Josh McDowell: Atheism Wins in a Fair Match

This piece in the Christian Post caused me much amusement:

Atheists and skeptics now have equal access to our children as we have, which is why the number of Christian youth who believe in the fundamentals of Christianity is decreasing and sexual immorality is growing, apologist Josh McDowell said.

The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not,” said McDowell, who is author of two books on Christian apologetics, More than a Carpenter and New Evidence that Demands Verdict.

[…]I made the statement off and on for 10-11 years that the abundance of knowledge, the abundance of information, will not lead to certainty; it will lead to pervasive skepticism. And, folks, that’s exactly what has happened. It’s like this. How do you really know, there is so much out there… This abundance [of information] has led to skepticism. And then the Internet has leveled the playing field [giving equal access to skeptics].”

Yes, folks, McDowell is saying that Christianity can’t compete on a level playing field. That if people are exposed to both Christians’ and atheists’ arguments, that the Christian ones fail. And if that’s not an admission that Christian apologists don’t have any good arguments, I don’t know what is.

But of course he’s right to worry about skeptics speaking out. Skepticism is all about how to figure out what’s true and what’s not; what sorts of methods of inquiry tend to yield valid results and which don’t.

Then, for some reason, the article turns to the topic of pornography.

The Campus Crusade staff also said around 90 percent of the 16-year-olds, according to the latest statistics, had viewed pornography. And 80 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds had had exposure to hardcore pornography. In a recent study, teenagers were asked if pornography was acceptable, and 67 percent of the men and 59 percent of the women said “yes,” he added.

Interest in porn is nothing new, and I don’t know any guy who hasn’t found a copy of Playboy or Hustler in his father’s nightstand (or something similar), so these are numbers without a context. There’s not enough information here to conclude that the Internet has turned us all into sex-crazed horndogs; it’s quite possible that we’ve been that all along. I also suspect that society has mellowed over the past few decades to the point where many more people are willing to admit watching porn.

At any rate, I’m not sure what this has to do with Christianity, except insofar as every major religion tries to control its members’ sex lives. (Hey, I said “member”, so it’s like a cock joke. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and tell me I suck.)

Bottom line, I think McDowell’s worried that his church isn’t the only game in town anymore. And with good cause. But unlike him, I don’t see that as a problem.

(Update: Oops! Forgot to give credit to Jesus & Mo for pointing me at this story.)