Wednesday, 17 May 2017

f) Lesson 3 ATHEISM IS A RELIGION

Read pages 55 - 86.

Theme:  Atheism has all the characteristics that describe all religions
Considering Pages 55 - 73 Atheism is a Religion: Humans are religious by nature

1) Read and elaborate on the two goals of this important section.

2) Go through each of the characteristics. review / illustrate / elaborate
          for atheism and Christianity

     a) Cosmic story: Review the two cosmic stories?

     b) “God” Evolution - the power that shapes the story. Is this a fair comparison?
         Give examples where the words evolve, evolution have become part of our
         vocabulary our psyche as a culture.

     c) Assumptions: list the assumptions that atheism makes. 
             (Give each participant one paragraph to review,)
           What are the two foundational assumptions  
             "In the last analysis everything begins with…" 
              and "What is truth?"

     d) Assumptions become foundational facts: “Holding to them religiously.”
         Discuss this phenomenon, willing to die / willing to kill for them.
         Where do we see this behaviour in Christians?

     e) Attitudes towards outsiders:
         Discuss the terms inclusive and normative for both worldviews / religions
                            Atheism and Christianity      (page 62)
         Give examples of discrimination against those who disagree with Atheism.
         Give examples where discrimination happens in Christian circles as well.
       
     f) Culture becomes Propaganda Machine:
         Give examples where atheism is educating / re-educating all the people
         Do you experience these influences?    How can you / do you resist them?
 
     g) Faith shaping rituals: The mall, the Stadium, the Celebrity Circuit
         Is this a fair comparison?
         How can we limit these influences in our lives and families?


3) Christians have been deeply shaped by these cultural rituals as well. 
        Can we trust the contours of our own culturally shaped psyche? 
        If not, what can we trust?

Considering 74 - 75 Mental Climate - Protecting Culture’s Meta-story

4) Where do you see Atheism’s mental climate at work in our culture?
        How has atheism gotten such a free ride in our culture?
        Why has it been considered neutral in the struggle to understand religion? 
             (A preliminary discussion, more when we focus on the appendices.)

Considering 76 - 80  Understanding Fundamentalism

5) How does a firm belief in essentials (fundamentals - every religion has them) 
      become fundamentalism?

6) How can a person be a firm believer in universal foundational truths
       and yet still come across as a tolerant person?

7) Can the terms fundamentalism and intolerance also apply to atheists?
      How does culture define intolerance - a belief system or how we treat others?
      How should we respond to such character traits in others?
      How can we personally avoid such labels in our own lives?

Considering pages 81 - 86 The Problem of Language

8) We live in a global community. What knowledge basics, attitudes, skills will
       help us become better listeners and following that, better communicators 
       of the Biblical message?

Wrap Up

Read the following passages. Reflect on the interface between believers and non believers.

Acts 4:6-12        2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:2         1 Peter 3:15-17

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