To the Atheists who Join our Discussions

I think that he’s saying that although he is not a believer, he approves of the mission of BioLogos to reconcile faith and science.

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I’m “opposed” to atheism, but I’m not opposed to atheists, and I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong in supporting an organization that helps them, even if the help is given within the framework of their atheistic worldview. Or maybe it’s easier to see it in terms of another religion. I read my kids the autobiography of Malala Yousefsai, the Pakistani girl who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work raising awareness about education for girls. We support what she is doing even though she is Muslim and works primarily within an Islamic framework.

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My struggle with Atheists on these pages is that they are just as likely to muddy the waters for Theistic Evolutionists as for YEC’s …

They oppose traditions of God, and unintentionally support the impression to YEC’s that we ARE Godless…

YEC’s are not likely to pay attention to the fact that a zealous defense of Evolutionary theory by an Atheist is not the same as a defense written by a moderate Christian.

Yep, the joys of an open forum…

But, people can ignore whomever they choose to ignore, and if people want a more straightforward, un-muddied message they can always limit themselves to reading the blog posts and articles. Is anyone really under the impression that if they post a question or topic here, a panel of EC experts will be responding to them? People can always direct their questions to BioLogos authors if they want to be clear about what perspective the answer is coming from.

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@Humanandroid: I am opposed to Christianity but very much in favour of BL’s mission.

I suppose so, but why does Humeandroid specify Christian Faith? Are there other Faiths that he is NOT opposed to? Is he, like Sam Harris, vehemently opposed to ANY religious Faith, or like many of my scientific colleagues, quietly agnostic?
Al Leo

I think it makes sense in the context. We’re talking about supporting BioLogos, which promotes harmonizing science with the Christian faith, not religion in general.

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While I agree with open discussion and hearing a range of views, in my opinion, BioLogos has made life difficult for itself (although it also invites controversy, which is good for a large number of visits), by insisting that the faith-science discussion is monopolised by evolution/neoDarwinism/scientism debates. If I can make a constructive suggestion, BioLogos may achieve its goal(s) with greater success if it:

(1) insists that atheists declare themselves as either anti-theists or anti-Christians, so that readers can at least understand where they are coming from (or admit to a non-belief).
(2) insist the conflict between evolutionists and anti evolutionists be confined to their respective views, especially if this conflict is amongst Christians. In this way we can avoid the confusion that spills over in poorly stated theological opinions.
(3) If anyone thinks orthodox theology must be modified or changed based on their view/belief in evolution, they must at the very least show they have some understanding of Christian theology.
(4) find ways to encourage discussion on a wider range of science and faith views.

I hope these few suggestions may prove helpful - I wish I can provide good advice on how the suggestions may be implemented by BioLogos, but since I do not, I encourage moderators and others at BioLogos to think of a way to practice something along these lines.

My remarks were pretty simple and straightforward. Beaglelady and Christy understood them. It seems that others have exerted effort not to. I am dumbfounded by the claim that my statement is an oxymoron, and merely confused by George Brooks’ comments. GJDS recommends an unwelcoming (I would say hostile) stance that, if it were generally backed by BL, I would take to be an invitation to bugger off. I have written before, and will reiterate now, that I would gladly excuse myself from these forums (which I visit rarely) if BL asked me to. I participate under an explicit invitation, and would completely understand if that invitation were retracted.

I am advocating an open discussion with some clarity regarding the outlook of those who comment. It is ironic that Humeandroid more or less has acted within my recommendations i.e.

[quote=“Humeandroid, post:17, topic:4403”]
I am an atheist (and former Christian) who visits for a combination of reasons.
[/quote] and yet finds them unwelcoming and perhaps hostile.

I agree that any anti-science sentiments should be discussed openly - I simply add the same criteria should apply for anti-Christian and anti-theist sentiments. It is also ironic that opinions of scientists who are also Christian, are treated as trivial or non-scientific (or unintelligent) by some atheists.

It is good when we participate in intelligent conversations as these often prove useful - my suggestions should encourage this by making each participant’s position clear.


I wouldn’t want to have to label myself before I posted as to what brand of Christian I was so people could make a pre-judgment about me. I’d like them to actually read what I say and judge it on its own merit. I would imagine most people feel the same way about preemptively labeling themselves. It’s a conversation. On the internet. You can always ask someone (nicely) how they would identify themselves if you really can’t figure it out or feel you must know, but some people show up here because they don’t know what they believe. It’s not going to be a prerequisite that everyone has to pick a team in order to make a contribution to a conversation.

If anyone is trusting anonymous comment board participants as their main source of theological knowledge, that’s their problem, not ours. I really am at a loss as to understand why it is so threatening to have some people expressing bad theology, ill-informed opinions, or lack of belief. The point of these boards is not to instruct the world in what everyone should believe or clear up everyone’s confusion about orthodox faith. That’s what going to church is for.

