I am going back to Lynchburg Virginia this Friday as I plan to address a crowd at Randolph College. It will be my first formal book signing. Preacher Boy has been edited and is available for sale on amazon. There is a small chance that orders placed this week will not apply to the newly edited format. That said, I take with me 100 paperbacks of the new edition ready for sale. I invite all Liberty students and really anyone who wants to come for an afternoon of comedy and philosophy and political commentary.
Keeping my emotions in check will be key for me as I tour the campus after being away for a few years. Much has changed at LU but their commitment to their stranglehold theology of fundamentalism is intact. The fervor of Right Wing passion never burned hotter, as evidenced by Michelle Bachmann and Donald Trump being on campus today.
I know my talk will be a small blip on the radar for this town but I hope I can encourage someone while I am there and make a few dollars on book sales to help me get through the challenging year. The new book is coming along and I think it will be a fun one.
I am a little disturbed by the onslaught of anti-atheist books coming out and one I picked up recently really got me steaming. It is called, “The Delusion of Disbelief” and it is a miserably conceived book. The bulk of it seems to be nitpicking Dawkins’ take on whether or not America is founded on secular ideals. Also the author, David Aikman, rightly points out that Christopher Hitchens’ knowledge of Deism was off base. That point is valid but the book leaves the reader wondering, “so what?”
I think I have an inkling of an idea why books like these are supposed to be effective. In the Christian world, the Biblical faith is impregnably and infallibly perfect. Nothing gets past the guards of the faith. When finding fault with Dawkins or Hitchens works, the Christian jumps up in euphoric rapture because he feels the thread is coming unspooled. Nonsense. Hitchens and Dawkins never claimed to be perfect. They never claimed to be theologians. Their grasp of Scripture isn’t always right on. But they are right more than wrong and the chinks in the armor do not cover vital parts of their overall argument. Christians convinced their faith is perfect feel like atheism needs to provide a comprehensive and complete worldview like Christianity with an answer for everything. Atheism is not a worldview, only a descriptor of many worldviews.
A man asked me, “on atheism, why is murder wrong? In view of evolution, why is murder and rape wrong?” This must have seemed to him a good question when he heard his pastor say it a hundred times as a rhetorical question while beating up a strawman atheist. He thought he would pluck it from his repertoir of inane questions and lay it on me. Bad idea.
Evolution is not a worldview. It is not a religion. It is a science. Even if evolution is false (and it is not) it is not meant to be a monolithic metanarative of human morality. One can be a Deistic Evolutionist. One can be any kind of evolutionist he chooses. Evolution and atheism are not worldviews!
I asked him, “on electromagnetism, why is grand theft auto bad? On plate tectonics, why is lying bad? On gravity, is masturbation healthy? In light of thermodynamics, is capital punishment good for deterring violent crime? From a gynecological worldview, does divorce help kids perform in school?”
The question was a terrible one. “On evolution….” if you still don’t believe me, just exchange words for their helpful definition and repeat the question. “In light of evolution ( the theory that complex life forms share ancestry with less complex lifeforms) how can it be argued that murder (wrongfully taking a life) is wrong (not right).” The word murder implies wrongness in the first place, but aside from that….the question is simply a poorly conceived question and perhaps the reason for that is becase the people asking it probably never thought of the question on their own. Perhaps they did think of it but made the mistake of asking a slick preacher for a canned answer. In either case, the question is rarely asked with even feigned sincerity.