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A Liberal Adventist Pastor and Young Atheists

A Liberal Adventist Pastor and Young Atheists

Pastor John T. McLarty, a Seventh-day Adventist who blogs at Liberal Adventist Pastor has posted his sermon for today, titled Church and Young Atheists as well as another related piece Questions My Kids Ask, written for the Green Lake Church Gazette.

I mostly want you to go, read these posts, and hopefully comment and enter the discussion. What I want to add here is that we need more pastors to try to hear what young people are saying, learn what they’re thinking and see how the church can respond. I have friends who are very leery of the idea of the church, or God, trying to be relevant. They suggest we should become relevant to God. And I agree that the end result is supposed to be that we become more Christ-like, more God-like. But I see the whole story of the Bible as God becoming relevant to us first, so that we have the opportunity to move on from there.

Too much of the discussion of young people that I hear has to do with our stereotypes of who they are and what they are doing. For example, there’s the stereotype of the atheist who was hurt at church and therefore really hates the church and not God. And, like most stereotypes, there’s a basis for this. There are many people who have distanced themselves from faith because of the people in the church.

But there are also those like the young lady Pastor McLarty describes, who have simply found too many things they were asked to believe by the church that they couldn’t manage. They aren’t really atheists. They disbelieve a number of things they were taught, are unsure about many others, and they have more important things to do with their lives than to try to create their own theological system.

Further, there are those I would call real atheists. These are people who have come to the conclusion for various reasons that there is no God. And yes, my Christian friends, these people exist. You can tell yourself that they aren’t real, that deep down they do believe and are just rebels. I’m sure it’s comforting at some level to pretend that this form of rejection of everything you hold dear doesn’t actually exist. But it does. Not only that, they’re generally good people, great neighbors, and credits to their communities.

Why am I saying all of this? Simply to say that in any conversation on any topic we need to listen to what the other person has to say and then respond to them, not to a label. And Pastor McLarty is quite correct that for those he was referring to, rolling out proofs of God’s existence isn’t really relevant. In fact, I rarely find that rolling out proofs of God’s existence, all of which are quite inadequate in so many ways, is the best approach. These “proofs” answer certain objections in certain ways, but they don’t really prove that the Christian God is real.

But that is another subject …

Christians Behaving Vilely (Rhode Island Edition)

Christians Behaving Vilely (Rhode Island Edition)

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. (Matthew 5:43-45, NLT)

It appears that this message has not reached many Christians responding to a court order to remove a Christian banner from a Rhode Island high school. There have been treats against the 17 year old student who was the plaintiff. To get some of the tone of the remarks that aren’t legally “threats,” you might read this article. Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars has collected some comments from Twitter (language warning!) in a post titled Crank Up the Christian Hatred.

What I find even more disturbing is the number of people who are willing to provide some sort of justification for this type of behavior. Again, you’ll find them in the comments with comments such as “What did you expect?” Well, since I have followed church/state cases for years, including one just in the next county, I unfortunately expect Christians to behave very badly, to yell, scream, whine, defy the law, threaten, and resort to vile language in response to being denied some public stage. But in another sense, I expect better.

And don’t get me wrong based on the text I quoted at the start. These Christians are not experiencing persecution. While they may no longer have a religious banner in their high school, a public place, they doubtless have plenty of churches where they can express their viewpoints, not to mention Twitter and the comments sections of their newspapers, where they can make incredibly unchristian comments while others say, “It’s just natural,” or something of the sort.

Jesus said to respond in a loving and kind manner when you are persecuted. There’s an Iranian pastor on death row because he will not deny Christ. He’s being persecuted. A young woman was given 40 lashes for converting to Christianity in the Sudan. She is persecuted.

But pampered Americans who have to pray in their homes, their churches, in restaurants, on the sidewalks, and in many, many non-governmentally sponsored events? Oh the deprivation! Oh the sorrow! Doubtless God will no longer hear us.

And there are easy targets to blame. Atheists. See how you can make an epithet out of it? So now we talk about how much we hate them because they did what? Because they limited very slightly the places where we can proclaim our message. We don’t get the government’s authority behind our religion? How will the gospel ever survive without the backing of Uncle Sam?

In a general sense it’s pathetic. The persecuted majority. I’d be laughing if it didn’t make me so furious. But that’s just as an American citizen.

