Defending Christianity: The Rise of the ‘New Atheists’

On several fronts we see the persecution of christians. Coptic christians in Egypt, who have lived there for thousands of years are now being persecuted.

Atheism is being actively promoted in Britain, the US, and elsewhere. Christians in Bethlehem, (Israel) have dwindled to less than 15% of the population, from 70% fifty years ago. Christians in the Arab world are fleeing and being killed. China is promoting atheism in schools and in the mass media, although this effort is said to be failing. [Article]

To be balanced, it is important to note that in China, christianity is still on the rise. Many hundreds of thousands of Chinese have already converted to Christianity, in spite of the threat of torture and imprisonment. In the Islamic world also, many Moslems are coming to christianity, while other moslems are persecuted within their own faith.

As we defend christianity, may we always defend freedom of religion, for all people, of every faith.

Pope Benedict XVI visits Britain in 2010, seen here with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Rowan Williams

…from 2011

Clergy told to take on the ‘new atheists’

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent

8:45AM GMT 06 Feb 2011

The Church of England will this week vow to fight "new atheism" in an attempt to combat the rise of secularism and defend Christianity in Britain.

Clergy are to be urged to be more vocal in countering the arguments put forward by a more hard-line group of atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who have campaigned for a less tolerant attitude towards religion.

A report endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, warns that the Church faces a battle to prevent faith being seen as "a social problem" and says the next five years are set to be a period of "exceptional challenge".

It expresses concern that Christians are facing hostility at work and says the Church could lose its place at the centre of public life unless it challenges attempts to marginalise religious belief.

The rallying call comes amid fears that Christians are suffering from an increasing level of discrimination following a series of cases in which they have been punished for sharing their beliefs.

Members of the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, will be asked at this week’s meeting to back the landmark report, which outlines a vision to ensure a strong future of the Church.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8305803/Clergy-told-to-take-on-the-new-atheists.html

Pope Benedict XVI visits Britain

…from 2009

The march of the atheist movement

First it was a bus, now a student body has been formed to spread the secular word

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/the-march-of-the-atheist-movement-1627061.html

….from 2009

A study by Trinity College in Connecticut reveals atheism is on the rise in the U.S. Host Michel Martin interviews Blair Scott, Founder of the North Alabama Free Thought Association to talk about what it means to be an atheist and how they’re working to find acceptance in communities throughout the country.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111885128

…from 2007

A large convention of atheists gathered today in Virginia, where men, women and children eagerly proclaimed their belief God does not exist.

While their views still may be the minority in the country, atheists have become more vocal and visible in recent years.

T-shirts, bumper stickers and even rap songs proclaim atheists’ beliefs. Atheist summer camps now exist for children.

"Over the last 20 years," said Alan Wolfe of Boston College, "the number of people willing to tell people in surveys that they don’t believe in God have pretty much doubled."

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3671172&page=1

..…from 2006

The rise of the ‘New Atheists’

RELIGION

November 08, 2006|By Simon Hooper for CNN

If you’d wanted to write a holiday season bestseller this year, your best bet would have been to write dieting guide or a self-help book.

Failing that, an impassioned denunciation of the existence of God and the dangers of organized religion should have done the trick.

With his latest book "The God Delusion" currently sitting comfortably among Amazon.com’s top sellers and on both the New York Times and the UK’s Sunday Times bestseller lists, Richard Dawkins will no doubt appreciate the irony of friends and families exchanging copies on Christmas Day.

http://articles.cnn.com/2006-11-08/world/atheism.feature_1_new-atheists-new-atheism-religion?_s=PM:WORLD

Excerpt from ASIANEWS.IT – a christian news agency

Hence our dedication is a missionary gesture. Among the articles we present in today’s edition concerning the Peoples Republic of China are interviews with a priest who was the first ever Chinese religious to receive a doctorate since the 1950s. In addition, there is an interview with recent converts. They have all become priests and deacons and emphasize the urgent need for stable formation, an education dedicated to studying the faith on a deeper level in terms of culture adapted to Chinese customs and modern life presently invading their country.

This urgency becomes even more heightened because of two facts:

1) the Chinese government is empowering and promoting atheism in schools and the mass-media (even in television soap operas) without giving any space to religious education;

2) China’s youth want to know more about Christianity, but Christians have not spread their faith to Chinese culture due to past and recent persecution. This fact often renders them silent when confronting questions about the faith.

The AsiaNews Chinese web-site serves as a means of information. Yet it is also serves as a way to make educational tips and suggestions via news, testimonials, reflections, and the words of the pope and church personalities –all of which all bolster the Church’s mission in China.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/About-us-127.html

Government-sponsored Atheism in China Fails: Less than 15% of Chinese are Atheists

One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure.

And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, according to a major new study.

http://blackchristiannews.com/news/2011/01/government-sponsored-atheism-in-china-fails-less-than-15-of-chinese-are-atheists.html

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