September 19, 2011

Atheism’s ‘cool’ image hampering message of Christianity

by Jan Harris

Speaking “In Conversation” to comedian Frank Skinner at Canterbury Cathedral on Friday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said that a perception of atheism as ‘cool’ was hindering the church’s efforts to convey the message of Christianity.

Dr Rowan Williams laid some of the blame for this on the popularity of books by atheist Richard Dawkins and antitheist Christopher Hitchens.

Richard Dawkins is the author of ‘The God Delusion’, which attacks God “in all his forms” and claims that religious fundamentalism is dividing people around the world.

“I’d want to know how many atheists The God Delusion created,” Dr Williams said to Frank Skinner.

“The book sold, but did it make a difference to the number of people who were actually committed one way or the other?”

“I’m not avoiding the point that the coolness of atheism is very much in evidence.

“The problem is it’s become a bit of a vicious circle. Atheism is cool, so books about atheism are cool,” he continued.

Dr Williams told Mr Skinner that the Church is trying new ways of boosting attendance, including holding prayer groups in cafés and pubs, but he does not believe there is a ‘quick fix’ to the problem.

Richard Dawkins is part of a campaign against the teaching of creationism in schools.

A new campaign website has been launched and Dawkins is one of 30 signatories to a joint statement titled ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough has also joined the campaign, which is demanding that creationism and intelligent design should be banned outright from the science curriculum.

Mr Dawkins is also calling for evolution to be a compulsory part of the primary curriculum.

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