From: Alexanian, Moorad (
Date: Sat Feb 08 2003 - 21:49:05 EST

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    I came across this interesting quote: “To be an atheist requires an infinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.” Joseph Addison

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Bill Crouse []
            Sent: Sat 2/8/2003 3:40 PM
            Subject: RRR#2

            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: I also recommend a short editorial by =
            David Permutter 'Palestine' for Dummies found in the Jewish World =
            HITHER AND YON
            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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