Fundamentalism: leading cause of atheism

I’m guest poster over at Heretic Husband today. It’s a blog I enjoy, so I’m pleased to be featured as guest poster. I hope you’ll go over there, read my article, and say hi. I should also give credit to Sensuous Curmudgeon, where I found the article that inspired my post.

*****

The ICR (Institute of Creation Research)  is perplexed. Why would anyone leave Christianity? That’s the question raised by this article from the ICR, “Pastor Became Atheist. Why?” It’s about Teresa McBain, a former Methodist minister who left the church after two decades to become public relations director at American Atheists. From ICR’s article:

“She explained her reasons to the Christian Post, saying, ‘One [reason] was the contradictory nature of the Bible; the lack of scientific or historical foundation or accuracy, which took me a very, very long time to come to terms with.’

It makes sense to reject the God of the Bible if the Bible contained errors and lacked scientific or historical foundation. But it doesn’t. Analyzing and teaching the amazing ways that true science confirms Scripture is what motivates the ministry of ICR—evidence for the veracity of science and Scripture abounds.”

The ICR are on the thinnest possible ice here. It is exactly this kind of teaching that I was brought up with, and it virtually guarantees that its adherents will either wind up wilfully ignorant (and actively hostile to knowledge), or become atheists. It leaves you nowhere else to go.

Creationists have achieved what Stephen Law calls “The Vision Thing”. They’ve reached such a level of delusion that Creationism seems so self-evidently true that you’d have to be blind or an idiot not to see it. I remember gales of laughter at dinner tables with my Creationist friends as we giggled about scientists who thought humans were descended from monkeys.

Read the rest of this post at HereticHusband.com

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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on August 14, 2012, in Accelerated Christian Education, Christianity, Creationism, Fundamentalism, School of Tomorrow and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Well that answers the puzzle I had over why people tend to go the whole way to Atheism. Well done!

    • I’d actually assumed from your blog that you were an atheist. I think in truth many people leaving fundamentalism become atheists for emotional reasons as much as strictly rational ones. Many atheists won’t thank me for saying that!

      • Nothing wrong with becoming an atheist for emotional reasons. Yahweh IS a monster…that is an emotional response, I’ll be the first to admit.

      • Although that doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist.

      • Oh, I’m an atheist myself, yes. It’s just that my own starting point has been being raised in a Christian tradition that gets very far from biblical literalism at times which means that I’m in constant contact with people who do not see contradictions in the bible as a problem in any way. So when I see people who go from outright fundimentalism to atheism with their primary stated reason being these contradictions I have always wondered why they rarely seem to become like the Christians I am most familiar with.

        Having not been raised with this “all or nothing” idea I had underestimated its effect, hence my confusion.

      • Oh, I know, I know. I just react viscerally to the Christian “You’r just angry at GOD” schtick. How can one NOT be angry at the (fictional) entity in the Babble?

        Does that mean I should be “angry” at Doomsday, or The Joker, etc. etc. etc. LOL.

        I guess there is still the feeble remnants of “belief” of some sort.

      • Don’t worry, Jonny. The fact that we admit that we have not yet met our ideals is why we are different from religious folks, who believe that their religion is perfect.

  2. The ICR’s recent comment that plants are not alive is surely an almost textbook example of this issue. Anyone not fully committed to the “vision” will surely start to think that maybe these people aren’t right. And a trickle of doubt can easily become a downpour because it represents a change in how one thinks, the rise of skepticism.

    • They said PLANTS AREN’T ALIVE?

      OK, I’ve changed my mind. I think the ICR is the world’s most epic and longest-running Poe, a conspiracy by atheists to discredit Christianity.

      • The article (http://www.icr.org/article/6916/) and eyeonicr’s “takedown” of it (http://eyeonicr.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/frankensteins-morris/). I put takedown in quote marks not as a slight against him but because I’m not quite sure how you can even respond to something so nonsensical.

        I’m not convinced it’s a Poe but a living embodiment of the motivation which keeps many anti-creationists going: ignorance and misrepresentation of evolution is a slipply slope which can lead to ignorance and misrepresentation of science, which can lead to all kinds of insanity.

