Scrolling down to Wednesday, Aug. 1st, here is a worthwhile and provocative read from the Barking Toad blog, entitled: Religion in the Public Arena and Failed Apologetics. I quote a portion below:
Well, pally, here’s a thought for the day: “Books like Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ and Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ do not become best sellers in a society that understands what Christianity is all about.” These folks are out to steamroll you and other faithful, and mopping your moistened brow won’t carry the day.
Indeed, according to a Christian Post story, former atheist Anthony Horvath, a Christian apologist who works with young adults, says that churches are producing atheists by not answering the questions of young people and explaining why they believe in the Bible. Horvath goes on to explain that some of the recurring questions young adults struggle with but churches often fail to address include the formation and development of the Bible, the presence of evil and suffering in the world, and the question of inspiration and inerrancy. “In large part, it happens when the church leadership is completely unaware that their members – and not necessarily just the young members – have questions at all,” states Horvath.
How about it? By not addressing the serious philosophical questions that intelligent people cannot fail to think of, are some of our churches actually producing tomorrow's atheists? If silence is the only answer to real questions, that silence can create atheists, especially the arrogant kind who have decided that their years of ignorance give them the advantage of superior knowledge. I refer to those who, by never having these issues brought up as part of their religious formation, and by virtue of that vacuum, think they can speak authoritatively- the great irony of the intelligent idiot.
The Barking Toad is vertainly barking correctly on this one.
Christian Education (I mean of our church members, not K-12 Christian schools), is at an all-time low. Your average church member understands very little that it is often "taken for granted" that it is thought they know well.
Continuing Anglicans, many devout communicants, know little of Anglican history, often don't know what the "Doctrine of the Real Presence" means, don't understand the Great Paschal Mystery, etc.
A former Bishop, now deceased, of the ACC once said that a viable church must have: 1. sound, liturgical worship, 2. effective outreach ministry, and 3. sound educational program.
I fear that 2 and 3 are a problem in many Continuum churches. Both are easily remedied with some dedicated work/volunteerism.
Number 3 becoming a reality would pevent us in the Continuum from creating future Atheists.
Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.
My understanding is that Dawkin's book is riddled with bad argumentation (at least I got that impression from a Touchstone Magazine review), and that he doesn't bring anything new to the discussion.
That doesn't mean apologists shouldn't attempt an answer, in fact, I'm sure responses have already been made.
I do agree that there is a problem in churches in that transition period when children stop believing on authority (because their parents say so) and start believing or stop for other reasons. However, modern society's hostility to tradition is probably more of a problem than Dawkin's philosophical arguments.
Last year here in Brisbane Australia, a faithful Anglican Preist Fr. Neville Nixon hosted a Traditional Mass and afterwards explained the meaning of the various parts and how these related to the refuting of many of the claims in the Da Vinci Code.
There were Churchman and visitors of all kinds there form Liberal, Traditional, Continuers and people from other Churches. This was followed by a question and answer session which was equally informative.
The day was a success and I believe it showed to many the relevance of keeping Traditional moors and values in this post modern world. Perhaps more such events should be planned.
Fr. Ian Adrian+
That is an excellent idea, Fr. Ian, even beneficial for mature Anglicans.
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