Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Twilight of Atheism

I took advantadge of one of my first calm saturday to finish a book I have long been reading, I have got interested to read a book about atheism when I could saw some atheist books very well marketed here, but I rather choose a more general book instead of a response from McGrath to Dawkins book, already translated to Portuguese but not marketed as well.
I thought Twilight of Atheism: the rise and fall of disbelief in the modern world a very well organized book and also very well researched, I could found a well done chronology of atheism related to what was happening in Christianity and history at those time.
Besides the very good historical chronology of religion I could saw a very interesting point of view on which faith (and absent of it) is very related to imaginary, when we steal the imaginary from the faith it will not nourish.
Also, McGrath purposes that atheism grows when religion is closely related to power. He made think frequently on Bush era and those atheist books released:
"Where religion is seen to oppress, confine, deprive, and limit, atheism may well be seen as offering humanity a larger vision of freedom. But where religion manages to anchor itself in the hearts and minds of ordinary people, is sensitive to their needs and concerns, and offers them a better future, the less credible the atheist critique will appear. Believers need to realize that, strange though it may seem, it is they who will have the greatest impact on atheism's future."

Besides the historic chronogram of atheism, faith and religion I recommend two chapters very closely related to emerging church issues: "Disconnection from the Sacred: Protestantism and Atheism" where McGrath ties Protestantism ascetism of liturgy to lack of immagination to atheism and "Postmodernity: Atheism and Radical Cultural Change" where he describes very well modernism and postmodernism.

Questions we make to our pillow

In July, I thought about making some gatherings of friends not related to my church network to start some espiritual conversations and get to work all the stuff I have been learned so far, also, it was a matter of gathering friends that I have not seen so frequently, as we live in a very big city, when we loose regular contact through business, school or even church, we have to be very intentional to maintain friendship, there's people that is hard to meet once a year even if he lives in São Paulo too.
I got a meeting room at a hotel located in a business neighborhood in Sao Paulo. A friend help me with a very beautiful invitation which, besides the theme "Questions we make to our pillow", raised a lot of couriosity.
As I am yet a kind of unchurched, I do not count with a team to help me, so I asked help for Sandro Baggio who made available so good and talented people from Projeto 242 to give me a very generous help with music, paintings, drama and films. That is why also I called some friends trhough Facebook to help me through prayers for those gatherings.
We planned to talk about some deep questions that assalt us frequently, like, how much money is enough, how to do so many things in a so little time, if there is a purpose in life and how to be happy. The purpose was not to answer those questions (we are not crazy to it) but to questions how those matters are relevant to us and how. We did it reflecting about what Solomon wrote in Eclesiates and also with some teachings of Jesus. It was a very good time to talk and refect about our rithym of life, about our current consumist system of values and to find again how deeply was Jesus teachings to address those matters, life is so simple and good life is so at hand! Sometimes it seems so far!
As we live in a very crazy city, there was many friends who wanted to come but was unable to, we scheduled our gatherings to four Wednesday nights from August to October, but our city reserves surprises that usually blocks people from going from one side to another.

We tried to test new ways to talk about spirituality, though it is not so easy when you are raised from a church when you are trained to talk about this in a very closed point of view, but I thing we did make good gatherings though there wasn't as many friends as I planned. But for the couriosity raised and for the matter of perseverance I would like to work on these gatherings again next year.
Thank you for your prayers and help.