In a recent Macleans article (April 16, 2007) Brian Bethune reviews recent writings by several atheists who â€œblame God for every social problem from Darfur to child abuse.â€ Strong voices â€“ Hitchens, Onfray, Dawkins, Harris â€“ argue the case for atheism afresh, claiming that religion is purely and only a human creation â€“ toxic in all its forms. The tragic circumstances of 9/11 have generated a new, virulent attack upon all religious expression.
…religion is toxic, because religion cannot and does not deal with human sin. The result is that religion becomes merely another context in which human sinfulness manifests itself.
Christianity comes in for its share of criticism, much of it quite abusive, caustic, and contemptuous. Of course, history offers numerous examples of evil done in the name of Christianity, as well as other religions. Given their location within Western Culture, these apologists for atheism level their most virulent attacks against Christianity, particularly its American versions. Fear that religiously-committed individuals will gain political power and enforce their ideology on all and sundry seems to motivate their stridency.
What does a sincere Christian say in response to such vocal and public attacks? I think one thing that must be said repeatedly is that they conveniently forget the horrors that atheistic systems such as communism perpetrated upon those under its power. The gulags remain constant reminders of terrible abuse â€“ all in the name of atheism. So atheism has no claim to be the answer for a productive human future. Further the claim that we should praise the French Revolution because it turned churches into hospitals is rather naÃ¯ve in that it conveniently forgets the terrible injustices and murder that this revolution perpetrated, all in its attempt to be free from religion.
Religious hypocrisy still remains the fundamental stumbling-block preventing people from truly hearing the Good News about Jesus.
Further, I would suggest that followers of Jesus would tend to agree that religion is toxic, because religion cannot and does not deal with human sin. The result is that religion becomes merely another context in which human sinfulness manifests itself. Christians are not surprised by this. What humanity needs is not more religion, but rather a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God gets blamed for a lot of things that Satan does. Probably this is a devilish stratagem.
Finally, if atheism is the best way for humans to live, where do we see this demonstrated in any human society in the world today? Many religious persons would claim that the secularists are in charge now in most Western countries, but fail to see how society has improved or is any better for it. How is the abortion of millions of children annually beneficial? How has atheism helped those trapped in addictions or sexual oppression? It seems strange that so few human beings seem to have seen the light of atheism! Is this all due to the ability of religious organizations to dupe human beings, as the atheists claim? What does this say about human ability and intelligence?
What humanity needs is not more religion, but rather a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Perhaps, however, these voices do help us see how important it is for followers of Jesus to walk carefully in the power of Godâ€™s Spirit so that Godâ€™s name does not get sullied because of our sinful actions. Religious hypocrisy still remains the fundamental stumbling-block preventing people from truly hearing the Good News about Jesus.
In Jesus we discover true freedom from chains of sinful thinking and doctrinaire foolishness of human thinking.