“As an Atheist, I Truly Believe Africa Needs God”

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa. . ..  In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

I highly recommend this article.  The author understands that ideas matter and that Christian relief  offers something profoundly more important than just raw goods.

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4 thoughts on ““As an Atheist, I Truly Believe Africa Needs God”

  1. It is a wonderful thing when competing philosophies can put aside their quibbles and temporarily join hands in order to combat a common challenge. This atheist recognizes and commends the good in Christianity without feeling vulnerable. Even though Christians disagree severely with his ultimate conclusions about God, they are grateful for his advocacy of those few things on which they agree.

    To me, as a LDS, this is analogous to the recent controversy involving Glenn Beck and Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family knew that Beck was a Mormon, knew that Beck had a different view of God, of salvation, of scripture, of prophets, etc… but FOTF was willing to put away their weapons for a moment in order to celebrate the outstanding contribution that Beck was making to a common cause.

    Unfortunately, many Evangelical Christians felt outraged at FOTF’s approach, an approach that the same Christians might be grateful for in other circumstances (like the atheist in this article).

    What do you think about it?

  2. I have listened to the Glenn Beck radio program occasionally. I had a suspicion that he was LDS by a remark he made once about the “age of accountability” (RLDS believe in the age of accountability as well.) Thank you for informing me that my suspicion was correct. I would have much more respect for Evangelicals if they would just “call off the dogs” more often than they do. The LDS are not their enemies. In many ways, they are fighting for the same things.
    I have a sponsored child in Rwanda that I’ve supported for over seven years now, so I am glad that the athiest is supporting Christian work. I read the article, and I think he’s right in what he says. One of my maternal cousins was a missionary to Kenya (Baptist), and his service there really changed his life. His wife has a beautiful testimony of how the Lord really worked in her life as she contemplated going on a mission. I have the utmost respect for her. Anyway, Happy New Year 2009 everyone!

  3. Sorry to join the threadjack, but …

    I wish people wouldn’t hold up Glenn Beck as an example of what it means to be Mormon. In the spirit of Christian brotherhood, that’s all I’ll say about that.

    Lisa said:

    I had a suspicion that he was LDS by a remark he made once about the “age of accountability” (RLDS believe in the age of accountability as well.)

    For what it’s worth, the idea of an “age of accountability” didn’t originate with Joseph Smith. Such a doctrine was taught by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Whether that doctrine was taught before Wesley came around, I don’t know.

    I was raised in a church that followed the Wesleyan tradition, and the age of accountability was considered to be approximately 8 years. I just did some quick research, and it appears that various stripes of Methodists these days talk about an age of accountability of approximately 8 to 11 years of age. That’s one reason they hold confirmation around the age of 11 or 12; that’s the age they’re considered capable of accepting (or rejecting) the baptismal covenants that were made on their behalf when they were infants.

    I strongly suspect, but have no proof, that Joseph Smith picked up the idea of an age of accountability from the Methodists (which, by his own account, he took a liking to). Even the idea of persevering to the end, aside from being scriptural, along with the corresponding rejection of the once-saved-always-saved teaching of Calvinism (prominent in many but not all evangelical circles), is very much a Wesleyan concept. I think that Mormon theology and practice (testimony meetings were commony held by Methodists, maybe other churches too, in the 19th century) owe more to John Wesley and his followers than many Mormons would care to admit.

    My comments do not in the least suggest that Joseph Smith wasn’t inspired in his ministry.

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