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Reflecting on the Paris attacks, how to know if you’re an atheist + more

This week, it’s really all about Paris. It seems to us here at Eternity that we all need to keep speaking the event to each other, giving voice to our inner fears, and processing the tragedy that struck last weekend. You don’t have to move on just yet, not until you’re ready. Here’s some stuff we’ve found interesting:


Yale theologian Miroslav Volf wrote for the Washington Post about whether it’s time to get rid of religion altogether. He says, “In a globalized world, the terror of God’s crazy-eyed followers is threatening lives, peace and prosperity of everyone on the planet. We are tempted to conclude: The sooner that humanity either eradicates or quarantines off religion, the better our world will be. This conclusion would be too hasty, however.” Do you agree?Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 10.59.00 am

In response to the Paris terror attacks, 27 United States Governors announced that they are closing their state borders to Syrian refugees. A smaller number of governors have called on the Obama administration to suspend plans to issue visas to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Obama raised the refugee limit to 85,000 this fiscal year (including the 10,000 from Syria), and 100,000 for fiscal year 2017. A study by Pew Research showed that those who were most unhappy with his decision were white evangelicals.

Sydney Minister Mike Paget wrote this piece addressing the #StandwithParis movement that went viral after the attacks. He says, “to ‘stand with’ someone is not to empathise with them, walk alongside them, pray with them or simply love them. To ‘stand with’ someone is to join them in their particular struggle and fight. It means to take their side. Ed Stetzer recently wrote, in Christianity Today, a US-based, globally distributed magazine for evangelical Christians: “We are, it is hard to disagree, in what will be a decades-long struggle with radical Islamists.” And when Christians declare that they are on the side of Paris, whilst having offered no similar identification with Beirut or Mosul, we have an enormous problem.”

American writer and blogger Tim Challies also took to the Internet to talk about Christian extremism: “So Christian, with zealotry on every heart and in every mind today, perhaps this is a time to ask about your own level of extremism. Are you eager to do good for others? Is this what motivates you? Is this the natural expression of your faith in Jesus Christ? Could it be said that you are a good works zealot? God calls you to nothing less.”

In other news, The Guardian proposed this test to help you figure out if you’re a believer or an atheist.

And over on the ABC, Simon Smart reflects on a recent study claiming that religious kids are meaner than other kids. “There is no doubt that the impact of religion matters a great deal. The world is becoming more religious, not less, so it is a fair question whether the impact is, overall, positive or not. The recent study of religious children should make believers think carefully about what they teach kids, how it is interpreted, and how that impacts behaviour.”