Atheist Leading United Church of Canada Congregation

The Rev. Gretta Vosper could see her ordination as a minister in the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, stripped because of her outspoken embrace of atheism.

CHR Comment: A surprising example of how Protestant decline is affecting the liberal and ecumenical United Church of Canada. Apart from the notoriety, one wonders why the congregation would continue to present itself as a Christian Church. Would not honesty alone call for a change in name and stated mission for this organization?

Source: Can an atheist lead a Protestant church? A battle over religion in Canada. – The Washington Post

Thousands of Atheists to Rally on the National Mall

CHR Comment: The concern of the atheists, agnostics, and others who gather is the separation of church and state. They hold that reason and science should guide policy rather than religious ideology. A similar rally was held in 2012 with about 10,000 people attending.

The article also notes that 90% of congressmen identify themselves as Christians. Many of the other 10% are likely Jewish. Only one member of congress does not have a religious affiliation: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

Source: What Happens When Thousands Of Atheists Get Together On The National Mall?

Religion Declining, Secularism Surging (Perhaps)

CHR Comment: Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Sociology and Secular Studies, Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, provides an interesting look at the secularization trend described by a variety of polls. However, as I read the article, I wonder whether the polling fully accounts for persons who might described themselves as spiritual but are unaffiliated with a particular religion. He also oddly connects secularization with internet access as though internet use might dispose someone toward secularism. In any event, the anticipated number of church closings he describes in places like Holland are important cultural developments and sure indicators of change. Christians need to view countries with state churches as important mission fields.

Source: Religion Declining, Secularism Surging

Atheist Anti-Church Billboards: Are They Effective?

Billboards placed by an atheist group in different parts of the US are drawing strong reaction from both atheists and Christians alike.

CHR Comment: American Atheists is the group that pays for the billboards. They target Christmas as the most widely celebrated holiday by the majority religious group: Christianity. Their goal is to separate belief in charity and morality from religion.

Source: Atheist anti-church billboards land: Are they effective?

Stephen Colbert Urges Bill Maher to Return to Church

An awkward, at times profane, exchange between comedy talk show host Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher reflects the conflation of Islam with terrorism – and the debate over how to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

CHR Comment: Maher, a former Catholic, is openly hostile toward religion and blames religion for many of the troubles in the world today, such as terrorism. Colbert, on the other hand, is a sincere Catholic who called Maher to humble himself and return to the Lord during a live broadcast of his program, “The Late Show.”

Source: Awkward exchange: Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher on terrorism and religion – CSMonitor.com

1860 Rise in Religious Fervor Led to “In God We Trust.”

This article about an atheist’s plans to sue for the removal of “In God We Trust” from U. S. currency explains that the motto was added around the time of our great Civil War, perhaps as an expression of people’s faith that God would lead the nation through that devastating conflict. ‘In God We Trust’: Is the motto on US currency unconstitutional? (+video) – CSMonitor.com.

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No Atheism. Martin Luther. Reformation Theology

In Martin Luther’s Large Catechism appears an argument demonstrating that everyone is religious whether they intend to be or not. Luther writes:

“What does it mean to have a god? Or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take refuge in al distress. So, to have a God is nothing other than trusting and believing Him with the heart. I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust is right, then your god is also true. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God [Hebrews 11:6]. Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.” (Large Catechism I 1—3)

So where ever we place our highest trust, that becomes the object of our religion, our faith. If an Indian in the Amazon forest trusts his totem animal for help and security, then that is the basis of his religion. If a radical environmentalist places his trust in nature, then nature is his god, the object of his devotion. If an ingenious philosopher denies that there is a god but places his trust in the state (as happened under communism), then the state has become his god.

You have a god. Everyone does. So the question becomes: Is your god the true God?

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