Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, Amazon.com and the Bible - page3

 

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Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, Amazon.com and the Bible: Why understanding these rival stories is important for our present time
by Trevin Wax, Managing editor of “The Gospel Project”, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages.

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The Enlightenment “Progress”

Let’s begin with Richard Dawkins, perhaps the strongest proponent of the Enlightenment idea that religion will eventually be replaced by science. The Enlightenment Project as defined by Alasdair MacIntyre was “the project of an independent rational justification of morality.” This project picked up steam in the seventeenth century with the “Age of Reason,” when philosophers moved toward human reasoning and away from divine revelation as the source of knowledge. According to thinkers like Dawkins, we are on a journey to greater and greater heights of reason.

The light came on, so to speak, in the 1600s, when we escaped the Dark Ages; we are now moving forward to the pinnacle of evolution and civilization. We move forward as we shed the silly superstitions of the past and embrace a scientific future that can help us resolve some of the most confounding dilemmas of our time.

The gospel confronts the Enlightenment’s rival story by proclaiming a different view of history. Christians claim that the turning point of the ages was not the dawn of reason in the sixteenth century, but the dawning of new creation in the first.

We do not believe the world is heading toward a secularist utopia in which naturalism reigns supreme; we believe the world is heading toward a restored cosmos in which every knee bows to King Jesus.

And so Christians must challenge the myth of progress by exposing the mythical assumption that religion is on a journey of steady and inevitable decline, and that secular identity will continue to grow. John Gray, an atheistic philosopher, believes the new atheists (Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the like) have gotten louder in recent years, because they are worried that religion is flourishing instead of declining.

Similarly, sociologist Rodney Stark says: “It is a very religious world, far more religious than it was 50 years ago.” He goes on to say that of the world population, 81 percent claim to belong to an organized religious faith; 74 percent say religion is an important part of their daily lives; and 50 percent have attended a place of worship in the past seven days. Russia has more occult healers than medical doctors; 38 percent of the French believe in astrology; and 35 percent of the Swiss agree that “some fortune tellers can foresee the future. Nearly everyone in Japan has their new car blessed by a Shinto priest.” The idea that religion is fading away in favor of a secularist paradise of reason and rationalism is demonstrably false.

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