Fascinating video. Don't you think? I hear folks like this are being dubbed as "New, New Atheists". I find myself asking, "How can this expand our understanding of the religious impulse?", "What exactly is emerging here?", and "How might this co-option of church style prompt further evolution in Christianity and our understanding of Christian community distinctiveness, particularly in contemporary and post-contemporary evangelical quarters". What a world we live in eh? Western Buddhists, Eastern Christians, post-institutional Evangelicals and now church-planting Atheists. What can I say? It looks paradoxical at first glance, but does that just mean we need to expand our imagination?
Why is it so? It was suggested that many Australian parents based their education decisions on a cost-benefit analysis, finding that their reservations about religious education, while certainly there, were outweighed by their positive perceptions of the reputation, discipline, culture, facilities and academic standards of religious schools. I would have to agree with this assessment given my own experience with parents commenting on available schooling choices.
The Costs/Benefits of Volunteer Teaching
This is all the more fascinating given the way secular ethics classes, despite the demand from parents, have been struggling to find enough volunteers and donations to teach the curriculum in the secular school system. Despite their numbers, the “nones” have struggled to develop a volunteering culture where ethics classes are concerned. Could it be that Australians are struggling to have their irreligious cake and eat it?
The Deeper Costs of Different Convictions
I remember a criticism from Friedrich Nietzsche that many of his fellow Atheists failed to take their convictions to their logical conclusion, that Christian values could not be sustained without Christian foundations. It would seem that in Australian society, religious values are still valued to a certain extent even if their underpinnings are not. Everyone wants their child to have ethics taught to their children by volunteers, but it’s mostly religious folk who do the volunteering. Australians like picking the fruits, even when they don’t like watering the roots.
All this reinforces my perception that Australians are not anti-religious per se, just anti-intense religiousity, prefering laid back spirituality. It will be interesting to see how this plays out longer term.
This evening I discovered a new series of videos satirising religion. It's called Godsville, and given that even Rainbow Serpent does not escape unscathed in the trailer, I suspect it's been created by young Aussie atheists. This episode, Kali's date, features "Buddha, Jesus and Kali discuss the usual; Sex, Dating and Enlightenment."
I've been bamboozled by the Christian commentary I'm seeing this evening on New Athiest author Christopher Hitchens. Having heard of his long anticipated death Christians leaders are falling over themselves trying to explain how he's now, or just might be, in heaven. Just to show how nice and non-judgemental we all are.
It strikes me as chaplaincy gone mad. Hitchens made it quite clear he wanted no prayers or posthumous salvation attempts. Indeed, this is exactly the sort of thing he used to snear at. Why can't Christians respect the right of non-Christians to reject the Messiah and the God he revealed? It smells of Christendom spirit to deny freedom of irreligion and freedom from heaven.
This evening I find The Christian Post has been quoting an article from Vanity Fair in which Atheist author Christopher Hitchens "pays tribute" to the King James Bible.
Thinking I'd check this "tribute" at the source, I found it half way through a Hitchens ramble on Bible translation history. Hitchens states, "Though I am sometimes reluctant to admit it, there really is something “timeless” in the Tyndale/King James synthesis. For generations, it provided a common stock of references and allusions, rivaled only by Shakespeare in this respect."
I note, however, that the tribute is paid to the style more than content. Yet, even so, it would seem that here the English language we have finally found something Hitchens admits has not been poisoned completely by religion. Too bad the King James Translation is one of my least favourites. I'm sure that identifies me as a complete pleb.