How Should We Interact with the Uncivil?

Amy K Hall|Recently, I had a back-and-forth email exchange with an atheist where my extremely modest goal was merely to get past the barrier of his taunts and connect with him as a human being. I failed.

Today, I came across an article by Randal Rauser that expresses what I’ve been seeing over the last few years:

Incivility was always a New Atheist hallmark. New Atheists assumed that religion is irrational and dangerous. And when something is irrational and dangerous, you aren’t polite or respectful. Instead, you seek to discredit the danger in any way possible. If religion is the problem then you mock their religious leaders, lampoon their religious institutions, and berate their holy texts….

While many atheists no longer identify with the New Atheism, this disparaging attitude is still widespread. As a result, serious conversations with skeptics are often next-to-impossible because the atheist assumes the Christian is irrational, intellectually arrested, and perhaps morally suspect….

The basic problem is that when atheists begin with the assumption that Christians and other religious people are all irrational, delusional, and intellectually arrested, they lose any interest in understanding Christian beliefs with charity or nuance….

Today I regularly meet atheists and other skeptics who have no background in the formal study of theology, church history, or the Bible, and yet they believe themselves adequately informed to opine on each of these topics. And why not if theology is just “fairyology”?!…

There are many atheists who are thoughtful, charitable, and respectful of religion and Christianity.

But what about those atheists who exhibit the characteristic New Atheist hallmarks of incivility and anti-intellectualism? How should we interact with them?


Read the full story




Amy K Hall|Stand To Reason

Photo credit: The Tribune India

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