Moral and Cultural Apologetics

Note the following research:

http://stackblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/its-just-not-true-american-evangelicals-do-not-in-fact-behave-as-badly-as-everyone-else/

HT: Steve Hays

But note also an apologetic work premised on the same sort of argument:

http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Apologetics-Contemporary-Christians-Religious/dp/0805464204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338579716&sr=8-1

It seems to me that an apologetic which points out the moral and cultural failings of unbelievers coupled with the moral and cultural solidity of Christians is precisely the type of apologetic which will do the most damage to the so-called New Atheism. I’m not talking about an air-tight argument, nor do I think that the argument can or should stand on its own, but let’s face it: non-Christians don’t have much going for them in terms of morality or cultural contributions. If Christianity is true, that is what we should expect, being careful to make the relevant qualifications for common grace, total depravity, and the like.

New Atheists are the worst. Not only are their leaders like Richard Dawkins completely out of their depth when it comes to theology, philosophy, and religion (as repeatedly noted by reputable figures both inside and outside of atheism – for example https://choosinghats.org/2011/10/atheist-philosopher-michael-ruse-says-little-value-in-sam-harris-book and http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2007/marapr/1.21.html), but they are exceedingly nasty about it. Dawkins, for example, is clearly a deeply disturbed, angry fellow. His grasp of the topics he addresses in some of his most popular work, like The God Delusion, is woefully inadequate for any meaningful philosophical exchange. He has spawned a generation of generally uneducated, theologically, philosophically, religiously, and even scientifically ignorant young people who proudly buy into all of the atheist rhetoric and take turns sharing it with other insta-experts who have chosen to rebel against their parents, churches, and society through joining the shrill collective voice of particularly whiny, foul-mouthed, unlearned, unteachable, bigoted, all-around nasty New Atheist crowd.

“But Chris, you’re calling them names!” It’s true that I’m calling them names, but the names I am calling them are also true. You know that you were thinking the same thing whether you were going to come out and say it or not. Look around on the blogosphere for a little while, or interact with the folks I do, and you’ll quickly see how really awful most of these people are. “But Chris, that’s ad hom!” Yes it is ad hom, but that’s not fallacious given the nature of the sort of argument I have in mind. “But Chris, there are exceptions!” Of course, and they prove the rule.

When we start to look at the types of personalities, behaviors, thinking, and language exhibited by those who label themselves “atheists” on the Internet, we begin to see patterns of extremely undesirable traits in each of the aforementioned areas. The two opposite actions of distancing oneself from the Creator God or drawing close to Him have real, evident, practical consequences in the world. This may be seen not merely on the level of fundamentalist Internet atheism, but on the broader levels of sociology and history. I have in mind the quality and quantity of moral behavior especially, and the quality and quantity of cultural contributions more generally.

I see very little that is objectionable about such an apologetic argument even from a covenantal apologetic standpoint. It is very persuasive to the New Atheist, doesn’t require a great deal of thought like many other arguments, and calls attention to their sin. Give it a try. You’ll like it. It’s fun. Everyone is doing it. Okay, not really, but I am.


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