Monday, August 25, 2008

atheism: REMIX a Review

I just finished reading the new book by Albert Mohler Jr., atheism: REMIX. While a short book it is full of information on what is called “The New Atheism.” As Mohler says in the book “The New Atheism is not just a reassertion of atheism. It is a movement that represents a far greater public challenge to Christianity than that posed by the atheistic movements of previous times.” (pg 12)

While there are many things that could be said about the book there were at least a couple things that stuck out to me. First were the eight hallmarks of the New Atheism that Mohler identifies. These are important for us to understand because in some ways they reveal that the atheists may be more perceptive of what the scriptures say than many professing believers today. Here are the eight hallmarks with my comments in italics and in blue:

1 - They have a new boldness in that the old atheists seems to have a sense of longing and a sense of loss but this is not true of the New Atheists. While in times past belief in God may have been seen as archaic and unneeded the New Atheists see it as dangerous to believe in a God. This is important to see in that it lets us see that there is little common ground when conversing with those that hold to this brand of atheism as they have as a goal of theirs rid society of any form of theism.

2 – They are clearer that they reject the Christian God of the Bible. The old atheists simply denied that a God could exist but the New Atheists see the specific God of the scriptures as being “untenable.” What I find interesting here is that while many try and avoid the obvious place of God in the midst of turmoil and Open Theisms attempt to save God from this issue the New Atheists seem to see that plain reading of Bible as God being intimately involved in trials and tribulations. So in some ways they see the text more clearly than many professing believers do. As Christians we need to deal with God and the problem of evil not by stripping God from scripture but truly dealing with the text and the mystery of how God is sovereign and bad things happen.

3- “The New Atheists explicitly reject Jesus Christ.” The reason being is that they recognize that Jesus is not a nicer version of God as so many professing Christians put forth but they see from the NT that Jesus is to be as rejected as the God of the OT. They also see that Jesus is restrictive in entry into heaven and thus they would reject Him for this as well. Again this is a place that all too many believers miss while the atheists seem to see the obvious. This is not new as fro the time of Marcion many have either purposefully or inadvertently tried to picture Jesus as something He is not. When it comes to the Atheist seeing the restrictivism of Jesus this is sort of amazing as there are far too many that claim Christ as savior that either do not see this or do not feel comfortable stating the obvious.

4-“The New Atheism is specifically grounded in the scientific argument.” They see that science in the end has to be able to explain everything and so “their commitment to the worldview of naturalism and materialism is absolute and nonnegotiable.” We as believers need to understand this worldview so that we understand why the New Atheists reject our arguments. I am not saying to change our arguments as many have tried to do but instead it is helpful to now their worldview and thus know from the beginning that we are placing answers before them that come from a worldview they reject. We are not to take of their world view but be firm in ours.

5- They do not tolerate moderate and liberal forms of beliefs. I found this interesting because the moderates and liberals have seemed to try and make palatable Christianity that in the end is obvious even to the atheist not Christianity as the Bible depicts. So the message to us is that the world sees a sham when it is put before them. They may dislike and even dispise true Christianity but they know what scripture plainly puts forth. They do not believe it but they see it clearly there.

6-The New Atheists see the need to rid ourselves of religious toleration. They see all religion as untenable and dangerous. Again, for years we have tried to make Christianity just part of a larger religious picture and sought after religious toleration but this will no longer placate the Atheist.

7-“The New Atheists have begun to question the right of parents to inculcate belief in their own children” An argument that John Dewey put forth in the early 20th century. As believers we need to be aware of this as this is the direction of the public school system. This is not a far flung idea but has been around for many years but as the leaders of academia, many of who would probably hold to some form of this New Atheism train the teachers and students of the years to come this idea will only become more prevalent.

8-They argue that to preserve human freedom “religion itself must be eliminated.” With many believers human freedom, what ever that is, drives everything as it does for the atheist. We need to regain a biblical understanding of freedom in light of the sovereign God revealed in His inspired word.

The other interesting thing to read was the various arguments against the New Atheists from professing believers that hold to some form of evolutionary thought to those that would be in the liberal fringes of belief, The interesting part is that while they argue against the New Atheism it seems clear that in their desire to have things their way they will not win the argument either. While all of the arguments they give attempt to try and show they have it figured out it seems that where they stray from scripture will be their down fall as in the end their footing is on sand and not the solid ground of God’s word.

I would recommend this as book to read. If for no other reason than understanding if you are looking at sending your children to public school or even to college you need to realize that the men and women mentioned in this book that hold to this New Atheism are influential in academia. Whether they would directly influence you children or they do it by those they influence who then teach your children that influence is there.

