Next Tuesday, March 24 at 9:00 PM est CNN will have a special report program on the social phenomenon called Atheism. This report is said to take a closer look at the movement of Atheism in America. I advise all Catholics and believers to view it to get an idea of how these people think and how they organize themselves.
I will update this post as I learn more details and will give my review after I view it. Stayed tune.
UPDATE** March 24, 2014 10 PM EST
Well, I just watched this report and have some mixed feelings about it. Overall, atheism was presented fairly well. However, it was also presented as a parody of religion. The report showcased young atheists, one with religious parents and another who is studying at Harvard’s divinity school. It also presented Richard Dawkins, David Silverman, Jerry W. DeWitt, and an anonymous protestant minister who is flirting with atheism, so to speak. One of the young atheists named David Gormley is a son of religious parents who were shocked when he told them that he was an atheist. His parents claim that he became “dead” to them. However, they still live together but are not as close. David claims that other friends and relatives stopped talking to him altogether. He runs a secular club at his university and claims that as a young person, going to church did not make sense to him after spending Wednesdays for 6-8 hours praying to God. David felt out of place and decided atheism was for him. The other young person, Vanessa Sotay stated that she studied at Harvard Divinity school because she believes religion is part of humanity in a cultural sense. She was raised as a reformed Jew.
Jerry W. DeWitt was a Pentecostal pastor who almost ran for mayor. However, he had doubts deep in himself. While on a call to see a parishioner’s’s relative who got into a car accident, he claims that event confirmed his atheism. He felt that prayer was useless. In 2011, he quit his pastor job and became a building inspector. When his family saw him photographed with Richard Dawkins on Facebook, his wife left him, his congregation became upset with him and he went into foreclosure due to debt. DeWitt now rents a home and uses it to house “atheistic services.” He literally preaches to a congregation entitled, “Community Mission Chapel.” Furthermore, the CNN report featured an alleged Protestant minister who lost his faith. He is part of the “Clergy Project” which is a community of current and former clergy who are atheists but fear revealing that detail due to the fact that their ministry may be their livelihood and they will lose it.
In conclusion, the special report on atheism was interesting, but I believe some atheists would disapprove of the reporting. As stated before, the report presented atheism as sort of a parody of religion. Students and former pastors were presented as being “chaplains” for atheism or humanist communities. DeWitt is even running a church-like ministry catering to humanists where he has monetary collections just like a typical Christian denomination would have. Viewers can see the clear cognitive dissonance of these atheists. They dislike God and religion, but then present atheism as a religion to their followers. It is just absurd. The idea of a humanist chaplain or atheist chaplain is ridiculous. Moreover, the idea of an “atheist preacher” is laughable. It is clear that DeWitt is using atheism to make money. One guy even stated that atheism is part of American religious diversity. The show presented atheism as a religion. I am not sure how other atheists will take this as many state that atheism is not a religious movement. The two young people presented clearly are atheists for emotional reasons. David’s parents are Evangelicals who took him to their service which lasted 6-8 hours. Any child will come to dislike something they attend every week for 6-8 hours! He is also going through a rebellious stage by distancing himself from the social script his parents brought him up in. Atheism is a way for him to feel independent. He is doing “his own thing” instead of repeating his parents scripts. Vanessa comes from a Jewish family who survived the Holocaust. She claims that “God did not survive the Holocaust.” I took this as her way of saying that God was not there for the Jews who were killed during this horrific event. This probably turned off her family from continuing their faith in God.
Meanwhile, David Silverman uses his usual appeal to ignorance tactic by claiming that there is no evidence for God. I address this fallacy here: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2012/11/no-evidence-for-god-therefore-no-god.html. Moreover, he even claims that the Bible is not history. Seriously? So how the heck did Israel come to be? Did this nation come out of a fairy tale? If so, where is Atlantis? This guy is extremely foolish. It is no wonder why the organization that he runs, American Atheists only has 5,000 members according to him during the CNN report. Silverman then presented his “Atheist TV” channel which was an epic fail, see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2014/08/atheist-tv.html. He also claims that America is not supposed to be “under God” or “trust in God.” He is clearly ignorant of American history. Our Declaration of Independence clearly mentions God:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” –http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
The Constitution is even signed “in the year of our Lord.” God is as American as apple pie, so to speak. Furthermore, DeWitt is clearly a con artist. He is using his talent for “preaching” to make money off of atheists. How can atheists be so foolish to attend an “atheist chapel?” Seriously guys?! Atheism means a rejection of God and religious belief, not an imitation of the latter. In regards to the anonymous minister all I can say is that all Christians go through the “Dark Night of the Soul” which is a period of spiritual maturation where the soul feels abandoned by God. God seems to not exist. All saints have gone through this process and is what the late Christopher Hitchens misinterpreted in Blessed Mother Teresa’s writings when she wrote of her doubts.
Richard Dawkins then claims that the world will be better without religion but does not acknowledge that Stalin and other atheist leaders hold the record for the most mass murders. Their regimes pushed atheism and oppressed human rights. Cuba and China today still oppress their people and commit horrendous crimes in the name of a godless society. Dawkins also uses what I call the “Leprechaun fallacy” which I refuted here: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2015/03/atheist-nonsense-introduction-part-i.html. I feel bad for these individuals who persist in their ignorance. There is some underlying psychological issue going on that forces them to be apprehensive towards God and religion. Granted, some believers do horrible things and sometimes do not represent their faith well (I included); however, this is no reason to stop believing. We are all sinners and make mistakes. No religion or faith should be based on the behavior of its followers.
This CNN report gave a glimpse of atheism and what it really is. It is simply a parody of religious belief. We are all predisposed to believe in God. This is part of our genetic makeup. Atheism is the outlier in nature see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2014/07/atheists-dont-exist.html. A claim was made during the report that young people are becoming atheists or leaving religion because of the internet. This may be because the internet is full of so much misinformation that it is hard to verify what is factual and what is not. There are many sites such as Wikipedia, blogs and the like with fabrications and other distortions. Take this “news” article claiming Dr. Steven Hawkins endorsed intelligent design, see: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/stephen-hawkins-admits-intelligent-design-is-highly-probable/. A lot of people are falling for that fake news and believing it! This is an example of how careful we must be when searching for things on the internet. Young people are impressionable and will believe anything that may be presented as “cool” or rebellious. Atheism is a rebellious social phenomenon so it is attractive to young people who want to go against the “status quo.” This show reminded me of one of the reasons I left atheism behind: it is silly. Atheism is just an opium for the contrarian. It is based on speculative reasoning that fails to sustain itself logically.