Responses to Why We Squirm in Church:
As a relative newcomer “to the source,” I am enjoying the fresh insights and perspectives you offer as well as the interesting responses from readers. Part of my “mid-life crisis” as a longtime minister and follower of Christ has been a renewed appreciation for the need to be regularly stretched and challenged in my faith – both the underlying assumptions as well as the practical expressions. Your responses to scientific atheism as well feel-good spirituality have been entertaining and beneficial in recent months. Thanks for your “ministry” and the excellence with which you pursue it.
- Curt Grice
"Onfray wants to move beyond this to what he calls "atheistic atheism," which requires the wholesale invention of new values that have never existed before."
Isn't it interesting that even though the devil has no idea what kind of values to replace God's with, he still wants them gone. This certainly proves that there is a standard that objectively exists. God created good and evil and evil is merely the absence of good. Evil can't, in and of itself, be anything. Even though it really wants to be God if it ever got there it wouldn't have anything left to stand on. God invented everything, including this morality that Onfray wants to deny completely. The only thing he can replace it with is a perversion of God's original blueprint, nothing more. - David Csinsi
I read your last e-mail concerning “Why We Squirm in Church” at first with a tinge of horror and disbelief that someone like Michel Onfray could be so virulently opposed to Christian beliefs. Then I remembered a basic Biblical truth that I sometimes ignore.
Eugene Peterson, in his book on Christian discipleship called “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” (ironically, he took the title for the book from a line of Nietzsche’s), finishes the Epilogue of his wonderful book with a couple of paragraphs which brought things home for me. Peterson imagines that Nietzsche has stopped by to visit him in his library. In this imaginary scene, Nietzsche is pleased to see that Peterson has used one of his more famous lines as the title of a book. I’ll let Peterson tell the rest in his words: “Then he takes the book off the shelf and looks through it. His face furrows in an angry frown. The old atheist was convinced that Christians, by promoting the weak and ineffectual Jesus to keep the weakest, spiritually diseased, morally unfit and inferior parts of the population alive and reproducing, were a malign influence on civilization, and would be the ruin of us all. He thought he’d delivered a death blow, and now he finds us still at it. I love imagining him standing there angry and appalled, beard smoking, astonished that these weak, inadequate, ineffectual and unfit Christians are alive still, and still reproducing.”
That for me sums up the situation with today’s atheists. Today they are here, and tomorrow they are gone. In the meantime, God continues to build His Kingdom on this earth through the faith of ordinary believers. Michel Onfray (and Dawkins and Hitchens) should consider that truth, and tremble.
- Bob Fulton
The fatal flaw, as I have said before, in your position on atheism, and the position of Michael Onfray, among many others, is that you tie the concept of atheism to the human being.
You cannot forsake the connection you make between God and man.
It fact there is no connection between God and man except to legitimize and sanctify the teachings of Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, and the many others,
God is the explanation for existence.
The explanation for existence has nothing to do with man on planet Earth in the relative nano-second in time of existence of man on Earth.
God, as you see "him" can be of great value and comfort. I understand why most people from the dawn of time have needed God as you see "him."
So be it.
Existence exists. There is an explanation for existence. The human being is not the explanation for existence.
- Norman Henry
Dear Dr. D'Souza,
What many people do not seem to understand is that atheism, as discussed in this article, is just another form of religious fanaticism; no different than the Inquisition, or current Islamic fundamentalism.
I refer you to the excellent little book, "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer for insight into the thought processes that create mass movements (actually, I'm sure you've read it).
Fanaticism, in most any form, contains the seeds of violence and destruction, both physical and cultural. Indeed, you need look no farther than the actions of some "fans" at sporting events to see this.
- Harry A. Madden