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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Refutation of article about supposed former atheist

This Article below appeared on zionica.com on 04 Aug 2010 and was reproduced in full from its original posting on chrisianpost.com. It is fully reproduced below with comments inserted in bold. The post this was taken from is at http://zionica.com/2010/08/04/former-atheist-christianity-really-does-make-sense/

Culture|Mon, Aug. 02 2010 08:25 PM EDT
Former Atheist: Christianity Really Does Make Sense
By Lillian Kwon|Christian Post Reporter

Holly Ordway was a highly educated atheist who thought Christianity was "a historical curiosity" or "a blemish on modern civilization," or both.
"Smart people don’t become Christians," she thought, according to Biola University.
Her worldview, however, began to change at age 31. She recounts her journey from atheism to Christianity in the recently released Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith.
"It is no light matter to meet God after having denied Him all one’s life," she writes in the book. "Coming to Him was only the beginning. I can point to a day and time and place of my conversion, and yet since then I have come to understand that He calls me to a fresh conversion every day."

This is a rather classic example of theist prattle, we have an assertion of the gravity of the matter that is design only to get a head nod and an amen from the faithful while being based on nothing. This is then followed by a non-sense statement that is supposed to sound deep. What does it mean to be called? No one knows or can define it. What is this conversation, is it literal? No one knows or will say or will every question her on it. The reporter just regurgitates the line without asking, you really think you hear god? What exactly did he say?

Ordway, a professor of English and literature at a San Diego-area community college, wasn't raised in any religious faith. She never said a prayer in her life and she never went to a church service. Her exposure to Christianity while growing up was minimal and her few encounters with Christians involved televangelists or hellfire and damnation preachers.
"Religion seemed like a story that people told themselves, and I had no evidence to the contrary," she said in an interview with Biola University, where she is currently studying for her second MA, in Christian Apologetics.
To her, the Bible was a collection of folktales and myths – no different than the stories of Zeus or Cinderella.
"I was a college professor – logical, intellectual, rational – and an atheist," she writes.

Now we get the good atheist credentials to make it sound really plausible, say a few things to shock the faithful into hating the bad atheist that she was and draw scorn on logic, intellect and rational thought. Ok, set up done now lets go for the punch.

Though she knew next to nothing about Christianity, she began to mock Christians and belittle their faith, intelligence and character.
"[I]t was fun to consider myself superior to the unenlightened, superstitious masses, and to make snide comments about Christians," Ordway writes.
She was convinced that faith was by definition irrational.
Evangelical invitations to "come to Jesus and get eternal life" sounded like "believing something irrational on demand to get a prize."
"I thought I knew exactly what faith was, and so I declined to look further," she writes. "Or perhaps I was afraid that there was more to it than I was willing to credit – but I didn’t want to deal with that. Easier by far to read only books by atheists that told me what I wanted to hear – that I was much smarter and intellectually honest and morally superior than the poor, deluded Christians.

Now we get the punch of making atheism out to be smug and self-superior but based on ignorance. Forget the fact that most atheist know more about the bible and theology than Christians do; I suggest you test this assertion by talking to a few atheists. Most are what they are because they sought knowledge and could no longer support faith. Sure, some atheists are self-superior. You get them in any crowd but for a Christian to make this accusation of another group goes beyond any statement involving pot and kettles.

"I had built myself a fortress of atheism, secure against any attack by irrational faith. And I lived in it, alone."
Ordway wasn't looking for God. She didn't believe He existed. But she began to be drawn to matters of faith.
One reason for her interest, she explains, is that her "naturalistic worldview was inadequate to explain the nature of reality in a coherent way: it could not explain the origin of the universe, nor could it explain morality."

Here it comes, the grossly unfounded and unsupported claim. The "naturalistic worldview was inadequate to explain the nature of reality in a coherent way: it could not explain the origin of the universe, nor could it explain morality." We are supposed to just nod and amen this comment and not look behind it. The naturalistic worldview has in its favor all of observation in any field of inquiry you can choose. When it makes an assertion it is based on evidence and withholds judgment in favor of agnosticism when there is not enough evidence to decide. The origin of the universe has been explained very well back to the singularity of the big bang and no claim of religion can make a better or more convincing explanation. As for morality this statement simply ignores all of secular philosophy on the subject and ignores all of the intensely moral atheists and agnostics.