As a Christian myself, it makes me deeply ashamed and embarrassed. Here we have a perfect opportunity to model the behavior that Jesus commanded. We could be right up front and say, “We don’t want to use the power of the government to pursue our agenda in any case. The gospel doesn’t need a captive audience guaranteed by the power of the police (the public school classroom and facilities). Christians should be defending Jessica Ahlquist. They should be happy that she’s thinking enough about faith to take a courageous stand as she has done.

And no Christian should excuse the behavior of those who threaten or revile any group of people, in this case atheists and the ACLU (convenient cultural tags for those who don’t go along with our “Christian” culture). We should make it clear that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. Note here that by “revile” I don’t mean “say they’re wrong.” I’m very clearly saying the people who made these comments are wrong. I think they should repent. I don’t think they should be subject to threats of violence, or obscenities, and what’s more I don’t hate them. Their behavior infuriates me. I hope they repent. I call on them to repent.

I’ve used the word “Christian” for people who behave this way simply because that is what they claim to be. I don’t believe in trying to make non-Christians figure out who the “true” Christians are. God gets to judge that. But there is nothing “Christian” or “Christ-like” about this behavior.

There are those who call people “Christians in name only” because of doctrinal beliefs. Well, people who behave in the way demonstrated on Twitter and the newspaper comments section are Christians in name only, much more so than anyone who denies some doctrine. There is nothing Christ-like whatsoever about their behavior.

And those Christians among us who realize this should proclaim it.

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On Christians Insulting Atheists

On Christians Insulting Atheists

A couple of months ago I got a forwarded e-mail which purported to tell about a court case in Florida. An atheist was said to be complaining about not having a holiday like various varieties of religious folks, and got the ACLU to take the issue to court. The judge explains that he does have a holiday already, April Fools Day, citing Psalm 14:1/Psalm 53:1. It was an obvious joke, though it was forwarded seriously. I read it and deleted it. It wasn’t even the first time I’d seen a variant of this story. I decided to look for a link for this post, and the obvious source was Snopes.com, which does, indeed, list the story and informs us it is fake, though they note that there certainly are plenty of people who have taken it seriously.

I find it disturbing that people with the intelligence to turn on a computer might think this was real. What matters more, I think, is that people regard this as a good joke, and that some of those who regard it as real expressed the hope that we would get more judges like the one in this joke. We would be rightly be angry if such a joke were told about a racial minority or a disabled person, but it’s just fine to tell it about atheists.

What got me thinking about this was all the “war on Christmas” junk that goes around this time of year. We have the constant effort to get religious displays on public property and then to prevent other displays, such as atheist or humanist ones, from getting shown as well. It’s not as if we don’t have hundreds of places to display our nativity scenes. I even put one on the header of my company’s web site, Energion Publications. I get to do that. It’s my company. I don’t have to give equal time.

My downtown Pensacola church can put up any displays they want, and most of the town will have the opportunity to see them. My church doesn’t have to give other groups equal time. It’s a church. It gets to promote the views of its membership. But once we go onto public property, such as at city hall or at a school, things are somewhat different. There, the government is a sponsor.

For example, in West Chest, PA, a display on public property excluded a Tree of Knowledge sponsored by the local free thought society. I mention this one in particular—there are dozens—because I know someone who is involved. My question would be just who is harmed by the display of this tree of knowledge. Why would someone be insulted that some other person disagreed, and was able to express their disagreement. It is not as though Christians don’t have plenty of opportunity to express their point of view.

Elsewhere, Christians have tried to prevent Muslims from erecting a mosque, a place of worship. The argument has been made that Muslims should be regarded as a political movement, and thus not covered by freedom of religion. Often Christians have led in these actions. (Note that this point alone would be sufficient to mean that I would never vote for Cain or Gingrich under any circumstances.)

The comments on posts and news stories about these issues are very revealing, however. I’m amazed at the insulting language used by Christian commenters. Now there are doubtless readers who are thinking, “But what about the insulting language used by atheist posters?” I know of atheists who are quite concerned with such insulting language, but I’m a Christian, and what concerns me here is Christian witness. Posting obscenities about atheists says very bad things about Christians who do it.