      • Just read those. I actually have nothing to say. Wow.

      • “According to that definition, “life” is anything that can reproduce. Thus, everything that grows on our planet is our brother, and humanity is nothing more than a highly evolved arrangement of organic chemicals.

        If that were the only battle to fight, the scientific accuracy of the creationist model would be rather easy to demonstrate.

        This is something I would like to see.

      • ashley haworth-roberts

        Jason Lisle and Tim Chaffey wrote a book ‘Old Earth Creationism on Trial: the Verdict is in’ several years ago (serialised on the AiG website a few months’ ago) where they suggested – from language in those ancient manuscripts – that plants were sort of ‘biological machines’.
        See my posts on 13 and 14 January 2012 here: http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2818&p=34479&hilit=chaffey#p34479

      • The ICR is Poe’s Law incarnate – you simply cannot tell.

        I certainly would not be surprised if some day we found out that key members were deep cover atheists. The whole thing though?

        …maybe.

      • Also…if plants aren’t alive because they’re just bunches of cells that don’t move…where does that leave us on ‘life begins at conception’?

      • And clearly none of them are gardeners…

    • If plants aren’t alive because they don’t move then is Stephen Hawkings alive? After all, he can only use a few of his muscles.

  3. Thanks.

    I had not come across the problem with Methuselah and the flood, probably because I had assumed that there had been some embellishment.

    The high level of self-delusion that you describe is exactly what I have seen when participating in evolution vs. creationism debates.

    • That same level of self-delusion is why I don’t allow Creationist comments on the blog; it’s a waste of time to try and talk to them.

      I’m happy to do it in public, because there’s a chance someone open-minded might be reading – someone in the same position I was in ten years ago. But one on one, the words “brick,” “wall,” “banging,” and “head” spring to mind. Not in that order.

  4. ashley haworth-roberts

    http://www.heretichusband.com/2012/08/guest-post-fundamentalism-leading-cause.html
    I noticed this: “And some of the mistakes are really hard to explain. For example, the fundamentalist insists that Methuselah really lived for 969 years. And he also insists that Noah’s Flood wiped out all life on Earth apart from the animals on the Ark. But if you crunch the numbers in Genesis 5, Methuselah lived for 17 years after the Flood, without going on the Ark.”

    However, when I checked this out – using the New International Version – I got a DIFFERENT result (though I may have missed a relevant verse somewhere).

    I looked at Genesis 5, 6 and 7. Methusaleh lived for 969 years it is said. Noah was born when his father Lamech was 182, and Lamech was born when his father Methusaleh was 187. Thus Methusaleh had 600 years still to live when Noah was born. In Genesis 7:6 we read: “Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth” (NIV).

    THIS SAID, we do see Answers in Genesis hinting at a ‘problem’ in THIS article (see final section) which Scaramanga linked to: http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-ans … e-dont-use
    “Common misconceptions/misunderstandings: 2. The Septuagint records the correct Genesis chronology. (Methuselah would have lived 17 years after the Flood without being on the Ark. This is a problem)”.

    Unless it has already been answered in existing comments, I will post this query under Mr Scaramanga’s own blog: http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress. … f-atheism/

    Does anyone else know where the ’17 years’ comes from? Is it ONLY derived from certain manuscripts (the Septuagint?) perhaps?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah … _the_Bible (see ‘Methuselah in the Bible’)
    This implies there is a problem but suggests Methuselah outliving the flood by 14 years, not 17 – see Septugaint (Vaticanus).

    • Hi Ashley,
      I replied to this over at the other post, but to be thorough – I made a mistake.
      Anyway, to clarify:
      – The discrepancy is in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament)
      – 17 years is the discrepancy Answers in Genesis cite, but I agree with your maths; it’s 14. My error.

  5. Thats a cool blog, I will definitely check out your post….maybe you should consider writing for john luftus new blog http://www.skepticblogs.com/

    I think he wants to add more

  1. Pingback: Doing it Wrong « Eye on the ICR

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