"On the other hand, the theistic worldview was both consistent and powerfully explanatory: it offered a convincing, rationally consistent, and logical explanation for everything that the naturalistic worldview explained plus all the things that the naturalistic worldview couldn’t."

This is nothing short of a lie. This is not a different point of view, it is patently untrue. The internal text of the bible is not consistent by any measure and theology differs so radically from sect to sect as to make them irreconcilable. It is only convincing if you are willing to suspend all respect for reality, evidence and rational thought and blindly accept that that which flies in the teeth of all honest inquiry.

After a series of conversations with a mentor and exposure to the writings of authors like J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Ordway went from denying God to committing herself to Christ.
"I was startled to find that Christian theism had significantly better explanatory power than atheistic naturalism, in terms of explaining why the world is the way it is, and in accounting for my own experiences within it," she recounted, according to Biola. "Learning more about the Incarnation and about God, the most holy Trinity, has further reinforced my confidence that Christianity really does make sense of the world in a way no other worldview does."

It took a mentor? Funny how free inquiry and logical thought stands on its own, but maybe I am jaded. “Learning more about the Incarnation and about God, the most holy Trinity” I have grave concerns as to whether this constitutes learning. For one thing, mentioning the trinity which is nothing more than a construct of theology and doesn't even occur in the bible rather undermines even the biblical claim to authority.
And the claim that Christianity makes more sense than anything else is a purely subjective and unsupportable claim.

She found that "St. Paul's forthright declaration that Christianity is based on the historical, witnessed events of Christ’s death and resurrection," that "theology and philosophy offered real answers" to her questions and weren't an appeal to blind faith, and that "the history of the Church did not conform to [her] image of the Christian faith as a self-serving, politically useful fiction."

The problem is the Paul's declaration is just plain wrong. There is no historical accuracy at all. Most of the history that does appear in the New Testament is wrong and there is no way the writers of the gospels ever met Jesus or witnessed a thing. They clearly were fabricated after the fact and built off of each other in attempts to close holes the others left.
She had it right and then walked away from the truth.

Her intellectual pride was broken and she was humbled by God's goodness as she began to see herself as a sinner.

This is such a patently religious cliché I shouldn't even waste time refuting it. All I will bother saying is, show me the goodness...

"I don’t 'believe' because I like the idea and want it to be true. I don’t 'believe' because I think Christianity makes sense intellectually (although that was a necessary foundation to my faith). In fact, I wouldn’t say that I 'believe' in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or that I 'believe' I have a personal relationship with Him: I would say that I know these things to be true," the former atheist emphatically stated in a 2007 blog entry.

Again, this is so programmatic and templated I am not sure if I even believe there ever was a conversion. I just doesn't pass the smell test. It all reads like something made up out of whole cloth to try to convince the already faithful that there is nothing outside the church walls worth looking at. There is no 'knowing' possible in this realm and intellectual sense is one thing it doesn't make.

Ordway currently attends St. Michael's by-the-Sea in Southern California where she says she has grown in her Christian faith. She's hoping her book will help Christians – who may be familiar with the ideas that atheists believe but not understand what it's like to believe those things – in their evangelism.

And here they give away the game. As predicted, this is aimed at the faithful in an attempt to spray paint the church windows lest the congregants have the audacity to look at the world.

Offering some advice to those who approach atheists, she said, "Really, it doesn’t matter whether we like Christianity or not; what matters is, is it true? That approach may not resonate with everyone, but it was what opened the door for me."
Moreover, discipleship is critical, she said.
"I think one of the central elements of my own discipleship so far has been my pastors’ focus on the Cross," she said in the Biola interview. "The way of Jesus is the way of the cross. It is terribly painful to give up one’s sins and self-will, to allow one’s old self to be crucified along with Jesus ... and I have been very grateful to my pastors who acknowledge how hard and painful it can be along this Christian journey. But the way of the cross is also the way of life and peace."

I know that is does no good ultimately to refute this sort of non-sense but I feel compelled to say it anyway. I suppose this is because I wasted so much of my life grovelling before this cross of hers and uttering prayers into empty space. She is right about on thing, “what matters is, is it true?” And the emphatic answer is NO.

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About Me

I am a husband and a father of two. I work as a network administrator. I am interested in religion and philosophy, though mostly from an external perspective.