My interest here is not in the legal aspects. I support separation of church and state, but I really want to address Christians and the way we think about these issues and the way we behave. The word “blasphemy,” in my opinion, has no place in political discourse. The government should know nothing of and have no concern with “blasphemy.” It’s a religious concept. One of the arguments Christians use is that by their very denial of God, atheists blaspheme. By writing against Christianity, they do so even more.

But here’s what I think is truly blasphemous, and since I’m addressing Christians about what would be blasphemy in Christianity, I think the word “blasphemy” is entirely appropriate. When a Christian says “I am a Christian” and then uses obscenities about another human being, or insults that person, that is blasphemy. It is also taking the name of the Lord, Jesus, in vain. It’s not the use of four letter words that constitutes “in vain.” It’s the claim that you are a follower of Jesus, in scriptural terms part of the Body of Christ in the world, and then acting in a way that is diametrically opposed to what you claim.

By insulting, I don’t mean disagreement, even when vigorously expressed. If you disagree with me, for example, and inform me of that disagreement, that’s not insult. But if you call me immoral for my view, or call me a fool, or lace your explanation with obscenities directed at me, then that’s insulting. Christians shouldn’t be doing that. Indeed, nobody should, but as a Christian, I’m addressing Christians.

What should we do instead? In my view, there should be a line of Christians at any hearing that was about denying someone else their freedom of expression. We should be testifying in their favor. Just think of the difference in our witness if, instead of being insulted that others have views that differ from ours, we went out of our way to treat them as we would want to be treated.

I think Jesus said something about that somewhere.

Oh, yes.  “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NLT).

 

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O’Reilly vs Dawkins and Mocking God

O’Reilly vs Dawkins and Mocking God

The video below is a short exchange between Richard Dawkins and Bill O’Reilly. I’ve come to expect nonsense from O’Reilly, and I have a fairly low opinion of what Dawkins writes regarding theology, while considering his science writing second to none.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

What caught my attention here was the accusation that Dawkins is mocking God. More and more, I see this accusation used against anyone who doesn’t accept someone’s religious beliefs and has the audacity to challenge them. I’ve expressed a certain disdain for what Dawkins writes about theology, but I believe he has the right to say that.

Is what he says “mocking God”? Well, he’s an atheist. He doesn’t believe in God. What exactly do you expect him to say?

Thus I can be regarded as blaspheming Islam because I don’t believe that Mohammed was a prophet. In turn, a Christian might think a Muslim was blaspheming Jesus because he doesn’t believe Jesus is divine. If you believe something isn’t true, well, you believe it isn’t true!

Dawkins is bound to think the core story of Christianity is myth (understood in the derogatory sense), because he doesn’t believe it’s true, either as history, or as a good, effective myth (seen in the more positive sense). I may disagree. I may dislike what he has to say. I may even think his language is intemperate from time to time, but that fact still remains.

But expressing it in a children’s book? Again, I have the right to produce a children’s book based on my theological beliefs, entwining them in the story. Is this not also acceptable when done by someone else with different beliefs?

Just because faith is involved shouldn’t mean that it’s unacceptable for each person to express their point of view, and defend it, even vigorously.

Interpreting the Bible – Mid-Course Focus

Interpreting the Bible – Mid-Course Focus

This isn’t a summary of previous posts, but rather an attempt to focus on the issue I’m trying to address with this series before I continue. The problem with a series like this is that the examples begin to take over the topic. Since I have used complementarianism and theistic evolution as examples, and brought inerrancy into the discussion in order to demonstrate that it is not the key issue involved, it is easy for a reader to decide that I’m trying to debate any one of those issues, or perhaps to prefer that I debate them and try to redirect the topic.

Since the posts to which I responded brought up two more issues, homosexuality and violent passages in the Bible, which are again controversial issues, I want to focus back on the point I’m trying to make: It’s both difficult and inappropriate to tell your opponent what his or her position ought to be. In this case I’m responding to the charge that a Christian who accepts the theory of evolution is less Biblical because the “obvious exegesis” of Genesis favors a young earth creationist position.

