An Unreasonable Reason Rally

On March 24th, it is expected a large collection of secular atheists will descend on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to champion a “secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values”. I personally think that is all fine and good. In fact, I hate to add even more pen to an already overblown exercise established only to generate unwarranted attention. However, I thought it a good and helpful assignment to evaluate such an unusually emotional endeavor in the name of humanism.

Although not an expert on historical atheism by any means, I have always found atheists to be somewhat politically and culturally removed from public discourse. It seems somewhat sequential that an atheist conversion is destined to be followed by years of quiet solitude engaged in disciplines like the genetic sequencing of the common fruit fly. Atheists typically carry an air of elitism that would dare not stoop to the level of a mere immortal who fights with a quiver of faith. Not these atheists! They are loud, proud and ticked off.

It is this new vigor for fighting all things religious that really peaked my interest in what is commonly called the New Atheist Movement. I’ve read essays and heard debates by those leading the New Atheist Movement. Names like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett who are considered founders of the New Atheists. Do you realize Richard Dawkins actually believes raising children to believe in God is child abuse? I’m not kidding when I say these folks are intensely motivated to shake up the debate on faith in America. It begs the question, is their motivation counterproductive?

I am bound to be doing something too important on March 24th to make it to the Reason Rally. If I wasn’t planning on flossing my teeth or trimming my toenails that day, I’m sure I would ask the keynote speaker, Richard Dawkins, why so angry? Doesn’t an activist-like, emotionally charged, dogmatic and condescending agenda focused on reason seem, well…unreasonable? Shouldn’t the doorway of their “freedom of inquiry” swing both ways?

This is the part of the post where we taste a little humble pie. You see, I think the New Atheists have taken a page right out of the Christian in America Playbook. I don’t think they have elevated the debate to new heights of understanding, I think they have stooped down to our level of self righteousness en mass. Maybe the reason their antics seem so foul is that they are so familiar.

I know I am treading on thin ice when I attempt to assume the response of Christ to modern situational ethics. However, I don’t see Christ marching on the capital demanding justice and equality if He were to return today. When Christ spoke to the masses he provided paradoxical insight like the beatitudes. When He spoke to his disciples He lovingly excised their unbelief with the skill of a surgeon. And above all, He miraculously transformed lives through active hands and purposeful relationships.

Hopefully, as we watch the unreasonable Reason Rally next month we can be reminded how ineffective such measures truly are in changing minds and changing hearts.

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