An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Your Randomly Mutated and Naturally Selected Orthodoxy
As we all know, your genes make you who you are. Further we know that ultimately there is no question with regard to both human nature and essence that neo-darwinism cannot answer, including why you are Orthodox (Jewish or Christian), or Muslim, or atheist...uh, ummm....no actually, not the latter, that is actually accomplished by means of supreme force of intellectual will and enlightened thinking. Ahem...where was I? Oh yes:
So there are evolutionary explanations for we we stupidly hold to false beliefs in gods, after-life, and such. Furthermore, they apparently have all manner of scientific evidence to back all of this up. I am reminded (given my current reading) of how the Soviets actively pursued scientific means of destroying religion...they would have loved this stuff! The Communists actually offered science degree programs in college that were specifically geared toward disproving religious claims. They readily funded research to do so as well...hmmm...sounds familiar.
Anyway, an intriguing rebuttal of the secularist conclusion for all this "evidence" may be found summarized here. Essentially it says that even if all the data and evidence are correct, the conclusion is wrong. Brilliantly done.
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:27 AM [+] +++
I have found that there are basically two kinds of atheists, philosophical and reactionary. Either one can become the other, but I still suggest that the fundamental typology holds good. The philosophical atheist (such as, apparently, Dawkins and those like him) brings to bear logic and the Scientific Method to demonstrate God's non-existence. Typically, philosophical atheists are materialists; that is, their metaphysics is totally defined by Matter: Its nature, (origin?), properties, and functionality. As any undergraduate student of Logic should know, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to prove an absolute negation: "No God (at least a personal theistic God) can possibly exist, period." So the most that consistent philosophical atheism should claim is a high degree of probability. Moreover, the philosophical atheist must smuggle manifold assumptions in through the back door: Such little items as conceptual coherence, the authority of logic, the existence (and desirability) of concepts such as proof, truth, the accessibility of external reality to human epistemological process, and the like must all be presupposed. Metaphysical materialism has always been embarrassed by its need to assume, rather than prove, such things, but given its basic position, what else can it do? Once admit an immaterial aspect into reality, and invest that aspect with determinative value, and you're no longer a materialist.
The other basic kind of atheist is the reactionary atheist. This person is in reaction against a particular kind of theism which is mistakenly equated with Theism as such. People who are raised with a concept of a vengeful, vindictive God who must find a willing, innocent substitute target for His "just" wrath often become reactionary atheists. For my money, these are the ones that the Church should seek out and whose wounds she should bind, for the God whom they reject really doesn't exist.
I remember the Soviet Union pulled a stunt where they asked the first cosmonauts whether they had seen God when they were in Space. It left me thinking that atheism tends to be the rejection of some straw man version of Christianity.
Is atheism a growing trend? I figured that it was a movement that hit its high-water mark back in the 30s and 40s. Nowadays, people are against "organized religion." Spirituality, God, ancient scriptures, Kaballah, are all IN.
for the God whom they reject really doesn't exist.
Very...very true. I recently watched an online debate between Christopher Hitchens and Alister McGrath in which Hitchens (as the atheist) fell precisely into your characterization by arguing against a god which/whom I would also deny exists.
Steve: Is atheism a growing trend?
Yes. In a word. Particularly amongst the scientific community. Dawkns, Hitchens to name put the cream of the crop are authoring NYT bestsellers on atheism. Just this morning my cowroker and fellow Orthodox Christian told he'd seen a large billboard at Mercer and I5 advertising this group:
Hmm. The irony about McGrath is that he embraces the broadly Western soteriology, which is the Augustinian view of original sin (death is judicial punishment from a justly wrathful God), plus Anselmian penal substitution. He's not going to be able to meet reactionary atheism very well, because his God doesn't exist, either --- which, I suppose, is my point. Thoroughgoing Orthodoxy is the only hope.