A few weeks back, influential New York minister Tim Keller spoke at a forum run by the US Ethics and Public Policy Centre, during which he made some comments on the issue of gay marriage. What he said attracted a lot of discussion, but was apparently misunderstood by some, and he subsequently issued an explanation.
His comments merit further thought.
This morning I attended the local Anzac Day dawn service, which commemorates the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have died in battle. For many Aussies, this is the most sacred day of the year. I don’t feel that way, and I don’t usually attend, and it was a time of conflicting emotions and thoughts.
In October 2012, 14 eminent scientists, philosophers and other thinkers met for 3 days in a workshop entitled Moving Naturalism Forwards. What should we learn from this meeting?
Chick-fil-a is apparently a chain of about 1600 chicken fast food stores in the US. Being an Aussie, I wouldn’t know. But apparently the chain has been in the news recently because of an allegedly anti-gay stance, mainly, as far as I can tell, seen through large donations to christian anti-gay causes. Recently protests by gays were answered with a “Chick-fil-a appreciation day”. I’m not really concerned about the details, just setting the scene.
I mention all this simply to link to this post, The morning after Chick-fil-A day. The author, Mike Patz, is a pastor, and offers some very sensible thoughts about how christians relate to non-believers. It is probably most relevant in the US, but I think we all need to learn.
Worth a look I reckon.
We can read the statistics which show that, in most western countries, church attendance has fallen in the last century. In some cases it is still falling, though in others it has levelled out. The ‘leavers’ are not necessarily giving up all belief in God – many list themselves as ‘not committed’ – but some are choosing to be atheists.
But this is all statistics. There is also a human face to these changes.
“God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians” said the article and the photo, and it caught my attention as it caught many others’ (as it was aimed at doing).
Is it true?
The Australian Labor Party, which forms the present Australian Government, is having its national conference, where policy ideas are discussed and decided. This year, one of the “hot” topics for discussion is gay marriage. (Technically, I think the proposal is a change to the Marriage Act, which currently specifies marriage is between a man and a woman.)
The main opposition comes from the churches, especially the Anglican and Catholic churches, and Labor party officials with church links. Are they right?
Last post I looked at some statistics on church attendance, which has been declining in recent years in many countries. This is just a brief aside to reference a post on the Christian CADRE blog suggesting that while churches may be losing numbers, these people are not going over to atheism, at least not in the US.
It seems that people who leave churches either keep on following Jesus, probably more seriously than they did before, or else they hold to some religious beliefs, probably in a less formal way.
David Sloan Wilson is an eminent evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University in New York. He is an atheist “but a nice atheist”, he assures us, and he is interested in the study of religion from an evolutionary viewpoint and the use of evolutionary principles to develop community development programs.
You may be surprised to know I believe christians can learn something useful from him.
Is belief in God dying out, in the western world at least? Some recent surveys give some answers, and some challenges for christians.
John Carroll is Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and a secular humanist. He believes secular humanism has failed western society and he has something useful to say to believers about how we communicate to postmodern people.