Also, though I believe that theistic evolution is the best position to take at the moment, I am not attempting to demonstrate that. Rather, I’m attempting to show that it, along with a number of other positions on Genesis, can be held plausibly as interpretations of the Biblical text. The particular position one adopts depends on other factors, including the particular approach one takes to Biblical interpretation. After this mid-course focus I’m going to look at other issues and ask whether the exegesis is so obvious that an opponent of some particular brand of theology can easily dismiss it as “not real Christianity.” Within some limits, Christianity allows, and has always allowed, some flexibility.

The problem often starts with a charge that goes something like this:

1) The Bible clearly teaches X
2) X is unthinkable or false
3) So Christianity must be false

Now there are numerous and huge gaps in the logic as I have written it, but I think those gaps generally exist in the argument as presented by critics of Christianity. (Note to my philosophically inclined friends: To avoid general implosion with possible damage to the space-time continuum, do not try to critique that as a syllogism. Did I say it was a syllogism? I did not!) Let me apply this to a couple of relevant issues:

1) The Bible clearly teaches that the earth was created in seven literal days 6,000 years ago
2) That teaching is false
3) Christianity must be false

One obviously missing element here is “Christianity actually teaches X” but that is generally assumed, as is the direct connection between “The Bible clearly teaches X” and “Christianity accepts X as true.”

For example, one could say that the Bible teaches that an animal must be brought as a sacrifice if one sins, but Christianity does not teach this, for reasons that seem good and proper to pretty much all Christians. Here we have a teaching that is fairly clear, but that Christians believe applied to a particular set of times and places, not including the present. You can try to use this to demonstrate that Christians don’t really follow the Bible, but it’s not going to help as an argument against Christianity because it teaches animal sacrifice. (PETA beware!)

That would fit more with another form of the argument:

1) The Bible teaches that God condones and even commands violence
2) Condoning violence is unthinkable (but where is the demonstration that it is wrong?)
3) Therefore Christianity is false

Now supposing this argument is used against a Christian who is a pacifist. Clearly the conclusion is false with reference to that person’s belief.

The point I am trying to make here is not primarily whether the Bible teaches any of these things, or whether they are true or false, but whether a Christian can believe or disbelieve them and still be a Christian. Is it proper to dismiss theistic evolutionists and even old earth creationists as “not real Christians,” rather than to respond to their actual position?

Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion, clearly wants to argue with fundamentalists and then dismiss all Christians based on his arguments against fundamentalists. I blogged about that starting in From the Land of the Deluded, where I make some similar points.

I have two suggestions here. First, that Christianity is not defined by American fundamentalism. I have supported that partially and will continue to do so as the series progresses. Second, that it is better to respond to an opponent based on what that opponent actually believes rather than what you imagine them to believe or what you think they ought to believe.

It is inevitable that this will sometimes fail, but it is an admirable goal in any case, and trying to define your opponent out of existence as the first step to a debate is probably not going to get you very far.

Christians do this to atheists from time to time as well, in particular by concluding that an atheist actually hates God or does not desire to be under authority. This suggests that an atheist isn’t really an atheist, but is rather a rebellious theist. Perhaps it would be a good idea to stretch our Christian imaginations a little bit, and allow that someone might just not find the idea of God convincing, or might not see sufficient evidence to believe. Imagine, in other words, that the atheist is honestly stating his or her beliefs.

Further, we need to realize that what seems to us a certain result of a particular belief might not be so certain for someone else. In talking about grief, I am likely to mention that my relationship with Jesus Christ and spiritual disciplines including prayer and fasting have been critical to me in facing loss. Do I mean that someone without those particular beliefs will not be able to handle what I have handled? Not at all! From personal experience I know persons from other faith traditions who have found their beliefs and spiritual practices critical, and I know non-believers who have also endured and come out of such trials successfully. I mention this particular case because it is very common for Christians to believe that atheists will be unable to endure hardship and loss.

One last illustration might help. I speak frequently to Methodist groups, as I’m a member of a United Methodist congregation. Every Methodist group with whom I have discussed Calvinism has come to the conclusion that Calvinists will not engage in evangelism. Why? If Calvinists believe in predestination–that God has determined who will be saved or lost–what purpose is their for evangelism? The result is already determined!

Now I have always pointed out that Calvinists do, in fact, practice evangelism, and thus attacking them for a failure in outreach would be inappropriate. A few years ago, however, I had the experience of hearing John Blanchard, a Calvinist evangelist (something many Methodists would regard as an oxymoron), who was asked this very question: Why, if you believe in predestination, are you an evangelist?