We don’t want people to be harassed. We’d like to keep conversations from devolving into shouting opposing opinions in a “Yes, it is!” “No, it’s not!” kind of back and forth. We would like more people to feel free to participate, not fewer.



I cannot see why stating that I am a Christian of the Orthodox tradition is threatening or making pre-judgements - it makes it easier for those Christians who understand Christianity and the various denomination, to understand my ‘starting point’, so to speak. It is much more practical to make such a statement, instead of quoting half a dozen Patristic writers, when I post an opinion. The same applies to Catholics, Calvinists and any other group. People would still read what I say and make their judgments accordingly.

Since BioLogos says its aim is faith-science, any statement that clarifies briefly the faith part would be welcomed. Atheists sometimes say they are non-believers, but in cases I have encountered, they tend to hide this and instead pretend they understand Christianity and try to portray themselves as seeking the truth regarding the faith - this is either a sly approach, or at times simply dishonest. If and when this takes place, any site on the internet should anticipate an appropriate response to dishonesty (whatever the content of the post).

I agree that we can avoid misunderstandings by asking people nicely if they would make their outlook clear - I am not in favour of anyone having to identify themselves in forums such as the internet. Nor am I advocating trusting comments for theological knowledge - but I am advocating greater clarity as this improves the quality of the posts and the discussion.

But don’t you think expecting everyone to clarify “I am a ___________” with every post would be burdensome? And if they did it once, three months ago, how does that clarify anything for the average reader who doesn’t read every thing that has been posted? And how do you make your “outlook clear” in a sentence. I couldn’t do that myself.

I can go on a conservative Republican site and offer an opinion from a liberal perspective without feeling the need to clarify who I voted for. How is that dishonest? If a reader couldn’t figure out I wasn’t representing the Republican party line, that would be their problem. And if I even if I don’t understand every nuance of the Republican position I am responding to, I’m still entitled to respectfully express my opinion about what I understand their position to be. How is this different? If all I could contribute was “Republicans are evil,” then I would expect to be blocked, but I don’t see how an intelligent comment from an opposing viewpoint is sneaky if I’m genuinely interested in the response I’ll get.


How about we not ascribe motivations to pretty diverse group of people.

Not everyone sees the world primarily in terms of truth and falsehood.

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I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill - Humeandroid stated, “I am an atheist (and former Christian)…” and I understood immediately his position. It is not burdensome, and it is made as a normal statement. If someone else does not take notice of the statement, so what. If a person does not state his/her overall perspective, it is not a problem, nor is there disrespect - but nonetheless, it makes a lot of sense, for example, to know someone is a “Republican” if they make some comments about, say, Trump, as a candidate. Without such a term, I as an outsider of US politics would never understand why the US would consider Trump as a candidate for the US Presidency. Fortunately, Republicans are glad to state who they are, and I can at least try to understand “why Trump?”.


I find @Eddie’s analysis reasonable and extremely likely. Atheist posters can’t resist taking shots at BioLogos writers even now …

Most of them just can’t help themselves…

[quote=“Eddie, post:36, topic:4403”]

But speaking of coming with an agenda…Yes, please. Let’s change the subject to ID. This thread has been woefully lacking in ID apologetics. How in the world did we make it to post 36 without addressing the elephant in the room? :elephant:

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I am sorry that I used that phrase, Humeandroid. The true atheists that I have met during my lifetime (scientists like Dawkins and Harris) would not support BioLogos’ efforts to any extent whatsoever. You seem to fit my definition of agnostic rather than atheist, but I’ll take your word for it. Dare I end this with: ‘God Bless’?
Al Leo

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It might be helpful to subdivide categories down a bit more into ‘anti-theists’ as opposed to mere ‘atheists’ as opposed to mere ‘agnostics’. An anti-theist may only support Biologos’ mission (as I suppose would still be possible, if unlikely) if they loved science so much that they were willing to advance it by any means (even they had to hold their nose because it comes bundled with some religion). But the vocal ones from that group aren’t usually willing to hold their nose and insist on thinking religion is antithetical to science. Atheists could themselves be on a smaller spectrum from ‘happen to be atheist because I’ve just never had cause to think about it much’ all the way to ‘I’ve thought over the evidence a lot and I’m firmly convinced there is no God’. But regardless of where they are in that, they have no beef with others who have come to theistic conclusions; (if they did, then that would move them to the ‘anti-theist’ category). And of course agnostics just aren’t willing to commit, though I suppose they could still easily be both anti-theist and agnostic at the same time. In fact for that matter you could be an anti-theist believer (consider the shuddering demons).

Hope all this ‘pigeon-holing’ helps.