May 3, 2008

Evangelical Manifesto: A Role For Atheists?

There may be growing discontent among some evangelical Christians over the politicization of their faith, but the Christian extremist base remains determined to fuse religious delusion and political power. Do atheists have a role in supporting those evangelicals who wish to withdraw from the culture wars and reclaim the religious roots of evangelism from the politicians? This is a controversial question, almost certain to split atheists. And yet, it just might be something of an opportunity too.

The pending "Evangelical Manifesto" is something with which many atheists may have some interest. After all, it has been described as "starkly self-critical."
"That way faith loses its independence, Christians become 'useful idiots' for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology," according to the draft.
The gist of the document appears to be that evangelical Christians have lost their humanity in getting sucked into the culture wars and need to learn how to be compassionate instead of simply judgmental. Why? Because they risk losing converts if they continue on their present course. By continuing to be hate-mongers, they turn into little more than bad stereotypes and make themselves less attractive.

I suspect most readers will agree that some cleaning of the evangelical Christian house is long overdue. But my question is whether we atheists have any part to play here. Should we support them in their efforts to the extent that we can agree with their goals, or is this an opportunity for us to facilitate increasing fragmentation within the evangelical ranks? What do you think?

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