The New Atheism is a leap of faith
There's a great article in the New York Times about the rise of atheism's popularity. The article offers a thoughtful response which in essence says that all world views are faith based. Whether you're a scientist or a pastor, an atheist, believer, or agnostic, all begin their journey with certain presuppositions. At some point, based on how they digest their data, leaps of faith are taken and a 'belief system' is in place. The author of the article rightly points out that advocates for the new atheism say, regarding the unanswered questions that remain in the worldview (such as evidence that altruistic behavior is inherently compatible with natural selection and 'survival of the fittest'), "we'll find the evidence soon."
Of course, such a statement is, if nothing else, a bold leap of faith, rivaling the Christian who says "the secret things belong to God" as a way of declaring that all will become clear when we see Christ face to face. Faith leaps are everywhere - even among the atheists.
The question isn't: "Will I live by faith or by evidence?" The reality is that all of us blend the two in establishing our worldview. The question is: "What evidence is most compelling in inviting a leap of faith." This question is approached in different ways by different people, but my own sense of things leads me this:
The Bible's view of reality, it's unfolding story of redemption, it's explanation of both the beauty and tragedy of this world, corresponds to reality better than any other options out there.
Unpacking that statement would require a whole book, but for now, I'll just toss it out there. And IF it's true, than history is headed in the direction of a universe filled with justice, beauty, intimacy, reconciliation, hope, and deep gladness and joy. My own movement towards this direction if philosophical. If you want the scientists move in this direction, you can find it here.
But wherever we land, know that we've landed by an interplay of a faith response to the evidence that is all around us. May all of us have the courage to swallow the red pill and look at things as honestly as possible.
We'll have a seminar about the new atheism at our church this coming February. Hope you can make it!