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Two sides of the same coin

Evangelical pastor and editor of Christianity Today's companion publication Leadership Journal, Skye Jenthani, says that the new breed of atheists and modern American evangelicals, even though they are frequently at odds, may have more in common than they'd like to admit.

Jenthani writes in the Huffington Post

I can't help but see the irony. It appears some New Atheists are incorporating the very traits they've often condemned about evangelicals -- intolerance, dogmatism, and now even the church's penchant for schism. It seems anything can be turned into a religion, even anti-religion.

But evangelicals should take no delight in pointing out the speck in the atheists' eye while a log remains firmly lodged in our own.

The common criticism levied on atheists by evangelicals is that they are prideful -- seeking to live "above God" with no regard for his existence or instructions. Atheists, the argument says, have given up on a theistic universe in favor of a humanist one -- a world in which purpose and truth are fluidly defined by the individual or at best one's community. As a result, some Christians view atheists as adrift, lost, and susceptible to all kinds of error and evil. The solution, say these evangelicals, is to embrace a life "under God" by submitting to his ways.

This "over God" versus "under God" split is what has led to a great many cultural conflicts about same-sex marriage, abortion, stem cell research, public display of religious symbols, prayer in school, and even last month's decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to retain "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance despite arguments from atheists that it violates the First Amendment.

But in their attempts to conform the United States' law and society to God's commands, these culturally crusading evangelicals have exchanged the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a Gospel of Morality. And in the process many of my evangelical sisters and brothers find themselves guilty of the very sin they peg on atheists -- seeking a position of authority above God. Let me explain with a few examples.

Read the rest here.

--posted by Andrew Gerns

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