tend to denigrate human beings with concepts like original sin or over-emphasize the importance of humanity in the grand scheme of things.
“Science helps us to understand our place in the universe; it shatters the idea that humans are imbued with importance.”
“Religion is not a prerequisite to being a moral person” he adds, pointing out that the search for meaning is a question taken up by non-believers and believers alike. “The most profound questions we can ask are, ‘is there meaning in life?’ ‘What is our place?’ For free thinkers, the tools and methods of science are the best ways of knowing” the answers to these questions.
There are a couple dozen comments posted following the article, which is high compared to other articles and in particular a piece that followed close behind this one on the faith groups and the faith centre on campus which had all of 2 comments. Some of these comments are fun to read. They are also useful in beefing up this short blog post, so let me quote from some of the more intriguing ones:
I can relate to almost everything Derek talks about in this article… but the funny thing is, I am a Christian! I am a science nerd who is constantly fascinated by the new things we are learning about the universe we inhabit. I guess the only difference is that I credit it to God – not a punishing, vengeful God, but a loving one. I know this is something difficult to be convinced of, but it’s just something I feel in my bones. Believe me, Bible tracts are not the way people find God. I have never understood the frightening ‘you will burn in Hell’ approach of many evangelists. Obviously in Christianity sin plays a large role, but it is eclipsed by redemption and love. Unfortunately this is not always evident, depending on who you talk to.
Makes you feel all nice and warm inside, but then you read a couple more, namely:
The best way to understand the nature of atheism is to understand its author. satan is its author.
It’s important to remain conscious of the fact that satan had his origin in heaven, and is thoroughly familiar with the fact of the existence of God, heaven, the angels, hell and etc. Thus despite what you have been previously deceptively taught and despite the deceptive dictionary’s meaning of atheism, atheism is properly defined as a denial of the existence of God in the midst of full knowledge that the true God does indeed exist. Atheism knows God exists; it is quite familiar with that fact, but it says "under no circumstance or situation will I admit to God’s existence."
Atheism clearly perceives the fingerprints of God on all of creation, but refuses to admit He is the Creator. Atheism perceives the divine authorship of the TEN COMMANDMENTS, but refuses to admit that God is their Author. Atheism perceives the decorousness and perfection of the TEN COMMANDMENTS, but refuses to admit they are superior to all other laws. Atheism clearly perceives the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, but refuses to admit His divinity. If an atheist could see the wounds in the body of Christ and actually feel them with his hands, he would deny that the wounds are there. Atheism is deliberate effort to never admit the existence of God.
In order to properly understand the nature of atheism, one must understand the natures of righteousness and sin. The two principles are antithetical to one another. Since sin is antithetical to righteousness, its very antithetical nature seeks to nullify righteousness. Since it is an antithetical principle to righteousness, it must remain true to its nature even in the most insane instances. Therefore it must hate God even though God is righteous and has given it no just cause for its hatred. It is this antithetical principle, called "the law of sin" which is at work in the hearts of atheists causing them to reject God.
and finally one that gets right to the point:
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
Oh yes, we have our work cut out for us.