I use Google News to typically start my day. My news topics are personalized so I may filter out entertainment news (which is getting harder and harder as news these days seems to be centered as entertainment. It no longer seems to be “the news”.) I can also filter out Fox noise if I want to, although it’s fun to check in on the latest craziness being reported as “fair and balanced”.
One of my subject news filters is atheism. Google news brings me stories not only about atheists and atheism but reactions to “the new atheism”.
[First off just let me say this, atheism isn’t new. It’s simply more vocal and noticeable in the age of internet communication and because the numbers of “out” atheists have gotten much larger. Now certain parties view atheists as revenue generators. More importantly is that they view atheists as a way to stir up their tested and true source of income, the “christians”.]
So daily there are stories about how Fort Worth is stirred up over atheist bus ads and billboards in front of the Lincoln Tunnel finally coming out and saying, ‘look the whole story was contrived like Tawana Brawley’s‘. (Ok substitute garbage bag for manger, three white men for three wise men, you get the picture…)
There are the stories to stir up anger at atheists. Rally round the cross boys the atheists are comin’ the atheists’ are comin’ and Fox of course brings out their big guns like Gretchen Carlson to declare her war on the “atheist war on christmas”…
But one thing I seem to be seeing more and more in online news stories and blog posts is that the christian apologists aren’t allowing rebuttals. They are turning off the comments boards. They are putting out their gibberish and allowing no response.
For example the Clarion Ledger in Mississippi runs what amounts to a press release for the Wesley Biblical Seminary who “is trying to combat the “new atheism” movement with an Apologetics degree program”
Now there were a number of points that I would surely have loved to raise about this “article”. For one their definition of Apologetics left something to be desired.
Apologetics is a term derived from the Greek word “apologia” that means “to make the case for or defend the truthfulness of the Christian faith,” said professor Steve Blakemore, who leads the program with Steve Tsoukalas. “People often (mistakenly) think it means ‘apologizing’ for the Christian faith.
They always have to throw “truthfulness” in there. See that’s the thing about apologists, it’s tough work trying to defend an indefensible standpoint without a bedrock of facts to stand on. Like the nativity myth, like the roman church putting christ’s birthday in December, like the “virgin birth”…
The christians see this as a war. Christians seem to be fixated on war aren’t they? Onward christian soldiers, eh what?
Atheists on the other hand simply view this as setting the record straight. The facts will set you free. Which reminds me of my favorite quote by Frederick Douglass, “I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs” I have that quote on a t-shirt and once had to spend about 10 minutes explaining it to a checker at the grocery who was wearing a WWJD bracelet. (but I digress)
Getting back to the article the seminary also has an outreach program,
The center has adopted two Broadmoor area schools – Chastain Middle School and Boyd Elementary.
“At Chastain, we are doing a mentoring program called Ripple Effects,” Cooper said. “It covers things like controlling your impulses, citizenship, listening, forgiveness, respect, friendship-making and knowing how to talk to your parents.”
Students also will participate in intramural sports, cultural trips and drama programs on Saturdays.
“We want to join hands with the parents to affect change in the school system,” Cooper said. “We really want to be a model program for the entire Jackson community.”
Oh I am so sure that they will keep scripture completely out of it. Let’s see it for what it is, an indoctrination program with an inroad to public schools. I smell a case for the ACLU. There is a line of separation being crossed here. I would have liked to comment on this piece to raise a few points of rebuttal but the comments were disabled and you may only comment on the article by contacting the same person who has on Twitter “If you are a church leader who would like to be added to The Clarion-Ledger’s religion e-mail list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Somehow I doubt my response would get printed. Remember newspapers make money off their religion advertisements.
But I am heartened by the “no comments allowed” tactics. It means we have them on the run. Mythrepresentation always falls eventually to facts.