Essay: Christianity and its margin of victory over atheism

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Jesus Christ said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." - Matthew 28:18-19 (ESV)
Richard Dawkins
The Oxford University Professor Daniel Came wrote to the new atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins:: "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[1] See: Atheism and cowardice

The website Sporting Charts defines margin of victory in the sporting world:

A statistic based on the difference between the number of points scored by the winning team and the number of points scored by the losing team. Margin of victory is used to quickly determine how significant the victory was by a particular team. A small margin of victory generally denotes a close, evenly matched game, while a large margin of victory denotes a blowout by one team.[2]

The Chinese general and strategist Sun Tzu said, "Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack."

Margin of ideological victory

So in ideological battles/wars, the greater the strength/number of defenses its adherents provide (some arguments are stronger than others) and the fewer the reasonable/potential objections that opponents can raise; and the greater and more ways its adherents can show that opposing views are in error without their proponents providing satisfactory counter responses, the greater the margin of ideological victory is.

Margin of ideological defeat

The margin of ideological defeat is the number of ideological points scored by opposing ideologies and the number of ideological points scored by the losing ideology.

Validity of Christianity. Spuriousness of atheism

Validity of Christianity

Spuriousness of atheism

Atheism, disbelief and "sub-disbeliefs"

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household in the United States remain atheists as adults.[3]

Although there is good evidence suggesting atheists do not truly exists and they actively suppress their belief and knowledge of God and enigmatically engage in self-deception (see: Denials that atheists exist), hypothetically atheism is a "mega-disbelief" that is made up and held together by various "sub-disbeliefs" and/or "sub-beliefs" such as a belief in philosophical naturalism (see also: Atheist worldview and Atheism and beliefs).[4]

If at any one time one of these sub-disbeliefs and/or sub-beliefs is effectively challenged, an atheist could hypothetically remain in his disbelief (Although in a weaker form of disbelief). However, when a sufficient number of these sub-disbeliefs and/or sub-beliefs are countered, an atheists will really start to question their disbelief. This concept is referred to as graceful degradation and it is used in network theory where several nodes in a network are destroyed, but the network as a whole continues to function albeit in a more limited fashion (until enough nodes are no longer functioning and the system experiences a total loss of function).[5]

Given the myriad of strong evidences for the existence of God and the lack of evidence and sound reasoning for atheism/agnosticism, it is not unusual for atheists/agnostics to report that they waver in their purported disbelief/unbelief (see: Atheists doubting the validity of atheism).

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that in the United States only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[6] According to Dr. Mark Gray, "of those raised as atheists, 30% are now affiliated with a Protestant denomination, 10% are Catholic, 2% are Jewish, 1% are Mormon, and 1% are Pagan."[7] See also: Atheism and its retention rate in individuals and Atheism and children

In the 20th century and in the 21st century, large masses of people have abandoned atheism in communist and formerly communist countries (see: Abandonment of atheism in atheistic communist countries).

Christianity vs. Atheism: Dissemination of ideas

Seth Godin, an American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker, said "Ideas that spread win."[8]

As far as Christian apologetics, great efforts have been made as far as compiling and refining arguments for Christianity and against opposing ideas. Accordingly, it is important that these ideas are spread as widely as possible.

As can be seen below, there are trends which point to atheism having a lower amount of distribution as far as the dissemination of its ideology and theism having an increase in terms of the distribution of its ideas.

Christianity vs. atheism: Number of adherents

Desecularization of the world and global resurgence of religion

In terms of its geographic distribution, Christianity is a more global religion than most, if not all, religions.[9][10] See: Global Christianity

See also: Desecularization and Global atheism statistics

On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported:

Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass."[11]

In 2011, the American Spectator declared:

The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding."[12]

On December 23, 2012, Professor Eric Kaufmann who teaches at Birbeck College, University of London wrote:

I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious.

On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British. [13]

Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."[14]

See also:

Tables on the decline/growth of atheism/Christianity/other religions, by year

Data compiled by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS):

Given the information in the resources directly above, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, expects the global atheist population to shrink in its total number of individuals in 2017.

If CSGC is correct, then not only is the global market share for atheism going downward, but now the actual number of atheists in the world is going down as well. Specifically, CSGC is projecting that from the mid-point of 2016 to the midpoint of 2017, the total number of atheists in the world is going to go from 138,101,000 individuals to 137,041,000 individuals. That is a net loss of 60,000 atheists in the world during this period.[15]

Growing evidence that atheists are weary and lacking in confidence

The atheist Georgetown professor Jacques Berlinerblau likens the strength of the American atheist movement to a "gimpy little zebra".[16] See: American atheism

There is growing evidence that atheists are battle weary and running scared on the Atheism vs. Christianity front and are bitterly divided:

1. The agnostic professor Eric Kaufmann, Birbeck College, University of London, UK, 2010:

"Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence... Secularism's greatest triumphs owe less to science than to popular social movements like nationalism, socialism and 1960s anarchist-liberalism. Ironically, secularism's demographic deficit means that it will probably only succeed in the twenty-first century if it can create a secular form of 'religious' enthusiasm." [17]

See also: Desecularization


2. The Oxford University Professor Daniel Came wrote to the New Atheist Richard Dawkins:: "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[18] - The Telegraph, 2011

See also: Atheism and cowardice

3. On September 27, 2014 in a blog post entitled The Atheist Disillusionment, the prominent atheist PZ Myers declared:

"I will make a prediction, right here and now.... The number of people identifying as atheists will stagnate or even shrink, because organized atheism is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on irrelevant metaphysical differences that don’t help people...

Unless we change.

I don’t know that we can."[19]

See also: Atheism, social justice and hypocrisy

4. "Did anyone on Dawkins AMA ask how he feels about singlehandedly destroying the atheist movement with the Dear Muslima yet?"[20] - Atheist activist and blogger Jen McCreight post at Twitter on November 26, 2013

For more information, please see:

Christian morale vs. atheist movement morale

See also

Notes

  1. Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2011
  2. Margin of Victory
  3. Nazworth, Nap (July 11, 2012). "Study: atheists have lowest 'retention rate' compared to religious groups". christianpost.com.
  4. The notion that Western atheism is a "mega-disbelief" is taken from Christian apologists who argue that atheism is a worldview (see: Atheist worldview). In addition, I have borrowed the notion that atheism is a mega-disbelief from the YouTube atheist Evid3nc3 who argues that theism is a mega-belief made up of smaller sub-beliefs.[1]
  5. I have borrowed the notion that atheism is a mega-disbelief from the YouTube atheist Evid3nc3 who argues that theism is a mega-belief made up of smaller sub-beliefs.[2]
  6. Study: Atheists Have Lowest 'Retention Rate' Compared to Religious Groups
  7. Study: Atheists Have Lowest 'Retention Rate' Compared to Religious Groups
  8. A Look Back-Seth Godin: Ideas That Spread, Win - Greater Talent Network
  9. Many religions heavily concentrated in one or two countries
  10. Christianity in its global context
  11. http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/global-study-atheists-decline-only-18-world-population-2020 Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020]
  12. Thriving Christianity
  13. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  14. Shall the religious inherit the earth
  15. Professor Jacques Berlinerblau tells atheists: Stop whining!
  16. Shall the religious inherit the earth? - Academic paper
  17. Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to the debate the existence of God
  18. The Atheist Disillusionment by PZ Myers
  19. Jen McCreight Twitter post