So this made for an interesting read. The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne decided to publish a brochure and devote a portion of their website to addressing the rise of atheism and providing their followers with some ammunition to fight off those crazy nonbelievers that have proven to be so bothersome.
To start, let me just say Hooray! that there is enough influence of the atheist community to make this organization take notice. Score.
The brochure is quite amusing in its attempts to answer some of the more up front questions atheist would ask of the religious.
Why does god allow suffering? It is explained in the brochure that "suﬀering is the price that has to be paid for a universe which has been given its own freedom as well as the free will that is God’s gift to us". How nice of god to do this for us, huh?!
Under the title "Doesn’t Christianity cause violence and wars?" They reply "There can be no doubt that throughout history people have justiﬁed going to war under the banner of Christianity. There have been occasions in the past when the church has not only failed to stop injustice, but has also been the cause of it. However, the same can be said of almost any human ideology." So, to paraphrase, yes we kill people in the name of religion, but others do it too, so it's OK.
This one is my favorite: "You’ve probably heard it asked, ‘How can we trust the Bible? It opens with a completely unscientiﬁc account of the origins of this planet. Where are the dinosaurs, evolution, things of that sort?’When one looks at Genesis (the ﬁrst book of the Bible) from a theological, literary and cultural point of view, it becomes apparent that Genesis is not attempting to present a scientiﬁc account of the beginnings of life. Perhaps surprisingly, something similar is true of science. Eminent scientist and author Paul Davies has written:Clearly then, both religion and science are founded on faith – namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too. For that reason, both monotheistic religion and orthodox science fail to provide a complete account of physical existence." Can science PROVE how the universe began? At this point no, but there sure is a lot of scientific evidence that points to a more probable explanation than a skydaddy that magically created everything in six days and then took a day off. And by the way, they didn't bother to answer the dinosaur question. They never will because it completely upends the whole creationist story.
The link to the brochure is below. This page might be fun to come back to as they open up the page for a Q&A answer session. I might have to post a few of my own.