One last comment; I think that it is a desire to not seem foolish that cause so many of the problems when speaking to those that hold the beliefs, or some form of them, that this book reveals. By this I mean we have forgotten that the message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing (1 Cor 1:17-21) so should we really expect anything different than the responses these New Atheists place before us. Yes we need to provide an answer for the faith we have (1 Peter 3:15) but realize without the work of God on the person before you the cross is a foolish message but for His children it is a message of hope.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (8/18/08)

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the Saddleback Faith Forum.  At least for me, I saw the Obama I have already seen and it simply confirmed my views. As far as McCain I was pleasantly surprised by his answers.  As far as McCain though my basic skepticism of politicians will lead me to see if He holds to what he proclaimed in the meeting at Saddleback.  Actually, even tonight there are questions as to whether McCain would have a Pro-Choice running mate and if that would happen it would make a great difference in what I would do in November.  If you were not able to see the event you can read the transcript from CNN here.  You can also read some other comments at:

CampOnThis:  Rick Warren and the Saddleback Faith Forum

FIDE-O: Reaction to Civil Forum on the Presidency at Saddleback Backtrack to Saddleback -- Secularists Not Pleased


Scott at These are the Generations of.. has some good insight into the Olympics and how they reveal worldviews in his post: Worldview Training in Everyday Conversation.


Voddie Baucham writes an article that looks at the question: Is Christianity a Religion?  He does a great job of showing that simply redefining religion is insufficient to deny its place as a religion.  Among other things he says: “The argument that Christianity is not a religion has many inherent problems.  Most importantly, this line of reasoning is at odds with the English language, the history of the church, and good old common sense.”


Albert Mohler in his post: "Rights Talk" in California -- Confusing the Same-Sex Marriage Issue lends some good insight into the same sex marriage issue facing California this coming November. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Psalms: Sovereign Grace Music’s New Album

Sovereign Grace Music has come out with its latest album and it is, as expected, as well done as their other offerings. The latest album Psalms has music that relies on, you guessed it, Psalms for its content. There are a few songs that seem to rely more heavily on instruments and are louder than on their last two albums, from my untrained perspective, and thus I felt the music sort of took away from the vocals in some places. For me personally this is an important thing as if I find myself getting into the beat more than the words I am missing the most important part of the song. Don’t get me wrong I really liked even the more up tempo songs but since I really want to focus on the words this creates sort of conflict for me

This all said I still highly recommend this album as not all the songs are as up tempo as a few of them are and even then you can distinguish the words which are great as usual but then again they are using the words of scripture. I think out of their last albums I like the last one Come Weary Saints the best, followed by Valley of Vision (probably swayed by the fact I really enjoy the Valley of Vision devotional) and then this album.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Contentment in the Kingdom

A couple weeks ago I preached on Contentment in the Kingdom (Heb 13:5-6) at SGCF.  This was a difficult passage as contentment is one of those areas that I often suffer with.  I say “suffer with” because often I do not realize what I am going through is simply an issue with contentment.  If you are like me we often rationalize our disgruntlement as what might be mistakenly labeled as “righteous discontent”.  Now I do think there is a discontent that we are to have that is instilled by God but this is not what I am talking about.  The discontent that God gives is a discontent that helps us see that the world we are in is not all there is.  So there is a little irony in that we are to be content where God has us but there can still be discontent that helps to protect us from being all too easily satisfied with the world’s offerings instead of being content with God’s provision.

The discontent that we are not to have is when we begin to be more focused on our circumstances than God’s hand in them.  For example we may be unhappy with our job and begin to feel God wants us to move on. While this may be true we need to start at asking ourselves if I am content if God would keep me where I am.  So, while God may work in our lives to move us along and there may even come a time that He uses discontentment but I do not think this is the norm.  God desires us to be content in whatever situation we are in (Phil 4:11-12) and it is then that God may move us on.

For me at least this road to contentment starts right where I am. by seeing my situations and circumstances daily as being a result of the sovereign hand of God.  When I see God’s hand in the highs and lows I begin to see that the God that by His grace has called me to be one of His children only has what most glorifies Him and what is best for me.  Finding contentment in a world that thrives on creating discontentment is not easy but in the power of the spirit as a child of God we can be content.

I highly recommend reading Jeremiah Burroughs’ book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.  This is one of those books that if you are not convicted while reading it you need to read it again.  Burroughs not only lets us see what contentment is but helps in revealing how God desires us to move towards contentment.  One of the things we need to realize is that the world sells that contentment comes by adding to our lives.  However to be content in the Kingdom of God often comes by subtraction, by removing from our lives instead of seeing what to add.  Again, I encourage you to read this book as Burroughs, through a great use of scripture, deals with a subject, contentment, many of us struggle with.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Augustine’s Confessions - FREE AudioBook

You can go to and download this month’s free book: The Confessions of Saint Augustine by Augustine of Hippo by using the following Code : AUG2008. Yes it is free and all you have to do is sign up for a free account, did I say it was free. The books I have downloaded from here have been very beneficial and with the driving I do back and forth from work and home it is a great use of time rather than constantly listening to the babble on the radio.