Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ann Coulter on Conversion

Yeah, my apologies to Christians for even mentioning her name, but Ann Coulter got herself some attention this week while appearing on CNBC's The Big Idea.

In sum, Coulter said the host, Donny Deutsch, and all Jews should convert to Christianity and that the US would be a better place if we were all Christian.

I'm not sure why some folks found this so surprising. I'm always surprised that so many Christians are willing to not evangelize. My own parents, for example, politely never mention that my sister and I may be going to hell. If I didn't know any better, I would begin to suspect that they don't actually care about my well-being. But like scientist supernaturalists, it seems most Christians have a switch that allows them to ignore their religious beliefs when they aren't at church.

At DC it was asked how we can best debunk Christianity. I think the most effective way is to make Christianity culturally irrelevant. Non-Christians aren't likely to convince many Christians to leave the church through debate because the majority aren't interested in seeking out debate. But if we continue pushing political policies of tolerance or policies based on science that - for whatever reason - large numbers of Christians oppose, the religion will have to continue to change to survive as the culture changes. The Barna Group poll showed that for young people, heterosexism was a defining characteristic of Christianity, and in light of this generation's more-or-less tolerant attitude, that attribute made Christianity appear less favorable to them. By continuing to support endeavors that make contraceptives and knowledge about safe sex and human sexuality more available, we will make such things the norm. Luckily for us (but unfortunately for a large number of young Christians), evangelical leaders continue to push policies and practices that simply do not work according to best evidence. So long as these Christians hang their name around abstinence only education and opposition to environmental policies, they'll be effecting their own end.

For me, all of this serves to underscore the delusional aspect of supernaturalism. When you begin to remove yourself from an evidence-based understanding of reality, you're going to be wrong on occasion in such a way that is damaging to your central points. Even a more liberal Christian like John Lennox demonstrated that he had distanced himself and his beliefs from the historical process, which lead to some of the more serious faults in his arguments in the Dawkins-Lennox debate. When you oppose something based upon your understanding of eschatology or an purportedly absolute morality and then the culture or evidence shifts beneath your feet, you will begin to have difficulty finding new converts. Your beliefs will either need to evolve w ith the culture (e.g., the Catholic Church on cosmology) or face serious criticism and possibly extinction (e.g., the Catholic Church on contraceptives, which continues to hurt its image as leaders make belief-based assertions that no evidence supports).

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