Scripture and Science In Conflict by Prof. Philip Stott —
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Atheism in Decline Everywhere
This article, from The
Washington Times, is interesting for two main reasons.
The first is the admission by
prominent atheists that their faith has been disastrously undermined by the
collapse of the credibility of the theory of evolution. This collapse is
vehemently denied by most professional biologists, but their denial is
convincing only to themselves.
The second is the fact that it
has not led to a turning to the Gospel. How different things might have been if
Christians had not bowed to the wisdom of this world, and brought in twisted
hermeneutics to "harmonize" the Scriptures with science, falsely so called. It
is not at all surprising that atheists, realizing the bankruptcy of their
position, will not turn to a Christianity which has demonstrated its own
bankruptcy by accepting the self same fallacies on which they had based their
The article's permalink is here.
By Uwe Siemon-Netto
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
Published March 4, 2005
GURAT, France -- Godlessness is
in trouble, according to a growing consensus among philosophers, intellectuals
and scholars. "Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide,"
Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg said in an interview. His Oxford colleague
Alister McGrath agrees. Atheism's "future seems increasingly to lie in the
private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once
regarded as its habitat," Mr. McGrath wrote in the U.S. magazine, Christianity
Today. Two developments are plaguing atheism these days. One is that it appears
to be losing its scientific underpinnings. The other is the historical
experience of hundreds of millions of people worldwide that atheists are in no
position to claim the moral high ground. British philosopher Anthony Flew, once
as hard-nosed a humanist as any, has turned his back on atheism, saying it is
impossible for evolution to account for the fact that one single cell can carry
more data than all the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Mr. Flew still does not accept
the God of the Bible. But he has embraced the concept of intelligent design -- a
stunning desertion of a former intellectual ambassador of secular humanism to
the belief in some form of intelligence behind the design of the universe.
A few years ago, European
scientists snickered when studies in the United States -- for example, at
Harvard and Duke universities -- showed a correlation between faith, prayer and
recovery from illness. Now 1,200 studies at research centers around the world
have come to similar conclusions, according to "Psychologie Heute," a German
journal, citing, for example, the marked improvement of multiple sclerosis
patients in Germany's Ruhr District because of "spiritual resources." Atheism's
other Achilles' heels are the acts of inhumanity and lunacy committed in its
name. "With time, [atheism] turned out to have just as many frauds, psychopaths
and careerists as religion does. ... With Stalin and Madalyn Murray O'Hair,
atheism seems to have ended up mimicking the vices of the Spanish Inquisition
and the worst televangelists, respectively," Mr. McGrath wrote in Christianity
Today. The Rev. Paul M. Zulehner, dean of Vienna University's divinity school
and one of the world's most distinguished sociologists of religion, said
atheists in Europe have become "an infinitesimally small group." "There are not
enough of them to be used for sociological research," he said. Mr. Zulehner
cautioned, however, that the decline of atheism in Europe does not mean that
re-Christianization is taking place. "What we are observing instead is a re-paganization,"
The Rev. Gerald McDermott, an Episcopal priest and professor of religion and
philosophy at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., said a similar phenomenon is taking
place in the United States. "The rise of all sorts of paganism is creating a
false spirituality that proves to be a more dangerous rival to the Christian
faith than atheism," he said. After all, a Satanist is also "spiritual."
Mr. Pannenberg, a Lutheran, praised the Roman Catholic Church for handling this
peril more wisely than many of his fellow Protestants.
"The Catholics stick to the central message of Christianity without making any
concessions in the ethical realm," he said, referring to issues such as same-sex
"marriages" and abortion.
In a similar vein, Mr. Zulehner, a Catholic, sees Christianity's greatest
opportunity when its message addresses two seemingly irreconcilable quests of
contemporary humanity -- the quest for freedom and truth. "Christianity alone
affirms that truth and God's dependability are inseparable properties to which
freedom is linked." As for the "peril of spirituality," Mr. Zulehner sounded
quite sanguine. He concluded from his research that in the long run, the
survival of worldviews should be expected to follow this lineup: "The great
world religions are best placed," he said.
As a distant second he sees the
diffuse forms of spirituality. Atheism, he said, will come in at the tail end.
Copyright © 2005 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.