From: Bill Crouse (bcrouse@fni.com)
Date: Sat Feb 08 2003 - 15:40:15 EST

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    2/07/2003 Vol.2 #2

    Editor: Bill Crouse

    THE TROUBLE WITH ATHEISM: What Atheists Affirm Part Two

    In the previous issue we noted that atheism as a worldview, or life =
    outlook, has had a heightened press lately. For example, as I write, =
    there is intense discussion about whether or not mention of God should =
    be written into the new European Union constitution. Along with the =
    increased conversation about openly avowed atheism, we would add that it =
    is having increased impact on our culture. In this brief series it is =
    our desire to make our readers aware of what atheists affirm, its =
    implications, and how Christians can defend their own theism in such a =
    climate. When engaging atheists about the subject of their beliefs it =
    is important, first of all, to inquire what they affirm to be the state =
    of affairs that prompted, or pushed them to this particular position. =
    Be prepared for some kind of personal testimony. Ultimately what they =
    will proclaim will be some form of declaration that there is no eternal, =
    personal, creator-god, followed quickly by the pronouncement that they =
    do not need a belief in such a being in order to live their lives. They =
    will assert this with some arrogance, and maybe rightly so, as it takes =
    a measure of courage to go against such a vast majority. It is =
    important also to note that they are not rejecting some impersonal force =
    in the universe, or something like the finite pagan gods of antiquity, =
    or of primitive tribes. They are, for the most part, and usually most =
    vehemently, rejecting the historic God of Christianity. Now let's go a =
    little further in our analysis, and give a closer examination of exactly =
    what this assumption of the atheist entails.

    When atheists assert that there is no god, what they are saying is, that =
    life consists only of the finite and the particular. There is no =
    infinite or universal. And generally speaking, for western atheism, =
    that means there is no spiritual dimension; all life is physical and =
    material. Man is nothing but a complex electro-chemical machine. They =
    are what we call technically, philosophical monists. The physical =
    universe is a closed system operating by chance and cause and effect. =
    What exists either came from nothing or it is eternal. Most today =
    follow Bertrand Russell as he did in the famous debate we referred to =
    last issue, when he claimed that "It (the universe) just is." Atheists =
    value education and reason, with the discipline of science being the =
    major path to redemption for whatever redemption is perceived to be =
    needed. The late Carl "billions and billions" Sagan was the most recent =
    vocal and visible advocate of such scientism. Reality is only that =
    which can be verified by the scientific (empirical) method, and what =
    this net does not catch ain't fish! With regards to life, it is the =
    result of chance. The universe is sometimes seen as a cosmos (ordered) =
    and for others, it is chaos, for order would imply an "orderer."

    Most atheists believe religion or metaphysics has historically been a =
    great detriment to mankind, e.g., wars, ignorance, repression, etc. =
    Atheists have to hedge here however, and admit reluctantly that religion =
    has made some positive contributions. After all, who ever heard of =
    atheist hospitals, or relief funds? Even Bertrand Russell once admitted =
    that what the world needed more of was "Christian love." This is a =
    rather interesting admission as we will see in a later issue, for with =
    his system, or way of seeing things, there is no adequate way to define =

    In summary, atheists make a universal claim that there is no universal =
    (infinite deity). Or to put it another way, "There is no god anywhere =
    in the universe, and I, the atheist, have the sensory equipment to make =
    that determination!" Some atheists do not like to be called "atheists," =
    rather they prefer to just be called "non-theists" since it is more =
    difficult to prove a negative.=20

    Next time: What are the implications of atheistic belief?

    POSTMODERNISM: A Brief Overview

    Since we have added a few hundred subscribers to the RRR list since Vol =
    #1, we believe it is important to briefly review some of PM's main =
    themes. =20

    In the West, from the time of Christ, there have been roughly three =
    paradigms of thought: The Age of Faith, The Modern Age, and the =
    current, Postmodern Age. A paradigm, for lack of better word, is like a =
    schematic, it forms the basic pattern for world views. For example, the =
    Age of Faith was characterized by orthodoxy, creeds, dogmatism, and =
    tradition, with no clear line of demarcation between the spiritual and =
    the material. Worldviews in the Modern Age were characterized by =
    rationalism, freedom, progress and optimism, materialism, and immanence =
    as opposed to transcendence. In other words, there was no intrusion =
    from the spiritual world; for moderns, reality was largely material. =
    The Modern Age might be better known to some of our readers as the Age =
    of Enlightenment. The Age of Faith began to decline with the French =
    Revolution and the incredible scientific discoveries. Modernism began =
    to fall out of favor in the 19th Century, and with the two world wars of =
    the 20th it's faith in rationalism and its optimism waned. There are =
    still pockets of adherents to the faith paradigm which I assume would =
    include most of our readers. And, there are still holdouts to =
    Modernism, though their voice is considerably dimmed. Carl Sagan, =
    mentioned above, was an example of the latter.

