Wednesday is my usual day for an op-ed column, but I didn’t want to wait any longer before posting your reactions to Sunday’s "Fox & Friends" segment about atheism.
On Friday, I will post your responses to my recent article about sexual abuse, and its prevalence in all aspects of society, including in the Protestant church communities.
At the end of the page, you’ll find our regular selection of interesting articles.
God bless, Father Jonathan
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My first point of contention is with your comment that atheists suffer atheism, because with a belief in a divine power the world makes more sense. Father, I am an atheist and I would gladly refute that statement. When one has a belief in a supreme being, such a belief comes inherently with questions — not of the nature of an event but of the nature of why the supreme being chose to act in such a manner. […]
When the divine is removed, we can easily understand why these things happen without plaguing ourselves with further questions. No, Father, I would say that an atheist can see the world just fine without God's meddling. […]
In being so blatantly dismissive of us, you have only aided those that oppress us for the simple reason that we do not believe as they do, because we refuse to believe a principle without proof. If you do in fact understand us, and you still presented us as you did, you did so as a false witness and that is a sin that we both do condemn. — Troy R. (Proud Atheist)
RESPONSE: Troy, thank you for taking the time to write your several page response. If I came across as saying all atheists suffer their disbelief, I was wrong to do so. Certainly there are those, like you, who find intellectual contentment in their rejection of the idea of God’s existence. My point — as illustrated by the author of the next e-mail below — was simply that many people without belief in God suffer tremendously, because they realize there are some very important things about themselves and about the world that science will never be able to explain. I’ll get deeper into this point in my response to other e-mail messages.
On a final note, you are right that believers in God have always wondered why, if he is good and powerful, he allows bad things to happen, but curiously, it is precisely faith in God’s inscrutable wisdom (and a little humility to recognize the limits of our human intelligence) that brings peace in such moments for many of us. We trust God can bring good out of even the worst of evils.
As an atheist, I agree with you completely. These books are written by people who don't represent the majority of atheists in America. I don't try to push atheism on anyone. The religion of others does not bother me. I don't need anyone else to believe what I do in order to believe it myself. I envy those who are able to believe in God. I imagine it must be comforting to hand your problems over to someone else at the end of the day, and to believe wholeheartedly that they will be resolved.
I appreciated that you didn't paint atheists (even the crazy ones) as crazed lunatics, well on our way to eternal damnation, hellfire and brimstone, etc.
You have my respect and admiration sir. — Monica C.
RESPONSE: Monica ... and you have mine.
My name is Travis. I am not an atheist; I suppose I could be classified as agnostic. By agnostic, I mean that I believe that there is zero proof whether there is or is not a divine power. How could you argue against my opinion that the agnostic view is the most rational one to have? Is there proof that there is a God? Or, is there proof that there is not? It seems as though the most intellectual conclusion would be that nobody knows.
RESPONSE: Great question, Travis. If the only type of knowledge were scientific knowledge, the kind you can gather by measuring with instruments, you would be right to say you're agnostic point of view would be most rational. I believe, however, that we can know some things without material proof. If this were not the case, how could we explain free-will and our natural sense of morality? Where do they come from? Where do they reside within us? Or how about the love between two people? Should we expect to prove its presence with scientific knowledge? Likewise, in reference to proving the existence of a Divine Being, while there are some very strong rational arguments (like the “Five ways” of Aquinas) that can move our minds to belief, you are right to suggest there is no scientific or intellectual proof of the personal, loving, providential God of Christians. But here enters what we can call “spiritual knowledge,” which, for those with the gift of faith, is even more certain than knowledge that comes from scientific instruments. It happens in the heart. Maybe that just sounds like religious babble. I hope not.
My name is Kenneth and I am writing in response to the piece that I saw on Sunday morning on "FOX & Friends" about atheism. I could not agree with you more on the suffering of the normal atheist and the combativeness of the "elite." I have a degree in biochemistry which I received from Providence College in Rhode Island and a masters in Medical Sciences from Loyola University Chicago. What is truly disturbing is the fact that even at these religious institutions, Providence being much more conservative than Loyola, because of my degree choice it is difficult and almost unheard of to be religious. I have been in contact with both students and professors that believe that in order to be a scientist you cannot be religious. I believe that some of science can have no explanation without the belief in some higher architect. […] I am very happy that 90 percent of Americans are theistic people and I feel sorry for those people who believe that this short life here on earth is all that we have. — Kenneth P.
RESPONSE: Kenneth, your academic training gives you a unique opportunity to enter into dialogue with scientists. I would encourage you to engage your peers in a rational way. Faith and science are not enemies; they are two wings with which to fly.