His answer, as I remember it, was this: Predestination is a doctrine, and I believe it; evangelism is a command, and I obey it.

Hmmm. A bit different logic than we Methodists were assuming he would use, but here we have him believing both things. He is not the person we assumed he would be.

Neither is the theistic evolutionist the person you assumed him to be. He is not necessarily a scientist whose religion is loosely pasted on. He might be a devout believer and a scientist. On the other hand, his training might be in Biblical studies, like mine is, and the church and faith might be the stuff of his daily life. In any case, he (or she) not likely to be impressed when you claim he’s not who he says he is.

As I move forward I’m going to discuss views on homosexuality and the church. It may surprise some to know that many advocates of acceptance of gays and lesbians in the full fellowship of the church are actually quite conservative in their understanding of exegesis. One can fault their results in a number of passages, in my view, but one can hardly say that they lack the intent or a conservative approach, even as one charges them with special pleading in particular cases.

And so as not to disappoint, let me note right now that my intention will not be to argue one side or another here, but rather to look at the types of Biblical interpretation involved.

Previous posts in this series were:

Evangelism from an Atheist Perspective

Evangelism from an Atheist Perspective

I tend to talk a great deal about how we should approach those of other faiths. It’s something that interests me a great deal. Going way back to the early days of this blog, I find the post Witnessing without being a Pest.

Let me note here, however, that I’m not calling on any of us, of any faith or none, to homogenize or compromise what we believe. I think it’s important to express one’s actual beliefs honestly and clearly. The trouble is, it’s often the behavior of the messenger much more than the honesty of the beliefs that often offends other people.

Of course what I write is from a Christian perspective, and one may question whether I have a good idea how non-Christians may feel. Thus I think that three recent blog posts on the blog Caraleisa are quite useful. She has encountered Christians whose obvious goal is to convert her, and to do it as quickly as possible.

The posts are:

Check it out!

In Which God do we Trust?

In Which God do we Trust?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’m never one to shrink from producing a thousand words–or ten! I wonder what a video is worth? A certain number of words per frame?

In any case, I wrote earlier about God being mocked in the campaign and I even commented on how “In God We Trust” on our money must be some sort of national joke, considering that we don’t really trust God as a nation, and we do so in our financial affairs least of all.

Now comes an image that’s worth every bit of it:

A Golden Calf?
A Golden Calf?

You can find some more pictures and even video of some singing and (almost) dancing (Exodus 32:17-19) around the calf here.

In relation to this, consider the following ad from the Liddy Dole campaign in North Carolina. Hear the part about “In God We Trust” on the money? What on earth is “godless money” anyhow, other than, of course, money that we put ahead of God and thus make into an idol.

Well, that was probably easy to go through than a few thousand words!

HT: One Thing I Know. Also to Dispatches from the Culture Wars for the video.

Who Speaks for Religion?

Who Speaks for Religion?

If I went around my neighborhood asking friends and neighbors just what evolutionary biology was all about, then went and found an evolutionary biologist and asked him to defend the comments of all the “evolutionists” in my neighborhood, I think he would be justly annoyed. He would probably tell me that these people didn’t understand the details of the field and in fact that most of them didn’t understand the broad outlines. He would certainly define terms differently than they did.

Suppose, in turn, that I chastise him for using eccentric terminology and not understanding the real issues involved in the field because, after all, this is the way that regular people, folks who haven’t been to university and studied such stuff, understand the terms. How dare he refuse to defend their viewpoint? After all, one must defend this activity as it is actually understood out there among the masses.

Pretty stupid of me, no? Well, that’s a slightly exaggerated version of how I felt upon reading the post Saving Religion from the Religion Scholars. What is a “religion scholar” anyhow? Can I start referring to evolutionary biologists as “science scholars”? Probably not. I’d get accused of failing to comprehend the many and various disciplines involved, the terminology used, and the interests and perspectives.

I’m not here to defend the particular “religion scholar” referred to in the post (nor to attack him, for that matter). That’s not the major issue. I would point out that I could always find one biologist who says really dumb things (I think Answers in Genesis and Reasons to Believe could provide me with a couple), and declare as a result that we should rescue science from scientists in general.