    The Postmodernism paradigm now holds sway in most areas of our culture, =
    and its influence permeates every area of our lives. The major elements =
    of the PM paradigm are: First, and foremost, there is no metanarrative, =
    or worldview that explains all of life. All truth and knowledge is =
    relative and based on the culture and language. "True for you but not =
    for me," is a constant refrain of the PM. Because of this first tenet, =
    PMs are multicultural, and advocates of a radical egalitarianism. PMs =
    hence make claim to the absolute values of tolerance and inclusion in =
    spite of their main claim to relativism!

    The claims and issues dear to PMs can appear to be extremely funny to =
    non-PMs at times. Non-PMs, have to be aware, however, that they are =
    very serious in what to us seems very irrational and absurd. On =
    occasion, some writer will very creatively demonstrate this absurdity, =
    as in this recent article by Dennis Prager, where he attempts to show =
    what a non-PM President of the United States might say to a PM world =
    about the current Iraqi crisis. I believe most of you will smile as you =
    read, but don't fail to note how an understanding of PM shows us what a =
    difficult job it must be to be president when you hold traditional =
    Christian values. The article is available at Town Hall . To those of =
    you who wish for more summary of PM we point you to the following CIM =
    Briefing papers: #58 , and #52.


    Since Islam and the Middle East are probably major areas of interest to =
    most Americans nowadays, and since Islamism is a genuine threat to what =
    is left of Western Civilization, we will frequently note in these pages, =
    articles of significance that we think will increase the understanding =
    of our readers. =20

    How do you explain the French and German reluctance to ally itself to =
    the U.S and other European nations in the eradication of the "Butcher of =
    Baghdad?" It could be that when the Americans liberate Iraq they are =
    afraid of what will be found, namely tools used to make weapons of mass =
    destruction with the engraved stamp "Made in Germany." For the French, =
    it could be the large business contracts it has with Iraq, not to =
    mention that it also receives the bulk of its oil supply from the =
    Iraqis. But, there may be another reason. Many pundits are predicting =
    that France may be the first European country to go Muslim. This article =
    published last summer in The Weekly Standard (7/15/02) is an eye-opener, =
    as it details exactly how Muslim immigration is changing the French =
    nation. The title of the article- no joke- is: Allah Mode by =
    Christopher Caldwell. There are as many as 8 million Muslims in France. =
    This article is 10 pages printed, but is worth your time. Note that it =
    is in two parts.

    Another interesting article we read recently had to do with the dynamics =
    of the Muslim marital relationship. It was written by Nonie Darwish, =
    who apparently had inside experience. She points out how insecure =
    Muslim women are with Islamic laws of multiple wives and easy divorce. =
    It is found in Frontpage. This article may be helpful to any of our =
    readers who are trying to share the Gospel with Muslim women.

    Your editor's most recent briefing paper, Facts About Israel and the =
    Middle East was recently mailed out to the snail-mail list. It has not =
    yet been posted at our website. If you would like a copy by email, =
    request it here: cim@fni.com. I also recommend a short editorial by =
    David Permutter 'Palestine' for Dummies found in the Jewish World =


    In a recent press conference the Catholic Church issued a 92 page study =
    of its appraisal of the New Age Movement. While we have not studied the =
    original document (it was just issued), judging from the reports, this =
    appears to be a fairly good study, one that most Evangelicals could =
    embrace. They did not condemn the Harry Potter books, declaring that =
    their belief was that the children's books could help in discerning good =
    and evil. This is not a hard nose condemnation of New Age ideas and =
    methods, but it does seem to one that Evangelical protestant leaders =
    might want to analyze. Here is a short summary

    For Christ and His Kingdom



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