Do Bashful Evangelicals Turn People Toward Atheism?

Larry Taunton (“I thought they smelled bad on the outside!”) did a survey of atheists to discover how the arrived at their unbelief:

A central theme of the piece was the repeated finding that a Christianity that is disingenuous, lukewarm, and superficial is a woefully ineffective Christianity. Watering down the Bible is a turnoff. Vague messages of “doing good” and “seeking justice” ring hallow.  Efforts to package the message in a way to make “relevant” are short-sighted and lame.  In contrast, the respondents tended to respect genuine efforts to live out faith in an uncompromising way, and to share faith with others, even when though the same respondents ultimately disagreed with the tenets of the faith.  One of the more poignant quotes from the piece was this one, from a political science major at Dartmouth: “I really can’t consider a Christian a good, moral person if he isn’t trying to convert me.” Taunton drew a parallel between this and Penn Jillette’s comment that “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all.  If you believe that there is a heaven and a hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…how much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

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