Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Knoxville News Sentinel of Knoxville, Tennessee. It’s titled Restraints make people leave church. The newspaper has a comments section, but you need to subscribe to see what’s going on there.
Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Jim. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!.
A letter writer wrote, “Why are people leaving religion? I am an atheist and I know why.”
We can’t find that earlier letter, but it doesn’t matter. Jim’s response is sufficiently entertaining on its own. He says:
Contrarily, I was an atheist and became a Christian. The scientific reasons the writer cites can be used just as well to justify belief in God.
Ah, Jim was saved from the vile pit of atheism — and it was science that brought him into the light! The next few paragraphs are Jim’s scientific reasons for abandoning atheism. Well cut it short by presenting them in a list:
• The Big Bang theory implies that the universe had a beginning. If something begins to be it must have a cause. Christians believe that cause is God, but atheists have no explanation.
• The fine-tuning of the universe that makes it permit life — at last count 115 items — also point to God.
• Evolution cannot explain the beginning of life, and the complexity of DNA points to an intelligent designer.
• The existence of moral values point to a creator. … I am not saying all atheists act immorally, only that they have no basis for their morality.
• The Christian religion is based on well-documented historical evidence of Jesus’ life, crucifixion, resurrection and the change in his followers afterward.
You’re already familiar with most of those, so we’ll only comment on Jim’s last item. Presumably he’s is referring to the New Testament. That’s one document, the provenance of which is unclear, and its contents required centuries of debate and controversy before the current version was agreed upon. Because of the absence of contemporaneous external historical references, professional historians would not consider that to be “well-documented historical evidence.” Additionally, the central doctrines of Christianity were in controversy until 325 AD — see Council of Nicaea, and numerous sectarian controversies still exist.
Regardless of what Jim considers “well-documented historical evidence,” he still has all those scientific reasons. But he doesn’t mention any of them at the end of his letter:
Why are people leaving the church? In my humble opinion, they are choosing a lifestyle that allows them freedom to live without the restraints of moral and ethical standards (particularly sexual) that they do not like and their faith is undermined by the propaganda of our secular society.
So there you are. Jim says the real reason people are leaving the church is in order to live a life of unrestrained sexual debauchery. Admit it, dear reader — he’s talking about you.
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