The simple fact is that religion is not a single entity, the study of religion is not a single field, and the arguments against one sort of religion are not effective as arguments against another sort. You may want to make it so for convenience, but it really doesn’t work. I don’t get worried when an atheist chooses to argue against someone else’s beliefs and then demand that I defend them. I simply shrug and move on to more productive pursuits.

Now most atheists with whom I have interacted have taken the time to hear what I’m saying, just as I try to take the time to hear what they’re saying. It should shock nobody to discover that not every atheist has the same set of beliefs, and not every person who has some religious beliefs shares the same set.

It should similarly come as no surprise that those who spend their time studying one scholarly discipline that is part of the broad field we call religion will have specific vocabulary and ways of talking about the subject that those who are not specialists don’t share.

To use myself as an example, I am often called a “theologian” by laypeople. I’m not a theologian. I don’t claim this, as some think, because I don’t like theology, but because I am not trained as a theologian, and haven’t researched or taught in that broad set of disciplines grouped under “theology.” My actual training is in Biblical and cognate languages, a field which requires no religious commitment, just a scholarly one. My actual work, to the extent I’m involved in religion, is popularizing, but that still doesn’t make me a theologian.

Within Biblical studies and theology there are again many subfields. Just as I am annoyed when a “scientist”–a physicist, for example (with reference to nobody in particular)–claims to speak authoritatively regarding biology, I am annoyed if someone whose training is in pastoral ministry claims to speak authoritatively on issues of Hebrew grammar. Each person will have some knowledge of other fields, but we must each be careful.

Thus nobody speaks for religion, and it’s even less likely that anyone could than it is for science in general. If we are to have dialog on these issues, then we will have to take the time to find out the specific nuances of our opponents’ views. If those hardliners on either side of the issue don’t want to do so, that is their loss.

(Note: James McGrath has also blogged on this issue.)

Expelled! and the Atheism-Evolution Connection

Expelled! and the Atheism-Evolution Connection

There is something I want to clarify from my previous post on the topic. Nobody has mentioned this to me, but it is a common enough error that I think I need to say something explicit.

I object both to the comparison of scientists supporting the theory of evolution to Nazis and the equation of acceptance of evolution with atheism, but I do so for rather different reasons.

I regard Nazism as ethically repugnant and pretty much without redeeming value. It’s manifestation in Germany was particularly evil. The passage of years, however, has resulted in a variety of people comparing just about anyone they disagree with to the Nazis. If you get by with it, it guarantees a win. I regard the comparison of scientists denying tenure to a professor with Nazis as a slander. It also demonstrates a lack of ethical judgment, and specifically devalues the true evil of Nazism.

I think it’s quite possible that for the producers of Expelled, the connection to atheists is more important. Atheism is more present and real to modern Americans, and it is the one thing they expect Christians of all denominations and believers from other faiths to be able to agree on–atheism is bad. So if you can hammer the concept into people that belief in evolution is the equivalent of atheism, they will viscerally reject evolution as they already do atheism.

It’s a fairly standard propaganda ploy. Find something that is already in disrepute amongst your audience (and polls on the perception of atheists will show the basis for this), then all you have to do is completely (subconsciously if possible) relate the idea you dislike to the one people already dislike. Unfortunately, all that is necessary to accomplish this goal is to repeat it often enough and loudly enough.

So my problem with “evolution is atheism” is quite different from my concern about Nazism. Nazism is nasty, and it is slander to connect it with evolutionary science. Atheists are generally good, moral, productive people, and there is nothing about their belief system that says they will be anything else. There’s a big difference between a group of people who believe as a tenet of their ideology that you ought to be killed, and a group that disagrees with you on certain philosophical points, even very basic ones.

So I want to make myself clear. I do not object to the connection of atheism and evolution because atheism is nasty, and you shouldn’t smear evolution in that way. I object to this connection because it is incorrect. The theory of evolution describes the natural world, and is not incompatible with theism. It is also not incompatible with atheism. It is simply organized information about the natural world. Connecting it with a philosophy is completely unrelated to determining its truth value.

Nazism is an ideology with an ethically repugnant set of actions inherent in it. It is slanderous to connect evolution with that ideology.

It remains true, of course, that both connections are inappropriate propaganda ploys and the producers of Expelled! should be ashamed of themselves for both.