As an Evangelical Christian I congratulate you on your stance on authors such as Richard Dawkins and others like him. You are an excellent representation of Christianity and I encourage you to research the misguided thinking of those who wish to destroy our faith. — Dave D. (St. Louis)
RESPONSE: Thanks for the note, Dave. I do read and study these books, and I try to do so with an open mind. They make some very good points, but in the end I am surprised by their willingness to conclude that God “probably does not exist” even though they are unable to address the most important questions about the origin of life and the spiritual nature of human beings, specifically the existence of free-will. I should add, however, that we can’t judge the intentions of Richard Dawkins or other people who share his views. They may well be sincere in their desire to “save” society from what they consider to be thousands of years of irrational thought. At the same time, sincerity doesn’t make anyone right. People always deserve respect, but ideas must earn it.
After watching your outrageously silly stint on "FOX & Friends" recently, I felt it was my duty as an informed and enlightened person to help pull you out of the dark ages. Superstitious beliefs in the invisible creator and controller of everything (who, according to the book that all of this nonsense is centered around, couldn't keep tabs on the only two people on the entire flat planet) is nothing more than primitive-minded, fear-based, drivel.
Several million years of evolution explains the complexity of the eye. There is much research on the matter. I suggest looking into it.
Geological reality? OK. That's another huge check-mark in the atheist column. Are you talking fossil records? Plate-tectonics? Strata? No matter; the evidence is overwhelming.
Atheists are often portrayed as intellectuals because, most often, they are among the most intelligent and knowledgeable people on this truncated spheroid we call earth.
Are you at all interested in the truth? Or, does it benefit you more to perpetuate the lies of religious mythology? […] When it's all said and done, you continue to get a nice paycheck for either being a charlatan or a lummox. I'll let you decide which one you are. — Dave
RESPONSE: Dave, having reviewed the interview tape, I don’t think I was clear enough about why I think the intricacy of the human eye and geology point us to God. I know there are some Christians who see evolutionary principles like natural selection as a threat to their belief in a Creator, but for me, micro-evolution only makes me stand in greater awe of the wisdom and power that set all of this in motion.
You said, "We need to hold them (scientists and atheists) to their specific fields."
Why then, sir, do you think you should try and explain the existence of god through the biology or geology? Why do you think you know anything about the evolution of an eye — or biology at all? Why do you think that you should be allowed to explain the existence of god through astronomy? It is you who needs to stick to your field and stay out of science. But then again, without pseudoscience, faith would be nothing.
RESPONSE: This blog is important because it allows us to discuss in greater depth what television time restraints make impossible. I agree with you, in fact, that biology and geology don’t prove God’s existence, in the way you are used to verifying truth. My point about scientists respecting their field of expertise speaks to the fact that God, is a spiritual, immaterial being, and therefore will never be “discovered” through a telescope or microscope. When atheistic scientists say the burden of proof is on believers, they are assuming scientific knowledge is capable of explaining all of reality. I don’t think it is. Secondly, I do not say biology or geology explains the existence of God; I only say it invites us to ask the big question, “How did this all come into being?” If scientists can’t answer this — and they haven’t — then they shouldn’t get bent out of shape when philosophers and people of faith propose reasonable arguments about the origin of the human mind and soul, and for that matter, the origin of the physical world, in general.
Let me just say that nowhere, absolutely nowhere, in the big news outlets is there discussion like we have with you. I’m no religious freak (in fact, I usually go to church only when someone dies or gets married), but I can tell you that the things you discuss on television and on the Internet are what most people care about. Politics and Hollywood gossip tantalize us, but in the end, they don’t matter much ... or not at all.
I am telling all my friends about your blog and many have thanked me for the reference. By the way, what’s the easiest way to tell people how to find your column? Sometimes it “disappears” on the FOX page? And how do we know when you’re on TV? Again, thanks so much. — Anne Marie (New York City)
RESPONSE: Anne Marie, what we’re doing is still very small, but yes, it’s growing. Thanks for the encouragement. Soon we should have a procedure set up where people can sign up to receive the blog postings as an e-mail in your Inbox, but for now you can send people to this web address where they will always find the most recent post: www.foxnews.com/fatherjonathan
I do a regular television segment on the FOX News Channel on Sunday mornings at about 7:45 a.m. (U.S. Eastern) and less regularly on other shows throughout the day, depending on what happens in the news. Thanks for asking.
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Not All News is Bad News
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News Which Never Made the News
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