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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 atheism.
The article, reproduced here for convenience, can be found by clicking
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
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," he said.
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.