A new atheist strategy for children

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A new atheist strategy for children

November 20, 2012 -

The American Humanist Association (AHA) has launched a new initiative aimed at kids.  Their website, www.kidswithoutgod.com, is “a site for the millions of young people around the world who have embraced science, rejected superstition, and are dedicated to being Good Without A God!”

The children’s section introduces us to “Darwin” the dog.  He “loves to enjoy stories from a long, long time ago.”  But he “also knows that these are just stories, though, and that they aren’t real.”  There’s a teens section, with videos that coach young people on becoming atheists and telling others about their decision.  The parents section offers tips for “helping our kids become humanists.”

Let’s consider the logic of the AHA’s initiative for a moment.  Their website is designed for those who have “embraced science” and “rejected superstition” (i.e., religion), as though the former requires the latter.  This is a logical fallacy known as “affirming a disjunct,” where we are erroneously told that if A is true, B must be false.  Some of the greatest scientists in history have been very strong believers.  I doubt they would agree that they have accepted “superstition.”

“Darwin” the dog “only believes in things that he can see in the real world” such as “friendship, and being nice, and learning.”  How can he “see” an unprovable relational experience such as friendship?  This is an assertion made by many atheists—they claim that truth must be verifiable, but they can’t verify what they just claimed.  Many are absolutely sure that absolute truth doesn’t exist.

How can Christians respond to this strategy aimed at children and young people?  By offering what no non-Christian can: a genuine encounter with a loving God.  In John 14:15, Jesus promised us, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  The Greek syntax could be translated, “If you love me, you will inevitably in the future obey my commands.”  The more we love Jesus, the more our world will see his love expressed in our lives.  Because there is a “God-shaped emptiness” (Pascal) in each of us, those who need God will be drawn to the God they see in us.

In my view, the rise of “aggressive atheism” is directly related to a decline of love for God in our churches.  So many of us go to church because it’s Sunday.  We read the Bible and pray so God will bless and guide us.  We do our part so he will do his part.  But this transactional religion is a poor substitute for transformational relationship.

When last did you tell Jesus from your heart that you love him?  When last did you spend even 15 minutes expressing your love for him in personal, private worship?  If more of us were in love with Jesus, fewer in the world would be led away from him.  Who will know that you love Jesus today?

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