In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
"I believe that we are on the verge- within 10 years- of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity; a collapse that will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and that will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West. I believe this evangelical collapse will happen with astonishing statistical speed; that within two generations of where we are now evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its current occupants, leaving in its wake nothing that can revitalize evangelicals to their former “glory.”
The party is almost over for evangelicals; a party that’s been going strong since the beginning of the “Protestant” 20th century. We are soon going to be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century in a culture that will be between 25-30% non-religious.
This collapse, will, I believe, herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian west and will change the way tens of millions of people see the entire realm of religion. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become particularly hostile towards evangelical Christianity, increasingly seeing it as the opponent of the good of individuals and society.
The response of evangelicals to this new environment will be a revisiting of the same rhetoric and reactions we’ve seen since the beginnings of the current culture war in the 1980s. The difference will be that millions of evangelicals will quit: quit their churches, quit their adherence to evangelical distinctives and quit resisting the rising tide of the culture.
Many who will leave evangelicalism will leave for no religious affiliation at all. Others will leave for an atheistic or agnostic secularism, with a strong personal rejection of Christian belief and Christian influence. Many of our children and grandchildren are going to abandon ship, and many will do so saying “good riddance.”
This collapse will cause the end of thousands of ministries. The high profile of Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Hundreds of thousands of students, pastors, religious workers, missionaries and persons employed by ministries and churches will be unemployed or employed elsewhere. [ ]. Visible, active evangelical ministries will be reduced to a small percentage of their current size and effort.
Nothing will reanimate evangelicalism to its previous levels of size and influence. The end of evangelicalism as we know it is close; far closer than most of us will admit.
Why Is This Going To Happen?
1) Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This was a mistake that will have brutal consequences. They are not only going to suffer in losing causes, they will be blamed as the primary movers of those causes. Evangelicals will become synonymous with those who oppose the direction of the culture in the next several decades. That opposition will be increasingly viewed as a threat, and there will be increasing pressure to consider evangelicals bad for America, bad for education, bad for children and bad for society.
2) In what must be the most ironic of all possible factors, an evangelical culture that has spent billions of youth ministers, Christian music, Christian publishing and Christian media has produced an entire burgeoning culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures that they will endure.
3) Evangelical churches have now passed into a three part chapter: 1) mega-churches that are consumer driven, 2) churches that are dying and 3) new churches that whose future is dependent on a large number of factors. I believe most of these new churches will fail…denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.
Our numbers, our churches and our influence are going to dramatically decrease in the next 10-15 years. And they will be replaced by an evangelical landscape that will be chaotic and largely irrelevant.
4) Despite some very successful developments in the last 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can hold the line in the rising tide of secularism. The ingrown, self-evaluated ghetto of evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself. I believe Christian schools always have a mission in our culture, but I am skeptical that they can produce any sort of effect that will make any difference. Millions of Christian school graduates are going to walk away from the faith and the church.
5) The deterioration and collapse of the evangelical core will eventually weaken the missional-compassionate work of the evangelical movement. Look for evangelical ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.
6) Much of this collapse will come in areas of the country where evangelicals imagine themselves strong. In actual fact, the historic loyalties of the Bible belt will soon be replaced by a de-church culture where religion has meaning as history, not as a vital reality.
7) A major aspect of this collapse will happen because money will not be flowing towards evangelicalism in the same way as before.”
Evangelical groups are spreading anti-gay hate in Ethiopia causing a climate of moral panic and forcing the LGBT community to flee the country.
A death penalty against homosexuality may be introduced soon in Ethiopia, according to anti-gay organizations that ran a recent workshop on the topic.
The workshop, dealt with the social ‘evils’ and ‘disastrous’ effects of homosexuality in Ethiopia, and was led by United for Life Ethiopia, a Western Evangelical organization with local representation.
Government officials, religious leaders, leading heath professionals, charities and members of the public attended the event at the Bethel Teaching Hospital in Addis Ababa, last week.
In the workshop police alleged ‘homosexual family members and neighbors’ have sexually abused 117 boys last year.
Participants agreed that the Western gay motto ‘born this way’ is unacceptable to Ethiopia, stating that not only has homosexuality nothing to do with nature, but the ‘condition’ runs against it.
A representative, from the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council Against Homosexuality (EICAH) organization, underlined to workshop participants that gayness is not natural and has nothing to do with human rights, but ‘a result of a result of inappropriate upbringing, identity crisis and moral decay.
‘So we have to work hard to teach our children the bible and ethics and also protect our nation from the dirty western imposed culture of homosexuality.’
Sultan Muhe, chair of Bright Children Voluntary Association (BCVA) testified that as a child he was gang-raped, an experience that ‘made him’ gay as well as a sex worker.
Muhe also stated that he was now cured (ex-gay) and now campaigns for others to be ‘healed’, stating: ‘Homosexuality should be discouraged by whatever means and the government should do whatever it takes to stop it.’
At the conclusion of the workshop, the EICAH representative stated that the council is ‘making progress’ in convincing the government to be stricter on homosexuality and introduce the death penalty to punish ‘such acts’.
The ECIAH representative added that prospects for capital punishment being legislated against gays ‘seems promising’.
You say: I believe in a personal God.
I hear: I have an awesome imaginary friend.