By now you’ve probably heard of the “new atheists” – people who don’t stop at not believing in God but also want to stop you from believing. They equate theism with alchemy and flat earthers and, more, raising children in a religion with child abuse. They’re also smug, nasty, and generally abusive of Christians.
Being who we are, Christians have started to formulate answers to their attacks, some more logical and some more experiential.
I think in the short term the postmodern approach might be an effective way to deal with the “new atheists.” Consider these two responses:
It’s not true that Christianity/religion is evil. A lot of great things have been done in the name of Christianity/religion, and a lot of evil was done in the name of secularism. Besides, it’s too incredible to believe that the universe and life arose from nothing; a creator is necessary.
Who do you think you are to tell us what we should believe? What makes you so special? Oh, you have a degree? Well, I guess you’re smarter than us, so you can tell us what to think. Nazi.
Which has more power in our culture? I see this as analogous to Paul turning the Pharisees against the priests and Stoics against the Epicureans. We can and should take advantage of the climate of our culture.
Part of this battle is going to be a media battle for the hearts and minds of the marginal, cultural believers. Don’t get me wrong, I want their souls, not just their minds, but given that some in this battle want to see Sunday school outlawed, we need to worry about votes. In that respect, I think the postmodern approach might keep the militant atheists from getting a foot in the door.
Update: Upon further reflection, I don't think my "postmodern" response is sufficiently postmodern (it's mostly just sarcastic, which has its uses too). The response of the typical postmodern to statements about a religion being true or false is not sarcasm so much as...
"Who are you to say that our religion is wrong?! We have every right to believe whatever we want to believe. Keep your close-minded ideas to yourself!"
The Nazi bit may still find it's way in there. Either way, my point is the same: In our culture, I'm don't a careful, reasoned response is going to be as effective as utilizing the reflexive rejection of any kind of absolute in religion that is generally used against Christian evangelism. The goal is not to "defeat" the new atheists as much as it is to keep policy makers from giving their more extreme ideas a hearing.