Who can we expect to see at Reason Rally? Find out today on Deeper Waters.
P.Z. Meyers complains that evangelicals will be at the Reason Rally. He neglects to mention that fundamentalists will be there. No doubt, there could be some fundamentalist Christians showing up, but what I am speaking about is in fact fundamentalist atheism, a dreaded condition spreading like wildfire, largely in part due to the internet.
Let’s talk about a group of people to show what I’m talking about.
There are people who believe that every word of the Bible should be read literally. The plain sense of the text is always that which is ideal. There is no need to go beyond the text as the Bible must stand on its own and to seek information outside the text is to say the Bible is inadequate. One must simply just believe in the Bible and not ask questions about what the authorities say.
You might think I’m describing fundamentalist Christians. I’m also describing fundamentalist atheists.
“But atheists don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God!” Yes. That’s true, and in that they differ from their Christian counterparts, but in their beliefs, if it is the Word of God, everything else follows. It would be understandable on its own without anyone else and every passage of it should be interpreted literally. Since they cannot understand the Bible on its own and thinks the literal interpretation of several passages doesn’t make sense, then they are sure it is not the Word of God.
What does this mean? It means that there is no reason to do any outside research. Study the textual criticism of how the Biblical text came to be? No need. If the Bible was the Word of God, we would not need this as it would have been preserved perfectly for us.
Study the surrounding culture to seek to understand what the text would mean to its hearers? No need. The Bible if it was the Word of God would have been written for us today. This is, of course, for them further proof that it is not the Word of God, as obviously an ancient book should have contained a hidden code if not an outright message concerning information on modern scientific discoveries and a cure for cancer if it was the Word of God.
Study the original languages of the Bible? No need. If the Bible was the Word of God, it should be just as clear in English. Why should the Bible need all that interpreting after all?
Study any commentaries to see what they say on various verses that are hard to understand? No need. If the Bible was the Word of God, then the Holy Spirit would surely come to every believer and tell them what a text means. This is in fact further proof Christianity cannot be true in the mind of the fundy atheist. If Christians disagree, well obviously it’s not all coming from the Holy Spirit. That clenches it.
Study the theistic arguments? No need. One should not seek to have evidence for a position when it comes to religious matters. We are supposed to be people of faith and faith obviously just means that you believe something without evidence. Unfortunately, fundy atheists say that is the definition of faith even though there is no evidence to back that.
Study ethics? No need. After all, the Bible is supposed to answer every single moral question that we have. In fact, that’s the purpose of it. The Bible was written to teach us all how to be good people and as long as we have that, then there is no need for study.
Study learned scholars on any subject matter relating to religion? No need. After all, the Bible should be clear enough and God should be clear enough. Why do we need to go to the works of men if we are going to be seeking to understand the work of the Lord?
The end result? The Christian is ready to say everything in the Bible is true. The fundy atheist ready to say it is all false, or at least heavily suspect. Of course, the Bible is full of information attesting to the fact that Jesus existed, but we just can’t trust it because it’s religious and has miracles in it. Anyone who is making a case for it being reliable is obviously just someone who’s been indoctrinated and is incapable of thinking for themselves to see the obvious nonsense.
Both cases also have an allegiance without thinking to anything external when it is seen. If Pastor Bob says the Bible says this, well that’s the case. For the atheist, if Pastor Dawkins says X, well that’s also the case. Whatever authority one goes to, if it is one that agrees with one’s own worldview, then that authority is infallible in all matters of faith and practice. No need to question.
Also, there is never any need to read the other side. The other side in both cases is obvious nonsense. Why should I bother educating myself on what some evil evolutionists say? They’re just God-haters trying to suppress the truth. Why should I bother educating myself on what New Testament scholars say? They were just indoctrinated as children and can’t face reality without their crutch and are trying to cover up the obvious holes in the Bible.
The Reason Rally we can expect will be the equivalent of a fundamentalist Christian meeting except for the allegiance that is given. We might even want to discuss if this could possibly be the largest gathering of fundamentalists ever at one place.
Christians need to be prepared and hope that some of them will actually be willing to dialogue and consider educating themselves on some matters. Always difficult with a fundy atheist, but one can always hope.